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Version: 3.3 | Updated: 12/14/2013

Walkthrough Information

- Game: Prison Tycoon 4 - Author: Joyel Puryear - Email: videogames@infotechnologist.biz - Business Site: http://www.infotechnologist.biz  - Writing Website: http://www.realmofwriting.com - Systems Covered: PC

Version History

Version 3.3 - 12/13/2013 - Redid the formatting of the majority of the guide and redid headers. - Removed table of contents since these types of walkthroughs generate their own TOS based off of the header. - Reorganized some of the walkthrough.


Version 3.0 - 03-04-12 ---------------------- - Minor cleanup through guide. - Added a great deal of additional information, and some new sections as   well. - Added beginnings of an in-depth walkthrough section. Version 2.6 - 06-06-10 ---------------------- - Updated contact information/submission information Version 2.5 - 03-27-10 ---------------------- - Minor adjustments to contact information again. - Reformatting slightly throughout the entire guide. - Some general mispelling fixes. Version 2.4 - 01-28-10 ---------------------- - Updated contact and site information throughout the entire walkthrough. Version 2.0 - 07-14-09 ---------------------- - Reformatted walkthrough. - Put new line markers in between each section to give the walkthrough   better readability. - Added a new sub-section under "Gameplay Information" called    "Hot Keys/Keyboard Shortcuts". Version 1.8 - 07-12-09 ---------------------- - Fixed up the header some (typos, and other problems) - Added some stuff to the header - Rewrote multiple sections. Version 1.6 - 02-01-09 ---------------------- - New + Revised sections - Spelling, Grammar, Rerformatting. Version 1.3 - 01-24-09 ---------------------- - Added contribution section. - Minor changes/fixes. Version 1.3 - 12-31-08 ---------------------- - First major release.

General Information

About Me -------- I have a variety of hobbies.  I play video games, read comics, program, do IT related stuff, read fantasy/fiction/sci-fi stuff, write, and a few other things.  One of my hobbies involves writing walkthroughs, and contributing various things online (like on Gamefaqs). I generally play video games between 15-40 hours per week (atleast). I also have an obsessive "Scholar" personality. I seek knowledge in all forms with everything I do.  I also get heavily involved in games and seek to get a perfect game in every single game I play, no matter what the type of game. Tycoon Games ------------ The typical population of gamers consider any game with "Tycoon" in the  title to instantly be a bad game.  The reason behind this is based off  the fact that there are many (hundreds) of games with the name tycoon  in the title. Generally these games are put together very quickly and  in great number. Very few of them are worth playing.  However don't assume that every game that has "Tycoon" in the title means it's a bad game.  Most of them are  thrown together very quickly.  However some of them are truly good.  For example Prison tycoon 1-4.  The first one wasn't great but it progressively -has gotten better with each game and here we are with the 4th one. It is by far a great game.  However it is a good game, it is worth playing, and it'll keep you busy an average of 8+ hours.  Maybe even as many as 20-25 if you  really do find something good to do with it.  The free play is very open and really let's you feel some of what it's like in a prison. So it won't win any game of the year awards and it probably won't keep you busy for an extended period of time...but however it will be a fun experience and it is definitely worth playing.

Gameplay Information

Story ----- There really isn't a story.  It's considered a "Simulation" game and they very rarely have much of a story if any.  This one has really no story.  Basically you are simply the owner of a freestanding prison.  It does not officially say it but basically it's like you are the owner of a private prison.  The government grants you a grant for a certain amount of money which you use to buy whatever lot your prison will be built on as well as some startup money (however much money you have).  Basically your prison is either empty at first (free play) or already partially built (Challenge  mode.)  That is it.  You start at "Low" security and you just have fun building and running the prison. Gameplay -------- Gameplay is handled via a tactical interface and a gameplay screen.  The  tactical interface is used at the bottom of the screen which has all of the commands, build options, map, and everything else.  The purpose of the  game differs based off which situation you are playing in.  There is free play and challenge mode. Free play mode is going to be pretty basic.  The idea is to play how you want to for fun.  Basically the idea is going to be to get your security level to max. It goes from "Low", to "Med" to "High", and finally "Max".  Each  different level of security unlocks new buildings, internal construction options, and various other features. Challenge mode works the same way as free play.  Except you start off with certain things already prepared in your prison as well as a certain set of situations.  Then you are given an objective (challenge) which you can  complete in order to continue on. Those are the basics of the two modes of play. Basic Advice ------------ Basically you always start off as a "low" security prison.  Based off of the amount of security related services the security level will rise.  It goes in the following order: "Low", "Med", "High", "Max" and with each new level you are given access to more and more buildings, functions, and  construction related concepts. The first step to running a prison is to setup all of your basic compound faciliites.  I have listed out a basic structure to help you get started, within the "Walkthrough" section of this guide. When you have all the basic prison up and running start the timer.  When you get up to where you have some money build some stuff to get your security level up to the next level. From that moment forward it is just about raising your security level, upgrading the facilities, and building new things that become available...all the while dealing with the prison issues at hand (that are explained by your advisor's during gameplay). Hot Keys/Keyboard Shortcuts/Controls --------------------------- Below are a list of currently know hotkeys and what they do:

  Hotkey  Description 
BBuild Menu
1Speed Change 
2Speed Change 
3Speed Change 
fFinance Menu 

Misc keyboard commands are listed below. Right Click - Rotate currently selected item. <-------------------------------------------------------------------------->


I have had some requests for additioanl feedback regarding how to get a good start on this game.  I have listed out a standard walkthrough to help anyone get their prison off the ground to start with.  You don't have to follow this guide exactly, and you'll reach a certain point in the guide where you have to start figuring out the next steps yourself. I am simply listing out my steps on how to get a good prison up and running and how to start building it eventually into a max security prison. The first step, is to get the game started.  Select New Game from the main menu. It's the menu option all the way to the left (Free Play).  Once that is selected, you are given a choice between 3 different prisons.  The first one, and second one are not as large as the big one. I generally like being able to have a lot of room to mess around in, so I always start in the 3rd one, although as I mentioned before one issue with the game is the lack of space. Once your done selecting the third prison, your taken into the game at that point.  You start with nothing. No buildings, no furniture, no guards or prisoners.  Alright...so let's get started. I start doing the following:  I pause the game.  Go into build mode, and setup the following buildings to start with: 1. Dormitory 1 2. Staff 1 3. Security 1 4. Low Security Tower (near Dormitory) 5. Factory 1 6. Yard 1 I generally use my own creativity to lay them out like I want.  I normally use the same pattern though, since it's proven affective in the past. I place my dormitory 1 near the entrance to the prison, a little bit to the right. Beside that goes the guard tower, for some security.  Then the  staff 1 forming around a circle, followed by the security 1 right beside it. Then I continue into a circle where I place the factory, and finally the yard directly in the middle of all of them.  At the start of the game the prisoners tend to hover around the yard, so I try to keep the buildings in a circular pattern so it's easier to keep all the prisoners in check, and keep tabs on what they are doing. That is generally all I setup at the beginning of the game in regards to main external buildings.  The next step is to work on the interior of these buildings now, and get them all ready for action.  Before I start doing that, I generally setup a preliminary gate around all of my structures, surrounding them and leave the area leading towards the main prison gate open. As I continue to build stuff into the game over time, I will expand the game, and eventually just leave it into a circular area around the entire main prison area to serve as just a gate around the gate for added security to help prevent people from getting out. Let's start adding interiors.  First I click on the main prison entrance, and add a visitor center. This is pretty important from the beginning as it helps to keep the prisoners happy. Afterwards I move onto the dormitory.  I install a series of 5 "bed 2" facilities within it. I always use the "bed 2" to save space (at least  most of the time).  Once that's setup I move from there to the staff 1 facility and install 1 of each thing that is available.  Then I head over to the security 1.  Again, here I install one of each of the currently available interior options.  Afterwards head over to the factory and install either one of them (at this point, which one does not matter). Then finally, let's visit the middle play yard area. Here just place down some seating arrangements, a basketball court, and the workout area.  The main thing is to just fill the area up, and make sure there are some seating arrangements, as a lot of prisoners will sometimes just sit around. The final thing to do, is add one additional external facility, adn that is the medical center. Technically this can be avoided for awhile, but I try to place it down immediately so your not scrambling to add it in the event that someone gets hurt. After that, the final facility we need right now is the mess hall (these people have to eat).  At this point your going to start getting warning messages about funding and everything. It's at all possible to peace meal these additions but I find it a lot easier to get the place started by just placing the things you need down to start with and then continuing to expand as the need arises. In the mess hall add a food counter, and 3 sets of tables.  In the medical facility, just install one of each that are currently available. Now that is it.  Right at the start you have the basis for a fully functional low security prison. Sure there are a lot of things we can do to add onto it, reconstruct it, and heighten security. But with the budget you are presented with at the beginning, you have everything to get your prison off to a very good start, and almost at the point where this walkthrough is going to end. Officially this walk through is over.  If you just wanted a stepping stone to help you get started, then now is the point where you can quit reading and start playing.  If you continue reading I am going to go into additional detail as I play through the game, and start working my way up through the security ranks, along with how some of hte more advanced gameplay mechanics work as they are introduced. When all of that is done, simply unpause the game (at whatever speed you feel comfortable) and just wait.  You don't have to do anything else special. It can seem like a long wait, but just give it awhile and the prisoners will start pouring in. Generally it can take anywhere from 1-5 hours game time for them to appear, but they will start pouring through the front gate. I will continue this walkthrough from this point in the next update.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How are prisoner's assigned a security level? A: The game assigns there security level to either "Low", "Med", "High", or "Max".  The security level identifies how much of a security threat they are to other people and the compound as a whole.  The following factor determines what the game set's them too:

  • There prison sentence
  • How violent they are
  • How many fights they get into
  • What they got put in prison for (This is not shown to you unfortunately)
  • How many times they have attacked a guard
  • How many times they have tried to escape
  • Their general personality traits (if their more violent by nature)
  • Most importantly how many times they have been in jail.

2) How do you utilize the maximum security compound that you get on security level "max"? As listed in question number one I explained how the computer automatically assigns a security level.  Well basically if a prisoner is assigned a security level of "max" then the computer does a check to see if you have purchased a max security compound.  If not then they assigned bed areas in the highest security place you have.  If you do then the prisoner's are automatically sent to the max security compound.  They cannot be assigned there unless the computer has assigned them as max security.  Now that is how the computer decides who goes to the compound or not.  As for the compound itself all you have to do is click on a guard on the map screen (same way you assign prisoner's to sleeping quarters and work stations) and assign a guard to that max security prison.  Then he will go out there whenever he is on active guard duty and he will open the doors to let them out in the courtyard of the max compound as well as feed them there food for the day. He will repeat this action everyday so affectively this compound takes care of itself.  If you do not assign the guard then after awhile the prisoner(s) will die. 3) What is the death row compound for and how do you use it? A) I have completed my own of research on this.  I have found that some max security inmates automatically end up being assigned to death row.  At first I thought this would mean there sentence of death would be carried out.  However they just sit there....and sit there...and when there sentence runs out they just come up for parole again.  I have all three types of death penalty devices installed into the same compound plus enough cells to hold 4-5 prisoners. I do not think the act of putting a prisoner to death or them getting put to death is in the game...perhaps it's just another area for storage of prisoners who are.."High" threat.  If anyone has ever had any occurence of a prisoner being put to death in anyway using the death row facility please let me know all the details. 4) Escape attempts...what are they and how do I deal with them? A) Basically it happens randomly (generally the first prisoner to make the escape route is one that was unhappy).  So far the only way I saw for them to escape was using a tunnel.  In order to cover the tunnel use a guard and have them walk over to it and click on it and they will cover it up. If there are watch towers around the areas where the prisoners try to get away then chances are they will be shot (and in most situations killed) if not then once the first prisoner get's away more of them swarm and try to get out using the same methods...get a guard there as soon as possible.  As far as I know a tunnel is the only method they can use to escape..and as far as I know they only create a tunnel if one of the prisoner's get's angry enough or unhappy enough (and sometimes this'll happen no matter what you do). 5) Facilities and things not working...why? A) Man..this was a tricky one. I had a pretty decent sized prison.  It was  really big actually. I had gotten up to max security.  I was in the first freeplay map.  I went ahead and built me a max security prison area as well as death row since I had just got them unlocked.  They worked fine for a long time then I did some work and found out that it wasn't working anymore. I was getting super-mad at the game thinking it was a glitch.  A few years went by and I noticed NONE of my max security prisoners where using there max area and also that the place was getting super dirty (the max-pen facility was down to 0% clean).  So...I got one of the cleaners and manually told them to go and I watched them and they got near the area to go up and stopped.. they turned around and went to do something else. I noticed I had a security office there and that's where he stopped. I tore it down and built it  somewhere else and then suddenly tons of prisoner's started heading toward the max pen not to mention 6-7 janitor's to finish up the jobs that I had qued over there 4 years earlier.  So the issue was if you build something and don't watch where you build it..it might prevent people from getting  into the building and it might potentially keep them from passing into an entire section of the prison. 6) How do you rotate furniture? A) You can rotate the currently selected item, furniture, or building by clicking the right mouse button. 7) How do you place Laundry or Mail room into the factory.  I keep trying but it always shows it as red? A) You have to first rotate it so the open part is facing northward. You can learn to rotate by reviewing the controls section, or question #6.  Once rotated into the proper location, you have to move it down to the lower part of the factory, and when you get it into the right position, it'll turn green. 8. How can you get the prisoners to come, they never seem to come? A) After your done setting up your prison, just give it some time. It can be anywhere from 3-6 hours worth of game time for it to start sending prisoners to you, so just be patient and give it time. Once you have the basic buildings in place (mostly places for them to stay) then will start appearing after a set period of time.


In this section I explain what I think are some of the negative aspects of the game.  Things that I think greatly detract from the games overall value. Lack Of Space ------------- The first is obviously lack of building space.  Not only have I seen these  complaints all over the internet but I have also realized this myself. When you get "really" addicted and you have a max security prison and are  ready to start expanding and getting new facilities you find you are severely limited on space.  If you get to where you might potentially want to continue playing there will become a point (due to lack of room) where there is  nothing you can do (whatsoever) except for monitoring what is already there.. ..Well this is a problem. How to solve this problem do you ask.  You can only solve it within certain limitations.  Basically.....2 words: Pre-Planning, and Reconstruction. Before you start you need to survey all of the buildings...you need to build in a cohesive manner and organize things very carefully.  That will only get you so far.  Aside from that you are going to need to work towards  reconstructing things as needed.  There will be a lot of times where you need to tear down a few older buildings for newer buildings.  Upgrade things.  I normally for standard buildings, switch Old Building for new each time. Until a specific building I end up needing two of and I try to get the two upgraded buildings of whatever type so they can hold more.  I also try to centralize them into there own areas (except me personally I try to keep the death row and max pen seperate from the rest of the facility). Here is another example to overcome this issue.  You can do some things..like sacrifice some comfort for more room.  If you get "Dormitory 2" and use the "2 bed set" item to setup about 8 different sets.  So that is 2 prisoners per set..16 prisoners for one "Dormitory 2".  If you do this over 2-3 times you have tons of room.  I basically have 2 "Dormitory 2" then one of the cells so I can have some "2 person" rooms for medium security and high  security prisoners.  If you don't have those then the higher security prisoner's cause more problems...they need to be in housing that is the same level or so as there current status or they get upset.  If they are in high  then they get mad easier if they are only medium or less security threat. But if your careful then just 3-4 standard buildings can get you to near 100  potential prisoners.  Same thing with the Mess Hall 2. If you setup Mess Hall 2 you can have the food producer 3 system which will take over say the left wall then have about 4 tables of the largest size...you'll never have to worry about eating size again and you can do it all in ONE mess hall without having to make 2-3 different mess-halls.  It all takes planning to be able to get the space needed.  Same with the part. If you have the lowest level part and your on medium security destroy it and make the second "bigger" part and load it down with stuff. Then when you get the third tear down the second one and rebuild it with the larger model...this prevents you from  keeping 3-4 of the same building/structure that is not needed in most  situations. There are some buildings that are going to need more than 1 complex.  Like security building..to have more stuff.  Same thing with the admin complex and especially having staffing quarters in there or if you get too many staff members they will be pissed that they have no place to sleep.


Send all contributions to my video game email address located at videogames@infotechnologist.biz. Contact me about any of the following: 1) Contributions 2) Corrections 3) Questions/Advice 4) Requests 5) Questions about any other game ever created, for any system. Contributors ------------ abailey - Contributed questions #6 and 7, as well as gave me feedback on some new additions to the walkthrough. M0D3RNCH3MIST - Gave me a lot of feedback regarding the walkthrough, and  mentioned some requests for more information.


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