Turns out the last time I worked on the engine I planned to use I had half implemented a new renderer. I'm working on putting something basic in place, but I may miss the deadline for this pageant :(
The gameplay idea has continued to progress, even without the rapid iteration feedback I was hoping for. It evolved from the simple concept mentioned above to something more like a RTS where you can construct a prison, facilities and hire and place guards and staff, and be able to execute and pardon prisoners.
As prisoners finish serving time, they are reintroduced to an adjoining city, which is represented in the game only as newspaper headlines. The goal of the game would be to find a balance between preventing crime from repeat offenders, and minimizing the cost of running the prison, thus allowing society (as represented by a single city) to flourish.
Of course, there's no way all of this can be done in 2 weeks, but I'm happy to try and fail and will be better prepared for the next pageant.