Welcome to the tenth issue of the ARK Digest! For those who missed the previous issues, check out the Announcement forum section on the Steam Community Hub and be sure to catch up with what you’ve missed as there is tons for you to catch up on!
This week will mark our 10th Digest to date and as a little celebration for all the support you guys have shown and the game’s success we’ve got a little sneak peek to share with you for an upcoming update!
Developer Spotlight: Level Designs!
This week we spoke to Damien Bull, our Lead Level Designer about his work in ARK Survival Evolved. In this feature we hope to share with you what happens behind the scenes within the team, how updates are worked on and provide you with some extra juicy details about the ARK and everything it entails!
First of all Damien, Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure! No problem Jat. Hello everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read this and playing our game
So you’ve worked on a lot of big projects! How do the compare with the ARK? As ARK is a huge, persistent game world do you find that it presents you with new challenges or opportunities, compared to previous projects?
ARK was a great fit for me and my skillset. I have worked on quite a few open world games in the past both as a designer and an artist so I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to try and take the level design. I love trying to create space with purpose and history, as well as creating relationships between the level assets that not only feel natural and play well. Live updates present a unique challenge! With ARKs development ethos, it has definitely been a new and exciting experience. We really try not to adjust terrain much or do anything that might interfere with bases, however sometimes that may not be always possible. So… sorry! I hope you do love the new biomes though!
Wow, there’s a lot more that goes into level-design than I thought, could you tell us more about the process for designing a new area or biome?
Certainly! We start by deciding what type of biome we would like to add into the game. It’s a little tricky when planning sometimes as we need to do something different which adds a unique look and play style. I like to identify a real world location as a reference point. Then we’ll decide what types of fauna and flora best suit that area. Some of the questions we need to ask ourselves are how do plants live together and how do they fit into the overall set of ARK life? Once we have identified the best candidates from our area of reference we create the assets and assemble them in a test area. This provides a target biome for the LDS to use as a guide to maintain quality and consistency! Then we’ll begin testing the location, seeing how it fits in the world and whether it’ll follow our lore and story
Lore? Can you give us any hints about the ARK Lore? What are we in for?
Haha, you know very well that I can’t do that just yet! Don’t worry guys, we’ve got some very exciting and incredible stuff in store for you that we’ve really enjoyed creating, a lot of challenges were overcome and it’s been some of the best time I’ve had in the industry! The lore will start to fall into place over the course of early access, especially as we roll out out our end game and boss arena content over the next few months! Those are going to be some really cool areas to look out for. Hope you enjoy playing them as much as we’ve had creating them and we can’t wait to hear all the feedback!
Can’t wait to give the boss arenas myself! Now something you’ve said earlier is that with the introduction of new biomes, you guys plan out the fuana and flora that best suit the area right? So that means with the upcoming Swamp and Snow biome, survivors can expect to see new creatures and plants! Are these additions only going to be found in these biomes, similar to how the Titanoboa is found in the cave? Or can we expect some of the new creatures to travel around the map freely, without player intervention?
Yup, there will be new plants and creatures unique to the new biomes we’re beginning to implement for you guys. Normally, these creatures will try to pursue you wherever you hide, assuming there isn’t a lore-related reason for their existence in specific locations, but they will ofcourse have a strong preference for their favorite biomes. Keep an eye out for something a little different when you start exploring the swamps!
Okay so creatures will follow you, how about the biomes? Can we ever see them interact with one another? For instance, would it be possible to see a snowy-effect in areas that are closed to the snow biome but aren’t actually a part of it?
You’ll definitely be able to see that, each biome surrounding affected areas will have a unique and interesting transition. Imagine snow-covered tropical jungles, partially-frozen rivers and glacial cliffs extending into the oceans! A lot of fun and exciting areas for you guys to potentially build bases around!
Awesome! Looking forward to checking it all out and having a playthrough myself! Speaking of playthroughs, we’ve got a pretty vocal community who love to share their feedback about the game, have you ever read the forums or other places about ARK and thought that something which was suggested would be a good idea to improve a current biome?
We always pay close attention to what the community is saying and make a constant effort to implement any feedback that results in a positive player experience. An example of this would be our update where we implemented extra resources onto mountain tops and oceans. This really added a new level to the map and level design, both in terms of balance and visual change. We’re quite fond of having those resources show up in new places now and the change had a largely positive response rate. That being said, the upcoming Swamp biome will be by far the largest change to date. I’ll closely be watching and reading all the feedback presented by the community, acting accordingly and making any necessary changes.
And finally, assuming that there were no technical, practical, or lore related limitations, are there any biomes you would want the ARK to have, or perhaps see in a custom map or mod?
Hmm, there’s a lot of things I would love to add onto the ARK assuming we have the time, as that’s the main thing that holds us back honestly! Not enough hours in a day! Though to answer your question, it would without a doubt have to be creating an ARK with a few post-apocalyptic cities that have been overgrown and taken back by the jungle! Players could harvest resources from the decaying buildings and vehicles that litter the dino infested jungles. That sounds pretty cool to me and I would love to designing it. I always enjoyed the Jurassic Park films and how successfully they pulled this off, having Dinosaurs take advantage of survivor-built locations, plus you know..Raptors opening door-handles are always fun.
Wow, that sounds really fun, hopefully there are some aspiring mapmakers out their within our ARK Community who’d love to take a crack at this, I’d definitely play!! Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share this information with us, it’s much appreciated and can’t wait to see the new biomes!
No problem Jat! Happy to share what we’re working on, hope you guys have enjoyed it and thanks again for having me! Please remember to share your feedback about the new upcoming biomes, we do and will read it!
Survivor, Ming-húa asks, “When are we going to see more Primitive servers released?”
We pushed some out earlier today and we’ll be launching 6 more EU ones later today!
Survivor, DoOver25 asks, “I’m playing a local, solo game on my desktop PC. How do I get my game/character/buildings/dinos ported or copied over to my laptop computer so I can continue playing the same game?”
It’s very simple! If you head into the directory where you installed your ARK, it’ll be something like this:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\ARK
Head into the following folder:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\SavedArksLocal
Copy over the following files:
and also head to this folder:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\LocalProfiles
and create a copy of the following file:
Then when you’re moving over to your laptop, make sure to put the copied files in the correct directories and when you start the game, you’ll be able to play as your saved character on your save world!
Survivor, Neph asks, “I think I read somewhere that it would be possible to build on the ocean floor, is this going to be a thing? I’ve always wanted to be spongebob”
(Yup! you’ll be able to live there! We also have underwater caves available with their own pockets of air for your cool secret underwater bases!)
Survivor, DeadlyAccurate asks, “Will per-pixel painting be extended to structures besides signs (and possibly flags)? Like walls and doors?”
If it works well on Signs and Flags, then we’ll think about adding it to everything! Including characters for bonus warpaint, or perhaps drawing on someone when they’re asleep, so you guys can relive your college experience! (Don’t worry, there will be a way to remove it). So we’ll see, it’ll be one step at a time for now, if you do enjoy the pixel-by-pixel painting, let us know!
Survivor, Uncle Sammeh asks, “Ghillie suits/camo clothing?”
Yup! You can expect to see these in the game :). Along with the use of dyes there will be plenty of options to disguise yourself in the ARK’s terrain!
Survivor, DeadlyAccurate asks, “Will we see things like carnivores that are most active at dusk and dawn?”
Yes! This is a super fun mechanic! Nocturnal/Diurnal behavior differences are on the short-term ToDo List. This will lead to a lot of interesting interactions whilst playing the game, you may encounter a sleeping Diurnal creature at night, or vice-versa. It’ll allow you the opportunity to get a jump on them, beware though as they’ll wake up if disturbed and might not be so happy with you ruining it’s sleep!
Survivor, Jazion asks, “When are we getting more options for us OCD people who want to sort our items properly?”
Hmm, what kind of sorting options might you have in mind? Would it be custom folders for all inventories? Or filtering by item type? Sorting by quality? An autostack perhaps? All in the works ;).
Survivor, Platinum asks, “Will there ever be weapon levels above modern equipment (assault rifles, rocket launchers) for example say underground you find advanced technology caches with laser rifles, or plasma launchers.”
So sounds like you’re interesting in a sci-fi tier, right? Already in the works my friend :)!
Survivor, Krypteis001 asks, “Any chance for a gaslight lantern as a middle tier between the electric lamp and standing torch?”
Whoa, that’s actually a pretty good idea! We’ll add it in the near future. Picturing it now, it’s going to look super cool :D! Nice one Krypteis001!
Survivor, clarkmp91506 asks, “Also are you guys fans of the Dinotopia series? I feel like i’m finally playing in the world i grew up reading about.”
Huge fans! The books and even the telly version! 🙂
Survivor, Roux asks, “Is there any options coming in the future to keep flyers from walking so far away after landing/dismounting? What about pteranodons spazzy nature when something attacks?”
Yup! This is on our upcoming to-do list. All of those functions will see massive improvement quite soon!
Survivor, Platinum asks, “Will there ever be extra islands added to the map with higher level resources or maybe a focus on exploration and combat where you can’t build?”
Yup! We’ll be adding extra areas of the map where you’ll be able to gather higher level resources and do some more combat, single or party based! However you’ll be able to build there too :p
Survivor, PH1R3 asks, “Are you folks working on a RCON client for the game or are you leaving that up to the community?”
There’s been a lot done from the Community already, we’re pretty keen on ARKon (RCON hehe, great name!). You can check it out here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/346110/discussions/0/530646715639420791/
It’s pretty awesome and major props to Face Wound for creating it! Can’t wait to see how it progresses 🙂
Survivor, Secret Butt Fun? (…) asks, “Will there be a roaring implementation that riders can manually select it to roar to possibly scare other dinos, or to show off?”
Yup! Currently the T-Rex ROAR has RMB and we’re going to add a dedicated key for it. Most Dinosaurs will have similar taunts or roars, based on their own vocal cords and abilities of course :p. And yes! that’s a great idea for it to scare (wild) dinos that tend to flee. We’ll definitely do that!
Survivor, Onyxheart asks, “I have a question about the Sabertooth model… My female sabercat is a badass in all things… she’s really ballsy.. but why oh why…. does she actually have balls?!
Sigh, we facepalmed so hard when we first noticed, it’ll definitely be a while before we live that one down -_-. Expect a fix this week both Male and Female Sabercats will look different in that regard.
Survivor, Chief asks, “Will you guys ever add water weapons to help tame water dinos and fight in the water? (I was thinking of a tranq harpoon or something like that)”
Yup! We’ll be implementing a cross-bow soon and this is going to be your next goto water projectile weapon that’ll definitely provide some assistance in taming water-inhabited creatures, as well as act as a new weapon for you to mess around with on the ARK!
Survivor, Koud asks, “Is there any plan to add some kind of “Official alliance” so tribe cant hurt each other in battle/or with minigun turrets?”
On PvP servers we’d like to avoid having too many damage-rules. However, on PvE (for servers that allow this new option), there will be the opposite. Tribes will be able to declare warfare! This won’t affect other tribes/players, but only the tribes who agree to begin war against one another.
Survivor, idksman asks, “Will we see different ways of breaking into bases like catapults, battering rams (possibly attached to dinos), or trebuchets in the future?”
Most certainly! Those stone walls will have to be broken into some way or another 😉
Survivor, Kindleriver asks, “I always want to pat my dodos on the head after they give me an egg. Might that be a thing some day?”
Yup! Petting will be an emote soon that will cause the receiving Dino to play a “received pet” animation and also temporarily grant it a EXP-earning multiplier buff. Giving your dinosaur encouragement before a big-battle is always recommended! Show them your love 🙂
Survivor, Sunset Sarsaparilla Pino asks, “Any chance of adding thunderstorms to the game?”
Yup! Thunderstorms will be added soon as an alternative weather system, as we progress through Early Access we plan to flesh out it even further with even more cool weather cycles.
Survivor, [SAG]Daelency asks, “When will we be gaining the new Composite bow? Or just a rough estimate?”
It’s scheduled to be released in approximately two weeks! Not long to go yet 🙂
Survivor, Platinum asks, “Will extra character customisation options ever be added such as hairstyles and different facial settings?”
Yup! Character customisation is very important to us and we’ll be adding alternative hairstyles and totally different faces into the game!
Survivor, mattamarchbanks asks, “Also, will you be adding traps that immobilize those that get caught in them? Maybe snares for smaller creatures and bear traps for bigger ones?”
Alright, the jig is up! Clearly you’re someone who is secretly on the team and revealing upcoming features! As it’s been revealed, we can share a bit more ;p. You can expect to see these in about two weeks, and they’re pretty darn cool! Try not to trap yourself though! 😛
Survivor, 8bit Gamer asks, “When will we start seeing the more advanced dinosaur AI?”
Next Month! We’re going to be making huge changes to Dino AI, it’ll be a MASSIVE update including sensory-based targeting, diurnal/nocturnal behaviours, and even more customization behaviour depending on the species!
Survivor, Epicdenver asks, “Will we ever see a Machined Sniper rifle?”
Yup! that is on it’s way!
Survivor, LacusClyne asks, “How are you going to expand the ocean with more islands given that we have been told it’s impossible to make the map any larger than it is?”
Well actually we’re not able to make the current Island bigger than it is, but we will be adding more Islands and expanding the Ocean area accordingly!
Survivor, Smoky Grey asks, “Since painting a giant structure takes a loong time will there ever be a way to mass paint a wall, or paint a stack of walls to place prepainted structures?”
How does a paint spraygun sound to you?
Survivor, * ArkAO LIROLA * asks, “Will there be a way to control how things are downloaded from the ARK?
In Version 187, we will support custom servers specifying what things they want downloaded, from items, dinos and or characters! Thanks for the feedback 🙂
Survivor, KiwiNinja asks, “Will we ever see any official tutorials for the ARK devkit? Right now everyone is just trying to explore the features with little clue as to what we can and can’t do. Which isn’t that bad, but a tutorial series would be amazing!”
Yup! We’ll be uploading the first two Dev Kit video tutorials tonight and then we’ll go from there. We really want to support our modding community and help it grow as much as possible. Be sure to check out the Unreal Engine forums for some extra advice as there are plenty of active users there!
Survivor, jdob asks, “Can we have an “attack that” wistle so that we can order dinos to attack a target without having to attack it ourselves?”
Reasonable request! We’ll have it in for v187.
Survivor, Sw!zZ.Pii asks, “Will there be a “goal” for the survivors? Like, with the Sci-Fi-tier, survivors have to team up and kill whatever sent us to this island? Without spoilering, will there be more than “just” surviving the players and dinos untill a tribe finally rules the island?”
Yup! We’ve got a lot planned for the end-game content. There will be more caves, boss arenas and the upcoming Ascension goals are incoming ;).
Survivor, slake asks, “Will you be adding anymore big carnivores to the game? I would love to see the Allosaurus added to the game.”
Yup, always hehe. Gotta keep upping the ante! 😛
Survivor, Cram Sanir, asks “Behemothgates for primitive server maybe out of wood/stone”
Sure! A Stone Behemoth gate is incoming 🙂
Survivor, t3chman asks, “Will the aquatic rocks near the beach ever be made mine-able?”
Yup! In our next big map-update, we’ll be introducing the Swamp Biome and those rocks will become minable! You’ll find out all about that relatively soon :).
Survivor, Patton Campaign asks, “Will there ever be the ability to land and ‘Taxi’ the Ark’s Fliers?”
Yup! we’ll be making this change in the next week. It’s pretty nifty, it’s like you guys are reading our notes somehow…
Survivor, Wyzen asks, “Why is the multi-grill so big? You would need to stand on a chair or something to be able to put meat on it.”
Ah, that is because the current multi-grill is a placeholder. What you’re actually seeing is what the fabricated industrial grill will look like! It is being replaced with a new model shortly that will make better sense for the size and it’s capability.
Survivor, Tion asks, “Can we expect that the aquatic creatures will be able to swim backwards and maybe turn on the spot for better maneuvering underwater (especially the plesiosaurus with his 4 fins should be able to)?”
Yup! The Plesio will be getting that ability fairly soon, and certain other 4-finned creatures that have yet to hit the ARK’s waters will also be able to maneuver a lot better! 😉
Survivor, DriftaholiC asks, “Can we get a sneak peek at the buildable saddles? Even if only concept art.”
Survivor, Re4p3r asks, “Please make Mouse Buttons bindable”
Coming to a patch near you! (v 187 – SO IT HAS BEEN SAID, AND SO IT SHALL BE DONE!)
Survivor, Fla-Ze-Da asks, “Will it be easier to select and drop multiple items, or just drop them more quickly?”
You can currently drop items pretty rapidly by highlighting an item in the Inventory and pressing “O”, by default.
Survivor, mmille14 asks, “Pixel paintable flags?”
These will arrive on the ARK right along with pixel paintable signs!
Survivor, Kody.Gloval asks, “Are you considering creating Tombstones to allow us to memorialize our fallen dinosaur companions? :-)”
This is actually a very amusing idea. We’ll think on it. Perhaps we could grant you the Tombstone item? Or at least the record which can then be engraved on a tombstone, automatically on the corpse of the fallen dino :’(.
Survivor, Nova Scopes 420 asks, “Any plans for working on “indoor lighting”?”
Yup! highly efficient static shadows for structural lights sources are on our todo list and will be coming to the ARK!
Survivor, Arsenic_Touch asks, “Will there be more equipment slots for character customization? Like adding a face and eye slot, so you can wear the cowboy hat and the glasses at the same time.”
Yup! We’ll be adding more slots for character customization, accessories are currently on their way to the ARK 😀
Survior, TheFubuki asks, “Also, the only melee “weapons” is a pike actually, (pickaxe and hatchet are tools before all) is it planned to get a kind of machete, saber or even a knife?”
Yup! We’ll be adding knives and swords pretty soon. Along with ballistas and other siege tools of course! Primitive players will love those 🙂
Survivor, Gustaf asks, “Hello ARK team, when will we be able to “DO A BARREL ROLL!” with our pteranodons, just like the game trailer?”
Yeah, we’ll go ahead and re-add that soon. Gotta have the Barrel Rolls! Super fun to mess around with!
Survivor, LocknLoadnDie asks, “Will the devs implement a way to create a map marker when you are at the “you died” screen so that way we can get back to and find our body more easily?”
We’ve got a new Transponder coming in soon, that’ll definitely help with locating your dead body 🙂
Survivor, Spirit asks, “Has there been any thoughts of rafts or small boats? Anything that might help transport pets from the mainland to islands?”
Yup! Rafts are incoming :D.
That’s it for this week’s ARK Digest! Thanks for tuning in and hopefully you’ve walked away learning something new ;). Thanks for all the support, engagement, and feedback so far!
All the best,
Your Community Manager Jat and The ARK Survival Evolved Team!