Welcome to the thirteenth 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! There is a lot to share this week! I’ll be posting this on Jat’s behalf, because he has now hopped onto a plane for Gamescom, where he will be demonstrating ARK with Microsoft for Windows 10 and Xbox One. If you happen to be at Gamescom, be sure to drop by the Microsoft booth, meet Jat, and give it a try!
Survival of the Fittest
This weekend just gone we were proud to debut our new game mode, Survival of the Fittest, to the world with a live tournament! The event was a success and we were able to take a lot of positives from it, whilst also learning ways in which we can improve both the game mode, and other core and important aspects of ARK. We recently put up a lot of announcements regarding the game mode, including a retrospective and it’s arrival date to the general public, so definitely check those out!
Hope you guys have enjoyed our new trailer that we made for Gamescom 2015! It included a little sneak preview of the upcoming Snow Biome which will launch along with the Swamp Biome in August, as well as the Broodmother’s new home!
With this trailer also came the announcement that we will be taking part in Xbox One’s Early Preview program, bringing ARK to Xbox One this winter!
Don’t forget! Tomorrow is our Community Crunch, and we’re still accepting entries for our two contests, ARKitect & ARKArt! If you haven’t entered yet and have got something to share, consider doing so!
ARK Digest Q&A!
This will be an extended Q&A due to the fact that last week’s was cut because of other commitments and time constraints! Sorry about that guys, hopefully you’ll be able to pick up a lot from this weeks and thanks for being so cool about it <3!
Survivor, Xelot asks, “How are you going to manage the oxygen supply in underwater bases?
Underwater bases, specifically, will use a new “Tek” tier of structures that are vacuum sealed. If the structure is completely enclosed, all doors are closed, and a unit per area called a “Venilator” is powered, then that volume will be free of water and you’ll have oxygen. If it’s not, you’ll be underwater and won’t have oxygen. You can construct air locks to provide a method of entering and exiting that doesn’t flood the inner compartments.
Survivor, RogueComet asks, “Will dino egg laying be revamped OFF of the need to be on stasis?”
Yup! And that’s done as of Patch 193 ;). You’ll be seeing a lot more eggs dropping now!
Survivor, Pancakes asks, “Have you thought about the inclusion of bioluminescent creatures?
Yes, indeed, especially for the Oceans: stay tuned for some seriously gnarly jellyfish and prehistoric anglerfish!
Survivor, UnbornLegend00 asks, “Are you working on the lag/rubberbanding on Official Servers?
Yes! We’ll always be working on it. As of 193 it was a core-tech issue and we managed to get a few fixes in place, there’s still much to be done however a lot of progress has been made on the recent stalls that were affected servers. They would degrade and increase over time, previously we had a memory leak issue which would often mean that servers would restart. Now our server up time is much better, so the stalls became apparent. If you’d like to know more about the details of the issue, check out what Drake, our lead Engineer, had to say about it:
Here’s what it was, primarily:
#1. The big one: there was a leak with AI components that would cause them to increase an array forever, the array would grow larger and larger as the game proceeds, and the array would get iterated every 60 seconds resulting in an increasingly massive stall every 60 seconds. So at 10 hours of server uptime, the stall would be about 500 Milliseconds. At 24 hours of server uptime, the stall would be about 1.25 seconds, and at 4 days of server uptime (as we’re approaching on many of these servers), the periodic stall would be about 7 seconds (every 60 seconds).
#2. There was a general bug with the Garbage Collector (https://wiki.unrealengine.com/Garbage_Collection_Overview) that would cause it to run slower over time. The Object Name map needs periodic pruning to stay efficient.
#3. There was a slight stasising bug (moving structures and such into a more static state when no one is around) that was causing some not to stasis, hurting perf.
That’s it for now. That eliminates the major game-breaking stalls and also generally improves perf all the time. There’s much to be done still and it will get continued focus, but this was the game-breaking stuff that cropped up once server memory stability was improved such that we now run servers for 4+ days of consecutive uptime.
Note, we do think there is still a serious latency issue with our Amazon Web Services EU servers, that is due to how they are routing packets through some slow-mo land of horrible networking causing major packet loss (this is an issue outside of the game, but never the less something we can address by moving hosts). We will be switching all of our EU servers over to Nitrado this week which should resolve this routing issue, and all of our US servers are also going to be switched to a much faster (better CPU’s) host soon as well (aiming for this week).
Survivor, Dorgorth01 asks, “Will we be seeing more melee weaponry?”
Yes, we plant to add a proper knife, a couple swords, and three tiers of shields which will actually be usable in combination with most other melee weapons for some proper medieval-style melee combat!
Survivor, Thieph asks, “Could we see the ability to pick up smaller animals like Dodos?
It’s going to be implemented for the Mesopithecus, then we’ll see about the Dodo 😉
Survivor, Virtue_RS asks, “When will we see breeding/raising baby dinosaurs from eggs?”
Breeding and raising Dinosaurs is something we’re currently working on, and it should be ready in September. When we do prepare to release, we’ll be making a lot of noise with more details on the breeding & genetics systems!
Survivor, X’Zaguer asks, “Will the animals have roars and unique fighting styles?
We will be introducing more roars and fancier elements to most of our Dinosaurs, you’ll also see vast improvements made to dino-AI! This will include more custom behaviors and attacks to help differentiate each dino from each other, whether when acting on their own or being ridden.
Survivor, Dawii20 asks, “Will you be adding diving goggles so that we can see clearly in the water?
We will be adding in scuba-gear in August, including goggles. These additions will generally improve life under the sea (
), allowing you to see better, swim faster, breathe for longer, as well as provide some other benefits.
Survivor, Tracer asks, “Really excited about the new ARK Gamemode! Will taming Dinos play a big part in the new game mode?”
Yes! For those who hadn’t seen it, taming is very core to our game and will play a key-role in the Survival of the Fittest! Keep in mind though, it’ll be a customizable mode so server admins will freely be able to alter it how they choose based on a number of settings, as well as fully moddable! If you did end up watching the tournament, the team with the most badass Dinosaurs actually ended up winning! In true ARK Spirit <3
Survivor, Rhiannon asks, “I am really excited for buildable saddles – when are you going to release them?
Apologies about the delay on this! We would like to get them out as soon as we can as they are truly an exciting feature and will bring a new element of play to the game. However they’re not quite ready yet, as they’ve required significantly more iteration than we anticipated to balance them and make sure they work for all the key structure types. We’re getting it done! We understand it can be frustrating as you see them on the patch-notes and you’re hoping to get your hand on them, we try to get things out as soon as we can – but when issues arise we’ve got to take care of them 🙂
Here’s a little quote from TheRightHand about delays regarding things in patch-notes which may help shed some light:
Something to try and keep in mind is that what you guys are experiencing is extremely typical for game development.
We have a plan, a feature, new content, etc, we start working with it, and when we get to a certain point, it either needs to be pushed back because something was more complicated or we ran into problems, etc.
There’s this cool website called The Cutting Room Floor which deals explicitly with content that was cut from games, and often times people are curious why this kind of stuff gets cut from games; you guys are actively getting to see things not go exactly as we plan for them to, and seeing as stuff we wanted a week ago gets pushed back until there’s more time and ability to iterate on the content we want to deliver.
Which is all fine, and normal. In 99% of cases, if we list something in patchnotes, upcoming or not, you’ll eventually get it!
It’s just that sometimes other stuff becomes more important, and resources have to be diverted in one direction or another to manage that.
So worry not, good people! What you’re seeing is preposterously normal for software and game development– it’s just something you don’t generally see, because it’s messy and frustrating, not just for you guys, but for us as well.
But that’s one of the things that comes with EA– transparency, even if sometimes what you see through the fog-glass window isn’t as beautiful as you expected 😉
– The Right Hand
So don’t sweat! They’re still on the way, we’ve just got some things to tackle in the mean time :).
Survivor, Hummivie asks, “How will the sci-fi theme work? When are we expected this to be released?
You’ll still need to wait a little while for this one, before then we’ve got to send out the Swamp Biome changes and the Snow Biome! After that we’ll be focusing on the bosses, caves, the sci-fi tier, and the Ascension process. As for what to expect, well you’ll need to wait and see ;).
Survivor, matrixhacker asks, “How many C4 does it take to wake up the volcano?”
Too many 😛
Survivor, Fauzlin asks, “Can we have some kind of tree regrowth system?
Very likely. We want to support regrowing a forest around your base, so we’re going to implement some kind of miracle-gro solution you can use for this pretty soon. Note that it will only regrow plants that were already there, but still, that’ll be quite useful to make your hidden cabin by the lake hidden once again!
Survivor, Raikan also asks, “What about more decorative stuff? Chairs and Tables would be cool.
We’ll have those! Including the animations to go with using those pieces. We also hope to introduce other decorative items like trophies and tombstones!
Survivor, Kattastrulf asks, “Can you please fix the Wooden spike walls so that we can colorize them?
Yup! We’ll do that!
Survivor, SixInchNoob asks, “Any chance of seeing a glass tier of structures?
How about glass windows made out of crystals? 😉
Survivor, Corpratespaz asks, “Do you plan to have any other maps available by full launch?
We’ll be launching with the map you’re playing now – however by then you will see a number of changes, there will be many new biomes added, many alterations made to current zones, the introduction of new above land and underwater caves, and expansion of the ocean areas! We also will be spinning up work on procedurally generated ARK’s soon 🙂
Survivor, spartanraptor asks, “There will be more biome bosses like Broodmother and the White Gorilla?
The Broodmother and the ??? Gorilla bosses are 2 of ??? main bosses in the game! We’ve still got at least two more to announce to you guys 😉 As for regular bosses, as of patch 193 we introduced an Alpha Dinosaur. These will function as biome mini-bosses and they’ll be spread all across the ARK World. They are larger, more powerful Dinosaurs than the regular species they come from. They provide a special buff to their allies around them and are more difficult to take down. As of right now they cannot be tamed, however killing them will grant you a lot of bonus experience, resources, and some cool exclusive trophy loot!
Survivor, yohimba asks, “When will you support DX12?
We hope to have it fully supported sometime in August – not long to go yet! Can’t wait to have it out for you guys 🙂
Survivor, BL00DHOUND_187 asks, “Will you plan to add more weather types to the game?
Yup! We’ll be adding much more different types of weather, including storms, hail, snow and these will have an impact on the players who are currently experiencing them! We’ll also be working more on our current system to deal with some of the sporadic temperature changes, as well as the fog in underwater caves.
Survivor, RadioActiveMan says, “Would love to buy a stuffed dodo!
Ah yes! We’ve had a lot of request about t-shirts, plushies and other fan goodies! We will get to them eventually, we’re still a growing studio so there are some pains to deal with however as soon as we’ve got them available somewhere, we’ll be sure to let you know!
Survivor, Nobody asks, “Submarines? Jeeps?”
We’ll be starting off slow with water rafts and drivable dune buggies in August — though the vehicle functionality will be for modders first, so we can see how they play out. With that we’ll see how they fit into the game cycle, and if it goes well, we can consider complete implementation and taking these forms of travel to the next stage!
Survivor, Mandrek says, “Please add support for mouse buttons 4 & 5
Done as of v194 🙂
Survivor, BikeJones asks, “Carryable battle flags?”
We’ll be looking into letting players physically carry the flags they place down… that would be really cool, wouldn’t it? 😉
Survivor, carveros asks, “Will we see individual berries/fruits in the future? Instead of random press E to get stuff.”
Yup! As we introduce more of our biomes, we’ll begin working on specifying the exact berries and fruits to the unique plants they belong to.
Survivor, Adamsmasher asks, “Thought about using meat coated or filled with narcotics as an alternative to violent knockouts or in addiiton to your non-violent method?
We’ll likely be doing this as an alternative to the non-violent method: feed it narcotized food, and it’ll increase Affinity AND Torpidity at the same time…
Survivor, Naecabon says, “Let’s talk loot! Will there be a revamp in which enemies get an overhaul in the loot drops? Can you update supply drops with the more recent (and awesome!) engrams, such as the crossbow? Any plans to reevaluate the crafting materials of some of the higher quality items?
Yup! We’ll be doing more to enemies so that their loot tables are a lot more rewarding for the amount of effort required to kill them, and indeed refreshing the Supply Crates shortly. You’ll get more than a flag for killing the Broodmother when it’s been fully fleshed out!
Survivor, Nappa also asks “Will there be seige weapons like ballistas or cannons?”
Yes. The first of these, the Ballista, should be coming in August. Medieval cannons would indeed be a pretty nice follow-up to that 😉
Survivor, .vNz asks, “Do you have a prediction for servers in Brazil?”
We’re currently looking into what the best hosting provider options are for South America and brazil and soon we’ll be sure to make some noise so everyone is aware — we’re aiming for August on this <3
Survivor, Lurk asks, “Will we ever get a giant squid?
Hmm, you’ll find out next Wednesday 😉
Survivor, OG Vehnum asks, “Will there be tranq darts for Firarms?
Yup! We’ll be introducing more forms of tranquilizing enemies, including tranq-darts!
Survivor, TeaneyKnight asks, “Are there any plans to add some other large therapod dinos? I’d really love to see Allosaurus
On it’s way my friend!
Survivor, Tearl asks, “Will we ever see a switch for PvE to enable buildings in caves?
Sure, v194 will expose that as a customizable server option!
Survivor, Wexton asks, “Will the 200 meter restriction for non-dedicated be increased?
Yeah, it’ll be a host option soon. But it’s actually a fairly complex change touching a number of streaming/networking distance values, so we want to make sure we thoroughly test it before releasing 🙂
Survivor, speaker_arcanis asks, “Can we have coats?”
We’ll be introducing new clothing to wear with the addition of the new biomes! When the snow biome arrives, you’ll be able to craft cold-insulating gear made from the fur of Mammoths! As for heat-absorbing swim-ready gear other than skinny dipping, that’ll be coming soon too 😉
Survivor, lupuszarr17 asks, “Will we ever be able to paint our tamed dinosaurs?”
Yup! That’s on the way :). Along with some possible additions to our pixel-painting system! (Copy/Paste saved paintings)
Survivor, lupuszarr17 also asks, “Is advanced medicine coming in the future?”
Yup, as we progress through the game you’ll see the addition of more alignments and other ways to treat yourself. We’ll also be taking a look at our current methods of healing and making adjustments as necessary!
Survivor, snellious asks, “Thoughts on a “deconstructor” bench to turn unwanted saddles and equipment into say 50% of craft costs?”
That’s a cool idea. We’ll definitely be looking into it asap. It would certainly help satisfy the hoarder in me to collect everything possible and deconstruct it… 🙂
Survivor, Simmons asks, “What about some elevators or lift elements?”
Already on the way 😉
Survivor, Wackysaurus, “Will we ever get top hat skins for Dodos and other small creatures that don’t have saddles?”
We’ll be adding loads of armour and some fun cosmetic items to your Dinosaurs for you to have some fun with! We’ll make sure this gets in within August – I mean, your Dodo’s gotta stroll down the beach in style, right? 🙂
Survivor, Tion asks, “Is there going to be a weapon and tool repair kit for those length adventures? Can’t always have the smithy and/or fabricator with me”
That sounds like a good idea! We’ll be considering a portable repair station that you can place down and pick up.
Survivor, Rhapsodyy asks, “Would it be possible to let us use flare guns whilst riding a bird?”
Yeah, in v194 using the flare gun while on a Dino will be supported!
Survivor, Kurp asks, “Seeing as we can’t use paintbrushes whilst flying or climbing, can we get some type of paint gun in order to paint larger objects?
Yep, the paint spraygun is coming soon 🙂
Survivor, JustApollo asks “Might we see a bit more added to the island’s ambient sound?
Yup! We’ll be doing a lot of work on ambiance in the game. First of all, we’ll be introducing loads of new fauna and smaller creatures into the game, to co-exist with already existing ones to add that extra touch. You’ll start to see more birds, insects and other critters. We’ll also be making changes that include hearing the noises these creatures make in the wild as well as our already existing bunch, and some extra sound effects to go on top.
Survivor, Aim asks, “Will you guys let us have half walls?”
Yep, we’ll make sure to get half-walls, which are also good for railings, implemented across all tiers in August.
Survivor, Grue asks, “Will pixel painted flags be able to be taken down and still retain the art on them in the future?”
The painting design saving/loading system will be coming shortly, then you’ll be able to keep your wonderful artworks even if you take the flags down!
Survivor, SigMagnus also asks, “Will you be adding a higher tier bed? Like one that would allow to quick-travel with your items?”
That would be called “Teleportation” and… it requiers a LOT of energy and a LOT of technology but… the ARK has many secrets yet to reveal 😉
Survivor, Live2Die asks, “Can you possibly give admins the ability to select which animals are tamable in their server”?
Good idea, we’ll do that!
Survivor, adamfyoung1 asks, “Ever thought about adding in the prehistoric hyena?”
Answer: You mean like a Hyaenodon?!
Survivor, killingtactic asks, “Is there going to be any kind of respect system put in, and if so when?”
We do plan to introduce one into the game! We’re still working it all out at the moment, we want to make sure it isn’t too easy so you can continuously reset over and over again, but also make it so that it’s worth doing, as opposed to re-rolling, there are a few ideas and once we’ve got something concrete, you’ll see it in the patch notes 🙂
Survivor, Meriddian asks, “Could you make it so that you can alphabetically organize the list of players in spectator mode?”
Done in v193 — we are Mind Readers! 😉
(which is far, far better than being a Mind Flayer :-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,
Drake, The Right Hand, & The ARK Survival Evolved Team!