Intelligent Design – Ark: Survival Evolved Mod Kit Released

It's harder to go the way of the dodo with mod tools.

Open-world dinomonster survive ’em up Ark: Survival Evolved [official sites] is still storming Steam in Early Access. It’s sitting sixth on the playercount charts as I write this, and what we played seemed a bit of a lark. Still, its makers aren’t resting on their prehistoric laurels, and are working hard to avoid extinction.

They’ve launched the full the Ark Dev Kit, a simplified version of the Unreal Engine 4 editor which lets folks make their own maps and mods. That’ll certainly help avoid catastrophe, or at the very least ennui. It’s got Steam Workshop support to make installing them easier too.

Developers Studio Wildcard explain :

“While the ARK Dev Kit does not provide access to the ARK C++ game source code, it does contain all of our editable source art for the game, as well as our editable maps and blueprint classes. Thanks to the power of Unreal Engine 4’s Blueprint system, even without C++ you can modify and extend quite a lot of the game functionality, including new items, weapons, AI Behavior Trees, structures, and all kinds of gameplay classes & game logic. You can focus on creating a beautiful new environment for the game, or extend the core game classes via Blueprint to add a whole new game mode and new mechanics.”

Mod support would also help if – and I don’t want to jinx this – its path through Steam Early Access slows. It wouldn’t be the first survive game to lose momentum, though it’s doing so well right now and Studio Wildcard do seem committed. Still, less reliance on the developers is perhaps a comfort when chancing buying an Early Access game.

A small discount for the next few hours brings Ark to £19.08 on Steam Early Access. Studio Wildcard plan to launch it properly in June 2016.


  1. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Still a bit expensive for me for something I’m not sure about, (and I don’t know what the performance is like at the moment,) but this has the best possible chance of dragging me into the survival genre. Having dinosaurs rather than boring zombies is a big part of that, but the main thing is being able to play solo or on PVP-less servers. I know some might say that’s missing the point of these games, but that sort of thing just doesn’t appeal to me.

    • Michael Anson says:

      The optimization has improved leaps and bounds over the initial release, and continues to be improved on a weekly basis. I’ve certainly found the game to be worth the initial investment. Just be aware that there are times when you will die unfairly (due to game bugs that are being constantly fixed), but that no loss is permanent.

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    The Forest and The Long Dark are both Early Access survival games without zombies where the focus is predominantly on single-player. Subnautica and Stranded Deep probably also qualify, though I don’t own those. Just saying. I sympathise, to some degree – the constant Steam forum posts for every new game in the genre demanding HOW I PLAY MULTIPLAYER WITH ALL MY FRIENDS leave me kinda frustrated, and I have zero interest in ever playing Ark with other people, for the same reasons I will never, ever play Rust or DayZ. But it’s not like we don’t have other options.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      EDIT: Ugh, posted too quickly, meant as a reply to mashkeyboard above.

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      Cheers for the heads-up, sounds like there’s some good stuff I could look into there. I also find that the only games people get mega excited for and blather about are the multiplayer ones, so the others had slipped under my radar.

    • Michael Anson says:

      ARK has both solo play and offers dedicated servers you can lock down for a very small amount of people, so you can still enjoy the experience.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Subnautica is definitely worth picking up on sale (particularly for Oculus users). The survival aspects are pretty pants (or were an update or two ago, when I last played) but the world itself is a thing of beauty, and the setting is visually unique and absolutely stunning. It’s also terrifying – not in an “oh no, more zombies” way, but in a much more primal, instinctive fashion. When you’re alone in the black at 200m below, hearing your minisub creak against the water pressure as a school of baby Cthulus – passive though they might be – swim by your window (waterow?), it’s really, really hard to keep your lizard brain from freaking the fuck out.

    • SuicideKing says:

      But I would want to play with my Steam friends – *just* my Steam friends, who are mostly people I know in real life.

  3. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’m utterly confused why people are buying this in their droves whole games like neon struct and the magic circle are all but forgotten

    • Marblecake says:

      What you’re saying is roughly equivalent to “why are people drinking beer while there is good wine to be had?”

      It’s a question of taste and preferences and for my part, Neon Struct doesn’t look interesting at all. ARK, however, tickles my fancy, especially since it allows for much larking about with a bunch of friends.

      • The Sombrero Kid says:

        Is it much different to all the other survival games out there? That’s the part that confuses me, it looks like minecraft with dinosaurs and i had no idea just adding dinosaurs was such a powerful trope?

        • Michael Anson says:

          It is pretty different. In other games, like Day Z, the hazards are simply to be avoided or eliminated. In ARK, the dinosaurs are a bit of an ecosystem: they graze, they hunt, they interact with each other. And you can take part in that ecosystem, by taming different species and making use of them. This offers much greater depth than zombies, who mill about, then charge blindly at you.

          The game isn’t completed yet (they keep adding dino species, new tech recipes, etc), and there is to be a lot more of the endgame added yet, but they keep expanding things on an almost daily basis, while also providing a game that is just darn pretty. Blue water, green trees, brown, red, and black bluffs, white AND black sand, and forests with a deep green gloom that clears to reveal the brilliant sky as you clear them for resources or defense.

    • fish99 says:

      Well marketing must be part of it (and I don’t necessarily mean traditional advertising, but word of mouth and youtube/twitch), because I’ve genuinely never heard of those games.

      Also have you actually played ARK and why does people playing it bother you? It’s fun, and it’s gorgeous.

  4. Scott Constantine says:

    Remember folks, the RPS community has a small base in ARK, which anyone is welcome to come and play with. We even have our own server! Details in this thread: link to

  5. thejesu says:

    I’m thinking about giving this game a try… is it funny?

    • Michael Anson says:

      Do you like the idea of attacking predators with an army of trained and hardened dodo birds?

  6. shrieki says:

    looks like minecraft ?? where does ark look like minecraft ? i did not buy it yet but the reason why i would probably buy this are the graphics. they look very nice.

    • Max Planck says:

      I haven’t played Minecraft, but it feels a lot like Terraria to me. A pretty first-person Terraria, with dinosaurs, floating obelisks and all kinds of other sillyness. You can dye your clothes with berries.
      I think it can be played in many ways, and Home Decorator 2015 is certainly one of them.

  7. Blackrook says:

    I like survival type games and I’ve been enjoying it with a couple of friends on a private PVE server.
    I avoid PVP in games like this as they just turn in to a ‘How to be a complete B*****d simulator’

    And I don’t think I would enjoy it solo as its a bit ‘grindy’ as it is, although you can alter the server settings
    to increase xp gain, taming speed and resource gathering which would probably help.

    Its very pretty and although its been optimised a bit in the last few patches I’m still only getting 20-25fps
    on a fair decent rig.

    The devs are being very active, with updates nearly everyday at the moment, but this is actually more of a nuisance that a help as you have to update your game AND SERVER nearly everytime you play.
    On the plus side they now have LINUX and Win dedicated servercode so its good if you do want to host your own server.