The latest update to early access multiplayer sandbox survival game Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] has brought with it giant beavers and also handcuffs. These are separate things, I think. You’re not going to beaver prison as far as I can tell.
I went to a website to find out more about beavers in general. It had this quote from an actual beaver:
“The best thing we did was swim in the rain. I wasn’t even sure we were allowed to, but it was brilliant! I mean we were wet anyway, so I guess it didn’t matter too much about the weather.”
It seemed like something a beaver would say but then I carried on reading and it turned out that I was on the Beaver Scouts website and they were talking about small children going on trips to Outside Places.
(As an aside, the Scout motto of “Be Prepared…” always makes me think of doomsday cults.)
ANYWAY. ACTUAL BEAVERS.
Actual beavers are big rodents who work as landscape architects. They build dams out of logs and branches and mud which alter river flow. It leads to the creation of these ponds and the beavers will then build their home in the middle of the pond – it’s a kind of castle and moat arrangement that helps deter predators.
ARK’s dev team have stayed pretty faithful to these behaviours with Castoroides feliconcisor but they’ve also beefed up these beavers to the point where you can ride one around.
“As is typical for beavers, they build dams as habitats, but the larger creatures on the island have a tendency to trample them. As a result, finding unsullied dams in the wild is quite rare. The creature naturally gathers wood extremely efficiently, far more than most species on the island. It’s not the strongest creature, so it can only carry limited amounts, however with its fantastic chisel-shaped teeth, survivors find it quite the handy mount to use for crafting on the go!”
The handcuffing is a prisoner thing: “Patch 236 continues to adds more roleplaying fun, allowing Survivors to now handcuff each other and effectively enable them to wrangle prisoners!”
Although I’m looking at an image of a prisoner in a wooden cage who is being gawped at by a beaver and wondering if perhaps beaver prison is a possibility in the game now. Imagine. You could train the beavers to build dams in the shape of a prison and then just drain the water out.
I’m now picturing a beaver in a hard hat looking doubtfully at an ARK player who is also Jeremy Bentham brandishing the architectural plans for his panopticon.
“The persons to be inspected should always feel themselves as if under inspection” says Jeremy Bentham, pointing at the circular design.
“But don’t you worry that this kind of thinking will move us ever onward towards a surveillance state?” asks the beaver.
“It’s also cheaper,” says Bentham.