Ark: Survival Evolved Goes A Bit Fantasy With The Center

Given that Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] is a multiplayer survival game where dinosaurs and mythical beasts roam a technoisland, you might expect its world to be a little more… unreal. In which case, oooh! Check out the weird impossible fantasy land added free with yesterdays update. The Center is a huge world with hovering mountains, unlikely grand rock formations, ancient underground lavaruins, underground forests, ice temples, a rocky lavaskull, and world-ending waterfalls, which all looks far more fitting! It’s now live, with 100-player official servers to fight on and all.

The Center is a fantasy landscape sprawling over a whopping seventy square kilometres, twice the size of the regular Ark map. It’s a little bit Avatar and a little bit Get All Those Cool Rings From That Naughty Eye. The Center is the first player-created map incorporated into Ark under its ‘Official Mods’ program. The Primitive+ mod is due to become an official part of Ark too. Here, look at The Center:

Ark: Survival Evolved is still on Steam Early Access, with a 33% discount bringing it briefly down to £15.40/18,75€/$20.09. Studio Wildcard, the creators of Ark, had previously said they’d properly launch the game this June, but last I heard it’s now due around the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season. That’s a fair delay but, unlike many Early Access survival games, this has certainly received a steady stream of updates. Wildcard also spun off Ark’s Battle Royale-y Survival of the Fittest mode into a standalone free-to-play game.


  1. Kefren says:

    I generally have no interest in multiplayer games, or games that are online-only and can disappear one day. But I look at things like this and wish there was a singleplayer offline mode, so I could just explore for a few days on my own, and have a fun time. A cut-down DRM-free version via GOG, just sold for exploring. I’d buy that for a dollar.

    • Wisq says:

      I’m fairly certain I remember Ark having a singleplayer offline mode.

      Granted, you may have some trouble with the fact that one player cannot learn all engrams, meaning you’ll have to make hard choices between armour, weapons, and building construction. But you can always just spawn a bunch of respec potions in the admin console and keep them handy, or just give yourself more engram points.

      Also, it definitely supports private, passworded servers. So if you have the RAM and CPU for it (or a spare computer with at 8GB+ RAM), you can run a server locally.

      • Cinek says:

        Yes, it works fine in single player, that’s the only way I ever played it. As for the issue raised – you don’t need to earn all engrams, plenty of them are garbage that you’ll get spammed with anyway if you loot the crates, or you simply won’t be using in a first place.

        • NUCLEARxGASM says:

          Dont forget also that there is the mind wipe tonic which lets you respec all your points so you can actually get all the engrams plus in crates you find enough blue prints to cover what you dont have

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      You can play ark in single player and it has steam workshop support with some very good map mods. I would not really recommend the game as a single player experience, I tried it and it was ok but no where near as good as playing with friends on a private server.

      Would not recommend going any where near open servers, it’s a game where literally days of hard work can be wiped out in seconds and often is by other players just because they can. Even in PvE the potential for trolling is huge, destructive and a common issue.

    • badmothergamer says:

      I have 330+ hours in Ark, all single player. I’ve never even tried multiplayer.

      The good thing about single player is you can adjust your settings to make the game play how you want. If you really just want to explore a dinosaur filled island, you can turn dino damage down to zero. You can adjust taming and gathering speeds plus a lot more. And if you really want to make it easy you can use the console to spawn in items, insta-tame dinos, etc.

      A few weeks ago I turned damage off and let my 4 year old nephew ride around on a raptor for a bit. He absolutely loved it.

      Performance can still be a little dicey as they’ve announced they aren’t doing a full performance overhaul until just before the final release. However, it runs at a steady 45-55fps on my 970 at med-high settings.

      I cannot recommend this game enough. It was without a doubt my top game of 2015.

  2. michaelolsen1 says:

    The First senence has an error where the link to Ark: SE is typed twice, just a heads up.

  3. MrFinnishDude says:

    Huh, yeah I guess that the inclusion of dinosaurs was kinda “fantasy” already, but this feels like a drastic shift in design.
    It looks like some new Korean/Western MMORPG.

  4. Wisq says:

    Great that they’re adding maps and all, but have they fixed the performance yet? Even a Titan X stuggles at decently high graphics settings, and many mobile graphics cards have to use settings that look like they’re playing a game with 1990s software rendering.

    • badmothergamer says:

      They’ve made minor tweaks but have been very open that major optimization improvements won’t be made until just before release. This is fairly standard in the gaming industry. No point wasting hours and money optimizing a map or textures that will probably change multiple times before it goes gold.

      My advice is to follow one of the many settings guides available. I get 45-55fps on a 970 with med-high settings and everything looks great. Not quite as slick as what you see in the preview video in the article but definitely good enough for my non-gaming wife to peak over my shoulder and enjoy the view when I’m flying around the island.

      • fish99 says:

        ‘Release’ doesn’t mean anything anymore for early access games, because most of the people who are going to buy it already bought it, played it, and moved onto other games. Optimizing it now is almost pointless. Also they did try to optimize it many times, and only one of those updates really did anything (the one where they found the game wasn’t triggering 3D clock speeds on most GPUs).

        Also, 45-55 fps on a 970, sure, on the coast. Now fly over the middle of the island, or basically anywhere that isn’t the coast, and tell me you’re still getting 45-55 fps. There’s still a large percentage of the island where you’ll get under 30fps, and it only gets worse if you play online with lots of player structures.

        They keep making the same excuses about the DX12 renderer too. How many months ago was that update one day from release? The awful UI is still untouched as well.

        • fish99 says:

          Btw I still really like the game, but it hasn’t progressed in some key areas for too long now.

        • shadowviper1229 says:

          I have a 6300 and a 970, I get 55-60 on the coast with med-high, and 45 inland. There’s a few hiccups if I fly inland too fast, but other than that, I have almost no lag spikes.

          • fish99 says:

            If I could be bothered I would send you an X,Y location of some spots on the map where it’s consistently below 30 fps, but it’s just not worth the effort.

            This new maps runs worse btw, 35-40 fps on the beach I tested, and ARK isn’t a game which feels good at 40fps.

            Of course you can drop settings to get better fps, especially resolution scale which renders at a lower res and upscales (ugly), or you can run -sm4 which runs in DX10 and turns off a bunch of effects.

  5. Anti-Skub says:

    Man those first few landscape shots really remind me of Anarchy Online Shadowlands.

  6. abrokenchinadoll says:

    You forgot to mention it also expands under water. They added airbubbles large ones so you can place land under water too. They might as well add submarines or some sort of water vehicle.. lol

  7. jontravolta says:

    Welcome to our server with “The Center” map!
    Just search for “Ninjas in Furrr” in unofficial servers!

  8. Lugg says:

    Since this map was created by a friend of mine, I was sad not to see any mention of his name in this article at all :-x So for the record, this level is made by Ben Burkart, aka EvilMrFrank. He’s got a whole bunch of other cool level design stuff on his Youtube channel! link to

  9. Naomi Swift says:

    Do I recommend this game? My only regret with buying this game, is that I waited about 2 months for it go on sale. It is extremely addicting and challenging.

    First, right now I have 117.1 hrs last two weeks / 1,847.7 hrs on record playing this game since Christmas and have dealt with many of the negative things that have been described at one time or another, Second, you have to understand that this game is still in Alpha Early access and under constant major changes while they add things and modify them. Their server system sucks and is extremely laggy and rubberbands about every 15 minutes like clockwork when the game saves. The more people that are on the server, the worse the rubberbanding is, sometimes even back 5 or 6 seconds after it froze for a few seconds before it happens. Also be warned, when the game is released from Early Access, they are going to wipe all the official servers with Extinction events and make everyone start over. Rumor is with a new map and rumor is they are keeping the current map with changes. Another thing to be aware of, when you log out, your body remains in the game as you just lay down and are unconscious in that spot. So if your not in a safe place, you will most likely be killed while your offline and loose everything in your inventory and log back in with nothing but your underwear.

    Anyway, I first started playing on a PvP server and did what everyone did, tamed my first dino and built a nice little house and gathered a fair amount ouf supplies. Then I logged back in and there was somebody in my house taking everything and destroying everything that I built and they killed me while the loading lag wouldn’t let me do anything. I relogged again in my house and before the lag let me move, again, I was dead.

    Next, I tried a PvE server. From the start it was rather aggervating that were pillars everywhere and I couldn’t build a fire to cook or warm up in the snow storm. Somebody did see me and gave me warmer clothing and a few weapons with some cooked meat, which does not happen on a PvP server. After some time, I learned that the reason the pillars are everywhere so nobody can build is to protect the island from having to many random little shacks. A single foundation effects a large area and nothing will respawn in the radius around it, including resources and dinos. If somebody keeps dying and restarts in a new area and keeps building little shacks, they can effectively kill the spawn in a lot of places, even if they don’t intend to. PvE servers are much friendlier when you want to be part of the island community and work with them and not want to be a troll, they will eventually even help you get a place to build. However, its still an official server and laggy as hell with tons of rubberbanding. Also, on a PvE server, NOBODY can destroy your stuff or kill your dinos except somebody in your own tribe. If you don’t trust them, don’t let them in and your problems are solved.

    While I am still a member of a 4 person tribe on the PvE Official server, I pay for my own server and all 4 of us play on it most of the time. There is a total of 6 of us on it very frequently, the lag is almost non-existing except when I am at our base. But our base is huge, probably 6 or 7 thousand structures and last count was 97 dinos. We have no mods, taming time 3.5x faster than an official server, set so it would take 3.5 hours to tame a level 100 Rex. I have also adjusted the effect range of foundations and everything respawns the distance of 1 foundation away from a foundation. The time it takes to hatch an egg is 1/10 of an officail server and so is the maturation speed. Our server difficulty is 1.7x harder than an official server as well. Rubberbanding is very rare and nothing like on official servers and is only about a second of loss time, but happens on occasion. And as the owner of the server, I have Admin priveliges on the server to kick/ban trolls that just want to be , well a troll. I had a few mods and one of them was replaced with a new mod, by the creator and they deleted the mod I had and it screwed some things up. After that, we phased out the remaining mods so we could plan and take care of the effects prior to removing it and not feel the negative effects.

    I love the game and find that almost the all problems and dissatisfaction is gone when I’m on my server and not on the official server that has no active Admin and its a free for all. I strongly suggest trying out a PvE unofficial server. Mods are great, don’t get me wrong, but with mods your at the mercy of the mod maker and as the owner of a server, I don’t want to risk the damage to others property or dinos.