I am delighted every time a new Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] update turns a dinosaur into a wacky gadget. From Archaeopteryx hang gliders to sauropods you can build mobile fortresses upon, the sandbox survival game has a fascinating and violent Flintstones logic. Procedurally-generated worlds are probably the biggest feature in last week's update but I'm more interested in its new giant salamander. Can you guess what it's useful for? Oh, y'know, you can ride it underwater and use it as a mobile oxygen tank by sucking air from bladders inside its head. Of course you can.
Patch 248 was a biggun. As well as its traditional handcrafted worlds, Ark now boasts the option to play in a procedurally-generated world. Creators Studio Wildcard say that "players can determine a myriad of landscape options from the heights of mountains, depths of valleys, and the number of lakes, rivers or oceans, to the kinds of each biome they want, and more!"
It's an all-redwood world with rivers and lakes and valleys for me, please thank you thanks please and thank you.
Three new creatures are in too. Kaprosuchus looks like a cross between a crocodile and a horse, lurking in swamps to lunge and chase you around. Chalicotherium are honking great land sloths who can be tamed, and will handily hurl boulders as siege engines - just like in real prehistory. Then there's Diplocaulus, an adorable amphibian who can be tamed and "are often used by survivors as an oxygen bag". Obviously.
Ark has added so many creatures that surely Studio Wildcard can't have many more to come before they start planning to leave early access? Though I might wager that they're keeping a steady flow of new content coming - primarily from art teams - to placate players while other folks work on big underlying technical issues.
Who knows, perhaps one day they'll fix Ark's awful performance problems and properly release the game. Hopefully their launch plans do also include Flintstones foot-powered cars, lobster lawnmowers, and octopus diswashers.
For now, check out update 248's patch notes and see the shiny newbits in this trailer: