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  • Community Crunch 152: Extinction Chronicles V Next Week & Developer Diary!

    Hey Survivors! Welcome to the latest edition of the Community Crunch! :Jerbhi:

    Extinction Chronicles V Next Week!

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    On October 16th Extinction Chronicles V will be released on all platforms. As usual survivors can expect a new tek dino, new Explorer Notes, a new cosmetic, increased level cap, and special colored dinos on all ARKs!

    Developer Diaries!

    This weeks diary entry is brought to you by Lead Programmer, Chris Willoughby. This weeks dev diary is about undermeshing, a hot button issue within our official server community. Rest assured that we’re listening and are hard at work on the issues that you have surfaced through our various channels. We thought it would be worth taking an opportunity to share our thoughts on the issue, some of the reasons it exists, and why it’s so challenging to resolve.

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    Quote

    Undermeshing refers to the ability to get to where you aren't supposed to by moving outside of the playable space. Almost every game is susceptible to undermeshing in some form. Most speed runs rely on undermeshing, for example. It's effectively impossible to solve completely, at least automatically. The approaches taken to prevent it are usually a tradeoff between how much freedom you want the player to have, how complex your world is, and how much processing time you can afford to spend on physics. Generally, when there's an instance of meshing, it's caused by bad collision setup, improper level geometry (holes), or a problem with the algorithm used to move the character through the world. In some instances, you place kill volumes in locations that you want to guarantee that the player doesn't end up, but that isn’t a global solution.

    The collision setup for our objects varies based on their complexity. For very simple objects, we use a basic primitive shape (box, sphere, capsule) that matches the shape of the object. It's very good if you're able to take this approach, because natively the physics system can treat that individual object as water tight - ensuring that another physical object will never end up inside of it, and that you'll always detect it if you're already inside. When constructing a modern game, however, it's very likely that you need to use shapes that are more interesting to look at and interact with than a simple box or sphere - so you use mesh based collision. Mesh collision treats the surface of the mesh as the collideable surface, but it cannot be treated as watertight, and the physics system cannot guarantee that you don't pass through it. You might ask why, then, don't you try to represent that larger object as a bunch of smaller watertight ones? We do that in a small number of instances, but quantity of primitives is also a major concern, so it is not feasible to do this for the entire world. Take the ground under your feet, for example, at any given moment you'd be surrounded by thousands of primitives to approximate the surface of a natural looking ground, and yet it'd be less smooth than the pure mesh shape. In addition, a guarantee to not end up inside of a single body isn’t a guarantee that you won’t end up between them even if they’re tightly clumped, leading to more instances of getting stuck.

    When we lay out our levels - we construct them in the way that is interesting and optimize them for efficiency so that we can maximize quality and quantity. What that means is generally the world outside of the space you're meant to play in is empty - we spend our resources on the spaces where players are at. In addition - we reuse assets many, many times - rotating a rock different ways to make it look different before shoving it into the terrain at various depths to mask the reuse and keep it visually pleasing. Technically, the physics for these objects overlaps, and if you get past the surface of one, you'll stand on the next one down. While that sounds like it would help, it’s actually the meat of the problem. Adding more meshes doesn’t help, because once you can get past one, you can get past the next one. That said, there have been many instances where we’ve flagged the collision on an object incorrectly, or left a minute hole that we can and do address through Level Design.

    Nearly every game uses custom physics for characters. Much of ours is built on the out of the box simulation that you get from UE4. Fortunately for our players, our game is one where the world is vast and complex, and players have the freedom to build many objects and have many dinos. Unfortunately for us, this pushes all of these algorithms to their breaking point. We've had to augment, rework, and add additional tests in many places that affect the simulation to improve our core player experience. In addition, we've built many gameplay mechanics that don't exist out of the box. Wall climbing, for example, requires a completely new set of physics tests to understand and hug the wall surface. When we set these up, we build them to be as flexible as possible, but it can be difficult to predict how the player base will use something when they get it in their hands. In many cases, this is a good thing - we’re delighted with the creative things that our players do, but sometimes they’re able to abuse mechanics in unintended ways. When we find problems with them, we have to find solutions that won't break the mechanic completely for the many other use cases, sometimes an impossible feat! This is also why we aren’t quick to completely disable a feature - we evaluate how much harm versus good it is doing across the entire experience.

    We do use kill volumes at a broad scale - usually high in the air, or far below the surface. Far outside of the playspace, to segment specific areas. The reality, though, is that when someone is meshing, they're usually not out in that empty space around the world, they're running around on the insides of overlapping shapes or physical surfaces that are just below the real surface. In order to implement kill boxes in these places, we'd have to go back to every location in the map and place a kill volume just below the surface that will kill someone that touches it. As with the terrain example above, it would require entirely too many objects to cover the entire world in these accurately. In addition, a major downside to this approach is also the fact that it will detect and kill something that may have a good reason to be below the mesh - on a Basilisk? You just got killed by the kill volumes. Misjudge where the surface is, and a bunch of players are being killed erroneously and losing their stuff.

    As with all aspects of making a game, it's all a balancing act. We try to spend our time on the things that are most valuable to as many of our players as possible - which means attacking holes in the world in waves and making algorithm changes when it's become obvious that they're having a large enough negative effect on the experience for our players. The reality is that there is no silver bullet, no automatic solution - so it continues to be a problem that our game (and many others) continue to fight throughout their lifetimes. Recently, we’ve fixed a bunch of holes across all of the maps and did a pass at removing Climbing Pick exploits. Going forward, our best bet is to remain diligent about resolving issues as they arise and improving the experience over time. The good news is that we like solving hard problems - and exploits like these are some of the more interesting ones to try and tackle!

    Upcoming Server Maintenance!

    At 1pm Eastern on October 11th we will be taking down some of our NA and EU servers for maintenance on PS4 and Xbox. We expect maintenance to last for approximately 2 hours. During this time the servers will not be running therefore time will not progress. Once the servers are back online, they will require re-adding to your favorites list as they will have new IP addresses. At the list below is a list of all affected servers.

    Mod Community Updates!

    Today marks the start of a two-week streaming schedule to spotlight all of the mods entered into the contest. You can vote now for your favorite mods as they compete for a Grand Prize of $15,000!

    https://survivetheark.com/index.php?/modding/voting/

    You can follow the rankings with hourly updates as well!
    https://survivetheark.com/index.php?/modding/contest-home/

    Meanwhile, I will be streaming from the ARK twitch channel showcasing all of these mods, every weekday for the next two weeks! You can find the full schedule here:

    Come check out some mods and support your fellow community members that give so much of their time to make these fantastic creations!

    Community Livestream #9 This Thursday!

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    This Thursday October 11th the community team will be doing another biweekly livestream!

    During these livestreams Zen Rowe, Chris, and Jen bring you ARK news, celebrate modding, and the community as a whole every other week. We mix it up between playing ARK, showing off mods, and showing off your community creations for all to see. Survivors are invited to join us in the chat (and sometimes even in-game) to play and talk with the community team.

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    We are accepting any type of ARK related fanart to be featured in the Showcase section of the stream and entries are always open. This can be drawings, videos, builds, ANSEL screenshots, handmade crafts, anything ARK related!

    You can submit your ARKwork to our streaming email address: [email protected]

    Be sure to follow us on our Twitch page so you don't miss a stream! twitch.tv/survivetheark

    We'll be hosting our next Community Live Stream on Thursday, October the 11th at 1pm EST! We hope to see you there :)

    Fanart of the Week!

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    Dodorex by Spooky Python!

    ARK: Evolution Event!

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    Survivors across ALL Platforms will be receiving a special Evolution Event perk this weekend! It will be active from Friday the 12th of October at 1 PM EST until Monday the 15th of October at 3 PM EST. All Official Servers across each platform will be undergoing this evolutionary change which includes:

    2x Harvesting Rates
    2x Taming Rates
    2x EXP Rates

    That's it for this post guys! As always if you’ve got anything to share you can find us at:

    Twitter: twitter.com/survivetheark
    Facebook: facebook.com/survivetheark
    Reddit: reddit.com/r/playark
    Instagram: instagram.com/survivetheark
    Twitch: twitch.tv/survivetheark
    Steam: steamcommunity.com/app/346110
    Youtube: youtube.com/survivetheark

    All the best,
    Studio Wildcard

    Edited by Jen




    User Feedback




    2 minutes ago, Limitz187 said:

    I hope they do Tek Yuty or Tek sheep lol

     

    or tek wyverns.....but it will be a tek dodo for sure

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    It’s gonna be a tek trike , they are using dinos that have tek skins already , the only ones left are the gigs,quetz,trike,Moss,  and most likely will be the trike since it seems like they are setting up a new kibble tree for extinction . 

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    have yout lot not seen the bionic skins that xbox collectors adition got ? The new Tek dinos use these skins so its pretty easy to guess what is coming. We are yet to see the Tek Trike, Giga, Mosa and quetz. I would put money on trike being next and then the other three will come after extinction. 

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    1 minute ago, JasonTheCTM said:

    Tek Slug. You've been warned.

    Now I need this

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    3 minutes ago, Gravex said:

    It’s gonna be a tek trike , they are using dinos that have tek skins already , the only ones left are the gigs,quetz,trike,Moss,  and most likely will be the trike since it seems like they are setting up a new kibble tree for extinction . 

    my thoughts exactly, that's why a posted tek trike at first

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    I don’t mind tek trikes but a tek giga will be a nice buff to the giga, specially since their melee could be better on officials with those. I like the fact that they are addressing undermeshing I personally have never been undermesh on officials but I see a lot of people suffering to this. Hopefully they find a solution or an alternative, maybe remove climbing picks and add reusable grappling hook for the crossbow idk

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    @Chris willoughby

     

    Very well put and understood. I'm glad someone has spoke about meshing. As a developer I understand the headache and time it takes to fix things like this. I also applaud your team for interacting/policing the new servers planned for xbox as this will help, but it is still a band aid. I have a few ideas that may steer players away from some of these tactics. Like we both know...  it will never be 100 percent because of the nature of these types of games and the complexity behind them. Ive been playing since release as a top level tribe and know the ins and outs of the game. If you would be interested in hearing a few of the "better" band aids to complement the new dev presence on servers please send me a personal message.

     

    Thanks for the info and the attempt to enlighten others on the subject.

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    I’ve never understood the kill field for undermeshing. It never kills people who are trying to do it and just ends up hurting the community. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the field to upload the Dino/character or teleport it to an appropriate level. I understand those could be strenuous but the kill system just doesn’t work.

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    Is the Extinction Chronicles V update going to have a fix for all of the render/disconnect problems that v777 is causing for Player Dedicated Xbox servers?

    Edited by SubjeqtZero

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    it eather be the tek quiz moza or tirk.   I wish they give us a other ones. that where not park of the conslole relse

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    The issue the Community has with Meshing is the perceived lack of action. We see patch notes saying holes are being fixed but then all the common spots are still there so it seems like no action was actually taken. Unfortunately the game requires so much more time investment, which places a huge personal value on items. Therefore, the cheating affects players alot more and is not as easy to shrug off as cheating in a 20min BR round. 

    This however is a good step forward and constant communication on issues will benefit the relationship. 

    One other thing that needs to be addressed with meshing, is how messy some maps are below the surface. The Center is an absolute mess of Geometry. It's what allows it to be meshed so easily. As well as creating easy pathways outside the intended area and provide under mesh base locations. This poor workmanship needs to be tidied up and would instantly reduce issues. 

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    Or you could simply NOT undermesh, and ban those who do, wiping everything they have.

     

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    LOVE THE AMOUNT OF COMMENTS ABOUT REUSED SKINS AS TEK! but only a few about meshing! even if you dont play multiplayer you should be concerned! - i dont buy that every game has the problem not on the scale ark does! rust conan exiles both have had meshing issues both have majority sorted their issues! 3 years of saying theres problems and the best response is we are doing our best? i appreciate the explanation of what it is an what causes undermeshing but you woefully glossed over the fact most of the meshing is down to poor map design and not enough passes over holes! 12 million sales 30k plus people every day playing on steam alone! i think a response more then we know is needed at least look at the picks again an till then neuter them, and get more moderators who do something about meshers instead of going after people who built in high places

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    I know the tek trike will probably be the next one but I'd love to see the tek mosa or quetzal.

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    1 hour ago, y0himba said:

    Or you could simply NOT undermesh, and ban those who do, wiping everything they have.

     

    Totally agree, dev wipe for meshers

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    We likely won’t ever see a Tek Mosa, Quetz, or Giga due to the 5% spawn chance and these creatures already having a very low spawn percentage. The last Tek varient will be the Trike.

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    What a joke this whole post and game has come to be, if you’re so worried about kill zones use teleport upward zones and let the player base tell you where your mistakes are at above ground in the map so you can rough it out and will 100% bring back loads of players who have lost thousands of hours to a broken game like this one.

    i have played since beta release for console and for this game devs seem to know be on top of it ever, duping was around way too long for it to be a era of ark and now meshing has blown way out of proportion and your response is we tested some things but they won’t work and that other games have the problem too.

    to be honest your creativity with items do not matter if they allow players to cheat their way about in game. Tek sword allows us to fly! In multiplayer! What a joke and instead of immediately removing it and maybe fixing it and reinstalling it later you leave it in. I’ve had such a hard time playing this game over the years because of the bugs and glitches I love it to death because of how unique it is but really if I were you all a big thing I would’ve considered is YouTube controls a community and so does reddit and idk if you watch your game on either but a lot gets talked about more on there then here because as from above... all I’m seeing is a load of hot garbage pve players talking about tek dinos as if they even matter on pve 

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    it will definitey be the tek trike. but there is one thing that i just dont understand. (Now obviously the two different people i mention will have conflicting opinions thoes people who bought the tek skins from the store and thoes who did not) why do we need to have these 5 specific tek dinos if we already have the skins to buy in the store? I AM NOT saying that thats a bad thing but it feels kind of repetitive. what if i want a tek direwolf or a tek castroid. heck maybe i want a tek mammoth! is it not a possibility that you just tie the tek skin to the completion of an acheivement? or the the defeat of a boss? (i.e: defeats the center guardians on alpha = unlock tek trike and parasaur skin or finds all explorer notes = tek stego and tek raptor) i mean you guys did that for all the holiday / event cosmetics from halloween christmac valintines etc. I mean the tek dinos look cool but i think that i can safely say that we want somthing new(if i cant safely say that ill go jump in a gigas mouth).and correct me if im wrong but thats why all the dinos have a slot for a costume. (hopfully intended to be used by mor than just a few hats and a pair of glasses) 

     

     

    and who else squealed like a little girl when they saw that extinction chronicles 5 is coming out next weeks?

    i know i did😂

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