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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




    I hope that we get amazing new teasers when it comes out, and I can't wait to read the 3 new explorer notes!

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    36 minutes ago, AcyanidePancake said:

    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😂

    They are bringing PC in line with console, which is why we are getting those Tek Dinos. There hasn't been confirmation either way that they won't continue creating new tek dinos, so there's still hope they will.

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    They usually adds tek for dinos that appears across all maps. So tek trike is possible, maybe tek doedicurus, ankylo, dodo, scorpion, spino maybe (but no spino in scorch).

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    Just now, slejo said:

    They usually adds tek for dinos that appears across all maps. So tek trike is possible, maybe tek doedicurus, ankylo, dodo, scorpion, spino maybe (but no spino in scorch).

    That's completely wrong. They are releasing Tek dinos of those that already have bionic skins on Console. The remaining one's being Trike, Mosa, Quetz and Giga.

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    The smartest thing they could do is release all 4 Tek skinned Dino's they have left to release at once... Or at least all minus the Giga. Other wise it is another wasted opportunity.

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    I expected more serious approach undermeshing issue like what is planned to address it. If your Exctinction map can be undermeshed so easily as others, that will be beautiful disaster. People should not recommand this game to anyone that is interested in PVP aspect of gameplay unless undermeshing is seriously addressed and solved by Wildcard. 

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    Thank you Studio Wildcard for finally addressing the undermesh issue. Don't feel too bothered with delaying Extinction either if it promises us that there won't be as many issues as for example Aberration had on release. 

     

    Thank you!

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    6 hours ago, y0himba said:

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

     

     As stated....  If you own a reaper or basilisk you are technically "undermeshing".  Legally of course, but undermeshing none the less.  So you are banning yourself.  There is no easy fix for something like this.  One of the easiest ones I can think of is better map design.

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    Quote

    Posted 13 hours ago

    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. Below is a list of all affected servers.

    PVE-EU-PS4ScorchedEarth212   New IP?

     

    Edited by Maniek

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    23 minutes ago, Maniek said:

    1-On what basis do you delete this server? 

    There are a lot of players playing there and just moving to this server. 

    2-I have been there for a month after removing the previous populated 209 server.

    AND we have 2 days for transfer ? It's stupid!!!

    Give a list of what servers we can go because the transfer server to server every month makes me nervous

    MAINTENANCE dood . lol . its not being wiped

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    tek trike for def . though salty pvp players who are still moaning from pre launch about undermeshing is laughable . true the games broke in part but mostly playable that's why we are still here . alas knowing the problems and still playing through them is commendable but being butt hurt when you know the nature of the beast . just saying . time to put up or shut up

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    I just recently quit because I lost my 131 character. I was casually transfering from 1 server to another and was booted “lost connection to host”. (Yes, I checked download survivor and went to every server I had joined recently) I sent in a ticket with full proof (picture of specimen implant and character name / stats). The GM offered me a 105 character with no tek grams... what kind of bs is that lmao. 

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    Don’t worry guys our new DLC is coming out so everyone can forget our bad decisions on not how to make the game better for the players but make more money. Messing ahh who cares new Exploits will be in the new DLC coming soon. 

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    I know people are not going to like this proposal, but I think a good way to fix meshing is to NOT get rid of climbing picks like what H.O.D. wants, but to make it so you can't build while using picks

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    3 hours ago, brownievec said:

    tek trike for def . though salty pvp players who are still moaning from pre launch about undermeshing is laughable . true the games broke in part but mostly playable that's why we are still here . alas knowing the problems and still playing through them is commendable but being butt hurt when you know the nature of the beast . just saying . time to put up or shut up

    tell that to the players who loose hundreds of hours and effort from people meshing turrets. tell that to the "salty" players who are "moaning" because their game is getting RUINED by meshing

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    13 hours ago, BK said:

    @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.

    Why not try something like making a timer that pushes things out the mesh that not ment to be there so a soon as someone or some thing get stuck they automatically pop out whether it was intentional or not

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    13 minutes ago, Turbosport said:

    Why not try something like making a timer that pushes things out the mesh that not ment to be there so a soon as someone or some thing get stuck they automatically pop out whether it was intentional or not

    Then that would cause issues using Basilisk.

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    31 minutes ago, TheDUKE420 said:

    Can we please get a X2 or more BREEDING weekend please. 

    Some servers get tame capped so thats also a problem with x2 breeding

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    You need to make examples of cheater tribes!  Any decent evidence at all should be automatic wipe!  I have a ridiculous amount of evidence of a tribe meshing is and zero has been done other than replacing 10 crappy tames!  The tribe is openly admitting to the mesh in global because they know you won’t do anything!  Cmon we’ve spend a lot of money on this so enforce your rules and have quick/swift/harsh penalties and maybe it’ll slow it down!   Also just get rid of climbing picks and nerf the grapples guys cmon!!

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    I appreciate the explanation about meshing and I understand that this is a very hard problem to fix. I think you're missing a significant part of the problem, though: projectile collision only works on the front face of the mesh, and being able to shoot through from the underside is a massive advantage for meshers. You don't need to add an additional reverse-facing mesh or change the way the game renders back-faced or occluded textures, just the projectile physics. I can't say for certain if it could have other potential impacts (shooting from inside a dino might be an exception you'd want to make) or how easy it would actually be, but it seems like you could simply remove the back-face detection in the collision logic for projectiles. Yes, people could still exploit and get inside bases they couldn't normally, but they couldn't snipe or plant C4 or have their turrets shoot from under the mesh.

    Another method of preventing this kind of thing would be to do a periodic check for back-face meshes in several directions from the player via a line-of-sight detection and record the player's location each time. If it detects more than a set threshold of back-faces within a certain range (should probably ignore very close ones for the cases where you clip into an irregular shape), it could do some more complex checks from different angles to determine that they're actually inside the mesh, and then move them back to their last known non-mesh location. This would add some overhead and depend on the ability to properly detect an undermeshed position, but it seems to me that a technique like this would address the problem far better than ad-hoc map and physics engine patches.

    PS: Please fix the deathtrap loot crate that's inside the kill volume in the Ruins of Nosti cave, and the inaccessible one in the middle of the wall in the Old Tunnels cave on Scorched.

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    1 hour ago, GP said:

    Then that would cause issues using Basilisk.

    But u could exempt the dino that go under mesh 

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    1 hour ago, TheDUKE420 said:

    Can we please get a X2 or more BREEDING weekend please. 

    8x breeding is coming Nov 3rd

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    2 minutes ago, flamron said:

    8x breeding is coming Nov 3rd

    They haven't confirmed they are actually doing that this time.

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