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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




    yep, most pvp players don't use this forum. reddit and salt discord have much more action. can tell that by the many "what tek dino next?" meshing is pathetic in this game. only benefit that's come out of it is this classical hit:

     

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    1 hour ago, Rickus17 said:

    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!!

    Think of what you just said from the developer view. think of how many people use the picks. think of the massive amounts of backlash that getting rid of picks will cause. getting rid of picks will only hurt the community. I agree with the harsh penalties and all but getting rid of picks isn't the solution. i'd rather just make it so that you can't build while using picks

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    17 minutes ago, eESTlane said:

    yep, most pvp players don't use this forum. reddit and salt discord have much more action. can tell that by the many "what tek dino next?" meshing is pathetic in this game. only benefit that's come out of it is this classical hit:

     

    Oh that was just great. LMAO. And it accurately depicts our predicament

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    Hi been playing since 2015. Wow great times I've had playing Ark. Thanks for doing your best to keep the experience alive for us Ark fans.

    Here is my idea for a temporary fix. If I host my own server I can disable climbing pics. Why not have official servers with no climbing pics clustered without abberation.

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    12 hours ago, HackedFiles said:

    . all I’m seeing is a load of hot garbage pve players talking about tek dinos as if they even matter on pve 

    Tek Dino lives matter!!!! 

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    What servers will be linked to the DLC, as in will it have 6man or Conquest right away or normal Official like previous DLC since those servers are new. I’m asking because ain’t recently switched to PC and I’d like to know where to focus on character leveling

     

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    5 hours ago, GP said:

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

    Maybe I read last year’s notes then?  I saw it in a tweet by Jen. Will see if I can find it again. 

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    I’m sorry, but being a player that has been here since the launch playing on official servers, the approach to fix meshing has been lazy and almost comical with the patch attempts created. The introduction of climbing picks was the start of arks official pvp downfall. They are a cool object, but essentially are reusable grapples with durability. Pretty sad you haven’t had the balls to admit that you can’t fix your own game and just remove them completely. Just one of the few major errors in this game that should have been looked into more diligently before the game was released to the public. Don’t even get me started on server stability, and the fact that “join lag” is damn near as bad as ddos. 

    Which brings me to the last topic. Ddos. Cmon. You haven’t found a way to keep any average joe with access to YouTube from ddosing a server? Kind of a joke in the “security” of the game if you ask me. Looks like a real waste of $60, not including dlcs which are required to get to end game content. 

    Clean it up Wildcard. You’re losing the most important and competitive players due to your laziness and inability to resolve game issues effectively. Dev wipes are more of a slap on the wrist, and only encourages people to cheat more when you take the actual hard work and countless hours away rather than fix the game. 

    The funny part about all of this, is that this won’t get read by anyone in Wildcard who isn’t programmed to respond with, “We’re sorry, we are aren’t able to fix these issues at this time”  prove me wrong wildcard. Give me a logical, well reasoned response to any of the things and issues I pointed out.

    Sincerely,

    Ark Ps4 PVP official servers. 

    Edited by Bchoate31

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    6 hours ago, destructicon54 said:

    Think of what you just said from the developer view. think of how many people use the picks. think of the massive amounts of backlash that getting rid of picks will cause. getting rid of picks will only hurt the community. I agree with the harsh penalties and all but getting rid of picks isn't the solution. i'd rather just make it so that you can't build while using picks

    99% of climbing pick use is an attempt at meshing. Building while climbing has nothing to do with any issue of meshing. There would be literally 0 backlash from the PvP community with the removal of picks. The only people upset would be the people meshing, and maybe some pve players. But that’s irrelevant. The picks have 0 functionality with both picks and grapples in your hot bar. It’s a good attempt at a new utility item with poor execution, simple as that. 

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    22 hours ago, y0himba said:

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

     

    lol great solution. Don’t do it. Bad dog. 

    Everyone thinks that a dev wipe stops people. But in reality it just encourages them to cheat more. Once you take everything away from them, they have nothing to lose. Go ahead and ban them. They can use an alternate account. And climbing picks. Can be made at any primitive level of tribe. Wouldn’t take long after a dev wipe before they’re back under your base.  

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    On 10/8/2018 at 9:16 PM, ElKrafT0 said:
    I think this outfit does not work very well on radiation

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    13 hours ago, Bchoate31 said:

    99% of climbing pick use is an attempt at meshing. Building while climbing has nothing to do with any issue of meshing. There would be literally 0 backlash from the PvP community with the removal of picks. The only people upset would be the people meshing, and maybe some pve players. But that’s irrelevant. The picks have 0 functionality with both picks and grapples in your hot bar. It’s a good attempt at a new utility item with poor execution, simple as that. 

    99% of pick use is CLIMBING, you know, the thing they are meant for? If 99% was used for meshing almost the entire PVP community would be made of cheaters, but it isn't. Many people use  the picks for NORMAL purposes, including me. its that 1% that use them for meshing that actually messes stuff up. Removing climbing picks would upset the 99% that use them for NORMAL purposes. so i don't even want to HEAR you saying no one would get mad.

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    Is there a reason why you can't just remove the land below the mesh so there is no where for people to build?  Or turn off building like you do in some of the caves and boss arena? 

     

    People will try and mess you and if you have up a defense to protect you from getting meshed they will file are report on you and get you dev wiped.   If you can't fix meshing then at least let us protect our own bases.

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    On 10/9/2018 at 11:27 AM, Wizmattc said:

    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.

    the kill field is not right under the ground it is like 400-500ft below the ground the sky Kill Field is 100ft from the Sky Barrier sides of the map are like 100ft as well which if you touch it it "Auto Destroy"s you're Character and Dino (If On one) and you permanently lose your stuff in your inventory the only map that does not seem to have a Kill Field is Aberration if you fall through the floor you will keep falling forever and there's nothing you can do about it unless your an admin of course where you can get you're self out by using fly mode or ghost mode.

    Edited by AcexHellhound21
    didn't specify sky and side kill field distances

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    On 10/9/2018 at 2:39 AM, 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 . 

    I wish you could upvote a comment in here. I am totally on your page 

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    On 10/8/2018 at 6:16 PM, Steiner631 said:

    Any news on conquest servers for console?? :)

     

    I wish man i want it to come already 

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    On 10/9/2018 at 10:41 AM, 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

    They would still need to map out a custom layer to detect whatever tame/object is there. They don't want to take the time to do it as it would be months.

    I think the real fix would entail overhauling the entire game engine, core physics programming, collisions, and starting from scratch with the way in game objects are designed.

    As you can imagine this really isn't feasible on current budget etc. They would need to design 'ark II' and obtain new investors to keep the company rolling as the designed the new system.

    I'm not defending wildcard as the meshing is the games biggest downfall.. I just know how things work. 

     

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    It will likely be the tek giga seeing as how they only choose creatures with bionic costumes. Also for further proof all creatures that have a tek variant have been conformed to be on Extinction. furthermore, remember that one moment in the Extinction trailer with a giga... well it only makes sense

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