Zen Rowe here again, and I have brought you another peek into the lives of the modders!
Today we’re going to be talking to LeutianKane!
Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your sponsored project.
Hello, everyone. I am LeutianKane, lead developer for ARK Eternal. Which is a dino overhaul mod that adds an entirely new progression system, quality of life structures and items as well as many other unique dinos and other things.
I know a lot of people love these types of mods, they can make gameplay feel refreshing and new again.
You've been working on this project for quite a while right? How did you get started on it?
Yes, I have been working on this project since day one. We started in January of 2017 approximately. I was introduced to the project by an announcement Prome made that was looking to put together a Dev Team for a mod of this type. I responded and started out as part of the team with prome as lead.
That's actually a really interesting thing to see. Mods don't often change hands, for various reasons.
Was this your first mod, or have you worked on other projects before this one?
Elemental Creatures was actually my first mod . It is basicly vanilla balanced versions of the dinos with elemental abilities such as poison to add torpor to a dino on attack,fire to burn them or lightning to electrocute/add torpor. That mod is actually what led Prome to decide to add me to the Eternal team initially.
So you had some experience before starting on the project.
I want to switch focus for a moment here and talk a bit more about yourself.
Outside of modding do you have other development experience? Does your background benefit your modding endeavors at all?
i have actually been coding and doing things of that nature for 30 years since before DOS was MS-Dos and Linux was still Unix. I actually wrote some games in Basic on an old radio shack trs-80 when i was a kid. i also used to run a web design company until the "free" page builders put us out of business. My current job has nothing to do with coding. I basicly code and mod for a hobby now to keep myself engaged with it. However, i would definitely say my previous experience definitely helped me get started with Ark Modding and modding in general. I have actually been modding games as a whole since 2002 starting with the original Baldur's Gate games for PC.
You have quite a bit of history with modding!
Let's get your social media info. For anyone that wants to follow along with your creations where can they find you?
Now for ARK Eternal, this is a pretty big mod, it involves editing so much of the game. and I imagine that balance and adjustments take a lot of time.
Can you give me a general high-level view of what your workflow process looks like?
Step 1 : Identify the Dino we are going to be working on , for this example i'll use a Rex Then Immediately make a copy of said dino and parent it to our base dino_character_BP so it inherits all the code we have on that
Step 2: Decide Which Tiers we are going to involve (Elite is the lowest tier just above Vanilla and InDominus is the highest for our purposes here)
Step 3: Once Tier is decided we go about editing the status components, Class Settings, Damage Type , Spawn level Range , Buff immunities to fit that tier. As well as any Lootsets OnDeath, or Evolution mechanics it may have.
Step 4: Once Step 1-3 are complete we simply add the dino into the spawn on death mechanic( Corpse is eaten 10% chance to spawn another dino from a list) Or the Spawn container additions in the PGD.
After that its pretty much just fine tuneing and adding anything "unique" we might want the dino to do
Structures and items pretty much follow the same process just toned down compared to a dino
Sounds like you've figured out a system of iteration that works for you. I know that's a lot more than it sounds like at a glance, there are tons of pieces we have on things that can be tweaked and altered just in the class-default settings alone before even touching the blueprint graphs.
So, do you have any top-secret plans for ARK Eternal that you can share with us today?
Look for some new quality of life structures to be added once we get the bugs worked out that will replace the need to use a couple of extra mods on your servers We are in the process of adding our own Death Recovery structure and our own Teleporter Version
Are you planning to add your own special twist to these features, something that sets them apart from existing mods of their type?
yes, when we do QoL stuff like this we don't really aim to totally replace the useage of the mods themselves completely , its more of a convenience included for those that don't want to load the extra mods on their servers, in these cases we usually do try to make our version stand out a bit. Like the Eternal Spyglass for example, Shares the Info Box functionality that Awesome spyglass uses as well as tameing foods etc but with our own spin on the UI and extra tamed dino functionality like telling what level a dino was tamed or born at and stats it inherited from its parents (edited)
I'm interested to see what kind of take you do with it.
And last but not least, what advice would you offer to a new modder that is interesting in making overhaul mods like ARK Eternal?
Start slow with only one or two dinos, until you get a feel for doing that, then start asking questions, there are a lot of helpful modders in our community, and i for one don't mind helping someone get a start. I would also recommend you watch/Read any and all tutorials you can find for what you are trying to do. That way you at least get an idea of how things are done when you get stumped.
I started Dino Modding myself with just two parasaurs and look where it took me
Thank you for talking with us today!
Until next time, Happy Modding!