• AB-Banner2.jpg
  • complexminded

    Workshop Wednesday: Issue #1 - What is a Modder?

    You know, if you would have asked me a few years ago if there were a program where modders would be paid monthly for their contributions, I would have laughed.  But we live in a fascinating age now.  Now, more than ever, hobbyists are finding ways to make supplemental income while doing things they love.  I'm no different than any other modder in the program.  My roots embed deeply in the modding culture that is becoming much more prevalent in the gaming industry.  Who hasn't thought to themselves, "What would I do differently"?  Who knew that a little desire or a small thought could turn into something much bigger; it has for the members of our modding program.

    What is a modder? Very much like the gaming industry, there are lots of misconceptions about what modding is.  Sure, it could be as easy as tweaking a couple values but it can also be a much more involved process.  Take, for instance, some of the new additions to  Survival Plus.  Tao has been working on several visual improvements to the market stalls and adding additional building tiers.

    large.MedievalMarketOne.jpglarge.Tier2HouseTwo.jpg

    More often than not, several people work on updates like these.  Modeling an asset and texturing it can often be two entirely different roles on a development team.  Implementing these textured models as structures that perform within the game can also be a separate position.  These tasks could be managed by a one-man team when you're dealing with a couple of assets, but Tao clearly has bigger plans. 

    Quote

    Our first step was to remove our existing low-level thatch houses and instead add Celtic long houses and primitive wooden huts with thatch roofs.  Previously our medieval buildings made from plaster, wood, and stone started at level 30.  The new ones are level 45, 60 and higher, and instead introduced an entirely new building style

     

    When you're dealing with mods of large of scope like Survival Plus, in many cases, it warrants extra help.  I remember making Primitive+ and desiring to accomplish things that were way outside of my skillset.  I had two options: invest the time, or invest money and buy it from a marketplace.  It's always a tough decision whether you are a modder or someone who works professionally in the game industry.  It's evident that DavidBC and the Ark: Moon Survival team wants unique content - even going as far as putting the final touches on their custom character model.  DavidBC made it clear in many conversations that he and his team are approaching this as you would developing a brand new game.  He's even spoken of doing some custom motion captures for the animations!

    large.Cedric_Weekly_06.jpglarge.Cedric_Weekly_05.jpglarge.Cedric_Weekly_03.jpg

    In many ways, these modders are completing fairly complicated game development tasks.  Even when it comes to making modifications to existing structures and content, like Structures Plus, there's quite a bit of work that goes into developing that content.  You would know this if you've ever taken a dive into the ARK development kit and seen the snap point system O.o .  When I chatted with David over the phone about some of the most challenging things he has to look forward to, he stressed how challenging it would be to work with the TEK Tier assets because of their complexity.  Rounded walls, for example, will involve modifying an existing mesh with very specific size requirements.  Accomplishing that and making it look good at the same time is no easy feat.  While focusing on underwater bases for Structures Plus, David reminded me of how creative and complex these modifications can get:   

    Quote

    I also added ability to selectively drain or flood individual cubes which allow for a lot of flexibility in base setup but has a really cool side effect: For multi-level underwater bases you can create a column of water to swim between levels with(instead of using ladders or stairs).

     

    large.WW_2.jpglarge.WW_3.jpg

    Mods that bring QOL (quality of life) improvements can be overlooked when determining the "best" mods.  At times it's because of it's perceived they lack originality or skill to complete.  It's great to see mods like Structures Plus break that perception.  

    There are times when mods don't add additional functionality at all.  Eco is proving that functionality doesn't necessarily make a great mod.  Continuing the trend of providing you decorations for your homes, eco has been hard at work at RP Decore, Shoppe Decor, and Eco in Wonderland.  Based on the sheer number of downloads alone, it's clear that there is a demand for this type of content.  Eco runs into the same challenges many game developers and artists do.  When asked how she deals with some of the challenges like getting stuck on a certain feature:

    large.WonderlandSneakPeek.jpglarge.NewAwning.pnglarge.ecoRPDecor.png

    Quote

    I tend to work 2 months in advance and with multiple mods so that I don't get overwhelmed or bored doing something. It also helps when I get stuck. I can figure it out and I don't feel rushed.

     

    At other times, functionality is a compelling reason to use a mod.  iSpezz, the author of ARK Steampunk, likes to add functionality to content he adds to updates.  Take for example the new tannery and blast force.  Providing alterations to existing functionality can prove to be extremely challenging.  I've talked with iSpezz many times on just how complex reworking existing functionality can be.

    large.forge2.jpglarge.TANNARY1.jpg

    What is a modder?  A modder can be a character artist, a creature artist, an animator, an environment artist, a designer, a level designer, or many other things.  Or a modder can be all of those people.  There are lots of questions on how the workflow and tasks of a modder differ from traditional game development.  In many ways, it doesn't.  Modders are game developers because, after all, modding IS game development.  

    Next time, we'll take a look at the level making process and check in with some of our favorite level designers in the mod program.  How is it differ from traditional level design?  I'll be asking our Environment Director, @damien_bull to find out if it does.  In the meantime, be sure to give these modders a subscription on Steam and follow them on Twitter for their latest updates.

    Until next time!

    Wildcard Cedric @ComplexMinded

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Development Kit Update

    A recent update (256.3) is on the Epic Games Launcher.  Be sure to check out any additional information in the Unreal Forums.

    Developing Mods

    So you want to try your hand at modding?  To get started, download the Epic Games Launcher, and click on the modding tab at the top of the application.  Be prepared for a hearty download!

    After you've gotten the development kit installed, be sure to check out the modding discord that's run by some of the more seasoned modders in the community or the ARK development wiki on some quick tips for getting started.  Arkmodding.net is also a great resource!

    Modders Social Media Contact Info

    ARK Steampunk Mod: @iSpeZz

    Survival Plus: @ArkSurvivalPlus

    eco (Various Mods): @ecoModsGames

    ARK Moon Survival: @ArkMoonSurvival

    Edited by complexminded



    Sign in to follow this  
    Sign in to follow this  


    User Feedback




    I have great ideas about many things, especially gameplay. A few tweaks and additions and ARK would be perfect to suite that MMORPG style I so yearn for. Sadly I do not know how to mod or where to begin learning. :Jerbcry:

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Very nice even though I am a beginner modding very much interests me and things like this just help me to realise how much time and effort needs to go into making something amazing!

    Thanks for this post appreciate it :)

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    What are the specs for running the mod development kit? Do you need a more powerful computer than the base game requires?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think QOL improvements are much needed in the building department, especially for us on vanilla official and consoles. S+ has my vote! 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    thanks for the update! really looking forward to the progression of these mods and maybe their integration into the main game! keep up the good work modders!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    had idea for the island. can yall make the rivers that connect to the ocean deeper so the water isn't just a big circle... would love new land to be added and maybe for the people who owns scorched earth have an option for the dinos to spawn in and maybe adding a desert biom area and wyvern nest. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, rammstein117 said:

    had idea for the island. can yall make the rivers that connect to the ocean deeper so the water isn't just a big circle... would love new land to be added and maybe for the people who owns scorched earth have an option for the dinos to spawn in and maybe adding a desert biom area and wyvern nest. 

    Adding Scorched Earth to the Island would defeat the use of Scorched Earth. I originally thought they were going to add a large desert island when they were revealing dossiers for the "big announcement".

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I really appreciate everyone in the community being so involved and interested with their own product. I tried to understand what you were talking about, but most of it went over my head being a console gamer my whole life. I really wish that I could have made a more informed desision about my video gaming career and played on a PC. 

    That is not relevant here but I thought it was noteworthy. That being said I understand all of the time that PC gamers take responding to posts and testing new content and Dino releases before they even reach consoles, and I always look forward to different peoples opinions about changes what they liked or didn't. I always feel in the loop even though I don't get to participate in content until a later date, but that never bothers me.

    I would just like to say that the collective of all the different minds is making this game a continued and memorable experience. Even when I get based and have to walk around punching trees to make a pick axe. I enjoy a game that gives people the freedom to play how they want is really what makes this game great. Thank you all keep up the great work! 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I still have a problem with paid mods because of a few reason.

    1. Is the grantee of the quality of it being safe to be distribution. Who know what could be on their like a virus or incompatibility issue with other mods

    2. Copyrighted material you see people recreation models of franchisees. Which would cause a legal issue because wild card would be taking a bit of the profit and allowing this to go on. 

    3. Is knowing the dev of that mod alway working on the product and not letting it sit with outdated changes to a prior version of the game.

    4. Who the one that gets payment for the mod. The reason why I ask this because I have seen this in Minecraft that mod devs stop supporting their mods and someone else asks for the code to revive it. Would they be a way to transfer ownership as well rights of payment to one that maintaining the mod itself?

    These are a few reason of my head to why it might not be such a great idea to having a paid mods system.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, AkiraMysticMoon said:

    I still have a problem with paid mods because of a few reason.

    1. Is the grantee of the quality of it being safe to be distribution. Who know what could be on their like a virus or incompatibility issue with other mods

    2. Copyrighted material you see people recreation models of franchisees. Which would cause a legal issue because wild card would be taking a bit of the profit and allowing this to go on. 

    3. Is knowing the dev of that mod alway working on the product and not letting it sit with outdated changes to a prior version of the game.

    4. Who the one that gets payment for the mod. The reason why I ask this because I have seen this in Minecraft that mod devs stop supporting their mods and someone else asks for the code to revive it. Would they be a way to transfer ownership as well rights of payment to one that maintaining the mod itself?

    These are a few reason of my head to why it might not be such a great idea to having a paid mods system.

    One thing I read is that the Wildcard devs require access to the files in case the developer doesn't want to keep the mod up and working with fixes once its fully released as its there choice if they keep supporting it or not! If not Wildcard has all files etc of said map and hence if they send out a patch or fix that breaks said mod that they can fix it if the developer no longer is wanting too. Hence no need for another developer to take over it/get the money as if its done and wildcard have the files they can keep it fixed and up to date! Particulary if its official. I would say if this happens before its finished they no longer get the money and are dropped from the program hence the new developer wouldn't be taking up any money anyway unless wildcard decided to take them on with the sponsorship program again.

    Also read if they aren't keeping up fixes and content whilst developing the mod that they can be dropped from the sponsorship program hence if you get lazy or slack or don't try to fix things up you loose your place and any sponsorship of your mod having a chance at becoming official. So in otherwords if you don't persist/fix issues then you loose your place.

    Yes there is a guarantee of it not being compatible with other mods but that is where I would say the person creating the map/mod is supposed to step in and work on a fix with that map maker/mod maker and work out on whos side it is causing the issue.  As it may not be that persons fault for it not being coded compatible it could be the other map/mod maker whos is not compatible and hence needs a fix which is where you would need to work together with that mapmaker to sort out whos side the issue acctually is on.

    As for copyrighted material from what I have seen wildcard is only selecting sponsored projects that don't have any association with other already copyrighted games/materials as there is too much of a risk there and ages ago they were sued for different reasons to do with another company and the game and I doubt they would want to go through that again so I would assume they would only select maps/mods that are original and relate to this game and would select nothing relating to other franschises like jurrassic park or monster hunter as then there is too much of a risk of being sued if they do add that stuff as official content.

    I may only be very much a beginner to map making/learning but I did read up about this stuff through the community crunch/sponsored mod articles before I started and its all there. Others are also just general ideas/solutons to do with fixing up if the map or mod isn't compatible with others and working with the other map makers.

    The reason I read this stuff is because I am attempting to make my first ever mod by doing  a large map so I have been interestingly following stuff to try and learn all I could and let it sink into my head just how much work you really need to do and learn to make an awesome map which is my goal even though I have a lot left to learn and a long way to go I am still going to keep attempting it

    Hope this helps :Jerbhi:

    Edited by Zergling963

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    20 hours ago, PaleoJoe said:

    I have great ideas about many things, especially gameplay. A few tweaks and additions and ARK would be perfect to suite that MMORPG style I so yearn for. Sadly I do not know how to mod or where to begin learning. :Jerbcry:

    I am in the same boat but I just downloaded the ark Dev Kit and Joined the Ark Modders Discord and they have all been very helpful with getting me started! Hope this helps

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I feel sadden that it doesn't transfer ownership because that would give people that want to continue the mod without fading out of obscurity. But also hand all rights to party that keep it alive and going.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    17 hours ago, rororoxor said:

    What are the specs for running the mod development kit? Do you need a more powerful computer than the base game requires?

    I run it on the same specs as my pc!

    My PC Specs are

    intel i5 6500 3.2Ghz Quad Core

    8GB Memory

    Nvidia Gigabyte Gtx 960 4GB GDDR5 2x Windforce OC edition graphics card.

    I mostly run custom settings in ark which are optimized through Nvidia Geforce Experience. hoping to save up for a new power core and an Nvidia Geforce 1080 ti 11GB graphics card.

     

    Just be warned the Dev kit can be slow and can take awhile to load all shaders etc. Hope this helps

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    5 hours ago, AkiraMysticMoon said:

    I feel sadden that it doesn't transfer ownership because that would give people that want to continue the mod without fading out of obscurity. But also hand all rights to party that keep it alive and going.

    From what I have read once you sign up for the sponsorship program you are basically signing some of the rights to wildcard as they are paying you money to help finish it and may use it in an official capacity! They also need some of those rights to have the finished content in case you don't want to keep working on it once its finished/done so if they are using it in an official capacity so they can easily fix it! As they said once the map or mod is finished its your choice as to if you keep working on patches/fixes or decide not too. In which case they need to be able to fix it. Which makes sense to me then that they do own some of the rights to this hence why you wouldn't just be able to transfer ownership as part of the mod program does give some of that ownership to wildcard.

    I heard one of the people who are sponsored say this on a shared stream on youtube whilst working on there map.

    I think this is a fair enough coverage in my opinon as they are giving you a decent amount of money to help complete it and they need to cover there back in the process.

    I can't speak for Wildcard personally but all I have read I can agree with what they are doing

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It's awesome that you've found a way to incorporate the mod community into the base game..... hopefully you'll add some of the best ones to the game!. I'm looking at you structures plus..... I miss the improved spyglass mod when I'm playing on official.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    On 4/13/2017 at 2:01 AM, PaleoJoe said:

    I have great ideas about many things, especially gameplay. A few tweaks and additions and ARK would be perfect to suite that MMORPG style I so yearn for. Sadly I do not know how to mod or where to begin learning. :Jerbcry:

    I had never modded a game before getting involved within the ARK Modding community. We all start somewhere.

     

    There a multiple places of good information now, as ced posted on the bottom there. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    On 4/13/2017 at 3:56 AM, BubbaCrawfish said:

    I just wish they'd put the ADK on the steam library... It kills me that it takes over 24 hours to download it.

    It was on steam under Library > Tools at one point. No clue if its still there though.. or if it is, whether it works or not.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now