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Suggestion

Dear Wildcard,

 

                I am personally glad to see that unlike most AAA game companies, you decided to keep improving on your game even after creating all the content for your game. The S+ integration is a great start and I can’t wait for the kibble rework (because it’s definitely needed for breeding); however, there are a few things with the game that I wanted to address because they are severely punishing (even more than the game intends to be) and cause serious technical issues when it comes to gameplay. Some of these are issues in game, and others for other server administrators like myself.

Server-wise, there are several issues that I feel need to be addresses if the idea of tuning is involved:

  • Server Start Time: The server starting time is dismal to say the least. I start up a server on another computer than the one that I am currently playing, and it can take at best 15 minutes to even start up. (and that’s on a good day) Now I understand that the software was meant to run 24/7, but that shouldn’t be the only way that it can be used. There are many people who have lower tier computers and either can’t run ark on its own or they can’t run it with multiple people playing at the same time. It shouldn’t be a requirement for every server to run windows and a solid-state drive on them. I have few ideas for solutions for this problem, but one might be to make a command line option for a non-dedicated server vs a dedicated server. That way it can set itself up to start up and shutdown on a whim. This way the original way could stay
  • The Server settings: some settings are easy to understand, but several settings have issues when it comes to measurements. For example: “StructurePreventResourseRadiusMultiplier=1.000”, ok so what’s the distance at 1? How can I know the exact radius that resources won’t respawn? How many foundations? The wiki doesn’t say, and I have no idea where to go to find out. One of my biggest nightmares when tweaking my server was bUseSinglePlayerSettings because I wanted to take the settings on my singleplayer and take it to my server because the balance in my singleplayer worked. The only problem is that 2.00 xpmultiplier on singleplayer is nothing close to 2.00 xpmultiplier on a server. I’ve done lots of testing to see how close I can get, but I still have no idea the effect of singleplayersettings since it doesn’t affect every stat equally (I don’t even know all the stats it DOES effect). My suggestion for solving this is at a minimum, to do better documentation on all the server settings on ark, especially on its units of measurement. One of the best examples that I can think of on the wiki is the documentation on getting the max level of dinos using DifficultyOffset and OverrideOfficialDifficulty (which in of itself is over complicated). At a maximum to remove the issue entirely may be to redo all the server settings and give them proper and simplistic measurements. Instead of having the difficultyOffset, just have a maxWildDino variable that can be set to the exact max level that wild animals can spawn at (though that is more theoretical since the offset is used for settings other than max wild levels).
  • Lack of Server Input: Though I may get some of this thought from Minecraft’s server design, I still believe that this is a beneficial and important model in a server. To be more precise, there is no logging from the server at all. You would think that it would be important to be able to see if any major changes were to happen in the game, you would think that the server admin should be able to see it as soon as possible. Especially for the events that shouldn’t happen. I dabble with cybersecurity, and I can see this being a significant issue tackling a player who tries to break into my network. When penetrating a network or a computer, the best place to look is the applications running. Worst case scenario, I could look at someone hacking my entire network through an exploit in your server software, and I would have no warning to that what so ever. If I had a whitelist and someone managed to find a bug to get past that and enter the game, the server would never tell me this, and I would have no idea that they had existed. (besides looking in player save folder if I was somehow expecting it.)
    The solution that I would request is for the server to log everything, from who enters/leaves the server, to what console commands are run. I would probably even ask for the global broadcasts too, like when a player/tame dies. This would significantly help me in monitoring my system and my server. While on this topic as well, I would also ask for a way to input into an ark server (again, a lot of similarities to a Minecraft servers design), specifically for commands and broadcasts. This would allow for broadcasting to players if the server will shutdown soon, or admins can put in a command like changing day, etc. without ever entering the game. I do not believe either of these would be hard, since after all you already have a functioning global broadcasting system that you can output to terminal, and you already have webhooks which function almost the exact same way.

Now that I’ve gone over all the issues serverside, I thought that I’d address some issues in game.

  • Dinos starving while offline: this feels like a problem that should have been solved ages ago. The problem where dinosaurs continue to starve, even when no one in their tribe is online at the current moment. You have a plausible solution due to the fact that you have offline protection, so that people can’t raid while its tribe members are offline, so I see no reason why that same protection system can’t also make it impossible for creatures to starve while no one in the tribe is online. I and many others love your game, but we have lives outside of this game that we have to attend to. We can’t be online all the time to maintain food for our dinos at all times of the day. Some people may go on vacation and return to find all their animals had starved to death, which is cruel to say the least. I know that this is more or less a system for those who do not return back after one large session (though you already have a system that deals with that), but at least give us a setting in the server configs to implement it or not. I host my own server and I do not let it go 24 hours because I know that due to our schedules, all our animals would have starved by the time that we got back online. This I would say is one of the highest yet simplest priorities to this game because this could easily make or break a game. A player could spend a long time taming animals and caring for them, but if they have to leave for a time and come back to all of their progress lost, no one in their right minds is going to do that again, or even start it in the first place if that is the end result. If you could do only one of these things (which would make me sad) I would say this is the most important thing to change.
  • Kibbles for Aberration and other animals: I am personally in love with the breeding update you did for all of ark after how extinction worked amazingly with the new system, but you did not convert all the creatures over to the new kibble system. I do not know whether you have fixed that yet or if you even have plans to. Please, fix the kibble rework for all of the creatures. Not just island, scorched earth, and extinction. With the current state, it makes it impossible (and I mean impossible) to imprint on aberration creatures without the use of spawn commands as the old kibbles cannot be made anymore. Due to the fact that even the old kibbles have a tier glow, even the aberration kibbles have a tier glow, this should not be a hard task to implement at all. Nothing new has to be created or organized, it’s just a small menial task to do to finish them all up. Please fix them.
  • Option to learn everything: I am not going to lie, I love the engram system that you guys got. It makes me have to pick and choose what I need for survival. Later on, I can lose everything that I’ve learned and learn new stuff that I need and lose the stuff that I no longer need. It also helps when you are in a tribe and people can coordinate what people can craft. But what if you are alone, and the choice is too hard? Would it be simple to add an option in the configs so that you unlock every engram that’s up to your level? Basically, throwing out the engram point system so that you get everything at a certain level. This sounds like a small change that doesn’t require too much code.
  • Survival resource respawns: This is quite a serious problem for people in singleplayer. When you go to an area on the map that is teeming with resources to mine it up. You can  go back to it later one to find out that nothing is back. After some research, it seems its because each resource node has an internal timer before respawning. The problem is that the timer stops when the area is unloaded. Normally on 24/7 servers, the respawn time is several hours, and 24/7 servers don’t deal with the tether radius of singleplayer, which means that this issue doesn’t easily pop up. The way that I would try to fix this is by having each resource use the computers clock to figure out its respawn time. Meaning once the resource is within loading range, if it’s the same time or later as the clock mark for the node, it’ll respawn. This means that resources can properly respawn in singleplayer without the need of cheats or living really close to the nodes to keep them loaded.
  • Some paints are ineffective on creatures: painting is a part of this game that really helps to create individualism. There are many colors that looks good on both creatures and buildings. The problem is that some of those colors don’t really show on creatures. Some of these colors include both black and white. Any dark color struggles to be noticeable on any creature of any color. From what I can tell, your team uses either a screen or multiply (I am going for screen) on our paint layers. This can make many dyes pop out, as long as they’re bright, but make many darker dyes incredibly difficult to see on the skin. Part of the problem is because most skins are of a light color, making a dark color overlay very ineffective. The solution I would give is one of two things: 1. Give us a 2nd set of dyes that are more like paint than dye, remove the overlay on these paints and make it so that these colors override the colors on the island. If I dye an animal with red paint, they should be outright red with no mixing at all (multiply might be a good way of keeping animal details while outright painting an animal). Keep the dyes in the game so that people can play and mix using the two colorings to make really cool designs. 2. Make the creatures skin and paint on the same level. If you had an entirely white model canvas (with its creases and edges of course) and then make their natural color overlay on that, then when someone paints an animal, it overlays on the white base rather than the animals natural color. This isn’t a full solution since not all colors apply as well as their brighter variants, even on white.
  • Better access to costumes: the costumes are nice in this game. I even like how you get them based off exploring or taking down a boss. My only problem is when I die. I like having an organized inventory with little spaces taken but adding in the costumes destroys that organization whenever I die. It also doesn’t help that if I wanted to get a skin at some point, I had to die to get it. And if I wanted multiples of the same costume, more deaths to get it. It would honestly make the use easier and more practical if they were just craft able. Either make them seriously cheap (1 thatch/fiber) or this could be an opportunity to be creative with skins. Make the bionic costumes take metal and circuits, the cowboy hats take hide and fiber, etc.
  • Thatch version of S+ buildings: you have S+ buildings added through the beta, but I noticed that you added variants for everything except thatch level buildings. Not many people may use it, but someone (like me) will.
  • Other options for oxygen underwater: I know that we have the option to either level up, have a Diplocaulus, or get an oxygen tank, but I would like multiple options. This may be asking for much, but maybe some small things, like a shoulder mount that can provide oxygen (I wish that I could give an animal that could fit that role, maybe later with more research). That way you can still mount a large animal like Megalodon while having your organic oxygen tank. Like how Otters are an alternative to warm clothes, and Bulbdogs are an alternative to torches, maybe we could have an alternative shoulder pet for oxygen tanks. Or maybe even, if we could have an item that holds oxygen. Similar to a canteen, but instead of water, it can hold oxygen. One dose and it gives 100 oxygen. This may be asking for much to already a lot of options, but its stuff to think of. (Especially if you ever want to consider a map that’s underwater featuring more aquatic animals)

That is the majority of what I see this game has problems with. This list is not to say that the game sucks and is totally broken. The fact that I am writing about this says that it’s a great game that has great promise and is worth improving in as many ways as possible. And although some of these changes seem small in comparison to many other things in the game, sometimes it’s the small things that matter most, as they make the small but noticeable difference that make people feel the most enjoyment.

                Thank you for reading my list of suggestions, and if you do plan to implement them, I wait for the exciting day to play them.

 

(In case for anyone else reading this, this was made in an email format)

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