(Skip to 4th paragraph to skip the TLDR-worthy backstory)
I've always loved Ark's ocean. Back as a young one, with only 50 hours in Ark, the depths of even The Island terrified me, and I always needed my friend to join me on even a miniscule silica or oil run. Fast forward around 400 hours of experience. I can handle parts of the ocean but I had not yet played Ragnarok or The Center so I didn't know their oceans. I thought up one day, "It would be awesome to have a map that was based on an ocean!" That idea was swept aside into my subconscious and hid for a long time. Fast forward about 300-ish more Ark experience hours. I decided that Ark would become a game I play frequently and continued to buy the Season Pass. I was immediately scratching the surface of Scorched Earth and the newly-released Aberration, but alas, no ocean. This upset me so much, I immediately switched to Ragnarok with some of my friends. Getting bored of Ragnarok about 50 hours of experience later, I start to play The Center, something I only regret not doing earlier. The ocean on The Center filled me with such joy, it quickly became my favorite map. I loved the beautiful rock spires in the flat ocean shallows, the magical underwater air-pocket-domes, and we can't forget the trenches. To this day, if anyone asked me my favorite location in the entirety of Ark, I'd say in a heartbeat- "Southeastern Trench on The Center."
But looking back a couple hundred hours from now, I noticed- the Deep Ocean on The Center was quite empty. Yes, it's beautiful. Yes, it gives me chills. And yes, I am going to explore it a 400th time after writing this. But it lacks... action, adventure... overall, we needed a more descriptive ocean with PLENTY more wildlife. I remembered my previously-mentioned idea of an ocean map, and thought about how long ago that was. Cue the "nostalgia_trip.jpeg". After that deal, I immediately started thinking of what cool creatures and environments I could integrate into an ocean map.
I came up with SO MANY IDEAS! From a Tek explorer pod like Subnautica's "Cyclops" to a grasshopper that runs on top of water, from an amphibious monkey pet that holds oxygen to a ginormous Cancer Borealis crab the size of a Titan. I had all the ideas in the world. What did I do? If you said nothing, you'd be dead wrong. I got my notebook and raced to my computer to download the dev kit and start building this map of mine. This was probably one of the happiest times I remember. When I load in the dev kit though... it crashed. I brushed it off, and started the dev kit again. Same crash. No pop-up or anything, the application just closed. I searched for around 2 months for a fix, and no, that is not an exaggeration to the slightest. Not a single fix worked, and to this day I still can't get it to work. I asked my friend if he could try the devkit and he seems to have it working.
I decided if I would work with him, a team of people might be essential. And that's why I'm writing this thread! If you're like me and want to create this ocean-based map before WildCard does, regardless of what expense that might cost us, I urge you- come join my friend and I in our Agualaha Project! If it sounds intriguing but you still aren't sure, perhaps some of me and my friend's concepts might win you over. Here's a couple ideas, and who came up with them, Me=me, NGJ=my friend.
-Ocean Sections: Me and NGJ's idea for the ocean being split into quadrants. The 2 quadrants on the southern side of the map would be freshwater oceans, the same as normal oceans. The northern side would be saline waters, water would drain faster unless under the effect of a scuba tank, drinking would dehydrate the player. The eastern quadrants would be tropical/warm oceans, which would have warmer temperatures and have more small creatures like coelecanth, megapiranha, aquiticus, etc. The western quadrants would be cold oceans, with bigger creatures spawning at higher frequencies than the warm oceans.
-Trench Types: Trenches would be broken into 2 categories; linear and divot. Linear trenches were a crack-like shape and are elongated, while divot trenches were circular and went deeper.
-Drenched Creatures: Variants of creatures found in the deepest depths of trenches and oceans, similar to Corrupted Creatures, however they have the strength of 2 of that creature most of the time, with certain exceptions for obvious reasons. They would be able to break up to metal, but not tek. Their appearance would frighten the daylights out of anyone not expecting it, as they are translucent white with bright aqua, pink, and yellow accents. Somewhat similar to Subnautica's "Ghost Leviathan" in a way. Creatures with this variant would include, to name a few; Megalodon, Plesiosaur, Mosasaur, Tusoteuthis, Leedsitchthys, Dakosaurus, Helicoprion, and Megapiranha are the significant ones. These creatures are rare, only slightly more common than Alphas, and are untamable.
-Spawn Regions: The map would consist of all spawn points on the south side of the map, where there are 2 main islands with small islets surrounding. They include a swamp, forest, small mountain, tropical forest, small tundra, and PLENTY of beach. But fear not- we'll be having NO ICHTHYORNIS. You can rest easy. The north would have 2 floating islands, and not floating like on Crystal Isles or Amissa, floating as in, they float at the top of the water.
-Combat Expectation: We expect the most popular of all-round combat mounts from the existing roster to be the Spinosaurus or Baryonyx. We are adding others that will be amphibious land-and-water creatures that will be better at that specific job, but those will be the ones most transferred (we assume.)
-No Flyers: The map will not naturally spawn any rideable flying creatures! Sorry guys, but it is one of the easiest ways to balance gameplay. We plan to allow other map dinos to transfer, unlike Aberration, but will limit it and disable flyer transferring.
-Aquiticus: My idea for an amphibious monkey that holds oxygen in a pouch/tank like tail. Would be able to shoulder mount.
-Levyatan: My idea for a sperm whale that is slightly bigger than a bronto, stays just shy of the water's surface and eats up rafts, motorboats, and small creatures (including players) in a single bite. Used to encourage deep sea exploration rather than skimming the surface. Tamable and has a platform saddle.
-NGJ's unnamed idea for a cockroach creature (roughly between Galli and Mantis in size) that is able to move at extreme speed on top of water while being very weak and vulnerable in water. Tamable with a single seat saddle and one that holds 3 other passengers.
-Borealis: My idea for a giant crab roughly the size of Extinction's titans. Used as a raid dino and lasts for (not exact yet) 12-24 hours after taming with no saddle, but its back is so flat that it can be built on without the need of a platform. Can only survive out of water for 30 minutes as it begins to dry up and die.
-Dakosaurus (or Dako): Me and NGJ's idea for a reliable underwater mount. Basically the egg creature of Agualaha, one would need to venture to a specific trench and collect an egg with a handling tool and bring it back to their settlement, raise it, and feed the offspring Dako Salt from knocking out male Dakos. Male dakos will also guarantee a Dako Salt Gland trophy upon death. Rideable with a saddle and tek saddle. It also would get a very large MS increase (~75%) when moving in a single direction and sprinting, can be maintained if turning steady and slow enough.
Engrams / Items:
-Handler: My idea for a tool used to hold a single aquatic egg and move it or save for later. Learn at lvl 74.
-Torpedo: My idea for a rocket launcher ammunition fireable underwater, dealing decent damage to dinos/players but immense damage to structures, able to damage Tek slightly on a direct hit. Learn at lvl 89.
-Heat Seeking Torpedo: NGJ's idea for a variant that targets a dino or player and locks onto them, moving towards the target. Turns extremely slowly. Will lock onto a new target if another is closer, cannot lock onto user or tribemates but CAN hit tribe-owned dinos. Learn at lvl 94.
-Tiered Vacuum Compartments: Me and NGJ's idea for Wood, Stone, and Metal variants of the Vacuum Compartment that are powered by Spongy Fungus, a chemical substance made at the Mortar and Pestle as well as the Chemistry Bench. It will take 1 Rare Mushroom and 3 Oil or Gas Balls. It will craft 5 fungus per craft. The fungus will stack to 200. Each fungus will power the Wood and Stone tiers for 1 hour (place in inventory, compartments have 5 slots) and the Metal tier for 30 minutes. However, the Metal Tier can also be run on Electricity and will only consume fungus if there is no electricity source. Wood unlocked at lvl 31, stone at lvl 59, and metal at lvl 86.
-Sonar Panel: My idea for a device that can double as a radio and a dino scanner. Scans for dinos within a 40-foundation radius and the detected creatures (including players and the user) are given a white outline through terrain and structures for 8 seconds. Ability has a cooldown of 22 seconds that starts when the outline effect ends. Learn at lvl 60.
So yeah. There's some ideas for Agualaha. It's not all the ideas we have, but its's a small chunk of them. Again, if you want to work with us, contact me on Discord (User is "! kazt#8832") or Steam (User is "Kazt [SSS]"), or join or Discord Network, DCG - https://discord.gg/s9qVhc3 <<<<< with that link. We welcome anyone who can contribute even the smallest amount to our project. If you want to design things in the dev kit, great! If you want to design ideas that get implemented, great! And if you want to advertise our project further, great! We'll need all the help we can get!
Happy hunting, Survivors!