This weeks diary entry is brought to you by Lead Programmer, Chris Willoughby, as he talks about the process for designing gameplay mechanics for Extinction.
Hello Survivors! Today, I'd like to talk today about what goes into designing and building new gameplay mechanics. For brevity, I'll focus on the Scout, a creature that we've revealed as part of our upcoming Extinction expansion.
When we approach designing gameplay mechanics we start by brainstorming interesting ideas that would make a compelling addition to our sandbox. The Scout started as a desire for the ability to fly around the battlefield with a drone. We have several members of the team who enjoy flying drones, so collectively we fell in love with the idea of remote piloting early. We also had another gameplay mechanic that we were interested in that finds its origins in another franchise - the ability to tag enemies to reveal them to your allies. This idea was also high on our list, and through further brainstorming, we found it was a natural fit for the Scout, so they came together in the brainstorming phase.
From there we seek to match those abilities up with concepts that fit well into the world we're building. This one was pretty easy. We knew that we were building a futuristic city for Extinction, and immediately we latched onto the idea of some kind of automated security force that patrols it. It took several more sessions to land on the idea of the interplay between Scouts and Enforcers, and the way that the Scout is deployed, but we're happy with where it landed.
Next, we'll build the mechanic and iterate numerous times, using multiple weekly gameplay review sessions to nail the fine details. The Scout was deployable from a grenade and had remote viewing baked in pretty early on. Originally it's tagging mechanism was a projectile that it fired. This was very difficult to use, so we switched to more of a raygun. The tags originally lasted a very short time, so they weren't very useful. We've since upped the time that they last - making the Scout a key target for the other team to take out. In addition, we didn't originally allow the tagging of allies, but this slotted in naturally as a way to give a more complete view of the battlefield.
Finally, we turn our experienced set of player testers loose to hammer on the mechanics until they fit well. This process is underway for the Scout and for Extinction as a whole as I write this. We've got nearly all of the mechanics playable and we're iterating on the roles that they play individually and collectively within Extinction and within the larger game. As such, the abilities described above represent a snapshot of where they are as I'm writing this. These can and likely will change before launch! This is part of the reason that often times when we talk about something early on it doesn't match up with what the final product becomes. However this iteration process is necessary to deliver the best playing experience that we can.
Thanks for reading, survivors!
This Wednesday, September 12th at 12pm EST we will be merging the PC ARKpocalypse servers into one cluster. It is important for players on those servers to note that during this process any items or creatures uploaded into the Obelisk will be lost. Therefore it is strongly encouraged that you download anything in your cloud to ensure nothing is lost before Wednesday.
You can follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with this server process.
The ARK Modding contest is now in full swing, and we've been getting some good entries, but I still want to encourage anyone that has ever considered making mods for ARK to dive in and participate. The submission period will be open until Saturday, October 6th so polish up those mods and let's have some fun. After that, we'll move into the voting phase where we'll post all the mods in the contest publicly and let everyone try them out and vote on their favorites.
We've also received a couple tutorial bounty claims for chat commands and map optimizations and I have added a bunch of new bounties to the board ready to be claimed. You can find all of them here:
We're going to need some new tutorial requests too, and please check the list in the form to see if the request already exists, as I choose new bounties based on demand which can only be counted if everyone submits the form using one of the items from the drop-down.
Next week I'll have a new tutorial ready. I've been getting a ton of requests for a tutorial on version control, so I'm going to show everyone how to use Git with the devkit.
This Thursday September 13th 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.
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!
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, September the 13th at 1pm EST! We hope to see you there :)
We would like to give a special shout out this week to creature paint artist Sharkcat for their Jurassic World raptor paints!
Survivors across ALL Platforms will be receiving a special Evolution Event perk this weekend! It will be active from Friday the 14th of September at 1 PM EST until Monday the 17th of September 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 please get in touch and be sure to follow us on:
Community Hub: www.survivetheark.com