STORE COMMUNITY ABOUT SUPPORT
Login Store Community Support
View desktop website
© Valve Corporation. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners in the US and other countries.
There’s a pirate MMO on the horizon, and its sea-farers look ambitious. Atlas is being made by Ark: Survival Evolved devs Studio Wildcard, and sets sail on early access today. It plops 40,000 players into the same fantasy world, where they compete to govern territory and can fire at any ship on the sea.
I spoke to project director/lead programmer Jeremy Stieglitz and creative director Jesse Rapczak over Skype. We chatted about singing to stave off boredom on voyages, player politicking, ship combat as a team sports game – and a plan to save every player before they die of old age.
- Raptor Claus
- Flies over any map between 0am and 2am in-game (with event enabled)
- Drops Holiday Gifts
- Gacha Claus
- Spawns where you'd find Parasaurs on all maps
- Has holiday colors and wears a Santa Hat
- Cannot be tamed
- Doesn't like being near other wild dinos
- Accepts Coal
* Gives Holiday Items in return
* Drops Dino Candy
* Feed this to a tamed dino for a strange effect
- Accepts Mistletoe
* Gives Items in return
- 20% of wild dinos will spawn with Holiday colors
- Uses the ActiveEvent system
- Cleans up after ActiveEvent is reset
- Auto applies to all non-TC sessions from 12/18-1/7 (UTC)
- Run with ActiveEvent=None to disable
- Fix for King Titan environmental effects starting again after boss despawned
- Fix for other bosses interrupting King Titan environmental effects
- Cave entrance cooldown display bug fix
- Increased radius of city meteor shield
- Improvements to dome shaders
- Reduced meteor impact damage to 750
- Improvements to height fog in desert biome
- Increased Mek sword damage to tamed titans approximately 9x
- Increased Mek pistol damage to tamed titans approximately 3x
- Increased turret damage multipliers to tamed Titans
- Changes to Titan downloading
- Titan is disabled for 15m after download
- Titan takes increased damage during this time
- Increased Titan download cooldown to 6+ hours
- Fix typo in vertical Can't Damage message
Orbital Supply Drop
- Buffed Legendary Drops in difficulty and quality of loot
- Can now be claimed by a tribe in PVE
- Only that tribe can disable shield, eject items, gather loot
- Fixed bug that eventually only allowed 1 event at a time in a session
- Improvements to shield behavior on low FPS servers
- Improvements to attacker pathing and behavior
- Can now be claimed by a tribe in PvE
- Only that tribe can harvest element
- Fixed bug that eventually only allowed 1 event at a time in a session
- Improvements to attacker pathing and behavior
- Increased damage when it strikes itself with lightning
- Improvements to Desert Titan follow to address flying away
- Fix for flocks not defending properly
- Improvements to tail attack accuracy
- Made tail attack damage consistent
- Disabled cryoing the flock
- Fixed encumbered movement when walking on a Desert Titan
- Improvements to dropped item interpolation on low fps servers (less poking -through ground)
- Prevented dropped items from falling through structures on load
- Prevented dropped items from ghosting through structures if thrown close to them
- Improvements to egg interpolation on low fps servers (less poking through ground)
- Prevented eggs from falling through structures on load
- Prevented eggs from ghosting through structures if thrown close to them
- Fix for invisible Rock Drake and Wyvern eggs
- Increased accuracy of AOE attack
- Reduced AOE damage to compensate for increased accuracy
- Wild Velonasaurs will no longer shoot for too long
- Fix for Wild Velonasaurs not doing damage in PvE
- Improvements to desyncs between spines and damage
- Reduced hovering when walking
- AOE attack will no longer loot victims
- Fixed anim bug related to Ice Breath
- Fixes for several orientation desyncs
- Fixes for desyncs when moving on low fps server
- Minor buff to landing damage
- Improvements to ice breath targeting
- Added message when you are unable to dive
- Slowed down baby Managarmrs
- Fixed instances where Enforcer could teleport to a non-existant wall
- Fixed instances where it could jump back to its last jump position
- Improved Scout tagging accuracy
- Improvements to player inspection mechanic
- Scout will now show floating damage text when damaged
- Fixed instances of it not going to the correct destination
- Fix for cases where balloons didn't explode after landing
- Improvements to weight calculation
- Fix for unclamped loot quality
- Fix for incorrect UI when taming is interrupted
- Fix for broken dino animations related to Ice Breath
- Increased collision radius for shoulder Corruption
- Improved flyer following when in water
- Added Whistle Land Flyer command
- Commands a flyer to land nearby
Fix low frequency crash
- Improvements to landing logic
- Improvements to server performance
- Add support for decimal values
- Slowed down baby food consumption rate
- Disable healing when frozen
A reminder for mod authors that the sponsored mod program will be opening up applications again on January 1st. If you would like to apply for sponsorship you will have five weeks after the application period starts, so make sure that your submissions are ready!
In the meantime, I have received a couple questions about the sponsorship applications that I would also like to address. While this is is not all encompassing of the process of selection, in regards to the application process itself I hope that this helps you ready your submissions with more confidence.
One thing that has been a common request is for feedback on why a given project isn't selected. While I would like to be able to give feedback on projects, it is extremely time consuming to prepare these, especially with the volume of applications I receive. I want everyone to understand though that not having your project selected does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with it, there are simply limited slots available with each application period. So don't let it discourage you from applying in the future.
The other question I have received rather frequently is for what kind of information you should include in your applications and design documents. How you choose to organize your design documents is up to you, but here is a very general explanation of what I am looking for. First is that you have a plan for the duration of sponsorship; the more detailed this plan, the better. After looking at the design documents and learning about what you do with your project, I then look at the mods as they currently are available on the workshop and try to determine whether or not the content available shows a good probability of being able to deliver on that plan. I might also look at other projects in your workshop to help determine that information.
I look forward to seeing what everyone puts forward in January. Happy modding!
Few people realise that December is when we’re at greatest risk from pirates, likely to mistake their bloodthirsty cries of “Yo ho!” for the merry “Ho ho ho!” of Father Christmas and run towards them rather than away. Capitalising on this behaviour, the creators of Ark: Survival Evolved tonight announced Atlas, an “open-world survival MMO” full of pirates. Word of Atlas leaked months ago but now it’s official – and it’s launching next week. It’ll have us craft things, build ships and bases, sail, battle ships, fight ludicrous creatures, and murder poor newbies, a bit Ark-y but much larger and on the seas. Have a peek.
ARK, at its core, is successful because it offers the best and most diverse survival experience that it can to each player who plays it, and the many options that we provide allows that to happen. There are many, many players that play our game over multiple platforms and each of them has a different definition of what’s most important to them, what ARK does well, and what it should do better. Early on we made a decision to offer a vast array of options, modes, maps, servers, and mods to get as close as we could to being the best survival game for everyone. This creates a major challenge when it comes to development however, as each piece of content or change is used in a large number of different ways. The many play modes are likely to be at odds with each other and are competing for the same development resources, so we have to make a number of tough decisions and pick our priorities. This can result in mechanics that feel less than ideal for your setup or bugs that only appear in certain modes. I do believe it’s better than the primary alternative - not offering or supporting these options at all.
In this industry we need to develop and introduce new content and mechanics to keep our game interesting and relevant. When we set out to develop something with the size and scope of Extinction, we first sit down and figure out what new experiences we could bring to the table. We brainstorm far and wide, documenting and elaborating on ideas before scoring them. We try very hard to introduce features that either have broad reach and appeal across our play modes or add a high amount of depth to one. The things that resonate the most through this process are grouped together into creatures, items, or features that become the key features for the expansion. Generally when we do this we’re intentionally trying to shake up the meta to breathe new life into the game. Often times it’s hard to predict exactly how the new features will be used by players, and just how much they’ll shake things up.
On the other side of the coin, testing changes to a game like ARK is quite difficult. Stepping back, it’s really a numbers game. Let’s say, for example, that you have 10 QA testers, and they’re testing 50 hours a week, that’s 500 hours of testing per week. Next, let’s say that you have 3 months to fully test your changes. Multiply the 500 by 12, and you get 6,000 hours of serious, in-depth testing. That can seem like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the amount of time that players put in. ARK averaged ~50k users for November on PC. If you multiply that by 30 days and 24 hours, you end up with a rough estimate of 36,000,000 hours of ARK played in November. That’s 6,000 times as many hours as in the example above. There were approximately 1,200,000 hours of ARK played in the first day of Extinction. There were 50,000 hours played in the first hour after release. 10 minutes after Extinction released, players had already played 10,000 hours of Extinction, eclipsing the amount of testing done by the 10 testers above. Suffice it to say that when you experience problems when playing a game just after release this is a big reason why.
Obviously we don’t like it when our game has problems, so we focus much of our testing on critical areas and we test them over and over again and prioritize the issues we find. As you can imagine, this is a lot easier in a single player game with a fixed path through a scripted storyline. Once you start multiplying out all of the options and variables, however, it quickly becomes a monumental challenge. As illustrated above, it’s impossible to test every experience that a player is going to have in a game like ARK within a reasonable timeframe. Our volume of players means that players will always have for more time playing ARK than us. When you combine this with the fact that most of those players are playing competitively you realize that many of them are looking for a way to get a leg up on their competition. Very quickly they’re using things in ways that you didn’t intend or even think about, and it’s up to strong systems and well placed testing to make sure that they stay in a healthy place. Sometimes you experience breakdowns in one or two of the above and you have to turn around a fix as fast as possible.
When we built the Titans, for example, we balanced them against dinos, items, each other, and bases. We wanted each of them to feel different and wanted them to have roles almost like classes in a class-based shooter. We wanted them to be somewhat slow and predictable, and ultimately squishy when faced with organized and concentrated fire. We felt very early on that they should be able to do a lot of damage to an endgame base, if left unchecked. Beyond countering this strength, we wanted to limit how fast people could tame and transfer in Titans, and make it a difficult decision to make - so we went for cooldowns on transfer and starvation. Of course, players discovered a way around starvation (kibble?!?!?!), so that broke a big piece of their cost completely. Last week we released a patch that brought this back closer to where we envisioned it, but it’s unlikely that it’s the end of balance changes to the Titans.
Meks were built to counter Titans. Generally, the math that we used when developing the Titans and Meks was that approximately three Meks should be able to make short work of a Titan, and we set out to arm the Meks with abilities (like the rocket pack) that would allow them to take the Titans on. In this regard, our primary focus was on the defensive capabilities of the Mek. Unfortunately, in our efforts to nail the defensive-side of things we overlooked a few issues that could occur on the offensive side; especially related to base raiding. The reality is that this was a mistake. Players discovered within the first few days that they could be used to dismantle bases by bypassing most of their automated defenses. Once something like this is discovered we need to act quickly - we ask ourselves if we feel like the mechanic is overpowered. Then we ask if it fits with the design of the creature. We ask what the counter is and talk through the best way to balance it. Ideally, we’d have all of these discussions and make all of these decisions early in development. When faced with the numbers game above, however, you realize how likely it is that a few of these slip through the cracks to the final game. We work diligently to to step up and resolve the issue the best way that we can, as fast as we can.
If I were to step back and put on an Idealistic hat, I’d want to reshape ARK such that none of these bugs ever made it through to our players. I’d want to test and retest every interaction, every spot in every map, every scenario that a player could find themselves in. The reality, however, is that it would take a very large team, a very large amount of time to develop something as broad as ARK and deliver it flawlessly. Large enough on both fronts, that the likelihood of success drops dramatically. And even then, that game would have bugs. Yes, ARK is not perfect. However, we enjoy working on a game that delivers a broad, good experience to many players over one that offers a narrow but perfect experience to only a few or takes ten years to make. We strive to minimize the number of problems. We pride ourselves on recognizing and resolving them as fast as possible. As we continue to work on Extinction issues, long standing issues, previous promises, and whatever is next for ARK (stay tuned!), we’ll continue to approach it from that perspective. Our job is to provide the best experience we can to the highest number of players we can reach, as fast as we can. Sometimes there will be bumps in the road, but they’re a necessary part of making the things we make at the scale that we make them. We think it’s worth it.
Is… is it over yet? Are the Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC gaming deals finally finished? Just a couple more hours to go now, you can do it deals herald, you can get through this. You’ve got a week and a half holiday coming up soon, just get through the afternoon and then you can go and lie in a dark room and not dream about Cyber Monday graphics card deals you might have missed for the seventh night running.
Ahem. Sorry, I don’t know what came over me there. Probably the Cyber Monday PC gaming deals fatigue settling in, or the Black Friday fever dream I seem to have been living this past fortnight. But your deals herald is stronger than that. Nay, THE DEALER is stronger than that, and with a renewed sense of vigor that may in fact be frenzied despair, I thus present to you the final monolithic installment of our Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC deals bonanza. Gone are the deals swept away by the ever-grabbing hands of internet shoppers. All that’s left is the best of the best that are still up for grabs, from graphics cards and monitors to SSDs, gaming headsets, CPUs and mice and keyboards and more. If you’ve yet to do your Cyber Monday shopping, act fast, as these PC gaming deals won’t be around for long.
I’m sure everyone’s feeling a bit of Black Friday fatigue by now (trust me, I want this all to be over just as much as you do), but in the interests of those after that one, last, final deal to end all deals, I present to you our newly refreshed Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC gaming deals hub. I’ve cleared away all the deals that have been swept into oblivion by the almighty wave of discount-grabbers, leaving you with the best of the best PC gaming deals that are still available. Whether you’re after a new graphics card, monitor, SSD, gaming headset or even a new CPU, mouse and keyboard, your deals herald will provide. Here are all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday PC gaming deals you can grab right now.
Hello! This week John is doing a super secret special mission (playing a video game) so I, one of the other Alices, have taken over the Steam Charts. I am afraid that I do not put as much time as John into constructing elegant jokes that are several layers deep, though, which means you might even be able to tell which games are charting. I understand if this is a huge disappointment.
There are, however, some interesting shake-ups this week, if you’ve been following the Steam charts for a while. There are a couple of games that had their DLC charting last week without the main game, whilst the reverse is true this week. What does it all mean? I do not know. Consumer data is a mystery to me. Stop pre-ordering things.
I ve built an army of inflatable flesh bags that puff themselves up to three times their normal size and then launch into the air like oversized, leaky balloons. They re called Gasbags, and they re my favourite dinosaur in Extinction, the latest expansion to Ark: Survival Evolved. Whenever I don t fancy aimlessly floating around on the back of one, I can load any metal I ve collected into their giant inventories and puff my way back to base. They re brilliant.
Extinction s new creatures are some of the best in Ark so far: alongside the Gasbags you ll find new friends including the lumbering, sloth-like Gacha, which drop semi-randomised loot from giant crystals on their back, a teleporting robotic raptor/spider hybrid called an Enforcer, and a Velonasaur, which can fan out its facial fins to transform into a walking machine gun that shoots quills, shredding armour in seconds.