What is ARK? Ark: Survival Evolved is an action-adventure survival video game developed and published by Studio Wildcard. It is scheduled to release in June 2016 for Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; the game’s early access began on June 2, 2015. In the game, players must survive in a world filled with roaming dinosaurs.

The game is played from either a third-person or first-person view and its world is navigated on foot or by riding a dinosaur. Players use firearms and improvised weapons to defend against hostile humans and creatures, with the ability to build bases as defense. Players can also customize weapons using items scavenged from the environment. The game has both single-player and multiplayer options, with the latter allowing players to engage in simultaneous gameplay.

Development began in October 2014. The development team conducted research into the physical appearance of the dinosaurs, though took creative license for gameplay purposes.

Gameplay

The player character is sitting on the back of a Pterodactyl, a few meters above the ground, which consists of sand, rocks and water.
The player character is sitting on the back of a Velociraptor within a forested area, with two other characters on Velociraptors facing them.
Players can tame and ride various dinosaurs in the game, gaining access to their abilities and statistics.

Ark: Survival Evolved is an action-adventure survival game that uses a first-person perspective, with the ability to use a third-person perspective in some instances. To survive, players must establish a base, with a fire and weapons; additional activities, such as taming and feeding dinosaurs, requires more resources. The game’s map, known as the “Ark”, is approximately 48 square kilometers in size; there is approximately 36 square kilometers of land mass, with 12 square kilometers of ocean.

To build a base, players must gain structure components—such as floors, doors and windows—which are earned as they progress and gain levels. These components can be crafted, and placed in the world. Players can create any structure, as long as they have the logistics and resources; the structural integrity of the building is compromised when the pillars and foundations are destroyed. Players can also craft items in the game, such as weapons, which can be achieved by collecting the resources and technology required for crafting. In addition, players can craft and attach accessories to their weapons, such as a scope or flashlight for a pistol or machine gun. Should players take damage, their health meter will gradually regenerate if they have consumed the necessary food, or if they craft items that regenerate the health meter at a faster pace.

There are sixty types of dinosaurs in the game. The dinosaurs in the game can be tamed by feeding it food. Once a dinosaur is tamed, players have access to the dinosaur’s abilities, such as flight or fast underwater movement, as well as its statistics, such as speed, health and damage. When the access to these abilities are gained, players lose control of their personal weapons. When riding the larger dinosaurs, other players can ride on the side with full control of their weapons. They can also be used to carry items, and players can issue offensive and defensive commands to them; for example, a pack of Velociraptors can be assigned to defend the base, or a group of Triceratops can be ordered to attack an enemy’s base. The game also features various other species, such as the dodo, saber-toothed cat and woolly mammoth, as well as insects like the giant dragonfly and ants. Every creature in the game has living ecosystems and predator hierarchies.

Development

Development began in October 2014. When researching for information about the game’s prehistoric species, the development team read “general audience books” and online articles, and sought assistance from friends who studied in the fields in biological sciences. When creating the species and world, the team look creative license for gameplay purposes, although there is an in-game reason that the species have evolved from their historical counterparts

The team added features to the game that would appeal to all players, as opposed to specifically players of the survival genre, such as the ability to simply explore the island and compete against large bosses, as a reward for uncovering secrets of the island. They also added an endgame for players to strive towards, as they felt that most survival games lack a final goal. They wanted to “provide a depth and scope that allows for the world to not just be a means to an end … but also a place to explore”, said creative director Jesse Rapczak.

The game contains “tens of thousands” of artificial intelligence entities, according to Rapczak. The game also features support for virtual reality gameplay, and the team spent three years experimenting head-mounted displays in order to achieve the best result.

Reception

The game received widespread critical acclaim. Many players praise the visuals and complexity of the game, which is not a matter of course in an early access game. This results in a really impressive number of users. Right now (June, 10th 2015) there are more than 300 servers available with more than 65.000 active players. This makes it one of the most played titles on steam. It even beats other games like Team Fortress 2

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