How to Create Procedurally Generated Maps in Ark: Survival Evolved for Xbox One

With the recent addition of procedural generation ARK maps to the Xbox One build, let's look at the how and why of making your own custom maps.

A few days ago, the Xbox One build of Ark: Survival Evolved came out and gave the console community something PC players have already been enjoying -- a custom map editor. To get to this new feature, simply navigate to the host/local option on the main menu screen and click the new "Create Procedurally Generated ARK" button.

Now you and your crew have the ability to create your very own procedurally generated maps with a score of options to truly give it a unique feel. So what kind of options do you have for creating your maps? Let's dig into the settings.

Biome Generation

There are a number of biome settings that can be used to customize your map in a number of different ways. For example, the Snow Biome Setting by default is 0.3, meaning that roughly 30% of the map will be snow-covered. If set to 1.0 then theoretically the whole map will be covered in snow, perfect if you're going for a winter-themed playthrough. Additionally, there are settings for the following biomes:

  • Redwood Biome size
  • Jungle Biome size
  • Deep Water Biome
  • Various island shape settings 

Once you've figured out your perfect mix of biome types, or that one biome to rule them all, it's time to dig into the real technical stuff -- the terrain generation settings.

Terrain Settings

We know from the previous section that we can choose a from a good mix of biome types and how prevalent we'd like them to be in our custom Ark map but the settings are where we really start to see our custom map come to life.

There is an important caveat here that needs to be heeded -- bigger numbers does not mean better in this case. Also, these are the values that are going to be most taxing on your console.

From the previous section, I told you that 0.3 was the default biome size for the Snow Biome, meaning that 30% of the map should be covered in snow. The terrain settings do not work on that same principle. The density values, in the most basic of terms, just jam more of that thing into the same amount of space. So, if you were to set the density of the Redwood Biome Trees to something like 3.0 your console is probably going to start dropping frames because of the sheer density. The default value on the original map is somewhere close to 0.001 for comparison.

You can also set a number of other options, like mountain frequency/slope/height. The higher the values, the more mountains generated. Also, the higher the slope and height, the steeper the mountains are and the closer to the clouds they'll reach. 

There is so much to tinker with that the best thing to do is to sit down and tinker away. Maybe think up a few themed maps like a mostly water world or a dense jungle planet. With these new tools, you have nearly endless possibilities for creativity. 

If you're new to Ark: SE, and looking for some tips and tricks, check out some of these other awesome articles here on GS:

What kinds of maps are you most looking forward to making? Let's talk about it in the comments below!


From Atari 2600 to TTRPG and beyond I game, therefore I am. Can generally be found DMing D&D on the weekend, homebrewing beer, or tripping over stuff in my house while playing VR. Hopeful for something *Ready Player One* meets *S.A.O Nerve Gear* before I kick the bucket.

Published Jul. 19th 2017

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