Studio Wildcard  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Studio Wildcard  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Darwin Project Beginner's Guide: How to Beat the Odds Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:42:17 -0400 Stephanie Tang

In a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future where the world is stuck on the brink of another ice age, a new project -- half science experiment, half live entertainment -- is launched: the Darwin Project. Forcing participants to survive the cold and a fight to the death, surviving the cold will be the least of your worries. 

Scavengers Studio's Darwin Project -- which just made its way to Steam Early Access last week -- is an ambitiously fun take on the Battle Royale formula. Equal parts Tomb Raider and Fortnite, this rendition is liberally spiked with lively Twitch streamer commentary. 

While the ability to play in doubles still remains locked, you are given the option to jump into quick matches as a combatant (normal play), or once you've got a handful of matches under your belt, as a game director. 

With a much smaller map and a limited number of players, games are quick, and the chance of making it into the top three much higher. This guide to the Darwin Project will tell you the things you'll want to know to ensure your place in the top spot. 

Trust me, there's more than chance and skill at work here!

Crafting wheel in Darwin Project

Optimize Your Gear and Gather Items to Survive

While you might get lucky and get a kill right at the get-go by spawning close enough to someone else and braining them a few times with your axe (or shovel), there's a much greater likelihood that you're going to want to gain the upper hand on your opponents -- and largely without relying on the fickle whims of your (occasionally) all-seeing Show Director. 

With this in mind, be aware that everyone has their own basic play style. Take these suggestions as you will!

Customize Your Crafting Wheel

All players should customize their crafting wheel while still in the main menu. This way you won't be under serious time constraints while trying to figure out what gear you want to make.

Specialize Your Arrows

Take a look through some of the specialized arrows (I am a fan of the Hunter arrows myself). Be aware that if you do choose these, you won't spawn with any and you'll need the materials to craft them. 

Use Traps Liberally

Your traps are all about gaining the upper hand on your opponents -- try and ensure that you can see them but that they can't see you. To that effect, smoke bombs are a good bet which allow you to hide from their radar (yes, this still counts as a trap). I also recommend the tripwire and bear trap for showing up on radar (to everyone) and immobilizing them for a few free shots.

Pick Up Electronics

Push for electronics hard and early. These will give you the biggest advantages on all other players, but be warned that if you want them, other players certainly will too! Electronics will allow you to craft items needed for abilities (and these are permanent once you've made them). I like pushing for Teleport first (mobility is key, particularly early on, when any edge is of enormous consequence), Radar (obvious), and Energy Shield (invincibility while it's active, so excellent for one-on-one scrambles).

More Health, Less Dying

Push for more health, always. You could rely on the Director to spend their Health ability on you, but what are the chances, really? Killing other players will give you back some Health, but be aware that you can also find medkits in loot boxes and by harvesting deer (there are lots of them).

Wood is Your Backup Plan

Contingencies! Try to keep at least one block of wood at the ready for a quick fire in a pinch. Warmth goes up super quick, and there's nothing like freezing to death in the middle of a fight or right at the edge of a zone close. 

Search Cabins

Look through the cabins -- lots of these will have hidden radars in the corners that allow you to track the movements of all the players on the map. (You'll often find stuff to harvest materials from too.) 

Stop Jumping Around

Juke on land, not in the air. Jumping around might feel like you're dodging around more, but you move a lot slower while jumping, which makes it a lot easier for the other person to track you with their arrows.

Specialize, Specialize, Specialize

Other gear (boots and cloak, for example) should be specialized per your play style, whether you want to get away with being less noticeable with a Fur Cloak (less need for fire) or a Runner Cloak (good for escaping out of closing zones, racing for electronics, etc.). 

A character holding an ax with bow on her back looks at a fortification in snowy, wooded area of Darwin Project

Work Around the Black Screen Glitch

New as it is, the game has been running fairly well for most people ... barring a few issues on startup. As has been reported, many users are seeing a black screen after the initial loading screen disappears. 

Some users reported that it was the fact the game was installed on and running off of a separate hard drive that caused the extra long load times during this black screen (sometimes to the tune of 5-7 minutes!). For these users, it would eventually load, but the best option was (if possible) to re-install the game off the OS drive

I experienced this bug as well, and being the impatient person I am, abandoned the waiting game after about two minutes of looking at nothing. My personal go-to is always to make sure that my graphics drivers are up to date. That done, I keep a close eye on my antivirus/malware program in case it tries to block any suspicious (read: any) new startup item. 

Whether the one, the other, or a combination of the two, my game booted up just fine and in less than 30 seconds. Before making the jump to reinstall, give this a try!

A character holding an axe and looking at some futuristic technology

Be as Charming as You Know How to Be

... It feels weird just writing the above. And yet know this: Your voice is on, and someone is/may be listening to you. I may or may not have inadvertently found this out while talking dirty on a Skype call and then realizing some random was calling me out on it. Whoops.

This is not exactly how I would suggest setting out to charm your audience.

But be aware that you have one, and if the Director starts talking to you, talk back. If you're engaged in a fight, you can talk to the other player as well. Keep things interesting. This streamer-type engagement is what elevates the mostly solo task of playing into something that's, in most cases, highly entertaining if not out and out hilarious. 

People being what they are and the job description of the Director being what it is, this can come out in the form of extra hints on other enemy locations or power-ups (e.g., a shot of health, speed boost, warmth, invincibility, etc.), or on the flip side, the Director can also declare a manhunt on you. This means extra loot for all the other players if they kill you, plus they can see where you are. Note that in this situation, you do gain more arrows and resources to try and outlive the chaos. 

This Goes for Directors Too!

As the Director, you are able to affect the Darwin Project (closing off zones, dropping nukes, causing gravity storms) and the players (through the power-ups mentioned above). In order to perform one of these actions, you have to wait until you gain an Ability Point. Don't play favorites too hard -- make this an interesting game for everyone, and try to be a little fair in how hard you troll each of your little puppets. Make 'em dance!

(There is no real dance button. You could manage to finagle them into singing you a song.)

At player death, others have the opportunity to rate you as a Director. The more engaging you are, the likelier they are to score you higher (or at all). 

Be aware that if your Director rating falls below a certain point, you'll be limited in your Director abilities to those that affect the game only. 


Do you have any other tips for Darwin Project that should make the list? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Darwin Project tips and information!

The New ARK 256 Update Is Huge, But Why Is the Community Upset? Fri, 07 Apr 2017 17:50:55 -0400 Paige McGovern

Studio Wildcard, developer of ARK: Survival Evolved, has messed up enormously -- and they may not have the chance to win over their player base. The developer has released yet another update for the game, but fans aren't happy about it this time around.

There were several reasons why the ARK community was disappointed on Friday when PC version 256 launched, but there was one that stood out: the flyer nerf. But there are several other contributing factors that also have fans wondering if they want to keep playing. 

Let's dig a bit deeper into this patch and see why the community is so upset about it.

V.256 Patch Highlights
  • New dinos
  • New spawn commands
  • New UI design
  • New dino and character sound effects
  • New TEK underwater bases and structures
  • Breeding for aquatic and amphibious creatures
  • Reduced vault size
  • Flyer nerf

Watch the video below for an overview of the flyer, UI, and dino sound changes: 

With v.256, flyer dinos can only move at base movement speed, making them incredibly slow. Movement speed can no longer be improved, and stamina depletes fast, which means long travels are almost impossible. It's not safe or time efficient to travel so far anymore. Players have invested a lot of time and effort into dinos that can now be instantly rendered helpless or killed because of these changes to the flyer system.

User Pach summed up the situation perfectly:

"[Studio Wildcard] basically took fliers out of the game... without actually removing the dino."

Players complain that Studio Wildcard doesn't know their own game or understand their player base. Those who have logged thousands of hours in the game are now quitting, or considering quitting. In the official forums, one user even mentioned receiving a Steam refund for their purchase.

On the other hand, some players are able to look past (some of) their frustration to see the studio's point of view. They agree that flyers needed some changes. However, they don't agree that this "fix" was the best choice for the game and community. They argue that ARK's many PvE players  -- and the vast differences between PvE and PvP gameplay -- have not been taken into consideration. This flyer re-balance appears to favor only the PvP community, which is unfortunate for everyone else.

Other negative remarks about the update include:

Overpowered Eels

Eels were not fixed with v.256. They can easily attack and kill other valuable creatures, since their immunity was increased to 5 seconds. This causes havoc and headaches for players who are just trying to enjoy the game, especially given how vulnerable flyers have become.

Useless Wyverns

Wyvern eggs are not worth the effort to catch anymore, if a player is even fast enough to do so. No flyer can outrun a wild wyvern. They're not worth the effort to tame, either, now that their special attack costs more. With the new update this flyer has low stamina, and it appears the wyvern is going to stay that way in the near future. Like all other flyers, they will continue to consume stamina while unmounted, but this change particularly affects the wyvern.

Poor UI Design

The new UI delivered a lot of problems as well. In addition to simply not being able to perform basic inventory functions that were possible before, players have complained that the new UI is hectic and too varied. 

The old inventory menu:

The new menu:

Players have requested that the UI be more friendly to customization, so they can make changes how they see fit.

Unsatisfying Sounds

Character and dino sounds were altered in this patch as well. The Rex and other dinos no longer sound as terrifying as they did before. Character sounds are described as unnatural and uncomfortably erotic in some cases. For many, the consensus seems to be that the developers should not have fixed what was not broken to begin with.

But Wait...There's Still Hope

Studio Wildcard has added a few patches since v.256 launched. The most widely received was 256.3, which addressed the flyer re-balance system. The new flyer data, which was updated to give each flyer distinct roles, can be found here. The UI also received several improvements in 256.3-31, including general bug fixes and custom scaling. Some players are happy with these UI and flyer changes. Others have yet to be impressed.

Fortunately -- for those not satisfied -- Steam user Ertosi created a new mod to restore the original flyers. It has since been downloaded over 55,000 times. (You can also check out 8 more of the best ARK mods if you're looking for other ways to improve the game.)

Only time will tell if Studio Wildcard can implement other changes that will make its playerbase happy again. 

What do you think about v.256? Have the additional patches improved game play? Will you continue to play ARK? Let us know in the comments! And remember to follow GameSkinny for all the latest updates -- and hopefully, improvements -- to ARK: Survival Evolved.

How Can ARK Even Say It's Still in Early Access at This Point? Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:00:01 -0500 Damien Smith

Studio Wildcard's Steam Early Access title ARK: Survival Evolved released on PS4 this week. Naturally, this has led to some bewilderment, considering the PC version is still unfinished. Considering Sony do not allow in-development titles on their platform, how can ARK even say it's still in Early Access at this point? Let's take a look.

What in T-Rex is ARK: Survival Evolved?

ARK: Survival Evolved is an open-world survival game developed and published by indie developer Studio Wildcard. The game released on Steam Early Access for PC June 2nd, 2015 and Mac and Linux July 1st, 2015. It later released on Xbox One through the Xbox Game Preview Program on December 15th, 2015.

It later released on PS4 December 6th, this year. The game was originally scheduled for release in mid-2016 but has since been delayed until sometime in 2017. The game is set in a world called The Ark. The world is approximately 48 square kilometres in size, there are approximately 36 square kilometres of land and 12 square kilometres of sea.

The player has the ability to build bases, gather resources, craft items, weapons, weapon modifications and tame the many dinosaur specifics that populate The Ark. The game features both singleplayer and multiplayer modes, with the latter allowing players to play at the same time.

Sony, don't allow unfinished games on their platform right? Not anymore it seems

Yes, that is generally the policy that Sony have for games to be released on PS4. All video games submitted to Sony must have their development entirely complete before being considered for release on the platform. Thus, on August 8th this year, it was announced on the ARK forums that Sony had denied their submission for the game to be released on PS4.

This was due to ARK's development still ongoing and it not being a finished title. At the end of the post, Jat of Studio Wildcard asked fans to let Sony know if they wanted to see the game on PS4. Nevertheless four months later, the game is released on PS4.

It would seem that enough of their 5.5 million fans of the game got in contact with Sony asking for it to be released on their platform. Eventually convinced it would be worth their time, Sony allowed the game to be released despite it being unfinished.

ARK is still an in-development title therefore still in Early Access

Despite being released on both Xbox One and PS4, the game is still unfinished, resulting in it being an Early Access title still. The game released on PS4 as the Survivor Pack that includes the base game and its expansion Scorched Earth.

In total, the pack costs $55. PS4 users also get some exclusive content such as the Bionic Giganotosaurus skin and the Manticore armour set for both male and female characters -- as seen in the video above.

As to what exactly this means for future Early Access titles when it comes to the PS4 is currently unknown. ARK may be the first in-development title to release on the platform but that doesn't mean Sony will loosen up when it comes to their policies.

I can only assume for Sony to even consider it a possibility the game must have a huge following like ARK does. Without it, they would consider it too much of a risk. But that is only speculation, with time I am sure it will become apparent exactly how Sony's in-development policy will work after ARK's success.

Titanosaur - New Dinosaur for ARK: Surival Evolved! Wed, 22 Jun 2016 04:14:14 -0400 Engela Snyman

Studio Wildcard recently made an announcement about a brand new dino they're adding to the ARK: Survival Evolved roster: the prime thunder lizard Titanosaur. The ARK wiki describes this creature as:

"Essentially a walking mountain, it is an absolutely enormous sauropod which has developed armored plates of bone protrusions all over its body."

Named after the same genus of dinosaurs, the Titanosaur will be big enough to have a base built right on its back -- which will be the first true mobile bases in ARK: Survival Evolved. It will also be large enough to crush enemy strongholds, and should make for one helluva challenge to actually tame. Bring out the kibble.

The Titanosaur will be a bastard to take down. They are immune to any sort of narcotic effects and they will often step on other dinos (or players) by accident. So it's probably a wise choice to work in groups when trying to take this sucker on.

The Wikipedia goes on to say that the dino will be more aggressive than its sauropod cousins, because it needs to feed so much to sustain itself. The Titanosaur will be thundering its way into the game by the end of the month.

Is ARK: Survival Evolved, about to go extinct? Sun, 03 Apr 2016 07:31:13 -0400 Engela Snyman

It's getting hard to be a developer of late.

Jim Sterling is having a tussle with Digital Homicide, Zenimax and Oculus are having a throw down, and now Studio Wildcard - the developers of ARK Surivial Evolved- and Trendy Entertainment, the creators of Dungoen Defenders, are exchanging DPS over a clause.

What's the scoop?

Essentially Trendy is accusing their former employee, Jeremy Stieglitz, of breaking a non-compete clause in a contract he signed with them in 2014.

The whole debacle started after a few Trendy employees complained about the terrible working conditions they had to endure under Stieglitz leadership. In response, Trendy Entertainment immediately removed him from the team.

Stieglitz in turn, told Trendy Entertainment his own working conditions were just as bad, and demanded either certain employees be fired, or they make it easier for him to quit. The two came to an agreement and Trendy reduced the non-compete clause in Stieglitz's contract from three years to one. This clause was prevented Stieglitz from entering the same profession, or start a similar company for one whole year. 

These sort of clauses are currently on the rise in many companies. They shackle employees to the company, and can even prevent them from getting better jobs elsewhere. Over-all, it's better for employees to avoid the thing altogether, but for companies that handle sensitive information and technologies - like program codes - it can be a godsend. 

A few days after Stieglitz left, Trendy sent him this email:

He didn't exactly waste any time, did he? But he did respond to the email, apologizing for his breach of contract, and promised his former employers that he would stop working on ARK. Trendy accepted the apology, and the case should have been closed.

But Stieglitz then went ahead and actually co-founded Studio Wildcard, and even - allegedly- stole six employees from Trendy to work at the new studio. He also reportedly shared company secrets and development techniques he learned and perfected at Trendy. 

It gets juicer

Throughout 2015 Trendy continued to send cease-and-desist emails to Stieglitz, warning him that if he did not stop working with Wildcard, they would take legal action. Trendy even noted his use of 'stealth mode' by having his wife register Studio Wildcard under her maiden name. For some reason Stieglitz didn't take any of this seriously, until finally Trendy filed a lawsuit in December. 

If Trendy wins the case, it could mean a critical hit for Wildcard, but the small company hasn't taken any of this lying down.

Their lawyers have called for the accusations to be dismissed, saying:

"Many of the allegations are disparaging and included simply to be provocative. They are irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous. As such, these allegations should be stricken."

As things stand, it does appear as if Stieglitz is in the wrong. However, a judge will have to decide that.

What does this mean for ARK?

If the lawsuit is not dismissed by 27th of April, the studio might need to remove the game from Steam, halt development, and even shutdown the servers until it's all been resolved.

It would a shame if the game is taken down, it's a jolly fun title, and Studio Wildcard certainly has a lot riding on it. However it stands, let's hope this gets sorted before June 2nd, when ARK will - or should at least - officially be released. 

Is ARK: Survival Evolved on XB1 Worth Your Time And Money? Thu, 07 Jan 2016 16:47:33 -0500 Justin Andress

Ever since Studio Wildcard’s ARK: Survival Evolved was released on PC last summer, jealous console owners have waited for their chance to tromp through the mysterious dinosaur crammed island. Then, Xbox One owners got a special treat last month when Xbox One’s Preview program gave gamers the opportunity to pay $35 in exchange for access to ARK’s beta and a free upgrade to the full console release in June 2016.

If your interest wasn’t piqued by the early access, then the news that came a few weeks later made ARK: Survival Evolved even more alluring. It seems that a mere week after release for the Preview program, more than a million copies of the game were sold, and, according to Jesse Rapczak, one of the minds over at Studio Wildcard, “Survivors had lasted a combined 200,000 real-life days against the dinosaurs and perils of the island, including other players”. In seven short days, ARK’s popularity on Xbox One was producing a higher daily player count than on PC. It’s pretty popular.

Yet, $35 is still a decent chunk of change in video game dollars. You could run down the street right now and find something solid for that amount at the local game shop. Price aside, is it really worth it to spend any kind of money on an unfinished product that bares the ominous warning that the game may not even release (it definitely will)?

In short: is ARK: Survival Evolved worth your hard-earned money? Read on, and let us help you make an informed decision.

What Is ARK: Survival Evolved About?

ARK Survival Evolved for Xbox One

First off, let’s begin with the following. At this point in ARK, there is no plot (ergo, no spoilers). One day there will apparently be some context provided to explain why you’re re-enacting the evolution of human technology surrounded by dinos on an island covered with giant metal towers, but right now, there’s none of that.

As a player, you use the rudimentary character creator to craft either a woman or a man, all of whom look pretty much the same, just swollen to different dimensions:

ARK Survival Evolved for Xbox One Preview program

That’s one of the tame ones. The system is pretty ripe for creative decisions:

ARK Survival Evolved for Xbox One Preview program

Anyway, once you create your gentleman or lady — which takes all of six seconds for even the most scrutinizing customizer — you find a server (easier said than done … more on that later), and dive in.

At that point, you wake up naked on a beach, slowly dying of starvation and exposure (definitely don’t forget about the exposure). From there, it’s up to you to figure out how to find food, shelter, tools, and all the rest. To make things more complicated, the game is also played on servers that allow up to 69 other confused, naked (potentially hostile) cave people to run around with you while they die slowly of starvation and exposure, too. You can talk to other players, form tribes, wage war, etc.

When you’re not trying to keep yourself alive, the island is filled with more than 50 types of dinosaurs on all levels of the food chain. The food chain, by the way, is a real, active thing on the island. Players can use these guys for food, or they can take the time to try their hand at some dino taming. Tamed dinosaurs can be used to harvest more resources, as a form of transportation (you can fly a pteradon!), or as a means to kill lots of people really quickly.

Ark Survival Evolved for Xbox One Preview program

At it’s core, ARK is kind of like early Minecraft before villages or settlements or magic or any of that crap. Plus it’s got dinosaurs! If that sounds like an engrossing game experience, it absolutely can be … when it’s not injured or even crippled by the fact that the game is not complete.

For example …

So About That Server Thing I Alluded To Earlier

ARK Survival Evolved Xbox One Preview program

If you’re content to play by yourself, then you can just jump right in and play the entire game solo, just building buildings and taming dinosaurs at your discretion. If, however, you’d like to play the game with other people on an official dedicated server, things get a little bit tougher.

Right now, there’s basically not enough public servers to accommodate that aforementioned incredible demand. And, even when you can find an empty spot on a dedicated server, it’s a total crapshoot as to who you’ll end up playing alongside. After all, every gamer in the world knows that every other gamer in the world is a total dick. Players have horror stories of signing on to find their hard won homes and treasures completely ransacked by greedy a-holes. 

Another option — the one that worked for me — is to hop on your favorite social media outlet, like reddit, and find a private server with some like-minded players looking to fill in holes. In other words, with the implied menu hunting, long wait sessions, other people, and general legwork, it can be tough to find a place to call home. Once you do, there are still gameplay aspects working against you.

We’re Still Talking About A Beta

ARK Survival Evolved for Xbox One Preview program

When you’re shopping for ARK on Xbox Live, you’re going to see a parenthetical added to the end of the title that reads: “Game Preview”. It’s extremely important to keep in mind that ARK is an unfinished product.

There are bugs, there are server issues, and — again, this can’t be repeated enough — there’s really nothing to do beyond beat up rocks, beat up trees, and then beat up dinosaurs. And build.

While it may sound simplistic, the combination of its crafting, taming, and exploration systems can make for some pretty engrossing gameplay, provided you don’t need a story to propel you forward, and provided you don’t mind some repetition, because …

It’s a Process … Everything Is a Process

ARK Survival Evolved for Xbox One Preview program

If you’re the kind of gamer who likes to drop in for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, get a little something accomplished, and then move on to whatever you’ve got going on outside your console, then ARK probably isn’t the game for you.

From the moment that you wake up on the island, everything you do is going to take some time. Gathering resources, learning engrams (those are the game’s word for blueprints), taming creatures, it all takes a lot of time. The loftier your goals, the more time it’ll take. For example, when taming a massive monster like a brontosaurus, your time commitment may be as long as four hours.

In addition, pretty much everything you can do in the game requires the use of resources, resources that are constantly in danger of spoiling. For example, when you pick berries at the beginning of the game, you typically have about 5 minutes to make use of those bad boys or they’ll spoil and be deleted from your inventory. These kinds of timers necessitate the near constant harvesting of plants, animals, and the like (at least at the beginning) to ensure you always have a fresh crop of whatever you need.

Beyond the built-in spoil timer, pretty much everything that can be crafted in-game is expensive. Building even a simple house takes a lot of resources. Taming a dinosaur takes a lot of resources. Keeping yourself warm and fed takes a lot of resources. So, especially at the beginning of the game, you’re going to find yourself engaging in some repetitive tree and rock murder for probably hours on end.

Assuming, of course, you can actually stay alive for hours on end.

It’s Merciless and Unforgiving … At First

ARK Survival Evolved for Xbox One Preview program

This probably feeds more into the beta aspect of the game than anything else, but this can’t be overstated: in the beginning, ARK will kill you. Then it will kill you again. Then it will laugh at your pain and disorientation while it kills you a third time.

As developers are still hard at work behind the scenes to make sure that ARK is actually recognizable as a video game when it launches in June, they’re leaving narrative touches until the end of development. Earlier, it was pointed out that there’s no story. Well, there’s also no tutorial. None. You have to figure out the control scheme (which is complicated), the various uses of items in the world (which are myriad), even the proper way to progress in the game.

Oh, and on top of all that, your character needs to be fed and watered very regularly, you need to make sure they’re not exposed to the elements for too long, and there’s a boatload of creatures that higher up in the food chain that would simply love to snack on your entrails.

From the very beginning, you’re at the game’s mercy (of which it has very little), forced to take random stabs in the dark until you find your footing. If you’re the kind of patient player who doesn’t mind doing the same thing over and over (and being forced to start again at zero until you figure things out), then this may not be a problem.

Places like reddit can be a good source of information, and if you’re a reader, the ARK wiki is filled with generally useful information about the game, but when it comes down to it, your success in ARK depends on the number of hard lessons you’re willing to learn.

In Conclusion

ARK Survival Evolved for Xbox One Preview program

We’ll keep this short and to the point: 

If you prefer a more directed approach to gaming, or if you prefer your games on the easier side, then ARK might be one you need to wait on.

However, if you’re patient, if you have some gaming time on your hands, and if you’re a fan of survival games with a focus on crafting, then definitely buy ARK right now.

Ark: Survival Evolved mod contest and Survival of the Fittest game mode Fri, 14 Aug 2015 20:39:46 -0400 Courtney Gamache

Ark: Survival Evolved started out as just a Steam Early Access game this past June and has sky rocketed in popularity. Using a survival theme and including a heavy multiplayer base, Studio Wildcard developed a winning game that has generated tons of revenue, and has thus resulted in a modding competition for the public.

Letting your creativity flow

"creative souls can easily generate their own Ark items, weapons, creatures, maps and game modes to share with fellow survivors online."

If you feel up to the challenge of creating a mod for Ark: Survival Evolved, they've released a version of their Unreal Engine 4 editor that they specifically used in creation of the game. To aid those who want to contribute, Studio Wildcard has also released a Dev Kit through Epic Games Launcherusing both tools you'll be able to showcase your creations with fellow players online. 

The contest will feature a large prize pool of over $25,000 in cash and prizes, more specifically, a grand prize of $15,000 and an Alienware Area-51 and an Nvidia GeForceGTX 980 Ti. For such a large prize it's expected that the mods that are produced are above par. 

Bringing Hunger Games to Ark: Survival Evolved

Developed strictly from Studio Wildcard, they've released a game mode called Survival of the Fittest, which includes a custom map and a dome-force that slowly shrinks the map as the match continues. Since the map will shrink while the game goes on, leveling, producing items, and taming creatures becomes a more difficult task. A new feature called Evolution Events occurs every 30 minutes that brings random events such as: crazy weather conditions, dinosaur stampedes, supply drops, day-to-night shifts, and player location reveal. Using Evolution Events, you'll never know what to expect in Survival of the Fittest.The Ark: Survival Evolved game mode Survival of the Fittest might seem familiar because very recently a five-hour tournament took place on Twitch with over 70 live-streamers all aiming to win a $30,000 prize pool. 

If Survival of the Fittest seems like something you'd want to check out, it's a free plug-in on steam through the Steam Workshop.

Have you tried Survival of the Fittest? Do you plan on downloading it?

From Minecraft to ARK: Survival Evolved - Survival's race to the console space Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:49:14 -0400 Autumn Fish

What comes to mind when you think of a survival game? Minecraft Survival and similar titles — such as ARK: Survival Evolved — are often brought to attention in recent years. Alien: Isolation definitely has a place among them. With the right pair of perspective goggles, even The Sims is a survival game.

Hold your tongue feisty commenter, I know what you are thinking:

"The Sims is a sim-ulation game, not a survival game! Can't you read?"

- Feisty Commenter

Have you ever tried starting a 6-Sim Household from scratch? Trying to provide for that many people is brutal.

I'll let Google settle this if you're still skeptical:

  • sur-viv-al (n.) - the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.

Every survival game follows a basic premise. In order to meet this, the player must start the game feeling powerless. This contrasts the power fantasy that many other genres try to convey.

The age of Minecraft brought us a remarkable new front, but many games since then have failed to emulate the idea properly. Now there are some true gems out there, but lately a lot of 'survival' games distract themselves from the very essence of the genre. 

However, all is not lost. Clues have popped up recently that point towards the end of a dark age. History is beginning to repeat itself. Could one ambitious title refocus survival and cement its position in the console space for the future?

Minecraft Survival Games on Consoles Skyrim

A History on the Brilliancy of Minecraft Survival

I am incredibly relieved that indie game studios have come as far as they have in the past decade. I'm not sure Minecraft would exist if we had to rely on AAA studios to make it. Just visualize the conversation between the developers and the publishers:

"We want to make a game where the player spawns with nothing and works to overcome the nature of the world around them."

- Developer

"A game where you just walk around surviving? Who would we market this to? That's a terrible idea, let's make it a first person shooter instead."

- Publisher

How Minecraft Invokes Your Sense of Survival

It seems so simple, but Minecraft's approach to the survival genre is one of the most brilliant developments in video game history. Spawning players in a world with nothing but their bare fists to build from stacks literally everything against them, which is what makes it such a fantastic survival game.

From the first dirt house to a trap-infested safe-haven full of hoarded goodies, the climb to the top is steady and rarely stagnates. There is always something you could do to improve your stature in the world around you.

Minecraft Dirt Home Survival Evolved Games on Console

Minecraft Alpha's YouTube Popularity Boom

Nobody had seen another game like it, and since no two peoples' experiences were ever the same, it flooded the internet with an unprecidented amount of unique video content. Major gaming outlets focused on big-budget titles of the year while YouTube drowned in an endless stream of Minecraft.

Once Minecraft Beta launched and the overwhelming popularity of the game surged through the masses, major media outlets opened their eyes and discovered a gem they completely glossed over.

Minecraft Alpha Youtube Popularity Boom Survival Games on Consoles

Minecraft Transcends the Survival Genre

Beta 1.8 — also known as the Adventure Update — brought a plethora of pivotal features to Minecraft pre-Launch, including a fully featured Creative Mode for the fans of the (now retired) Minecraft Classic. In one sweeping update, Minecraft's appeal was suddenly broadened by a wide margin.

The Survival Clone Wars

Minecraft's astounding revelation naturally paved the way for developers to follow its success and grasp for the spirit of survival. Unlike video game cloning phenomena of earlier years — such as World of Warcraft and Halo — many of the games reworking Minecraft's survival front are developed by indie studios.

From here, survival game developers take the bare-bones approach in two general directions:

  • Don't Starve Survival Evolved Console Games Clone WarsSurvival with a Twist - The fundamentals of survival are mixed with a unique spin. Many of these titles offer unique and interesting gameplay that you can't find elsewhere — games like Don't Starve or Starbound. This is why the classic Minecraft vs. Terraria debate doesn't stand up — Terraria is more of an Action-RPG than a Survival game.
  • Survival Evolved - These titles take the basic idea of survival and expand it in new and engaging ways. This is where Rust, DayZ7 Days to Die and various other survival games come to reside. These games often feel a lot like featured or graphical extensions based on Minecraft's core idea.
Consistently Unbalanced Survival Gameplay Standards

Rival players are part of the survival element in newer titles, and rightfully so. But none of these games offer players an incentive to band together. As a result, in-game communities are rarely formed and PvP is left in an overwhelmingly chaotic state.

On top of that, the environments rarely shelter any real danger, leaving players with only one true fear: other players. Allowing soloists to grasp power quicker than any group of players could creates a real griefing problem. Many of these games unfortunately end up as playgrounds for maniacal-sandcastle-kickers.

Unbalanced Survival Games From Minecraft to ARK Console Evolved

Survival's Fall from Grace

There are some pretty nifty survival games out there. Rust brought beautifully humanizing concepts to the table, and DayZ even managed to summon the Zombie craze (with varying levels of success). But it became tiring to continually watch mis-matched survival games crash and burn with so much potential floating in the air.

Fast forward to the current year of 2015 and most major game media outlets are rarely caught reporting on the survival genre anymore. There is no obligation to continue following survival games since they don't come from AAA developers.

When Minecraft became a legend, it transcended the genre. The duty to find the next great survival game was passed back down to YouTubers and Twitch streamers.

The media set itself up for "Minecraft" to happen all over again.

ARK: Survival Evolved Console Space Race Minecraft

ARK: Survival Evolved - Pretentious or Daring?

With a name as outrageous as ARK: Survival Evolved, one wonders whether Studio Wildcard is being pretentious or rather daring. I'm inclined to say the latter, considering the game's refusal to step down from its cemented position on Steam's Top Sellers list ever since they launched Early Access.

With a name as outrageous as ARK: Survival Evolved, one wonders whether Studio Wildcard is being pretentious or rather daring.

Dinosaurs are not a new concept to survival games. However, the powerful impression that prehistoric creatures give off has been largely absent. Even interactions with the exotic have been extremely limited.

The Bewildering ARK Environment

The island of the ARK is not exactly the safest place to end up. Studio Wildcard meticulously balances the dinosaurs around every difficulty level, so it can stay a challenge no matter what range of ridiculous numbers you are pulling. And that says nothing of the vast sense of wonder you get from being surrounded by such exotic wildlife.

ARK builds an environment exclusively out of creatures no one living has ever seen before. It is rather impressive once you consider how few games actually do that — even fictional ones.

Studio Wildcard cleverly utilizes the ARK's dinosaur theme to add an extra layer of survival: the fear of the unknown.

ARK: Survival Evolved Console Space Race Bewildering Environment Prehistoric Creatures Dinosaurs

The Tribe Mentality

After progressing through the ARK's early levels, it becomes increasingly difficult to progress on a vanilla server without any sort of group. You will never have enough Engram Points to spend on everything you want to craft — and you will soon be faced with particularly daunting material costs.

This pushes many players towards creating and managing their own Tribes to gain more power in the ARK. The player progression that Studio Wildcard is creating allows for a smoother introduction to PvPvE servers and can make for some interestingly honour-bound communities.

New Early Access Gold Standard?

Early Access has been blatantly misused since its recent break-out, and it is not showing any signs of getting better. The original purpose of Early Access is often cited yet nearly forgotten. It seems many games either show very little outward acknowledgment or are cursed with poor design decisions when met with negative feedback.

Studio Wildcard has built an incredible track record over the past two months. Some would even name them the Santa Claus of Early Access. Not only are the developers patching multiple times a week, they are pushing out fixes, balance changes and new features that the community inspired. Ho, ho, ho!

ARK: Survival Evolved Console Space Race Community Early Access Santa Claus

Ambitious Design Inspires Future Creative Potential

The roadmap for ARK is so ambitious that I can't even begin to guess where they are taking the game. Whatever the destination, it is going to inspire a multitude of survival games to come — especially after its launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016.

With a presence in the console space, the evolved survival genre is bound to turn heads. Who knows, maybe even AAA developers will finally start working to bring us survival games for consoles! Then again, any more super-trends could have negative repercussions.

A Slow Race to the Console Space

Minecraft Survival Evolved Games Race to Console SpaceEver since Minecraft appeared on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, console survival games have been a long time coming. I can only wonder why more survival games haven't made their way to consoles already.

Does ARK: Survival Evolved have what it takes to push survival games to the console space? What would you like to see in a console survival game? How do you think they will adapt to consoles? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

ARK: Survival Evolved hits over 1 million sales by giving players $100 for finding exploits Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:38:43 -0400 Courtney Gamache

ARK: Survival Evolved, developed by Studio Wildcard is an Early Access Game on Steam that released just over a month ago. Within that time they've sold over 1 million copies, and become hugely popular with their popular bug-hunting bounty program. 

What is ARK: Survival Evolved?

This is a survival game with online players who are inhabiting an island filled with vicious dinosaurs and fellow survivors. As featured in the title, survival is key and you'll have to battle your way through players and dinosaurs alike to thrive. A few key aspects to the game involve creating a base, crafting weapons, and crafting clothing. Over time, you'll be able to tame dinosaurs and ride them as well.

ARK: Survival Evolved is slowly making its way from Steam to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in good time. Although there isn't a release date for this console expansion, it's anticipated for sometime next year.

Bounty Rewards 

One way thatARK: Survival Evolved has gained such a huge following is by providing a bounty rewards program for gamers who find glitches or exploits in the game. If a gamer can prove in-game that it exists, they get paid $100 through Paypal. This was bound to pick up some followers after they announced it on the Studio Wildcard Steam page. For more information review my earlier article, "Bounty Rewards for ARK: Survival Evolved through Exploitation Discovery" on how you can gain these rewards. 

There are a few guides on ARK: Survival Evolved that might be helpful to new players including: "ARK: Survival Evolved Guide - Survivor Engram Point Essentials for Solo, PvP and PvE Servers" and "ARK: Survival Evolved Guide - How to Efficiently Tame Your Dinosaur".


Have any of you played this survival game? I would love some opinions on how the gameplay is.

Bounty Rewards for ARK: Survival Evolved through Exploitation Discovery Sun, 28 Jun 2015 04:14:28 -0400 Courtney Gamache

The developers behind ARK: Survival Evolved are giving out $100 rewards for players who find exploitations in their Early Access game on Steam. 

To all the gamers out there looking to find exploits in games - it's your time to shine. Put aside your devil horns and adopt a halo, because ARK developers are giving out $100 bounty rewards for exploits that are proven to be genuine within the game. This reward system was announced June 24th, but since the first bounty has been given out, the hype is growing.

The first bounty went to player ZeroDay(++), who privately alerted the developers about an exploit that could make the game's server crash along with other severe repercussions. Once the exploit was proven to be legitimate, Studio Wildcard forwarded the money to the player's PayPal account.

Although a bounty has been paid, the developers are keen on letting the public know that the offer is still on the table. A few exploits that are popularly used in multiplayer games include speedhacks, aimbots, and possibly even a radar system. Full information about the bounty offer can be found on the Studio Wildcard Steam page.

ARK: Survival Evolved is now available for Early Access on Steam for $30.