ARK: Base building trial and error, and the patching frenzy

Still playing a lot of ARK, and still really enjoying it. My latest ‘main focus’ is on building a base, which is great fun but also a source of some frustration as things don’t always work out as I had planned in my mind before placing pieces. There is a lot of trial and error, but because you only get 50% of the resources back when you removed a placed piece, too much error leads to a lot of additional resource harvesting.

The cause of most issues is the fact that the base is built on a slope, near an abandoned base, along a river. The abandoned base is problematic because it blocks me from placing pieces at certain points if they get too close to it, and while we have plans to eventually remove that base, we aren’t at that point just yet. The river is vital as we need the water for crops, but it also causes some issues with placement and with dino pathing. Since dinos can drown, I can’t build in such a way that could potentially lead to one of our tamed dinos getting stuck underwater.

However the biggest problem is the slope of the land. The placement of the base’s initial foundations, while not ‘bad’, aren’t ideal, nor are the structures going further down the slope towards the river. If it was possible to pick everything up and redo the base, I would in a heartbeat, but again that 50% cost is a killer. The actual buildings aren’t too bad, as they are functional and provide enough space. The dino pen however is currently an issue, specifically building a roof for it to keep our tamed dinos safe from aerial dinos and players jumping in.

Roof tiles can’t be attached to walls built using a fence base, only walls placed on a foundation. But as foundation placement is far more limited than fence, fence basing was used for the majority of the pen walls. That worked great for the walls, but now pillars are required to build the roof. Pillars however are limited in their height; you can’t fully control how high they go with each placement, which leads to gaps. A small gap is fine, but if the gap gets big enough, a player could squeeze through, defeating the purpose of the ceiling.

The pen requires multiple pillars for the roof, but again thanks to the slope, each pillar is slightly different in eventual height, leading to a roof that is a mishmash of heights, along with walls that either leave a small (hopefully inaccessible) gap, or that go a bit above the ceiling. While ultimately functional, it’s not as clean looking as I’d like, and that bothers me. Not enough to fix it all to perfection at that 50% cost, but enough to think about the next base and how to improve the design.

A large part of the learning process here is seeing how the world interacts with each of the building pieces, what you are allowed to place where, and some tricky/strange stuff like removing a wall blocking a ceiling, placing said ceiling, and then being allowed to rebuild the wall in its original spot, slightly clipping through the ceiling tile. Again, trial and error is part of the fun, even if it’s a costly part.

It also doesn’t help that ARK is updated at a mind-blowing pace. Almost every day a patch is released, and often the patch brings some major stuff like a new dino, new tools, new weapons, or tweaks/balance changes. Plus bug fixes and performance improvements. It really is amazing, and ARK is perhaps the first game were I truly feel Early Access is very appropriate not because the game is in rough shape (it’s not, at all), but because of how fast it changes and evolves. Playing the game itself feels like a wild ride, and being part of the game’s development is also an experience.

The server we are on is Official 30, feel free to ping me on Steam if you are interested in jumping in.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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6 Responses to ARK: Base building trial and error, and the patching frenzy

  1. Griddlebone says:

    Build in thatch first, then just place real stuff over it. Saves a lot of pain.

    Pillars provide foundation support, and they’re a game changer for most builds.

    There’s a workaround to most of your issues with base building based on ceiling attachment: for slopes, you can attach ceilings directly onto foundations to use them as floors, and then attach pillars to the bottom of the ceilings (taking them all the way down to the ground) to provide foundation support.

    For dino pens, the easier way to do it is probably to tear it all down and start over. People can and will shoot through your dino pen just to grief you. To get the roof/ceiling to align perfectly, build a pillar, put a ceiling on top of it, then build the wall down from the ceiling. You might have to put a fence in front to cover the bottom, but it’s much less vulnerable than having a shitty roof (been there, it’s the worst). Then just keep expanding the ceiling as you please. To get more foundation support, build pillars down from the ceilings again – I think you can build 2 away from a foundation before it loses support, so if you want maximum interior room build wooden pillars to support the initial build then remove and replace with stone as necessary.

  2. zaphod6502 says:

    I might give it a go but I was initially turned off by the many reports of unplayable framerates. I assume this is not an issue anymore?

    • Griddlebone says:

      Nvidia cards are reasonably optimised, AMD not so much. If you have a mid-high tier PC it’ll run fine on some variation of settings (might have to crank them down a bit).

      Always leave World Tile Buffer on Epic, though. It stops a lot of freezing.

    • SynCaine says:

      I get 60-80 FPS on high with a few tweaks, so can’t say its bad.

      I can say certain servers we tried had bad stutter lag, but the one we are on now doesn’t, nor did our previous server.

    • saucelah says:

      I’m nearly unplayable on an AMD card, but it’s a low end card.

      I’ll probably come back to Ark when I replace my card this fall or spring.

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