Is ARK: Survival Evolved finally starting the work to put the final touches on a full release for the PC, Xbox One, and even the PS4? Studio Wildcard Co-founder and Lead Designer Jeremy Stieglitz pointed towards focus on much-needed performance improvements Tuesday while upcoming patch notes hint at rounding out the TEK Tier. Additionally, The Center map designer Ben Burkart also gave a sneak peek at an upcoming update to make the oceans in the official mod deeper.
It’s no secret among the ARK: Survival Evolved community that the game performance can struggle on PC and does even worse on consoles. Even the extra horsepower of the PlayStation 4 Pro was found to have performance and frame rate issues in a Digital Foundry analysis.
Studio Wildcard has put small performance and memory optimizations into patches released over the last several months, but there’s been no concentrated effort with so much content still being added to the Early Access title. That is finally going to change.
“Finally we’re getting to spend some more time on client-side performance: I’m expecting major rendering performance-gains soon,” Stieglitz announced via Twitter.
The Lead Developer didn’t expand on what types of performance improvements ARK Survivors should expect or the timeline for when they will be released. The studio is targeting spring 2017 to bring the game out of its Early Access state, so the best case scenario is to see the gains over the course of the next three months.
The PC patch notes for the upcoming 255 patch scheduled for February 20 do not currently list any performance improvements. Four new dinosaurs plus Tek tier items like underwater bases, generators, shields, and doors are listed along with new hair styles. ARK: Survival Evolved players will have to wait closer to patch’s release to see what performance improvements managed to squeeze their way in, if any.
Meanwhile, The Center creator Ben Burkart (aka EvilMrFrank) is not done with the super-sized map yet. The most recent patch for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 fixed a long list of bugs for the map. The next update focuses on the oceans and will make them three to four times deeper than before, as he previewed via his Twitter account.
Quick sneak preview of the deep ocean update coming to The Center, oceans up to 3-4X deeper than before! pic.twitter.com/NVDpJVYlpz— Ben Burkart (@evilmrfrank) February 14, 2017
The deeper oceans will not affect the areas around the underwater bubbles, per Burkart. Instead, they will be found in the eastern section of the map that currently has a completely flat bottom. These changes will also make some areas of the map that currently do not allow building structures to allow it.
Aside from being deeper, the new ocean areas will also be darker. ARK Survivors will need to bring a light source to these deep depths with them, such as a tamed Angler fish or a craftable light.
This update to The Center will also bring Tek caves to the map. These were originally added to The Island in November as part of PC patch 252. While Burkart has not shared how he is changing the caves for his map yet, the existing Island caves were given a new coat of paint to improve them visually along with some performance improvements. They also received revamped artifacts to provide better rewards and more challenges.
Expect to see The Center update as part of ARK: Survival Evolved‘s March patch release. This means PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners will see the same content update approximately a week to one month afterward.
As for Xbox One owners still waiting for word on Play Anywhere support, there is still no update from Studio Wildcard. The feature was supposed to be included in the January release, but the developers have been silent on the subject since that date was missed.
What do you think of the Studio Wildcard’s plan to focus on performance improvements for ARK: Survival Evolved and The Center map update? Sound off in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Studio Wildcard]