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Learn to Mod ARK: Survival Evolved with the Official Dev Kit


Introduction




ARK: Survival Evolved is a popular survival game that lets you explore, craft, fight, and tame dinosaurs on a mysterious island. But what if you want to change some aspects of the game, or add new features, creatures, or maps? That's where the ARK Dev Kit comes in.


The ARK Dev Kit is a streamlined version of the Unreal Engine 4 Editor that simplifies the mod creation and sharing process for ARK: Survival Evolved. It gives you access to all the content and data of the game, and allows you to modify and create your own assets, blueprints, scripts, and more. You can also use the ARK Dev Kit to upload your mods to Steam Workshop or Epic Games Store, where other players can download and enjoy them.




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Modding is a fun and creative way to express yourself and enhance your gaming experience. You can make your own custom maps, items, weapons, structures, creatures, game modes, and more. You can also learn valuable skills in game design, programming, art, and animation. And you can join a massive community of passionate mod authors and players who share your love for ARK.


Getting the ARK Dev Kit




To start developing mods for ARK, you need the ARK Dev Kit. To get the Dev Kit, you need to download the Epic Games launcher , where you'll end up with a screen like this:


Click the upper-right button to download the Epic Games launcher installer. When you launch this installer, everything should be pretty self-explanatory. The ARK Dev Kit is a modified version of the Unreal Engine 4 editor. It's been adapted to make developers able to create mods for ARK. That means a lot of knowledge about Unreal Engine 4 is applicable when working in the ARK Dev Kit. I'll go into this a little later.


Once you've installed the launcher and open it, it should look a little like this:


You should then select the "Modding" tab. This opens up a window where you can select the game you want to mod. Select Ark and click "Install".


How to download and install ARK Modkit


ARK Dev Kit tutorial for beginners


Best ARK: Survival Evolved mods and maps


ARK Dev Kit vs Unreal Engine 4 Editor


How to upload ARK mods to Steam Workshop


ARK Dev Kit system requirements and performance tips


How to create custom creatures and items in ARK Dev Kit


ARK Dev Kit troubleshooting and common errors


How to update ARK Dev Kit and mods


How to use blueprints and data tables in ARK Dev Kit


How to make a total conversion mod for ARK: Survival Evolved


How to add new engrams and tekgrams in ARK Dev Kit


How to create a custom map for ARK: Survival Evolved


How to use the landscape tool and foliage in ARK Dev Kit


How to add weather effects and lighting in ARK Dev Kit


How to create a custom UI and HUD in ARK Dev Kit


How to use animations and sounds in ARK Dev Kit


How to add new biomes and terrain features in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal game data and game mode in ARK Dev Kit


How to test and debug your mod in ARK Dev Kit


How to optimize your mod for performance and compatibility in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the graph editor and scripting in ARK Dev Kit


How to create a custom boss fight and arena in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal character status component in ARK Dev Kit


How to add new resources and crafting recipes in ARK Dev Kit


How to create a custom dinosaur AI and behavior in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal inventory component in ARK Dev Kit


How to add new skins and costumes in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the damage type and resistance system in ARK Dev Kit


How to create a custom mission and reward system in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal structure component in ARK Dev Kit


How to add new structures and building pieces in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal item component in ARK Dev Kit


How to add new weapons and tools in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal buff component in ARK Dev Kit


How to add new buffs and debuffs in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal dino settings class in ARK Dev Kit


How to customize the taming values and food effectiveness of dinosaurs in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal spawner component in ARK Dev Kit


How to spawn dinosaurs and other entities in your map or mod in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal game state class in ARK Dev Kit


How to track and save the game progress and player data in your mod or map in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal player controller class in ARK Dev Kit


How to customize the player movement and input settings in your mod or map in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal player state class in ARK Dev Kit


How to customize the player stats and attributes in your mod or map in ARK Dev Kit


How to use the primal tribe manager class in ARK Dev Kit


How to customize the tribe system and settings in your mod or map in ARK Dev Kit


Now your computer will download and install the ARK Dev Kit. This is going to take a while... As of now the size of the ARK Dev Kit is 90 GB, so some of your patience is required.


When the Dev Kit is installed, start it up with the Launch option. There's a cogwheel next to the Launch option. If you click this cogwheel, you can uninstall, verify or go to options. While installing and going to options are probably well-known possibilities, verification might not be. Verification is an option you might want to use when you're experiencing strange errors, as it will verify your files, see if something's wrong and fix it when it finds something. It won't always help, but it's often a good start.


Exploring the ARK Dev Kit




When you start up the ARK Dev Kit, it will probably look something like this:


If this is the first time you've started up an editor, this might be pretty confusing and overwhelming. I've decided to cut it up in several pieces to make it a bit easier, like so:


  • In the top left, is the "Modes Panel" ()



In the bottom left, you find the "Content Browser" (Creating your first mod


Now that you have the ARK Dev Kit installed and ready, you might be wondering how to create your first mod. Don't worry, it's not as hard as it may seem. In this section, I will guide you through the basic steps of making a simple mod and testing it in-game.


A mod is essentially a collection of assets and data that modify or add to the existing game content. The ARK Dev Kit provides you with a template for creating a mod, which you can customize and expand as you wish. To create a mod, you need to do the following:


  • Create a new mod folder and name it whatever you want.



  • Copy the generic mod files from the Dev Kit to your mod folder.



  • Edit the PrimalGameData file to set up your mod information and settings.



  • Add or modify assets, blueprints, scripts, etc. to your mod folder.



  • Cook and upload your mod to Steam Workshop or Epic Games Store.



  • Subscribe to your mod and enable it in-game.



Let's go over each step in more detail.


Create a new mod folder




The first thing you need to do is to create a new folder for your mod inside the Dev Kit directory. You can do this by using the Content Browser in the Dev Kit. The Content Browser is where you can browse, create, import, export, and manage all the assets and data of your mod. To open the Content Browser, click on the button in the toolbar that looks like this:


The Content Browser will open in a new window. You can dock it anywhere in the Dev Kit interface by dragging it to the desired location. You can also resize it by dragging its edges or corners. The Content Browser has several tabs and panels that help you organize and access your content. You can learn more about them in the .


To create a new folder for your mod, right-click on the Mods folder in the Content Browser and select New Folder. Name your folder whatever you want, but make sure it doesn't have any spaces or special characters. For example, I will name my folder MyFirstMod.


You should now see your new folder inside the Mods folder. This is where you will store all the files and assets of your mod.


Copy the generic mod files




The next thing you need to do is to copy some generic mod files from the Dev Kit to your mod folder. These files are essential for making your mod work properly and include some basic settings and data that you can customize later. To copy these files, follow these steps:


  • In the Content Browser, navigate to /Game/Mods/GenericMod.



  • Select all the files inside this folder by pressing Ctrl+A or by dragging a selection box around them.



  • Right-click on any of the selected files and choose Copy.



  • Navigate to your mod folder (e.g. /Game/Mods/MyFirstMod).



  • Right-click on an empty space in your mod folder and choose Paste.



You should now see several files copied to your mod folder. These files are:


  • GenericMod.umap: This is the map file of your mod. A map is where you can place and arrange all the actors (such as creatures, items, structures, etc.) that make up your mod's environment. You can edit this file by double-clicking on it in the Content Browser.



PrimalGameData_BP_GenericMod.uasset: This is the primal game data file of your mod. A primal game data file contains all the information and settings of your mod, such as its name, description, icon, dependencies, engrams, spawn points,


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