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Dino Depot: Ark Sorting System
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Dino Depot: Ark Sorting System

Miguel Ángel García Lucena
by maglucen on 4 Nov 2023

"Dino Depot: Ark Sorting System," the ASA mod I plan to develop, streamlines inventory management in Ark: Survival Ascended. Your creatures stand on a platform, and the system automatically organizes dinos' items into storage, saving time and enhancing gameplay.

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Update - 5 Nov 2023

Today I worked on creating the 3D model. At first I was going to create some kind of platform, but later decided that it was better to create just the "siphoning" object, so the player could place it whereever they liked.

I downloaded most of the wooden structures ingame so I could dissect them and use them on some proxy/low poly version I had done of what I wanted. 

The final mod currently has only 7,000 vertices, but I aim to further reduce it. I plan to use the method explained by Vahab Ahmadvand, where I'll bake the details onto a low-poly version (Link to his twitter post).

This is how the siphoning area looks. To texture it, I referenced the materials from the current game's models onto the platform, making it seamlessly blend in. I made minor model adjustments to address shadows cast on the main texture, ensuring it closely resembles in-game assets.

Creating the thumbnail for the in-game icon required disabling Nanite on the platform. I then entered the platform in the game world and experimented with the 'render custom depth pass' option to get the screenshot without a background, then modified it slightly on Photoshop.

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Update - 4 Nov 2023

Ark: Survival Evolved is one of the games I have spent countless hours playing. Lately, they released Ark: Survival Ascended, its remaster, using Unreal Engine 5.

When Ark: Survival Ascended was announced, I initially wanted to learn how to mod. However, realizing that ASA was on the horizon, I decided not to 'waste' my time trying to learn it then. Now that ASA has been released, it's finally my moment to dive in and learn and practice modding.

For my first mod, I am trying to create an automatic sorting system.

Why an automatic sorting system?

* When playing Ark, especially in PvE mode, you'll find yourself spending numerous hours farming. Each time you return from a farming session, you have to sort the items inside your existing storages and make multiple trips to unload your dinosaurs. My goal is to streamline the unloading and sorting process, reducing the time you spend on these tasks.

How would it work?

* I envision creating a platform in Ark where your dinosaur stand. After a brief delay, the items you've pre-set would automatically be syphoned into the 'DinoDepot.' Once activated, the system would search for nearby inventories with names containing keywords like 'Resources,' 'Consumables,' and others. It would then transfer the sorted items into these designated inventories, streamlining the sorting and unloading process significantly.

How would the visuals work?

* I aim to make the mod seamlessly integrate with ASA's aesthetic by utilizing existing models, as permitted by Studio Wildcard for modders. Leveraging the wireless system they implemented and exploring extensions like the water reservoir, I plan to enhance the Dino Depot's functionality. This includes enabling access to additional inventories, ensuring the mod feels like a natural part of the game.

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