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How do I get the ARK Devkit?

The only way for the initial download of the ARK Devkit is through the Epic Games Launcher. Do NOT download the version that is on Steam, it is severely outdated and unusable! After the initial download you can either keep it up to date through the Epic Games Launcher or manually through Github and content diff download.

Epic Games Launcher
+ You are able to verify your devkit files in case you messed something up(much like verifying a games files on steam).
+ Easy to use
- Every update requires you to have as much free diskspace as a full install, this is only to start the download of the update regardless of the updates actual size. This can be impossible if you have limited diskspace available.
- Devkit Updates usually take longer until they are available on the Epic Games Launcher.
Manual Updates
+ Gets around the free diskspace problem of the Epic Games Launcher.
+ Updates are available faster.
- No verification of the files.

How do I update the Devkit without the Epic Games Launcher(Github and Content Diff)?

Updates are usually provided first through github(binaries) and a Google-drive hosted content diff archive, and will be announced on the ARKModding discord by an Admin once the update has been vetted to be free of crash-inducing bugs. To update you need BOTH the binaries from github and the content diff package.

To download the Github Binaries, you must be a member of Epic' organisation on Github. You do this by creating a Github account first, if you don't have one already, then you will need to proceed to your Epic Games account settings and specify the username you used for your Github account in the Github Account Name field(see first image)
Put the GitHub account name in the highlighted field.

You should then, either immediately or sometime after clicking "Save", receive an email with an offer to join Epic's Github organisation, which gives you access to the UE4 source repository and the DevKit binaries repository. To download the binaries, click on the green Clone or Download button and then Download ZIP.

To download the Content-Diff, click the provided drive.google.com link and follow the prompts to download the archive. Warning: The size of this archive can range from ~1GB to ~5GB's or more.

Once you have both the Google-Drive Content-diff and the Github binaries, extract them both over the root folder of your DevKit install (see second image). When you extract both archives, overwrite all files found in your install directory when prompted, then when both are complteted you may launch the DevKit with the .bat file called ARKDevKit.BAT and continue as normal.
View of DevKit install root, where archives get extracted.
NOTE: The Github binaries archive contents are buried inside a second folder within the archive, you must extract the contents of this base folder in the archive for the update to work, you will know you're in the right place because there will be a folder called Engine. (see third image)
Correct files to extract from within the GitHib archive download.

How do I test my mod?

There are two ways you can do this. The first is to upload the mod to a second workshop entry - a process which will be detailed at a later date, and the second is to use the Test Mod Output Directory field. This is the one detailed below.

When you populate this field - it's easier to use ...\Mods in your ARK install - the Editor will compile a windows-only version of the mod in a fraction of the time compared to a full cook(it will also include extraneous files but these can be ignored for the time being). This, in turn, will create a file called 123456789.mod and a folder of the same name containing two "meta" data/info files. It will also create a folder that has the same name as the folder for your Mod in the Editor ...\Mods folder - so for a folder in your Editor called MyMod, there will be a folder of the same name in the directory you chose to cook to. The actual files for the mod are here, and must be moved into the 123456789 folder mentioned earlier. If you wish to test on a server, then you must copy the 123456789.mod and 123456789 folder to the server' ...\Mods folder as well.

NOTE: You must not have this field populated before cooking your mod if you wish to upload it. If you have cooked your mod with this field filled, clear it, and cook again before attempting to upload.

What files do I need for a mod?

The minimal setup for a mod is:

  • PrimalGameData: - Create a child of PrimalGameDataBP
  • Level: - Create a new blank level file in your mod folder

Open the level file(you will see a black screen, don't worry) and select the "World Settings" tab. If you don't have the tab up go to "Window" in the main menu bar and tick "World Settings". In the world settings look for the "PrimalGameData Override" and set it to the PrimalGameData in your mod folder.

How do I import the source files for a mod(tutorial, project take-over, etc.)?

To import the source files of a mod - remember that you cannot import the cooked/compiled files for a mod - either copy the root/base folder for the mod, or extract the root/base folder if the mod was sourced via an archive of some form(.7z, .zip, .rar, etc.), to the ...\Mods\ folder of your DevKit install with the DevKit closed. For example, I would extract the root folder of a mod' source files to "I:\ARKDevKit\Projects\ShooterGame\Content\Mods\...".

NOTE: Do NOT change any file or folder names as doing so will cause the files to lose their inheritance and reference paths when you load the DevKit next potentially making the mod unusable to you if you're unaware of what you're doing until you delete and re-do the copy/extraction process.


How do I get a "Cast" node?

You need to drag from a blue/purple pin and have the "Context sensitive" checkbox ticked to get the cast to options to show up.


Why do I only see ocean when I load up TheIsland?

By default the editor only loads the TheIsland persistent level to save resources. You need to load the sublevels you want to see/edit through the "Levels" tab. If you don't see the "Levels" tab go to "Window" in the main menu bar and tick "Levels". That should bring up the tab. You can then load the required sublevels by double-clicking on the name.