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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.

How do I move the Editor to a new folder/drive?

The Launcher currently lacks the ability to do this natively, but it can be done still either by "tricking" it or moving it and forcing it to verify the existing files. The simplest route is using a directory junction(aka Symbolic Link) pointing from the old location to the new location.

Using a Symbolic Link

To do this make sure you've exited the launcher, then navigate to the folder that contains the Editor installation(for example C:\Program Files\Epic Games\) and you will want to either copy then delete, or just outright move the ARKDevKit folder to your desired location.

Once this is done, you will need to open Command Prompt as Admin(really just to prevent folder permission errors) and use the MKLINK command. The syntax of the command is important here, using the aforementioned path as an example, the command will look as follows(adapt to your specifics):

MKLINK /J "C:\Program Files\Epic Games\ARKDevKit" "H:\ARKDevKit"

If the link was successful, you will get a message stating as much and you're done. You can verify this by running the Epic Launcher and launching the Editor.


  • The MKLINK command syntax requires arguments or switches first(the /J(Junction) switch) then it requires the link target - this is to be the folder that points to another location, after which comes the source target - this is the folder the link will point to.
  • This method is the simplest, requires no extra space, has some minor risk from incorrect command usage and day-to-day caveats but they're unlikely to be encountered in normal usage.

Change the actual Installation

If you would rather just prefer to move the folder to a new location and have it register then you can do the following.

Before proceeding, you should - and actually must - back up your DevKit installation first. So wherever it is installed(eg: C:\Program Files\Epic Games\), you need to copy that elsewhere so you will need a decent chunk of free space to do this.

After you've backed it up, uninstall the Editor from within the Launcher, when it is done I would recommend restarting your machine to be safe. When ready, install the Editor again at your desired location, let it go through the process of starting the download, preferably until it hits at least 1% to be safe.

Once this happens, pause the install/download and kill the launcher in Task Manager, then either move or copy and paste the Editor backup to the new install location you chose when re-installing the Editor, start the launcher when it's done copying and let the launcher proceed to install - it may look like it's going to continue installing but it should eventually switch to Verifying.

Epic' own guidance on this: Epic Games Support


  • This has the chance to not work correctly and carries the highest risk, that is why it is recommended to copy instead of move files. This however necessitates many hundreds of gigabytes of free space to carry out the method, by way of copying the Editor twice, without the risk of being forced to completely re-download the Editor.
  • If you've reformatted onto a new drive, or have recently reinstalled the launcher for one reason or another and want to reconnect the Editor to the launcher, you can perform the same process as above for moving it, just start at the new install point for the launcher and proceed from there.

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 and the second is to use the Test Mod Output Directory field.

Using a second workshop item for testing

The process for this is actually pretty simple, it only involves editing the Mods.db file in "..\ARKEditor\Projects\ShooterGame\Saved\..".

With the cook/upload window CLOSED, open this file in a competent text editor, Notepad++ is a good choice. Do not use Windows Notepad, it cannot handle the format of the file properly and will either revert changes or invalidate it in the eyes of the Editor.

Inside that file, you're going to look for the group pertaining to the mod you want to create a second entry for. A search(most likely CTRL + F in your text editor) for the name of the folder your mod is in will do this. From there you need to copy and paste the entire mod entry so you have a second entry - see here for the expected final result.

Once you have the second entry, in the second entry change the Title and Description values to something else and make the following changes "ChangeNotes": "" & "ItemSeamId": "". Once you've done that, save the file and now you can open the cook/upload window in your Editor and the second entry should be visible in the list on the left. Make sure you setup the new entry as you normally would for an upload, then click Upload.

Using "Test Mod Output Directory" for mod testing

When you populate this field it's easier to use ...\Mods in your ARK install, when you then start the Cook, the Editor will compile a Windows-only version of the mod much faster than 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 containing your Mod in the Editor - 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 too. The actual files for the mod are found here and must be moved into the aforementioned 123456789 folder. If you wish to test on a server, then you must copy/upload 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" panel, look for the "PrimalGameData Override" and set it to the PrimalGameData in your mod folder. To get back to the TestMap, go to the Maps folder in the content browser and open it again, or go to File > Open Level... and find the TestMap in the same place.

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 "..\ARKEditor\Projects\ShooterGame\Content\Mods\.." folder with the DevKit closed.

NOTE: Do NOT change any file or folder names outside of the Editor - in Explorer for instance - 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.


Epic Games Tutorials/References


Third Party Tutorials/References

DevSquad Learning Hub

Community Tutorials/References

Wildcard Workshop - ZenRowe


Why do I only see an 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.