Community Crunch 255: Behind the LiveOps Curtain and More!

Posted on February 19th, 2021 10:23 PM EST
Behind The LiveOps Curtain

Hey Survivors, we thought it might be a good time for a little Live Operations Dev Blog of sorts. We’ve been very busy behind the scenes and sometimes during that hive of activity, we may forget that our players enjoy details outside of “We’re busy with X, more info soon” etc. So let’s give you more of a glimpse behind the LiveOps curtain.


LiveOps
LiveOps has been er...hectic of late. Let’s get straight to it.

Transfer Issues: We encountered some serious problems on our networking side that led to some players losing items and/or characters. We initially implemented a quick fix in order to address it as quickly as possible, then pivoted to working on a more long-term upgrade to make our system more robust.

We don’t find what occurred acceptable in the slightest and have some of our engineers focused on working alongside our host to upgrade the system and prevent these issues from occurring in the future. These specific problems were something we hadn’t encountered with the system in the past (even though the symptoms may appear similar to some of our players).

Anything resulting in data loss for our players is of critical importance to us and we apologise to those affected.

Meshing: Meshing is still a focus for the team - we’re constantly working on patching out methods and holes as we learn of them. We saw an uptick in meshing incidents on Playstation recently. In general, we’ve made significant strides in reducing meshing and, overall, incidents are way down in comparison to a year ago. That said, in a sandbox game, people always find new methods.

Some of our solutions to further counter meshing include:
  • Zipline patch. Players can no longer jump on a zipline to get through a small hole.
  • Implemented an automated system that will now try to detect projectiles, so when players are firing rockets, ziplines etc inside the mesh they will get destroyed before they’re able to make an impact. Unfortunately this system can’t hit every location but we’re happy to have made some impact in this regard.
  • World Borders: Soon, we will be updating world barriers on all maps so that anything outside of a world border will be destroyed. Boom. This is live on The Island on PC and there were some edge-case issues with it being oversensitive but that’s now been fixed and we’ll be rolling out to other platforms soon.

We consider our continued approach to meshing to be three pronged:
  • Better detection to prevent it in the first place
  • Destroying what has slipped through the cracks
  • Identifying specific areas that can be exploited and patching them.

We’ll share more on the world border changes when that goes live.

Enforcement
Some of you don’t feel your reports lead to action so we want to share more info about the action taken against players who cheat or otherwise break our Code Of Conduct. We are working on some solutions for better visibility for those affected by cheaters into punishments and actions taken against players that are consistently ruining the game via third party software etc. We hope to roll those out in the near future.

Performance and Stability
Client and server performance was a focus through 2020.

That said, over the years, we’ve learned to stop counting dodos before they hatch in regards to how noticeable performance improvements are. But now that we can see the combined impact of a year's changes, we can confirm some tangible improvements when comparing performance at the start of 2020 to performance today.

Servers
Transfer system:
  • We completely moved to an in-network solution
  • Now have more control over what can go in and out of the system on a network level
  • This system is faster, more reliable, and more cost effective
  • (though it still needs some work to get it where it needs to be! ;))

DDoS protection:
  • We added additional hardware and software solutions to our already existent DDoS solution through Nitrado
  • Incoming traffic can be more finely tuned on the packet level rather than at a higher more general level than prior

Performance in-game
Structure placing and demolition performance update.

The most significant boost to performance in-game that we implemented on our Official Network last November is the structure placing/demo update.

Eliminated server calculation in relation to placing structures:
Previously the server had to do some massive calculations involving checking all snapped structures to the structure being replaced to verify structural integrity. That calculation has now been eliminated as it is a replacement rather than the placement of a new structure in a new area. This is most noticeable on busy servers with large save files.

Optimised server calculation for demolishing structures:
The demolish change was a reduction on how much is actually being calculated. It’s less complex in the way in which the server checks these things now so demolishing things will be less intensive aka “cheaper”on the server’s performance thereby reducing lag, stalls and/or server frame drops when demolishing.

We're not taking these gains as cause to stop iterating, though. There's still room to improve, so we’ll keep pushing those out throughout 2021 too.

Community feedback/connection
In some ways, when we update the game, we’re really updating something that’s no longer ours. It’s yours; it’s a creature, mechanic or DLC that millions of players may have grown to love, and we want to make sure we do good by you all first and foremost.

This is a reason why we released an Official Discord, so we can get more feedback from players on the direction we’re headed. Thanks to a breadth of functionality, lots of our players have embraced the ARK Discord as a semi-public community platform. We find observing our player's thoughts and chatter, along with sometimes interacting with you in a “live” medium useful and enjoyable. This along with the more traditional forums and various feedback channels helps us to stay connected to the community.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking your head behind the curtain with us. Do let us know if you find write ups like this interesting.

Studio Wildcard

EVO Event


Survivors on all platforms will be receiving a special Evolution Event perk! It will be active until Thursday the 18th of February. All Official Servers across each platform will be undergoing this evolutionary change which includes:
  • 2X XP

Community Corner
Clips/Videos

🎥Creator: sotfleague
This week was the first monthly tournament for the player-run SoTF league with a prize pool. Icebox came through with first place in the duos. This early game bow fight leads to a priceless reaction from the announcer.

https://clips.twitch.tv/BumblingGracefulPistachioOptimizePrime-zjn1Mx3UXpX9B0sm?tt_content=player_title&tt_medium=clips_embed/?&tt_content=channel_name&tt_medium=embed

🎥Creator: Syntac
Check out the latest Love Evolved update with Syntac!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5LdnZ1Hql0

🎥Creator: Alexby11
You have to answer when nature calls 💩 #ARKADIA

https://clips.twitch.tv/SteamyRelievedFungusHeyGuys-o-zaU1xtHzz4N4kn?tt_content=player_title&tt_medium=clips_embed/?&tt_content=channel_name&tt_medium=embed

🎥Creator: AaronLongstaff1
Take a look at Aaron's stream of a Japanese-styled temple. He's building on Crystal isles, a perfect backdrop for this awesome build!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaq-RNBG7_g

🎥Creator: Feederi XD
Throwback Clip: Fifi and tek jump pads go brrrrt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPxmANUP-V4

Fan Art

🎨 Sonne-Spiritwind - ARK: Coelophysis


🎨 SlappyShotte - Com|Aberration


🎨sis_6193 - Let's go home early


🎨TekARK3 - Locke Terranova


🎨 Slither06#9236 - Otter (Discord)


In-Game Screenshots

📸 @mocco1218ga


📸 Sandi#9998


📸 Tinner The Big Red Dovah#2333


📸 Vattghornn#9974


Enjoy your weekend!
Studio Wildcard

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