ARK: Survival Evolved

ARK: Survival Evolved

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Creating Mods with the ADK
By MasterTenchiTTV
A simple walkthrough creating a mod and content with the Ark Dev Kit.
Getting Started: Installing the ADK.
Welcome to making Mods with the ADK!

In this section we are going to discuss how to get started with the Ark Dev Kit.

If you have not already gotten your ADK through the Epic Launcher, you'll need to do just that.
Head on over to and create your account and download the engine.
This will lead you to getting your EpicGamesLauncherInstaller.msi (or EpicGamesLauncher.dmg for Mac).

Once installed and ran, you'll have this as your screen:

Across the top you'll see a TAB labled ARK. Let's click that.

If it's your first time here, it should ask you to INSTALL the ADK. Otherwise It'll display Launch as mine does above or UPDATE when there's an update to the Kit. If you need to install, here's where you will do that now. It may take some time to download, as it states: it is very large. I'll trust you in that you have done so properly.

Once you have started the ADK, you'll get this layout:

Congrats! You've Just Installed And Started The ADK!

In the next section, we'll talk about setting up your first mod properly.
Getting Started: Setting Up Your Mod
The ARK DEV KIT Is RENOWN For Being VERY SLOW Sometimes As It Does Things For The First Time. If Your EDITOR Seems To Have Frozen, Check Your TASK MANAGER.

If the Unreal Engine (ADK) Is NOT RESPONDING, BUT The CPU Usage Is Fluctuating And Memory / Disk Usage Is Still Going. It's NOT DEAD, Just Being Slow.

When last we left you, you had the editor open like so:

Let's break this down and explain each area:

RED Is your Content Browser. This is where we create folders and move assets around.
BLUE Is your current loaded Map/World or Level Viewer.
YELLOW Is your World Settings and Details Panel.

What? Don't Have World Settings Showing? Let's Fix that now!
In your upper left hand is the file menu:

Choose WINDOW and then WORLD SETTINGS, so it has a check mark.

You can now see WORLD SETTINGS in the Detail Panel - this is important later.

To start our mod, we need to give it a home (a folder).
So first, let's look at the Content Browser's list.
There's a lot of folders here, but the one we want is the one labled MODS.

By click that, it should extend open and show us our mods.

I highlighted the GENERICMOD Folder. This is the folder we are going to be copying things from for our BASE SETUP.

But First, Let's create a Folder while in the Mods Folder. You can do this by right clicking on the Mods Folder or using the NEW button above and choosing FOLDER.

Here's our New Folder:

You can name your MOD anything you like, I'll use TESTINGGROUNDS.

Now we are ready to SETUP our mod! Let's start by clicking on the GENERICMOD Folder.

Now we are going to Select These THREE Items:

Now drag them to our new folder and let go. You'll get this Menu:

Make sure you COPY HERE these files. If you do the files one at a time, you'll need to do this 3 times (one for each).

You can sort of rename these files any way you choose, except the PRIMALGAMEDATA_BP has to stay in the name on the primal game data blueprint. Here's what I named mine:

So what are these files?

The ORANGE FILE is your COOKING MAP (more on cooking later) It's a blank map for putting your MOD together for use by the other users.

We'll need to set the map up to use our next file: the PRIMAL GAME DATA BLUE PRINT. This is where we tell the game EVERYTHING about our mod. Like what new items we made, where to find them and what new structures to place and more. Everything we do to the game is recorded in here so the game knows what to do with it.

The Testing Game Mode is for our test map, which we'll be moving over soon enough in a minute. - If we need special changes in our testing environment this is where we do it. You'll almost never use it until you get more advanced and understand what the player pawns are and the game environment does.

Phew! We need one more file, but we have to go find this one, the TEST MAP.

Now granted, as you can see in the Level Viewer we already have the test map loaded. I've found that if we use the stock loaded test map for testing, it will throw strange "fake errors" later when loading, make your initial load longer and it gets cleared everytime they update the Kit. It's just better if we get our own and use that.

So first, let's click on the GAME FOLDER in ouer Content Browser:

In the FILTERS Bar, put TESTMAP (Shown in the Yellow Square).
This will filter out everything but that search word, we want the map TESTMAP (Shown in the Red Square). Just drag it over to our MOD FOLDER. Choose COPY HERE.

Don't Forget To CLEAR THE FILTER SEARCH BAR. With either deleting it, or hitting the RED X. Otherwise it will continue to display only the filtered search no matter what you do.

You can name this new TEST MAP anything you wish, mine is called TESTINGMAP.

We now have 2 maps that need to be setup for use, our COOKING MAP and the TEST MAP.

Let's set these up for proper use! FIRST the COOKING MAP. Let's load that map now.
I renamed my GENERICMAP to TestCookMap - yours could be named anything you want.
Once you open the COOKING MAP you'll see this:

Dark and Empty! Now over in our WORLD SETTINGS Tab (Remember that is to the Right Side) Scroll down until you see the setting for PRIMAL GAME DATA OVERRIDE.

THere's SEVERAL ways to put YOUR new PRIMAL GAME DATA BP in this spot. ME, I like to MAKE SURE what I choose is what I get. I Highlight the PRIMALGAMEDATA_BP file in the Content Browser and then click the ARROW next to the Primal Game Data Override in World Settings. This will put the file in there for us. This way I KNOW what I selected was put in there. Others simply press the drop down menu on the override and then find theirs in the list. Eh, to each their own.

Next, RIGHT UNDER the Primal Game Data Override is FORCE LOAD MAP NAME.
IF This has anything in it (Like TheIsland) REMOVE IT. We do NOT want to FORCE LOAD a map unless we're makign our very own map in a Total Conversion or something. Even leaving this to TheIsland could mess up your Mod's ability to STACK with other mods, so let's just make this go away. Either delete what is there, or press the YELLOW ARROW next to it to revert it to its normal state. Which is blank in this case.

NOTICE Your Map now has an asterisk on it now:

ANY file NOT SAVED and has changes will have this on it.

SO, Let's save your COOKING MAP. Either press SAVE on the bar above, Goto the File Menu and Choose SAVE. Press CTRL-S, whatever makes you happy that it is saved. Do It twice, to make sure.

Now let's load our TEST MAP and set it up for use! Once we reopen the TEST MAP go through the WORLD SETTINGS as above. Changing the PRIMAL GAME DATA OVERRIDE to your Primal Game Data BP, and make sure load map is empty. But we have ONE MORE Step this time. Keep scrolling just a little bit further till your see the GAME MODE Settings:

In the TEST MAP we can set our GAMEMODE To the Blue print in our folder just like we did the PRIMAL GAME DATA before it.

Sometimes the editor doesn't like to set the GAMEMODE through the Highlight and Arrow method. You may need to use the drop down menu and find your GAMEMODE in that list.

Save your TEST MAP.

You have now completed SETTING UP your MOD! You are now ready to start moding like the Pros!
Getting Started: Cooking and Uploading Your Mod
Welcome Back!

So, you've got yourself all setup and made your changes in your mod, but now you need to know how to cook and upload it to the Steam Workshop.

Fear Not! For this step is actually nearly fully automated, and will be once you've set a few simple things.

First, let's get into the COOKING MENU by pressing the STEAM UPLOAD BUTTON on the top bar.

This will bring up the COOKING dialogue box:

On the left side is the list of all your Mods. (Named by their folders).
Yours should not have as many in the list as mine, I've been at this for awhile.
Simply choose your mod, I'm using the TestingGrounds from the previous tutorials.
Now the center dialogue has changed to match your Mod.
Anything you change in here is not saved until you press the SAVE ALL button on the lower left.
This will simply save the changes in all the dialogue boxes for your mods. It does not save things from the actual editor for you, so make sure you've made all saves before hand!

Let's start from the top and work our way down the list:

This is set for you, based on the name of the folder.

This link appears after you have uploaded your mod for the first time. It simply takes you to your steam workshop page for your mod.

This one should have the name of your COOKING MAP in it, like below:


Each of these is for COOKING a different kind of MOD.
If you are making just a new Map, the COOK MAP is your button.
Most of us use the next one: COOK GAME MOD - it's for normal MODS.
The last button COOK TOTAL CONVERSION is for the Total Conversions.

This is the Icon shown in the STEAM WORKSHOP. It can be anything you have saved locally on your hard drive. Click BROWSE to find one.

The NAME of your Mod as shown in the STEAM WORKSHOP.

This is the description shown on the STEAM WORKSHOP. Uploading will over ride anything you've changed on the Steam Workshop page yourself. So I recommend making sure what you want displayed on the page is updated in this area too. It can get rather large, so don't worry about space.

You can choose to have your Mod HIDDEN (not shown to anyone but you), FRIENDS ONLY (You and your Friends List can see it) or PUBLIC (Everyone can see it).

Public is the most common, although I have HIDDEN and FRIENDS ONLY Mods that I use for testing ideas and other things.

A quick line for what you changed since the last upload. It's for internal development notes mostly, but some fans also like to check the list as it keeps track of each one as you make uploads.

The 3 Buttons!

- Upload your Mod to STEAM WORKSHOP.
- Each Mod/Workshop Item has a unique code attached to it. Pressing this will RESET your code. Giving you a whole new spot on the Workshop. Your old mod and code will still be active until you go to it on Steam Workshop and DELETE it.
- This makes users unable to log into a server if your versions are different.

Now, let's COOK your MOD. Pressing the COOK GAME MOD button (or whichever button fits your Map/Mod/Total Conversion) after you've set all your information above will start the Cooking Process. Make sure your COOKING MAP is named in the Maps.

You will see a lot of information fly by in the STATUS area as it is compiling and cooking your mod for use. It is very normal to get several WARNINGS, thousands actually. Your mod is not adding everything from the core code, so it presents those as errors and warnings. This is perfectly fine. In fact, during this tutorial I got over 12,625 warnings.

Everntually you should get one of these:

You mod is now ready to be Uploaded!

Pressing the UPLOAD BUTTON brings up your Steam Authentication Dialogue Box.

You must give it your actual Steam Login information - This will log you OUT of Steam if you are logged in anywhere else.

If this is your first time uploading using this method, you will get the dialogue asking you to check your email and enter the code from Steam. After that is done, it will continue to upload your mod for you:

Once it is done, the command line box will disappear and you have successfully uploaded your mod to the community!


Now people can subscribe to your mod and it will auto download for them and install.
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MasterTenchiTTV  [author] Nov 16, 2020 @ 12:23pm 
The methodology hasn't change - just some of the things we can now do or edit.
Kadar5isalive Nov 16, 2020 @ 5:34am 
Hello! I am just learning to create a map. Basically, I just want to be able to test it with some friends and play on it - nothing too serious, just a winter sandbox type map to build in. I have been watching tutorials on YouTube, but I haven't found one that discusses the upload process OR the process of setting it up, as defined here. Is this still the go to method for setting up a Map to upload to the Workshop for Ark Dev Kit v313.1? The reason I ask, when I was walking through the setup, I do not see a TestMap, although I do see Test and TestMapArea. This tutorial is pretty straight forward otherwise, but wasn't sure since the initial article appears to be in 2015.
Draxima Oct 13, 2020 @ 3:41pm 
As far as i know my friend tried it out on SP and his worked find with S+ however when i try it just the mod by itself it wouldnt do what it suppose to do. Did i cook it wrong i did Cook Mod.
Draxima Oct 13, 2020 @ 3:25pm 
I am having a problem with my mod not working with other mods how would i fix this as its a simple engram unlocker mod.
MasterTenchiTTV  [author] Oct 7, 2020 @ 12:22pm 
@Suffer : I've never heard of it doing that before. Usually slow play comes from either low RAM availability or something else in the background taking up CPU power. If it is running slow outside the dev kit : it could be a multitude of things.
SUFFER & SajuukX99X Oct 7, 2020 @ 9:47am 
why he loads the track so slowly
and if i go to play it will very slowly load on or off the ark dev kit

what can be done about it?
Starker Sep 24, 2020 @ 5:28pm 
How do I adjust the yaw limit for aiming with a weapon while mounted? I searched several BP_Character files and _Skeletons but found nothing. I want to be able to shoot backwards from my mount like this:
MasterTenchiTTV  [author] May 8, 2020 @ 4:31am 
@Destroyer - I'll need a little more to go on. Did you modify existing dinos to the new ones? Did you create whole new ones? Did you make new spawn zones or modify the ones already there? There's quite a few things that would cause the MOD to turn into a TC or IE.

It kind of sounds like you may have created all new dinos and new spawn point on an existing map, thus creating a NEW map by accident (hence the IE/TC requirement), yet I am simply guessing since I wasn't there for the entire creation. :cursed_eye:

I am more than happy to lend a hand if you want to drop into a chat. Always willing to help.
If you are getting this during the COVID-19 Quarantine - know I am not near my development system, I got sent to another state for a bit. I will do what I can though - if I can.:lunar2019grinningpig:
ImSick May 4, 2020 @ 11:51pm 
Hey CFrankie, im making a new Mod with only a few Dinos. I finished and will test it but if i go to the Steam Upload Menü i can only choose Cook Total Conversion and Cook Island Extension". why i cant choose cook Game Mod ?
MasterTenchiTTV  [author] Apr 8, 2020 @ 11:49am 
@ JoTa - well, steam isn't know for it's fast uploads sometimes.
But do check to see if what got uploaded is not a 0mb file. I've had those before, it's like steam didn't get the upload or there was an error in the file.
Hard to tell from here - I got quarantined in a different state thanks to the CORVID-19.