Star Citizen: How Long Does it Take to Build a Universe?

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Created by: cloudimperiumgames.com
Game Site: robertsspaceindustries.com
ESRB Rating: not yet rated
Support: support.robertsspaceindustries.com

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You might have seen articles about how Star Citizen funding has surpassed $200 million dollars (pcgamer – star citizen shoots past dollar 200 million in crowdfunding ahead of free week). Star Citizen is the largest crowd funded project ever, and the funding is still flowing in. Why? As noted in the article from PC Gamer, Star Citizen sells the dream of the perfect space game.

Star Citizen started in October of 2012 by Chris Roberts. Chris Roberts released space games in the 90s, including the Wing Commander franchise and the Privateer series. In 2003 he, as part of Digital Anvil, released Freelancer. People who’ve played his games in the past have a faith in him regarding producing Star Citizen and Squadron 42, the single player story game from the Star Citizen universe. People like Mark Hamill have worked with Chris Roberts in the past. Because of these things, people have confidence in the projects.

But then there are the other people, the skeptics, the trolls, the haters. Those people talk about how the project is the biggest scam in the world. It’s been more than almost 6 years since the start of the two projects. What’s taking so long? I did some research regarding time taken to develop some of the most acclaimed games in the past decade.

To quote Kotaku, “CD Projekt RED recently said it cost $81 million to create and promote The Witcher 3 over three and a half years of development.” Skyrim took approximately four years, and cost around 100 million dollars according to Quora. You can check out a list of other game development costs here:

List of Most Expensive Video Games to Develop

PC Gamer didn’t get into comparing other game development costs and development times. Roberts Space Industries includes two Games, not one. Star Citizen and Squadron 42. That neither game has been released yet shouldn’t be a concern when considering the time it’s taken to develop other games, and in consideration of the scope of the games when compared to others. We’re talking about something far larger than Skyrim in both quests and exploration area – not just open continent on one world, but open universe. Conceptualize that.

No other AAA game development has been so open with process. Star Citizen project management gives the supporters the ability to pick the prioritization for bug fixes through the issue council. This is something that No Man’s Sky could have used to avoid their launch troubles. They’ve still not fully recovered from that bomb.

Some other games have tried to fill in the space game market, like Elite Dangerous, but fall short of what people want in an open-universe space game. Star Citizen and Squadron 42 open project management will ensure that the supporter enthusiasts will be able to create the exact game that so many have been looking for, or will it?

In many people’s eyes nothing stated so far justifies why it’s taken so long. People want to know where Foundry 42 / Cloud Imperium Games have spent the money that they’ve pledged. People also want to know what’s going on with Squadron 42. Yesterday that information was published in this article from wccftech.com. You can find the financial information here on the official site: historical financials with the roadmap to Squadron 42 here: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/roadmap/board/2-Squadron-42.

This new information relieves some of those who’ve been concerned, but others might continue to hold a doubting Thomas perspective, maintaining there’s not enough empirical evidence. So, again, why has it taken so long to develop these two games?

I’ve heard rumors that Foundry 42 started with ten people working on the projects. While I’ve not found any validating documentation to that statement, I can agree that it takes time to grow a company to almost four hundred employees (established through research on linkedin.com Foundary 42 and Cloud Imperium total employees shown through linked in: 394). I’ve heard statements made that there’s currently over five hundred employees, but I can’t validate that number.

Now I’m going to take you into the complexities of development. Generally devs don’t get into the details of their development challenges because it’s often very hard to put the issues they face in relate-able terms for the audience. However, my development experience and my strong interest in linguistics has given me the ability to do a translation of sorts in that area, so here goes.

You’re sitting in front of the tv in the morning with a cup of coffee sitting on the table next to you. While watching tv, you reach over and pick up that hot cup of coffee and take a sip, only briefly moving your eyes from the tv to look down immediately when you move the cup to your lips. You looking at the coffee takes less than half a second. The rest is done almost on autopilot.

Think of all the motion that happens during the time it takes to reach for the cup, pick it up, move it to your lips, then angle the cup to pour coffee in your face. If you move your hand too far when reaching for the cup, you knock that hot cup of coffee over onto the table. if you don’t close your hand around the cup in the right place, or tight enough, then you again spill the coffee, perhaps onto yourself as you pull it to your lips. if you don’t tilt the cup at the right time, you end up spilling the coffee again. So many details to keep track of, but we do it almost without thinking.

The one thing we have that the game doesn’t is a built-in managing system. We have our muscle memory, which is essentially a ton of stored animation calls. And we have a command manager, which includes telling our muscles when to do actions, thereby tilting that cup of coffee after bringing it to our lips to drink. In multi-threaded game development, the developers must create those same managers from scratch because multi-threaded programming is still relatively new in game development.

What’s all this have to do with why development for Star Citizen and Squadron 42 has been slow? Star Citizen started off using Cryengine. Cryengine at the time still used Lua as a scripting language, which doesn’t handle multi-threaded programming, thereby sparking an internal re-write of the engine by Cloud Imperium Games while using Amazon’s Lumberyard for networking infrastructure. (Cryengine has since moved away from Lua, to move toward multi-threaded functionality using C++). I’ve done some research about Lua, finding that while Lua does have multi-threaded functionality, it’s not developed enough at this time for intense gaming.

In short, Cloud Imperium Games decided it needed to write features from scratch. It takes quite a long time to develop a well designed game engine. Look how long it’s taken Unity to get where it’s at now, and Unity started off with a focus on developing the engine. Cryengine came from Crytek needing to develop technology for the Crysis games, published through EA. They were in the business of producing games. They weren’t focused on making a well polished game engine.

Now i’ll briefly talk about the complexities of creating 3d models. These videos show the process for Blender Character Modeling. As you can see from this, it takes quite some time for just the 3d mesh itself, without texturing, mapping, animation rigging, weighting, and texture unwrapping. And again, even more time for the animations themselves.

You might think, “but a space ship doesn’t take that much to make.” Yes, it does, and more because you’re making many many moving parts that interact with each other through physics in some cases (like elevators, chairs, doors, etc). The scale of some of the ships both games include is staggering to consider. And then we get to the big thing called space. Thinking about what goes into rendering a universe in real time for game play at sixty frames per second without any loading screens can be staggering, and requires multiple skill-sets to create.

If at this point you’re still stuck on “Why isn’t Star Citizen done yet?” or “You’ve still not proved to me that it’s not a scam.” or “I still don’t see enough details showing that they didn’t use the finances only for the game,” you’re being cautious, which is fine. You want to see the Universe unfold. I was that person until recently. I remember where they were when I first created an account. I remember where they were when I checked in last, almost a year ago. I see where they are today. We each decide what risks we’ll take in life, and I decided I want to be a part of helping shape the future of Star Citizen while I can.

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Path of Exile

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Created by: Grinding Gear Games
Game Site: Path of Exile
ESRB Rating: not yet rated (but M for Mature)
Support: Official Website

Hellcat5 Connect: Path of Exile, Official Wiki

Path of Exile is a complex multiplayer dungeon crawler with moba controls. Yes, if you’ve played Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Strife, or one of the other MOBA style games and thought, “I wish this was an rpg game,” then Path of Exile is for you.

Path of Exile has a wide variety of character skill customization based on sockets in gear, and the huge character skill tree. It’s both fun and frustrating to jump into the game without doing a ton of reading and research beforehand, and has a similar learning curve as Dota 2 or League of Legends.

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Dying Light

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Created by: Techland
Game Site: Dying Light
ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Hellcat5 Connect: Official Forums

Dying Light makes you feel as though you’re living a zombie apocalypse. Far advanced from previous games the developers created, such as the dead island series, the gameplay and graphics will blow you away. Leveling system keeps you engaged for 100+ hours, with each new advancement giving you a renewed feeling of power and ability, yet never detracting from the danger of surviving in a zombie apocalypse. This is definitely one of my favorite games.

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Easter Eggs – Main Game

Outfits – Main Game

Blueprints – Slums (Main Game)

Blueprints – Old Town (Main Game)

Collectables – Main Game

Blueprints – The Following DLC

Outfits, Aliens, and Secret Ending – the Following
To get two of the outfits, it’s necessary to finish the aliens easteregg and the secret ending.

Paintjobs, Bobbleheads, and Charms – The Following
Note about Paint Jobs – While there are 52 total collectable paint jobs, you can get three of those only from participating in community events (golden, lemon, and little rising sun) and at least one (Rocket League) docket code only paint job. One DLC, Crash Test, shows up in the “Collectable Paint Jobs” list, but it’s from DLC.

Collectables

Borderlands 2

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Created by: Gearbox Software
Game Site: Borderlands 2
ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Hellcat5 Connect: n/a

Borderlands 2 is an intense stupidity shooter. Containing much adult humor / slapstick, if you’re tired of the boring old shooter game, and you want to play a shooter game with humor, this is it. Borderlands series has a unique art style, an rpg leveling system, and a huge area you can wonder around. Tons of side missions, tons of loot, tons of cash. Sure, you pay to revive, but you never really run out of money, and if you do happen to die so much that you don’t have any money left, you won’t be left to start over. Get your friends (because you’re going to need them for Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode) and have a blast shooting your way through the storyline many many times, because like potato chips one just isn’t enough.

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Warframe: Eidolons Easily or Trinity or Oberon Only?

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Created by: Digital Extremes
Game Site: Warframe Website
ESRB Rating: M for mature
Support: Support Website

Hellcat5 Connect: Hellcat5 on Official Forums

Yet another tumbler of a tale, the stories I’ve heard about what’s necessary to successfully do all three Eidolons. In this article I’ll cut down to the meat and bones of Eidolon hunting – what you need versus what others might have told you the requirements are. To do quick runs, possibly getting two full runs in one night cycle, you’ll need the archwing launcher in your gear wheel.

archwing launcher in gear wheel

To obtain the archwing launcher segment, join a clan, and access the dojo’s Tenno Lab menu.

tenno lab

tenno lab menu

I suggest you have a look through the warframe Augment mods to see what your frame might have that could benefit the party, such as Smite Infusion for Oberon or Shock Trooper for Volt. Thanks to Arogorth for bringing this point to mind.

Upon entering the Plains of Eidolon at night, to begin the Eidolon hunt, search for at least two Eidolon Lures. The first Eidolon, Teralyst, only requires two charged lures to capture it. To charge the lures, shoot and kill vomvalysts near the lures. The Vomvalysts have two forms, so make sure you kill both forms to energize the lures, and when stopping them from healing the Eidolon.

Vomvalyst first form:

vomvalyst first form

Vomvalyst second form:

vomvalyst second form

Your Eidolon Lure icons will turn blue once you’ve charged them. After you’ve charged your Eidolon Lures, then you can work on capturing your Eidolon. To start this process, you need to remove the Eidolon’s shields. Do this with the operator’s amp. If you’ve not charged your lures, then the Eidolon will run after you destroy one of its appendages, thereby costing your team time and or more archwing launchers.

It doesn’t matter what part of the Eidolon you shoot when taking down the shields with the amp. If you see blue numbers coming off the Eidolon instead of grey zeroes, then you’re shooting a valid point on the Eidolon to damage the shields. You can see the shields remaining in the purple bar in the image below.

shields

After you take out the shields, you want to switch over to one of your Warframe weapons to work on a specific joint in the Eidolon. Teammates should co-ordinate this effort so everyone shoots the same joint to make the Eidolon Capture go fast. Otherwise, you can waste a huge amount of time here without team coordination. Shoot the same Eidolon joint. This is one of the biggest stop points for Eidolon runs. If you have a 4 person squad, you don’t need a critulous Riven mod on your weapon of choice, although you definitely want to have your weapon Orokin Catalyst installed, and maybe a few forma. I suggest you check out warframe-builder.com in the links below for a build specific to your weapon, or at least to give you ideas for how to build.

Eidolon Joint Shot:

armor shot

Teralyst has four joints to destroy, then ultimately the head. You need at least two fully charged Eidolon Lures to capture it. Click the link to learn more about the Teralyst’s skillset.

Gantulyst has 6 joints to destroy, then ultimately the head. You need at least three fully charged Eidolon Lures to capture it. yes, I said it twice because why not save time and just copy paste? Click the link to learn more about the Gantulust’s skillset.

Hydrolyst likewise has 6 joints to destroy, then shoot it in the eyeballs. You also need at least three fully charged Eidolon Lures to capture it. Click the link to learn more about the Hydrolyst’s skillset.

Summoning the Gantulyst and Hydrolyst
Once you’ve defeated the Teralyst, you’ll need to summon the other two Eidolons. To do this, be sure to pick up the Eidolon Shards after the Eidolon Boss Disappears then drops loot.

eidolon shards

Next, find the Summoning Platform in the middle of Gara Toht Lake:

gara toht lake

Place your shard by pressing x:

shard placement

Let the summoning begin:

summoning

How to Survive or Void Walk OP
So you watched a video that showed a team composition with Harrow, Chroma, Trinity, and Volt, and it said that comp is what you should use. Well, maybe, depending on current state of the meta they’re right. But, they’re far from right about what WORKS to successfully and quickly get Eidolons done. The only essential warframes are either Trinity, Oberon, or Limbo with his Banish skill augmented with Haven to heal the Eidolon Lures. After that, just use whatever your best frame is, or what compliments the group the most if you’re playing with friends, and bring your biggest damage weapon. If you all shoot the same joint, kill the vomvalysts, and use void walk to avoid Eidolon skills, you’ll be able to to finish with time to spare.

So, what’s all the talk about Harrow? Harrow has the ability to nullify incoming damage to the party if everyone is close enough to him. This eliminates the necessity of having to run away from the Eidolon when it uses some of its skills. However, there’s a much easier alternative. When the Eidolon sound and animations play their tells (tells are what lets you know it’s going to use this or that skill depending on movement and sound) just go into Void Walk using your operator. To enter void walk while using the operator, press [ctrl] on the keyboard.

Yes, it’s that simple. You can dodge so much damage, and learn to time the waves of damage to where you don’t need to hold the [ctrl] key down during the entire skill, but only during the damaging waves. You can walk up and heal your teammates who’ve not read this, and walk away in the middle of massive destruction, leaving them scratching their heads.

Steps for Capturing Eidolons
To recap, I’ll give you a little list of steps here that I’ve covered in detail in the article.

  1. Archwing Launchers are a must on the gear wheel for fast travel.
  2. get Eidolon Lures then charge them first.
  3. be sure you have enough lures to capture the Eidolon depending on what tier it is.
  4. use your operator and amp to take out the eidolon shields. You can shoot almost anywhere on the Eidolon to drop shields.
  5. Focus fire on the same Eidolon Joint to take it down fast. THIS IS THE BIGGEST FAILURE AREA. COORDINATE FIRE.
  6. Kill all Vomvalysts racing to heal the Eidolon or restore its shields. Just kill them.
  7. Collect the Eidolon loot drops to get the Eidolon Shards to summon the next tier of Eidolon
  8. Use void walk while using the operator to dodge the Eidolon’s skills.
  9. No, you don’t need Harrow. No, you don’t need Volt’s shields. I don’t care what grand master pubah said.

Comment below what crazy party combination you used to take down the Eidolons. I hope I’ve helped you gain mastery over capturing Eidolons. If you learned something, please share this with your friends.

captured eidolon

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Warframe: Tips for Kuva and Kavats for Riven Cycling

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Created by: Digital Extremes
Game Site: Warframe Website
ESRB Rating: M for mature
Support: Support Website

Hellcat5 Connect: Hellcat5 on Official Forums

As I’ve been learning Warframe, I’ve ran across conflicting information for how to do Kuva runs. Here I’ll give you solid tested information so you can successfully and easily get through your Kuva missions quickly. This will be short because I don’t like to blabber more than I think I need to. If you’re reading this, and you haven’t finished your Second Dream quest, know that there are spoilers within.

To begin gathering Kuva for Riven cycling or weapon building, you must complete the War Within quest. Afterwards the Kuva Fortress will move around the starmap, dropping Kuva on planets it floats near. To run a Kuva mission, find a planet close to the fortress that has Kuva icons on it, then click a mission with the Kuva icon. There are two types of Kuva missions – standard, and one called Kuva Flood which is harder, but also yields twice the Kuva.

Kuva Fortress on Starmap – it moves
kuva fortress

Kuva Icon on a planet (the red teardrop looking thing):
kuva icon

Kuva Flood Icon on a planet (Kuva Tears in the shape of a triangle thing)
kuva flood icon

Common Misconceptions about Kuva Siphons

  • Using Void Dash through the Kuva Siphon damages it. FALSE. If you happen to dash through the Kuva Siphon while a kuva Cloud is close enough to enter the siphon, this could give you the idea that dashing through the siphon damages it. The only way to damage a kuva siphon is by destroying the kuva cloud with either your amp or void dash or other damaging void skill.
  • Void Dash is the only way to damage the kuva siphon. FALSE. You can use any damaging void skill including Void Blast, the amp or Void Dash to destroy Kuva clouds, which destroys each kuva braid.

Kuva and Kavats

  • If you have a Smeeta Kavat, take it with you during the Kuva run. Make sure you have the Charm mod equipped.
  • If you can, wait until you hear the Smeeta’s signature sound when it blesses you with Charm before you shoot the Kuva Cloud.
  • In the least, shoot at least one Kuva cloud with the amp(or other damaging skills while the Smeeta’s Charm skill is activated.

This is what a Kuva Siphon looks like (it’s the hot air balloon with arms):

kuva siphon

This picture shows the braid up, vacuuming the Kuva:

Kuva Braid

This image shows the red and black kuva cloud in motion toward the kuva siphon:

kuva cloud

Tips for Kuva and Riven Cycling

  • Listen for the Kuva Siphoning sound. It’s very unique. Follow the sound to find the direction of the kuva, or look at what direction the kuva braid is pointing in.
  • Remember Smeeta can give double the kuva if you get a charmed shot.
  • Kuva Floods give twice the amount of kuva, so if you smeeta and flood, you get 4x Kuva.
  • This might be a bit obvious, but resource boosters effect how much Kuva you get because they’re a resource. If you have this, then you’ll get 6x Kuva compared to normal. (Thanks to CheezyLama for reminding me to mention that.
  • You get 8 tries to stop the kuva clouds.
  • You must successfully finish the mission goal to get the kuva reward.
  • The minimum amount of Kuva you need to cycle a Riven is 900.
  • The maximum amount of Kuva necessary for a Riven cycling is 3500.

That’s it! With this info you should be walking down the yellow brick road of easy Kuva farming for your Riven rolls! If you’ve learned something from this article, please share it with your Warframe friends!

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Warframe: the Game that Spawned Destiny and Anthem?

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Created by: Digital Extremes
Game Site: Warframe Website
ESRB Rating: M for mature
Support: Support Website

Hellcat5 Connect: Hellcat5 on Official Forums

This game is hot. You might not know about Warframe, but it’s been growing exponentially. Warframe came out March 25, 2013, the first in a stream of games with guns and specialized suits with skills. While Warframe doesn’t have much of an active pvp element, Warframe excels with PVE play, which has a skill system similar to Overwatch.

Warframe crosses the boundaries of ARPGs like Vindictus through matches set up with a variety of goals, from extermination where you kill everything, to defense where you defend a point as long as you can, and get greater rewards the longer you can hold out because the NPCs become harder and harder.

While Warframe started off with smaller match-based gameplay, the developers have expanded into a more open-world element with the new Plains of Eidelon content, which gives players a wider sandbox based gameplay. On the Plains of Eidelon, you can do anything from fishing to destroying or capturing Eidelons, the massive guardians of old.

When I first saw Warframe, I thought there would be no way I could possibly play it because of how fast it moves and all the colors flashing. I have a hard time with sounds and lights after my strokes, like an autistic person going through sensory overload. A friend of mine encouraged me to give it a shot, and so I did.

I found that if I didn’t try to think when playing it, I could mostly keep up with other players in movement, and I close my eyes if the colors get too overwhelming. I wish they had a feature that helped people with similar conditions like me, but I don’t know of any way to tone down the colors. So, I don’t usually run many Infested areas due to the coloring.

Overall the Warframe community has been very welcoming, and rarely do I run into trolls, which is great. The experienced players are very willing to help the new guy, and you can easily find groups or help for anything in the chat channels.

While Warframe does have its bugs and quirks, the developers are very active and communicative about what they’re doing, and what they’ve fixed. They focus a lot of energy on bug squashing. Patches come during gameplay. You stay in whatever match you’re in when the patch hits, then finish up after you get a notice that it’s safe to finish and restart the client. A nice feature to not get kicked when fighting a boss battle.

So, if you’re looking for a new action-packed game to try out, that’s free to play, and not pay to win, check out Warframe. And, if you need a hand, shoot me a message in game @h3llcat5. Hope to see you there!

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ARK: Survival Evolved – a Steam Guide to Multi-Map Server Cluster Setup from Scratch

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Created by: Studio Wildcard
Game Site: Official Website
ESRB Rating: T for teen
Support: Support Website

Hellcat5 Connect: Hellcat5 on Steam

I’ve spent a ton of time searching for a step-by-step guide for how to setup an ark server. Most of what I found lies along the path of Indiana Jones on one of his expeditions – very cryptic and, unless you’ve experience with setups before (Indiana Jones faced plenty of setups), might be daunting, discouraging, and bring you to give up, or try using one of the tools created by some people to deal with server setup, which could open you up to holes in your network security.

You don’t need third party tools to easily setup an Ark server. You don’t need to pay high fees for an Ark server. This guide will show you not only how to create your own server but, if you want, also how to create your own multi-map server cluster, where you can jump between maps seamlessly using the obelisk transfer. The one catch – the computer you’re going to use as the server must have at least 16gb memory to host 3+ map servers in a cluster.

Imagine having Ragnarok, the Island, and Scorched Earth all connected. The world just became 3x bigger. You can transfer your gear, materials, dinos, and building crafting parts all through the obelisk, then turn off the server you left until you want to go back. If you want to have the ability to do this, then you’ve got to add a few things to the command line for the map servers to operate in the same cluster. I’ll cover all the steps, from nothing to triple map server cluster.

Part 1 – How to Install and Configure Ark Survival Evolved Dedicated Server or Cluster through Steam

You can download the files from my github.

  1. open steam.
  2. click Library from the main menu to expose the Library dropdown, then select ‘tools’.
  3.  
    steam ark server 1

  4. type ‘ark’ in the searchbox to find ‘Ark Survival Evolved Dedicated Server’ from tools.
  5.  
    steam ark server 3

  6. right click ‘Ark Survival Evolved Dedicated Server’ then select ‘Install Game’.
  7. after the installation finishes, right click ‘Ark Survival Evolved Dedicated Server’ again, this time selecting ‘properties’ toward the bottom of the drop-down menu.
  8.  
    steam ark server 4

  9. from ‘properties’ select ‘local files’ then click the button ‘browse local files’ at the top.
  10.  
    steam ark server 5

  11. after explorer opens, click ‘ShooterGame’ folder
  12.  
    steam ark server 6

  13. then go to Binaries > Win64.
  14.  
    steam ark server 7

  15. then move the explorer window over so you can see your desktop.
  16. right click the desktop, then select ‘New > ‘text document’
  17.  
    steam ark server 7a

  18. Rename the file according to the image below – example: startArkServer_theIsland.bat, then click ‘yes’ when you get the prompt
  19.  
    steam ark server 7c

  20. then right click the file so you can select to edit with the default notepad, or install notepad++
  21.  
    steam ark server 7e

  22. add this text as one line (except exit, it goes on it’s own line) to your batch file (NOTE: you can change SessionName to the name you want to give your server. You should also make sure to give different SessionNames for each server in your cluster):
  23.  
    start ShooterGameServer.exe "TheIsland?listen?Port=7777?QueryPort=27015?MaxPlayers=10?SessionName=Katmandu The Island" -UseBattleye -NoTransferFromFiltering -clusterid=katgod

    exit

  24. this is what the file should look like:
  25.  
    steam ark server 8

  26. for the other servers you want to run, you should add to the start line ‘?AltSaveDirectoryName=SaveRag’ to create save files in different directories. below are some examples:
  27.  
    start ShooterGameServer.exe "Ragnarok?listen?Port=7782?QueryPort=27017?MaxPlayers=10?SessionName=Katmandu Ragnarok?AltSaveDirectoryName=SaveRag" -UseBattleye -NoTransferFromFiltering -clusterid=katgod

    start ShooterGameServer.exe "ScorchedEarth_P?listen?Port=7779?QueryPort=27016?SessionName=Katmandu Scorched?AltSaveDirectoryName=SaveScorch" -UseBattleye -NoTransferFromFiltering -clusterid=katgod

    Remember to change the SessionName to what you want, and change the clusterid also. If you plan to only run one map server, then you might want to remove the clusterid property from the command line options. You can change the AltSaveDirectoryName also if you wish. The server will create the directory upon launching if it doesn’t already exist. I don’t add the server password to the batch file, but you can set that on the command line if you wish. Refer to the “Core Resources” section to find more details about what options you have for the command line.

    After you’ve created all the batch files, copy those over into the explorer window you moved to the side above. The directory location is: Ark Survival Evolved Dedicated Server\ShooterGame\Binaries\Win64. If you closed the window, just follow steps 5-7 above to locate and reopen the directory. The directory should look like this when you finish:

    steam ark server 7

    Part 2 – Advanced Configuration

    Here I’ll get into how to customize your servers with detail. First, I’ll give you this reference to look over regarding both the GameUserSettings.ini file and the Game.ini file. This way you can take a look at the settings you can modify, then decide what appeals to you:

    Wiki – Server Configuration Files

    I’ve included as reference some useful properties to set for the server in the process below. You can take a look at the reference to see what you’d like to add or remove.

  28. go back to the ‘ShooterGame’ directory. If you closed explorer, follow steps 5-7 above.
  29. from ‘ShooterGame’, choose the ‘Saved’ directory this time.
  30.  
    steam ark server 8

  31. from here, go to Config > WindowsServer
  32.  
    steam ark server 9

  33. right click ‘GameUserSettings.ini’, then choose ‘edit’.
  34.  
    steam ark server 10

You can change quite a few things from ‘GameUserSettings.ini’ and ‘Game.ini’. ‘GameUserSettings.ini’ handles broader server settings, while ‘Game.ini’ covers more gameplay specific settings you can adjust. I’ve not made changes to the ‘Game.ini’ file, but I will provide resources so you can add what you need, such as adjusting how many points you get to spent per level.

I’ve added these lines to ‘GameUserSettings.ini’ highlighted below:
 
steam ark server 10

I suggest you change the password fields to what you want to use. Alternately, you can set your password in the batch file if you want your server cluster to have different passwords for each server. You can copy these lines into your .ini file if you’d like:

TamingSpeedMultiplier=10.0
XPMultiplier=5.0
ResourcesRespawnPeriodMultiplier=0.5
StructureResistanceMultiplier=0.0
HarvestAmountMultiplier=10.0
HarvestHealthMultiplier=2.0
alwaysNotifyPlayerJoined=true
alwaysNotifyPlayerLeft=true
NightTimeSpeedScale=4.0
DayTimeSpeedScale=0.25
globalVoiceChat=true

Now, I’ll break down what each of these does.

TamingSpeedMultiplier – decreases the amount of time it takes to tame dinos. Who doesn’t want that?

XPMultiplier – gives more experience for each thing you do.

ResourcesRespawnPeriodMultiplier – you want to use a decimal for this to decrease the amount of time it takes. ex: 0.5 to take half the amount of time it would normally.

StructureResistanceMultiplier – this sets now much resistance to damage structures have. setting to 0.0 gives it indestructible status. So, you can have thatch houses that not even a giga can destroy.

HarvestAmountMultiplier – setting this to a higher number means you’ll get more per swing of pickaxe, axe, etc. And harvesting dinos will get more too.

HarvestHealthMultiplier – This means trees, rocks, etc., can take more hits, thus yielding more materials.

alwaysNotifyPlayerJoined – I always want to get a notice when someone joins my server in game.

alwaysNotifyPlayerLeft – I always want to get a notice when someone leaves my server.

NightTimeSpeedScale – to make the night shorter, make this greater than 1.

DayTimeSpeedScale – to make the daytime longer, make this less than 1.

globalVoiceChat – this is far better than the walkie talkies you get in game, and doesn’t require you to use a third party program, such as discord, to talk to people you’re playing with.

Part 3 – Firewall and Port Forwarding: How to Let the Ark Server Services Know Your Server Exists

So, we’ve got the server all prepped and ready. You added all the settings you want to try out. But, the door’s closed. You can’t get out the front door because locks bar your way. But, you’ve got the keys in a drawer, just need to find them. Those two locks on your internet door exist in the firewall and with port forwarding. Let’s get those keys.

Depending on which firewall you use, if it’s the built in windows defender firewall, or a third party program, find out how to allow the ports you’ve set in the batch files through your firewall. Search Google for “how do I open ports in windows defender firewall?” Or search instead for whichever firewall program you might use. If you want more info about what you’re opening up on your system, check out this article: Required Ports for Steam. Here’s directions for windows (overhauled from Official Wiki Firewall and Port Forwarding Info and improved for clarity):
 

  1. If you use Windows 10, click on Cortana search (the circle) in the lower left corner next to the start button, then type in “Firewall”. When “Best Match” shows, Click on “Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security” at the top, then this window will open:
  2.  
    ark firewall 1

  3. Click “Inbound Rules” on the left panel
  4.  
    ark firewall 2

  5. Scroll down the middle panel to see if you can find anything named Ark: Survival Evolved Dedicated Server.
    If you’ve started the game before, you should see some entries for Ark: Survival Evolved because Windows Defender Firewall prompts you to give access to new programs you launch that want to access the internet. The rules you see here for Ark: Survival Evolved, in the middle pane, are program specific, and should have a path set on the programs and services tab to ShooterGame.exe.
  6. If you find entries for Ark: Survival Evolved Dedicated Server you’ll see two. If you decide to check what’s in programs and services tab you should find a path to ShooterGameServer.exe.
     
    ark firewall 5

    In the center panel, right click the first entry for Ark: Survival Evolved Dedicated Server then go to properties.

  7.  
    ark firewall 3

  8. click on Protocols and Ports
  9.  
    ark firewall 4

  10. look for the Protocol type: drop-down.
  11.  
    ark firewall 6

    If the protocol type drop-down shows UDP, then:
     
    a1. then in the drop-down next to Local port: select Specific Ports
    a2. enter the game ports 7777, 7779, 7782 in the text field below the drop-down, along with the steam query ports 27015, 27016, and 27017 if you’re going to setup the triple map server cluster. Otherwise, just add 7777 and 27015.

     
    ark firewall 8

    If the protocol type drop-down shows TCP, then:
     
    b1. then in the drop-down next to Local port: select Specific Ports
    b2. enter the RCON port 27020 in the text field below the drop-down.

     
    ark firewall 9

  12. be sure to change both rules, for TCP and UDP.

If you don’t find the two rules for Ark: Survival Evolved Dedicated Server, then follow the directions below to create them with the settings shown above.

  1. Click “Inbound Rules” on the left panel, then click “New Rule…” on the right panel.
  2.  
    ark firewall 10

  3. When the New Inbound Rule Wizard opens up, select Port, then next.
  4.  
    ark firewall 11

  5. The setup will now ask you if you want to allow TCP or UDP, and what port it will be. Select TCP. Then, make sure you have “Specific local ports” selected and then put the port you plan to forward into the box (default 27020 for RCON).
  6.  
    ark firewall 12

  7. Select “Allow the connection”, and continue with the wizard.
  8.  
    ark firewall 13

  9. Make sure all of the boxes are selected for where the rule applies.
  10.  
    ark firewall 14

  11. Enter a name (required) and a description (optional).
  12.  
    ark firewall 15

Repeat these steps for UDP. Make sure to enter your steam browser/query port (27015 default) and game port (7777 default). You also need the raw UDP socket port (7778 default, always your game port +1) if using the ?bRawSockets command line option.

After finishing, you have two Ark Survival Evolved Dedicated Server firewall inbound rules. Close the advanced firewall window, and open Windows Firewall again.

Now, the wiki states this:

Click “Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall”. Scroll down to ShooterGame. Make sure all apps named ShooterGame have the Private and Public boxes checked.

I’ll tell you that’s the worst idea possible. Doing so would open you to the possibility of giving a virus open access to your computer. Windows defender firewall will ask to give ShooterGame.exe (Ark: Survival Evolved) permission to access the internet the first time you run it. If you can play Ark, you don’t need to set anything for ShooterGame.exe for the ShooterGameServer.exe to have access. Whoever wrote the entry didn’t fully understand.

For server setup, you need to make sure that the Program and Services tab on the inbound rules shows a path to ShooterGameServer.exe
 
ark firewall 16

You don’t want to open anymore ports than necessary for hackers and cyber theft. Now on to port forwarding!

This part might seem the most daunting, because I can’t give you screenshots. It’s not a good idea to advertise what router you’re using. But, I can walk you through general steps for doing this. If you want to know more about port forwarding, read this article on wikipedia.org. Here are the steps:

  1. Find the Make and Model for your router.
  2. search google for ‘manual for xx xxx xxx’ router. put your router’s make and model instead of x’s.
  3. download your router’s manual
  4. find out how to login to your router from the manual if you don’t already know.
  5. find in the manual where it talks about how to setup port forwarding. If you’re new to this, read it a few times.
  6. login to your router, then follow the directions for setting up port forwarding from your router’s manual.
  7. select the protocols you want to forward (typically TCP and UDP)
  8. forward only the ports necessary (27015, 27016, 27017, 7777, 7779, 7782 if you follow my cluster setup exactly)
  9. make sure you forward the ports from the correct ip address on your network – the server’s local ip address.
  10. apply the settings, then you’re done!

Part 4 – Starting the Server

Now you can create shortcuts on your desktop to the batch files to start your server cluster easily. It’s best to start one map server at a time, and know that each will take about 3.5 gb of memory, so unless you have at least 32 gb of memory on your server, you might want to stay to 2 instances running in the cluster at a time. Watch your memory resources by pressing ctrl+shift+esc to open the task manager, then select performance.

Finally, double click on the short cut to start your first server. you should see something like this once the server finishes loading:

steam ark server running

Part 5 – Finding your Server in the Game Client List

  1. start the game client
  2. click ‘join ark’ button from the main menu.
  3. .
    ark main menu

  4. type part of the server name you gave your server in the ‘Name Filter’ search box.
  5. .
    searching the server list

  6. select the server, then click join. enter your server password, then click ‘accept’.
  7. .
    searching the server list

You’re on your way into your own lands! After you finish, and everyone logs out of the server or cluster, to close the server, just click on the server window, then press ctrl+C one time.

Core Resources:

Community Resources:

Hellcat5’s Guide to Star Conflict

on Twitch
  • All streams are currently offline.


Created by: Stargem Games
Game Site: Star Conflict
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Support: info@stargem-games.com or Gaijin Support

Hellcat5 Connect: Star Conflict Profile || Hellcat5 on Steam

Hello!

I started playing star conflict back towards the end of april of 2017.  Since then I’ve spent 678 hours playing the game.  When I started out, I had a hard time finding solid resources for playing the game, and the information I read seemed mostly outdated or poorly written.  In fact, it wasn’t until I started playing the game that I actually understood what genre Star Conflict gameplay fits.  I wrote about that here:  Star Conflict – Moving up in Space Moba

After having read the old wiki “about” section for star conflict, I quickly ascertained that no one has been able to clearly explain the gameplay in terms of genre or relative games, so I wrote a new introduction paragraph on the wiki so that people can get a better idea of what Star Conflict core gameplay is like: Hellcat5’s revised wiki about section you can check the history of the wiki front page to see exactly what I did.

Other players have more hours than I have.  Some might think they’re more qualified to write guides about the game than I.  But, hours spent doing something doesn’t make one more qualified to teach others.  Having a higher pilot rating or more efficiency points doesn’t make someone more qualified.  Someone can take a destroyer with maxed out modules using g’thar’du into pve to make their pilot rating go up.  Same thing regarding efficiency points in battle.  Again, it’s easier to get high efficiency playing a maxed out, best in slot, destroyer than it is to play an interceptor or fighter (unless you’re playing the tai’kin or thar’ga).  That’s one of Rules: if you don’t know the exception to the rule, you don’t fully understand the rule.

I am the exception to the rule “a player must have x amount of hours in game and own all the rank 15 manufacturable ships (some players tell me they call them secret projects at one point) to fully understand the gameplay.”  Am I special?  No.  Other people with similar gaming experience as myself could see what I’ve discerned.  In fact, I’m less than special because I’m not an amazing flyer.  I have bad reflexes.  Does my lack of physical ability detract from my ability to completely understand and be able to convey to others how Star Conflict teamplay and gameplay works?  Does a general in the army have to be the best shot of all his men to lead them?  No.  And I’m certainly not a general, but you get the idea.

So what did I figure out?  Star Conflict is not an MMO RPG, yet many of the players have the MMO RPG mindset that they must have the top ship with top gear.  But, that just doesn’t work with Star Conflict.  Star Conflict is a space MOBA.  If you’ve played League of Legends, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, or other similar games, then you’ll understand what I talk about in this article: Star Conflict – connecting the dots for people who’ve played league of legends or other moba games  If you’ve never played any of these games, maybe you should so you can gain a foundation from which to better understand Star Conflict teamplay.

I’ve had guides thrust at me, which I’ve not read through yet due to wanting to create this guide without any cloudy muck from past guides, or poorly formulated ideas.  If you’re reading this and you’ve written a guide for Star Conflict in the past, I’m not saying your guide is bad.  I don’t know.  I’ve not read it yet.  I will say if you spend much time in your guide talking about story elements or explaining the concept for why a certain faction has a specific attribute, you’ve clouded the issue, written with too broad a scope.

If you think that Star Conflict is a third person space shooter (I think that’s how the wiki about section classified it before) you don’t have enough experience with the different genres of online games to clearly denote what genre Star Conflict’s core gameplay fits.  Confusing though it is, I will say that third person and first person shooters today seem to be incorporating more elements of RPG and MOBA, but they don’t have enough of these elements to take them fully into the RPG or MOBA genre.  Star Conflict is a space MOBA.

The lack of a well-defined statement of gameplay (at least in English) is core to these poorly formulated guides that might leave the new player going, “wtf did I just read?”  Without a clear statement of gameplay, this brings players to try to define Star Conflict gameplay based on their personal gaming experience.  And you have the players who try to put themselves into a position of knowing just by saying, “oh, you can’t understand because you’re not max rank, and you don’t have x amount of hours like I do, and you don’t have the customizable ships,” etc.  But, if you ask those players solid questions about the structure of gameplay, they can’t answer.  But, more often than not, will try to convince you that they answered your question and that no one has a better answer.  This creates a bigger gap to bridge toward establishing a well-defined statement of gameplay.

I’ve started three video series regarding Star Conflict.  The first covers a series of simple build and gameplay guides to successfully win playing the pve mission Defense Contract:

The Second covers daily contracts through which you can gain a variety of ship crafting resources:

The third covers gameplay tips:

Over the next few weeks, I plan to clarify the statement of gameplay through my guides, and I plan to continue to add new guides going forward.
when you get blown up, remember to scream.

Click Here to go to the Post on the Official Star Conflict forums.

Related:
Star Conflict: Connecting the Dots for People Who’ve Played League of Legends (or other MOBA games)

Star Conflict: How to Level Ship Mods Quickly and Free

Star Conflict: Genre Wars

Core Resources:

Community Resources:

Star Conflict: Genre Wars

on Twitch
  • All streams are currently offline.


Created by: Stargem Games
Game Site: Star Conflict
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Support: info@stargem-games.com or Gaijin Support

Hellcat5 Connect: Star Conflict Profile || Hellcat5 on Steam

In these days of Trump, people seem more interested in being right themselves instead of asking others “why?”  They jump up and down declaiming how “this goes against everything I know, this can’t possibly be right or good – it’s too different.”  This resistance to inquiry sometimes goes into “How dare you compare my beloved game to a genre I can’t stand.”   So, I’ll start this out by saying this – from what you know, you’re 100% right that it’s not a MOBA.  But, you’ve not asked me why I call it a space MOBA.  What relations do I see between elements of MOBA gameplay and Star Conflict?  I’ll get to that, but I’ll start with a few differences between third person shooters and Star Conflict.

Third person shooters don’t require much about character build.  You don’t have to think about how you can supplement your resistances to different types of damage, you don’t have to think about the ratio for survival that occurs between damage reduction and damage pool.  Everybody gets x amount of hit points, life, health, whatever, and that’s that.  Unless the third person shooters pulls in gameplay elements from other genres.

With third person shooters, your character wasn’t designed for a specific role on a team.  You get no benefit from sticking together except cover fire from team mates, or another takes out someone targeting you.  You just grab your gun and go.  This is great for people who want to relieve stress from a long day at work, and who might not enjoy what they consider tediousness of other gameplay genres.  And, yes, some third person shooter games have team roles, but they’re not complex, and don’t require planning out a build for that role.  If this is the case, that a third person shooter has roles, this mechanic comes from team battle arena games.  Remember the rule of exception?  Team battle arenas took it from RPG games.  But my point isn’t to talk endlessly about my knowledge regarding the origin of different game mechanics.  Roles on a team did not originate as a third person shooter mechanic.

In third person shooter games, you might play on a team, but the teamplay doesn’t go beyond positioning tactics in the gameplay.  You might hide around corners, behind cover, you might see someone about to take down your team mate, but instead you take that player out, you might communicate to your team to call out location of an enemy player,  but you don’t have a tank (destroyer), a healer (engineer), characters that can slow or stun enemy characters(tackler and ecm), characters that disable enemy character’s abilities (ecm), etc.  This gets into teamplay mechanics that general third person shooter fans consider too complex.  Unless, of course, the person enjoys mobas and rpgs.  And yes, there are people who can’t stand RPGs and MOBAs – who only play shooters.  I call these people core shooter gamers.  I could talk about how third person shooters don’t give players gold to use later, or experience points, but enough about third person shooters.  Lets talk about the differences between Star Conflict and MOBA.

In MOBA games, you have creeps.  For those who don’t know, creeps are NPCs that walk or run in a line towards each other to go have a mini battle between themselves.  They don’t have tactics, they just beat on each other until they die.  If your strike kills the creep, you get gold – except in Heroes of the Storm.  Always an exception.  Star Conflict doesn’t have creeps.  All the ships you fight against in the different game modes have an AI, albeit a simple one.

In MOBA games, your character starts at level 1 every match.  Each level you gain grants you an increase in stats, and sometimes gives you the option to level character abilities.  Leveling is usually rather limited, and greatly effects team power during the match.  Star conflict has a limited permanent ship leveling system.  For the exception, I played a MOBA game years ago that had a permanent character leveling system, but unfortunately I don’t recall the name.

MOBA games have a base to defend.  The primary goal of MOBA gameplay is to destroy the enemy’s base, and one doesn’t have to be on the team with the most kills, or personally have the most kills to win.  Personal kill score (PKS) is a mentality that third or first person shooter gamers carry into team games that can actually cause the team to lose. Players who focus on their own kill score ignore the necessity of team power.  In Star Conflict, you don’t have to defend your base against the enemy player team.

MOBA games have a top down camera view.  But, some newers MOBA games incorporate a third person view, such as Smite.  It’s arguable that camera view defines a game genre.  I consider third person and first person shooters to be sub categories of shooter games.  For me, the defining elements fall with gameplay, and not camera view.  I think you get the idea, so now I’m going to get into similar elements Star Conflict has with both shooter games and MOBA games.

Star Conflict basic gameplay includes shooting at and destroying other players’ characters.  In some modes, this is primary focus, while in others it’s secondary.  This is similar to games like Quake, CS:GO, call of duty, etc.  The same similarity exists in MOBA games (shooting enemy players), except that in MOBA games basic attacks aren’t skill shots, they’re selected shots.  The basic attack in star conflict requires skill to hit the target like shooter games, unless you’re using one of the auto aim weapons or gravity weapons, which require much less skill.

So, why did I say “Star Conflict is a space MOBA” ?  If you’ve read my previous articles about space games I’ve been exploring while waiting for Star Citizen, you’d know that I defined space MOBA to cover these arena battle space games.  Sure, they don’t have all the elements that the standard MOBA does, but these games have many similar elements.  I’ll talk more specifically about why I classified Star Conflict as space MOBA now.

Star Conflict focuses on using roles in team play to win, similar to MOBA games.  In Star Conflict, we have the support classes, the tanks, the fighters, the crowd controllers, and disruptors just like in MOBA games.  Playing complementary roles using team play tactics has a much better chance of giving you a win in game instead of rushing off to find the closest enemy alone.  A fighter class tackler ship with an interceptor class ECM going after a tai’kin have a much higher chance to take down that pesky tai’kin Than a gunship running with a covert ops.

Star Conflict has a similar item system to MOBA games.
  In MOBA games, you can customize your character’s items according to what you’re facing.  Star Conflict allows you to customize, but requires you to do so outside of the match, but gives you options in battle by allowing you to select from a set of different ship roles and customizations to fit the match instead of doing this in the match itself.  RPG games have a much broader range of items your character can equip.  And, typically RPG items don’t level up.

Star Conflict has a separate character level and player level.
  Ships have their individual synergy level, and players have their rank.  Like League of Legends, as the player levels up, he gains access to more powerful mods to boost his ship with.  This is similar to leveling up in League of Legends because summoner level gives you access to more powerful runes and masteries.

So, after all this, there will be some who will say, “it’s still not a MOBA.”  And that’s all they’ll get from what I’ve written.  They want to be right, and that’s that.  Others will instead see my point, that Star Conflict has elements from MOBA games, and to attract more people to play, needs to be re-branded with emphasis on the team play mechanics, and so that the developers can create a better match making system from having a solid statement of game play.  Otherwise, no true meta game can ever manifest.  But, that’s another topic for another time.

If you want to read the comments on the official forum that inspired this response, click here.

Core Resources:

Community Resources: