Map Making Process, Questions, Workflow

Hi Everyone!

So I went into the Ark Dev Kit and have a few questions. My biggest concern is understanding the workflow. I noticed that current main Island has only one file with all the basic terrain details and textures down, along with the water volumes; among a few other items. Inside the same folder you then have files for each section of the main island where all the detail has been placed along with spawning volumes and everything else. So my questions are:

  1. Do we, I’m assuming, start with all of our basic terrain detail and textures, filling out the size of our desired map in one file, and then continue working in small sections to fill in the detail in smaller files, like the current main island?

  2. Or, are most people currently building their map in only one file?

  3. Are there any advanced tutorials to explain this process of working from the basic terrain file to the more detailed files, and how these load, rather than the current tutorial which just starts you off on a basic platform?

  4. I noticed they had large text above where the caves would be in the main Island file, but no cave entrances or cut outs from the terrain. Does this mean that they are all placed in the more detailed files?

  5. I’m also assuming that the Ocean detail is done in the more detailed smaller files, is this correct?

Thanks for the help!


Much of the content is placed in layers called “levels,” this is part of the level streaming system.
In fact, the first level you make is a level. Each one of those separate level files you see are children of the main level (theIsland.)
If you go to window>levels you can see each level file then turn them on and off. Do not turn them all on! You will probably crash, which is one reason why things are placed in/on different levels.

Documentation for level streaming:

video tutorial on level streaming in regards to ARK

Depends on the designer. I start with landscape and texturing. Then basic level setup such as player start, global post process volume, skydome, weather, etc. From there start with macro details such as bodies of water, cliffs, etc. Then do foliage. Once you have that you can work in smaller details moving across the map from section to section.

No idea what other people are doing, but any map of a signifigant size needs to use level streaming. It’s a must otherwise the editor will become so slow it will be unusable.

See post above

I think the text was a way of demarcating sectors. What relation that has to caves I do not know.

Most likely it’s actually done as clutter.

Personally I come from a Source Engine upbringing, so I’ve always viewed level streaming as an advanced form of vis leafs. Essentially look at it this way, you want to have your world split into these sections, which aren’t loaded when they aren’t being used. Lets say you don’t split up your Landscape into levels, and now you are playing it. Obviously you can only see a very small portion of the landscape from any given point, but it would all be rendered since it is a single object within your field of view. If you cut it up into a grid then only the grid space you were physically in, plus anything that you can see would need to be rendered out, therefore significantly reducing stress on client systems.

As for workflow, generally Nanobot hit the nail on the head. The first thing you need to do is get the general shape of your landscape, once you do (either through the landscape tool or a heightmap) you just move section to section adding in detail as you feel like it.

Here are some links that might help you!…-to-make-a-map

  1. Yes, that is the general workflow :). Generally a good way to handle terrain, is sculpting first with just one material at play. And then once terrain is mostly done, only THEN should you start painting the materials in as desired. I say this because otherwise you will be re-doing alot of the painting if you have stuff placed for the most part already (foliage, etc).

  2. No. Do not ever build your map into one file. You will experience really low fps by doing so when actually playing on the map, like 4 to be specific lol.

The rest of these we’re answered by everyone else so far, so that is my two cents on those two :stuck_out_tongue:

I know this is an old thread, but i followed the tutorials to a T, when i cooked and uploaded my map it was uploaded as all the levels instead of just one map? Any ideas at all?

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