Questions from someone -really- 'Getting Started'

The last time I did any game modding, it was for Oblivion – so obviously, some years have passed, different engine, different methodology, different everything.

I am having trouble finding documentation. Is there anything out there – a user-backed wiki, manuals, etc – that define all the different values that a person could edit in the blueprints?

Also –

When I create a mod, I am asked to cook it, but I have three choices: Map, Mod, or Total Conversion.

In what instances is it appropriate to use what options?

For my particular situation, I am not adding ‘new content’, I am looking to overwrite core content that is already there and change it. Although I am not editing core files directly, does this make my mod a total conversion, or can this be done with a regular ‘mod’?

When should a mod developer ‘Copy’ a core Blueprint into their mod, and when should they choose ‘Create a child class’?

For developers who edit the game by over-riding pre-existing elements (for instance, turning all phiomias that spawn bright neon pink), what steps should they take – or at least, be aware of – to prevent their mod from immediately breaking if Ark updates and changes/adds new data to the original core blueprints (in this case, phiomias or the color plueprints)?

Is there a recommended way to track versions of mods? I’m finding that as I make small (but significant) changes in my mods, it’s difficult for me to tell if the game I’m using to test them with is actually loading the most recent versions of my mods.

No. There is no documentation at all on the DevKit.

Create only a map - use Cook Map.
98% of the time - use Cook Mod.
If you setup and create a TC - use Total Conversion.

It’s a mod.

This is a little harder, I never child class anything. Others live by it. A child inherits everything the parent has and then can modify itself. It’s more complicated then that, but that’s a good water-down on it.

Your mod will simply remap the dino in it’s primalgamedata. This way no matter what happens in the core - it always points to your new ones.

There is a way to force the user to have to download the current version through the GUID.
As for tracking - you get a chance to place that information every time you upload.