PC, XBOX One, PS4
Company: Studio Wildcard
DECEMBER 12th, 2017
Role: Technical Designer
As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing, & pursued by horrors in a massive cave, you must hunt, harvest, craft items, grow crops, & build shelters to survive.
The ARK: Aberration DLC was a new cave-themed map that placed a huge focus on verticality and unique traversal. It was originally scheduled for release around PAX West, but once we got the game back from the contractors in July it became clear we would need another period of hardcore crunch to release it before Christmas. Luckily, it ended up being an amazing new expansion to the game.
My main contributions to this DLC were the Rock Drake, the Glider Suit, and Rockwell boss fight.
The Rock Drake is the ultimate predator of Aberration, packing one of the most versatile traversal kits of any creature in ARK. This apex hunter can climb on any surface, glide for long distances, launch itself at high velocities towards its prey, and turn itself and any riders almost completely invisible. It uses the Climber Dino System I created for the Megalania and the gliding logic from the Griffin.
The Glider Suit is an upper-body clothing attachment that allows players to glide like Griffins and Rock Drakes. At the cost of durability over time, this suit allows players to glide for long distances at high speeds without preventing them from using weapons.
Rockwell, the massive mutated mastermind behind the horrors of the Aberration, is the final boss of this DLC. He was the first ARK boss to trade total control over the arena with all movement, as he is rooted in a pool of Element for the entire fight. As such, he has access to area-denial attacks, projectiles that can faze through geometry, and a flood of Nameless and Reaper minions that spawn in later stages. He was also the first ARK boss to use non-traditional AI target selection methods since he could be completely surrounded by enemies and needed to attack multiple targets at once.
Rockwell surrounds himself with 8 tentacles, each capable of crushing any threats or electrifying sections of the surrounding arena. He is completely immune to all damage until all of his tentacles have been killed, which puts him into a temporary vulnerable state during which his chest splits open and reveals his heart. Once he gets up from this state, his tentacles all respawn and the cycle begins again.