ARK: Survival Evolved is *NOT* Optimized for Steam Machines

arktop

I already have a review of the game and a more recent one that I put up on Steam. This time, I’d like to take a few minutes to vent in regards to the so-called “optimization” of this game, where the developers had the clit to label this game as “Optimized for Steam Machines”. It’s been a few weeks since the advertisement was put on it, and it’s still there.

arkscreenshotsteam

If any of you have tried ARK on Linux, you know how awful the performance is, as bad as it is on Windows. You can read most of my Steam review below. Someone was somehow able to find my review out of the almost 50k there are already and labeled it as ‘funny.’ If you get a chuckle out of it, great, but at the same time, it’s a warning for those who have a Steam Machine and might be contemplating whether they should buy this…sandbox or not. Also, if you’re a hardcore ARK fan, you might want to roll your eyes over, as I will admit I was a bit…critical.

I applied to be an alpha tester for this game. I still harbor resentment to those who were accepted and got the game for nothing, simply because they might have had a slightly more overclocked graphics card than myself, or the fact that I didn’t get to test the early Linux builds. But now I think I know the reason.

 

One word: performance. Put simply, you need a really (and I emphasize – really) beefy, jacked up son of a biscuit on steroids if you ever hope to achieve on par performance. Yeah, you heard me right: on par. I’m talking about an overclocked i7, an overclocked GTX 980, >= 16 GB of 2,400 MHz RAM, and even a Samsung EVO SSD, as loading times are painstakingly difficult to wait through.

 

What further adds to my aggravation is the advertisement: “Optimized for Steam Machines.”[imgur.com] I seriously don’t know what kind of substances these folks were on when they advertised this. Maybe just to get more sales?

 

It’s probably the worst description ever. I’ve had this game since day one. Performance is, frigging, so bad, words cannot express myself. Lots of updates saying something like, “15% CPU performance increase.” Any framerate changes? No. Here we are, exactly six months later, with the same terrible performance. I’m using a GTX 750 Ti and get an average of 20 FPS on medium settings. On Windows. Can you guess what my framerate is on Linux? -_-

 

I emailed the developers, asking them to take the advert off. It’s been a few days. No response. So just be aware, you Steam Machine/Linux users. Unless you’ve got a GTX 980 packed in there (maybe you don’t even know what that means), my hat to you if you can get this game running at or above 30 FPS on high graphics settings. So much for “Optimized for Steam Machines.” Optimized for…shift, maybe?

 

Another thing, if “Optimized for Steam Machines” includes optimized controller support, that is false. The GUI is still designed for keyboard and mouse users in mind, meaning you have to drag items into your inventory with a cursor that you control with your thumbstick, and in-game prompts displaying keyboard inputs (ex. E: Access Inventory) That doesn’t really fit into the category of being totally optimized for controllers. And I know some of you are saying, “why not get a Steam controller?” Not everyone wants to buy one? And you still have to drag that mouse cursor around to put that shotgun on the second item in your inventory. What are they going to do when the XB1/PS4 ports arrive?

 

If the advertisement is taken off, I might convert my thumbs-down to a thumbs-up, as this game packs plenty of good content otherwise. But in the meantime, don’t try to tell me this game is “optimized” when clearly it is not.

 

But that’s not enough. Customers who actually do have a Steam Machine have reported other problems:

  • The game initially booted up fine, but I (mistakenly) changed the Windowed setting to Fullscreen in the graphics options, and now the picture is way of center on my display, making the game unplayable.
  • My big issue with ARK on the Steam Machine is it always takes two launches. I launch it once and choose a server (or standalone) and it goes through it’s long loading routing, then crashes back to the steam client. load it again and it works.

Please, please tell me that you agree. I want that advertisement to be gone.

psppwner300

psppwner300

14 Comments

  1. Oh I agree with you alright.

    I am amazed you got controller support working at all? I tried my xbox360 wireless gamepads and it refused to work.

    Then I tried my Steam Controller. Official and community mappings do not work (anything made on Windows?). The Steam mapping UI even breaks with those profiles. So I made my own, which works.

    But even with a custom profile I had issues. Things like left/right steering of mounts is unresponsive. Mixing keyboard+mouse emulation with native gamepad resulted in 2x mouse cursors. This means the in-game gamepad support is reliant on its own mouse emulation. Not at all what I would call optimized.

    You know what I would call “optimized for Steam Machines”. Games like Magicka 2. Great performance and full console style integration with Valves official controller.

    • Thank you!!!

      > I am amazed you got controller support working at all? I tried my xbox360 wireless gamepads and it refused to work.

      If you map the controls through Big Picture Mode you might get it to work.

      > Then I tried my Steam Controller. Official and community mappings do not work (anything made on Windows?). The Steam mapping UI even breaks with those profiles. So I made my own, which works.

      It’s because anything below the 4.3 kernel does not have native support for the Steam controller.

      > Mixing keyboard+mouse emulation with native gamepad resulted in 2x mouse cursors.

      Mind taking a screenshot of that and sending it to the developers? I’d love to see their reaction, or if they even do respond.

      • > I am amazed you got controller support working at all? I tried my xbox360 wireless gamepads and it refused to work.
        Be more specific. Do you mean the SDL_GameController powered one? That option does not exist anymore, at least not on SteamOS. ARK would also have to use said API for it to work. I think they removed/hid it because they have a database of all known controllers now and Steam does the mapping automatically.

        > It’s because anything below the 4.3 kernel does not have native support for the Steam controller.’
        No It’s not. I forgot to tell; it was tested on SteamOS (Assumed it was obvious given the topic). I promise you I did not post without making sure the controller works first 🙂

        > Mind taking a screenshot of that and sending it to the developers? I’d love to see their reaction, or if they even do respond.
        Now that I can do. Screenshots in-game is no problem on SteamOS, except for the stupid choice of buttons. I will be sure to share a link or something if they react!

        • > Do you mean the SDL_GameController powered one?

          I mean going to Big Picture Mode, going to Settings > Controller > Add/Test, then going to your controller and reconfiguring the buttons. Like so: https://imgur.com/WDBNsG5

          If the Xbox controller doesn’t work with the game after that, you can also try this guide: http://boilingsteam.com/making-third-party-gamepads-work-with-steam-games/

          For the Steam controller, did you assign the mappings to just the keyboard and mouse itself? Or did you make it so that it acts as a gamepad? Or a combination of the two?

          • I see it now! It may have been the feature was temporarily unavailable during November’s UI changes (on Beta). Or it was simply me not used to the changes.

            My x360 controller is already detected and I can remap it. However, I don’t think this is the issue. The mappings affect all games using the API and all other games that use it work perfectly with my controller. If it was a simple remap issue, would likely get some input, only on wrong buttons/axis.

            Thanks for reminding me about your guide! I loved that article. It will probably be very painful to get working on SteamOS, but I might try it for fun.

            I have tried all kinds of mappings with the Steam controller. The issues appeared when I did a combination of keyboard+mouse+gamepad. Going back to only keyboard+mouse resolved the mouse pointer issues.

            The only reason I tried mixed mappings was to make flying easier with the stick. But I had to leave it on WASD and ended up steering with the camera instead.

  2. I agree with you fully. I think that the whole ‘optimized for Steam Machines’ thing was just a marketing stunt meaning two things: game having a SteamOS port and game supporting Steam Controller (which is ridiculous for obvious reasons).

  3. That game won’t even run on most Steam Machines since it requires more than 8GB of RAM.

    • That’s even more disappointing since the Steam Machines were supposed to set some kind of standard in terms of target hardware for Linux. :/

  4. Completely agree. I have an older CPU (Quad core AMD, still not bad though), but a GTX960, 8GB of RAM (albeit older RAM), a Samsung SSD and the nVidia proprietary drivers in Fedora 23, and I couldn’t get more than 20 FPS on average settings. It was playable at the highest settings (around the same 20 FPS), but got some slowdown every so often when turning quickly. In the end, I requested and was granted a refund since I didn’t really enjoy the game anyway. Still, the “optimized for Steam OS” thing doesn’t seem to be quite truthful.

  5. It’s a disingenuous sales gimmick. Is this marketing really the brainchild of the game developers, or is this more so Valve’s idea? Although Ark: Survival Evolved has gotten the most attention for this, it isn’t the only game to have received the “Optimized for Steam Machines” label. I noticed this regarding the ad for the “Exploration Sale”, although I don’t remember the exact titles mentioned. I’m going to check the upcoming December Holiday Sale ad to see how many titles are labeled (the abbreviated listing on the hardware landing only shows Alien: Isolation, Ark: Survival Evolved, and Axiom Verge as “Optimized for Steam Machines”). As far as I can tell, the designation has nothing to do with performance in general on Steam Machines, or performance relative to other operating systems, other hardware, etc. It’s just marketing “sound and fury”.

    • UPDATE:
      As a follow-up, I took a look at the Steam Winter Sale (which ends 2016-January-4). Alien: Isolation is the only game on the sale landing I see pictured with an “Optimized for Steam Machines” tag. ARK: Survival Evolved no longer has an “Optimized for Steam Machines” tag. Axiom Verge also no longer has an “Optimized for Steam Machines” tag.

      Steam Machines aren’t even pictured as part of Valve’s “Purchase Steam Hardware Now and Receive a Free Copy of Left 4 Dead 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” banner.

      There are no Steam Machine sales either. Too bad; Steam’s Winter Sale would have made for an ideal marketing opportunity for a matching Steam Machine sale. Syber’s ‘P’ and ‘X’ Steam Machine models have actually gone up in price ($789 → $869, $1479 → $1559, respectively), as has ZOTAC’s NEN (back up to $999, after having been reduced to $899), and Alienware Steam Machine reviews on Steam are currently “Mixed”. It probably doesn’t help from a differentiation standpoint that all Steam Machine manufacturers with the exception of the three listed above (Alienware, Syber, ZOTAC) offer completely generic Steam Machines. Why wouldn’t people build their own gaming rigs when they can use the exact same components without bearing the overhead costs the manufacturers carry? As I’ve already mentioned, ALTERNATE, Digital Storm, and Webhallen.com have yet to deliver their Steam Machines, despite still being listed on Steam with 2015-November launch dates. There is a spectacular amount of fail going on with Steam Machines, and it is largely self-inflicted. It’s really frustrating to watch. Steam Machines are currently like pandas who don’t have the wherewithal to procreate successfully.

      “I am disappoint.”

      The coming year will be the time for Valve to enact a Steam Machine New Year’s resolution and right the ship.

  6. ArchLinux user running i7 with a Ti750. Ark seems to be working pretty well for me. I haven’t tested FPS, but at 1080p with High settings, the game is playable.. (probably around 25-30fps).

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