Mods bring incredible new content to ARK, and new ones are available daily. Whether they’re mods to change the graphics, adjust the gathering rate, or add new items and creatures to your world, they’re all added the same way. Once you’ve decided how you want to mod ARK and what kind of installation you’re modding, the rest is simple enough that anyone could do it.
How to Prepare to Mod ARK?
Because there are two methods to mod ARK, you must first decide how you want to manage your mods. It depends on what kind of ARK installation you have.
- Locally Hosted Single-Player Servers: They are very easy to mod. You’ll have to understand how to mod your own game before you add mods to a hosted server.
- Host Server: If you’re using a host to run your ARK server, it’s a bit more complicated and difficult to mod. However, it’s definitely not impossible. Even if you aren’t entirely comfortable with your server dashboard and it’s brand new to you, ARK mods are still not impossible to install. You just need to take it one step at a time.
Knowing which kind of installation you’re modding is really the only thing you have to do to prepare. If you launch the game and play from your own computer, you’ll do it one way. If you have a hosted server, there are extra steps you must complete.
Choosing mods is a crucial step in modding your ARK game. It can be tempting to suddenly want to download and select every mod you find that looks appealing, but your game becomes a mess very quickly if you do. Consider the types of mods that you’re installing, and then choose the best from each category to include.
- Make a list of the changes you hope mods can provide. Each person’s goals for their modded ARK are different; writing them down first helps to give you a guide for finding the right ones. For example, when I mod ARK, I am looking for housing mods, building mods, and mods that add different mechanics to taming.
- Create categories for each kind of mod you want. Choose from things like housing, textures, game fixes, creatures, vehicles, furniture, character, and weather mods. Ideally, you want one mod in most categories, and you don’t want to have too many that overlap.
The mod files can interact with one another and sometimes create issues. For example, two weather mods might conflict, and neither will work. Choosing one to start gives you an excellent base to work from without a high risk of error.
- Start browsing the Steam workshop for mods that interest you. If you haven’t used the Steam Workshop before, it’s the place to find user-generated content like mods. Each is marked with an ID number which is important if you’re modding your server rather than using the method of selecting and installing mods through Steam.
How Do I Open the Steam Community Workshop?
You access the Steam Workshop from the main client.
- Launch Steam and hover over the Community option.
- Choose Workshop from the menu.
- Type ARK in the “Search for a Workshop” menu. Choose ARK: Survival Evolved from the drop-down menu to open the ARK Workshop.
- Peruse the various mods as you choose. If you scroll down, you can find a list of the most popular, most subscribed, and most recent mods. Using very well-known mods marked popular or subscribed can help you get started because you know they likely work well and have been used successfully on other people’s games.
Using the Steam Workshop is necessary to install mods. Each mod has a unique ID that you use to add the mod to your game.
Installing the Mods
You should go through and do the method for adding mods via Steam whether or not you’re hosting a server with a paid host. You’ll need the mods to join your own server because unmodded clients can’t join modded servers on ARK. Once you’re done, proceed to the second section to add the same mods to your server if that’s relevant to you.
Adding Mods from Steam
Adding mods from Steam is very simple. You should use this method no matter your goals – even if you’re installing mods to join another server that runs mods. Your game on your PC will need to be subscribed to the right mods to play on each server.
- Find the mod you want to install on the Steam Workshop. For example, many servers use Structures +, and you must go to its Steam Workshop page to install it.
- Press Subscribe to add the mod to your installed mods.
- Read the description of the mod and look for the mod ID. It should be listed somewhere in the description. It’s also the number string at the end of the URL for the mod page. Note that number down if you intend to mod your own server.
- Close ARK and let Steam download the mods to your computer. You can watch the progress on the Downloads page.
If you play on multiple servers, you can have all the mods from each subscribed and installed. The game will only load the ones the server requires when you try to connect.
Adding Mods to Your Hosted Server with An Active Mods Panel
If you’re running your server, the method of adding mods will vary a bit depending on the interface of your host. Check with your host provider if you need help adding mods.
- Stop your ARK server on the admin panel. It should not be running while you update the settings and mods.
- Open your Configuration Files.
- Look for a file named GameUserSettings.ini. It should have the same name no matter which host you use.
- Click the ActiveMods area. This should be a text box where you can edit which mods are subscribed.
- Add each mod number to the Active Mods box. You can do them in a line without spaces between the mod numbers. Put a comma between each one. So if you’re using three mods with the numbers 123554, 429382, and 01238345, the entry would read 123554,429382,01238345 along with any other numbered mods you’re adding.
- Press Save.
- Restart your server.
Not every host will have this option, but it’s quicker and easier than using the FTP. Check out the help pages for each host before choosing one if you haven’t yet to see what kind of ARK modding solutions are offered on the Control Panel.
Adding Ark Mods to FTP
All hosted servers should have an FTP option. You can use this to install mods directly from your PC to your ARK server. You must have all the mod files downloaded and updated in the ARK folder on your PC before uploading them to the FTP.
- Login to your Control Panel and open the ARK server’s FTP.
- Open the path to your ARK mods installation. It should be something like
- Open the ARK Mods folder in your Steam folder. It should be at
C:\steamapps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Content\Mods, depending on where you have Steam saved.
- Highlight every mod folder and
.modfile in the directory.
- Drag them over to the FTP.
- Wait while the files upload to the FTP.
- Start the server. Let it start completely before you stop it.
- Open your server files.
- Open the GameUserSettings.ini document in the file tree. A document will open.
- Go to [ServerSettings].
- Type “ActiveMods=” without quotes.
- Add each mod’s number after the equals sign. Separate them by commas, but spaces aren’t necessary.
- Restart the server.
When you manage your mods via FTP, keep an eye on when they’re updated. You’ll have to update your local files and then update the files on the FTP to replace the outdated mod files. When you add new mods, you must add the mod number to the GameUserSettings.ini file.
What Does It Mean if It Says My Mods Don’t Match?
When it says your mods don’t match, then the version of the mod on the server and the version of the mod on your computer isn’t the same. Generally, the mod was updated, and you haven’t updated it to the server yet. Download the new files through Steam and check which version is running on your server.
If you have the old version, upload the new mod files via the FTP or force the server to update them if you manage them with server tools. Depending on your host and the number of mods you’re running, it can take quite a while for the server to download, update, and restart when new mods are added. You won’t be able to access the server during this process.
My Mods Are Loaded but Aren’t Appearing
If the mod isn’t appearing in your game, read the mod description closely to see whether it requires a supporting mod or some kind of particular setting. You also need to make sure it works on the map you’ve selected and that all the matching mod files are in the FTP folder if you uploaded them manually.