Ark: Survival Evolved is an action-adventure survival game that uses a first-person perspective, with the ability to use a third-person perspective in some instances. To survive, players must establish a base, with a fire and weapons; additional activities, such as taming and feeding dinosaurs, requires more resources. The game’s map, known as the “Ark”, is approximately 48 square kilometers in size; there is approximately 36 square kilometers of land mass, with 12 square kilometers of ocean.
To build a base, players must gain structure components—such as floors, doors and windows—which are earned as they progress and gain levels. These components can be crafted, and placed in the world. Players can create any structure, as long as they have the logistics and resources; the structural integrity of the building is compromised when the pillars and foundations are destroyed. Players can also craft items in the game, such as weapons, which can be achieved by collecting the resources and technology required for crafting. In addition, players can craft and attach accessories to their weapons, such as a scope or flashlight for a pistol or machine gun. Should players take damage, their health meter will gradually regenerate if they have consumed the necessary food, or if they craft items that regenerate the health meter at a faster pace.
There are sixty types of dinosaurs in the game. The dinosaurs in the game can be tamed by feeding it food. Once a dinosaur is tamed, players have access to the dinosaur’s abilities, such as flight or fast underwater movement, as well as its statistics, such as speed, health and damage. When the access to these abilities are gained, players lose control of their personal weapons. When riding the larger dinosaurs, other players can ride on the side with full control of their weapons. They can also be used to carry items, and players can issue offensive and defensive commands to them; for example, a pack of Utahraptors can be assigned to defend the base, or a group of Triceratops can be ordered to attack an enemy’s base. The game also features various other prehistoric species, such as the dodo, saber-toothed cat and woolly mammoth, and giant insects such as Meganeura and Titanomyrma. Every creature in the game has living ecosystems and predator hierarchies.