ARK Survival Evolved is actually one of the most poorly designed games I think I've ever seen. This is, of course, excluding the asset flip... That's a different story altogether. Looking at you, DigitalHomicide There are a lot of things wrong with ARK and most of it seems to come from a core design philosophy that is very much flawed. The controls are messy; progression, where it does exist, is underwhelming; the dinosaurs, which by the way, are the main selling points for the game, are crap; survival elements bog down the game and mostly just boil down to babysitting the player; there's no real teaching the player the game through design, and I get that ARK isn't the kind of game that normally does this, but it's still something I hate to see thrown out the window, and I'll explain why I think ARK could've benefited from it. Control LayoutThe first thing about this game that I absolutely despise is the atrocious control design. I mean honestly, just look at it: It's a big wall of text. Whose idea was this? This is not something you want in your game, this is something you want in a debug window. So what's actually wrong with it? Well the first thing I noticed upon first playing the game is that there are just too many buttons. Why in the world does this game have rebind-able turning options? It's as if they looked at all of the conventions established over the last couple decades of gaming and said with absolute confidence, "ya know what we're not gonna do?" Let's look at how this can be cleaned up and organized first. As a general rule, one should want to organize items with other items like it. So for this control scheme I would move all of the things that were immediately relevant to the player into a little box in the top left. This is where you would put strafing and moving, crouching, prone, turning, jumping, run, use, etc. Wait, look at that... What is that ugly little thing. A... S-s-elfie cam? What is it doing in a game like ARK and why is it... why does it have its own button..? What kind of player did they think would even want this..? Anyway... What I would do next is move all of the combat controls to their own section. So aim, fire, reload, melee, toggle weapon, etc. would get their own box. And we could do this with everything else as well. Why are the item hotkeys in a list right there in the middle of animal command hotkeys? This doesn't make sense. The last thing I would do is instead of making turning and movement rebind-able, I would give the player the option to use the mouse or arrow keys, and the option to use WASD or arrow keys. I use an English keyboard, so perhaps this wouldn't be ideal for the sake of localization, but it's a start; especially for getting rid of the option to change individual turning direction. I mean seriously, what does this do? Who does this help? So let's move on the the next thing we can do to fix this control scheme. Simplification. It's a tool; let's use it. Do not give crouch and prone their own buttons... Stop that, just stop. Hold it down or press it twice to prone. This should've been obvious from the start. What are the different whistle commands doing with their own buttons? Four buttons for effectively three actions? Follow, wait, attack. that's it right? Well what if I told you we could do all three actions with only one button? Press it once while hovering over/highlighting a tamed dinosaur to make it follow. Do the same to make it wait. Hold the button to make all of the dinosaurs that are following you wait; then give the player the option to make them all follow at once. I'd advise against doing this at your base surrounded by all of your animals... but it's your game, do what you want. We don't actually need an attack command though, do we? An effective game AI should be able to tell if ****'s about to go down, and act accordingly. And there it is, all of the animal commands only use one key. Now, could you add extra buttons to make your dinosaurs behave in different ways? Well, yeah do it, that's awesome. Want squad commands like Mass Effect? Add an extra button or two for that. But do not add complexity for the sake of complexity; in other words, subtract before you add. I just solved ARK's control design problems. I feel pretty good about this. I was going to try and put my arguments all in one post, but it would seem that this is very lengthy. There's just so many things wrong with the design in this game, and I'd really like to cover them all. If you actually do enjoy ARK, though, I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter, it's interesting to hear different sides of the argument. Keep a look out for part two if you thought this was a decent read! I'll be covering how some of the design problems with the animals can be fixed.