Dragonpunk: Tribe of Gods a Sponsored Mod for ARK: Survival Evolved

Dragonpunk: Tribe of Gods is a Total Conversion mod that will be offering a wide range of fresh new gameplay and mechanics to the world of ARK: Survival Evolved, hosted officially on Nitrado Gameservers.

The aim of the mod is to combine multiple mods from the different members of the Dragonpunk development team, into one Total Conversion mod. Amongst these mods are a custom map, new types of creatures, new structure types and magic. Combined together will bring a new breath of fresh gameplay to the world of ARK: Survival Evolved.

Mythical Creatures will be introduced into the world of ARK, to bring new creatures to tame and defeat on the custom made map, which is specifically designed for the mod to bring a whole new world of mystery to explore, uncover and unravel the mysteries held within. New legendary creatures will roam the wilds and need to be conquered to truly uncover the profound mysteries within the world of Dragonpunk.


Dragonpunk Concept Art

Interview with Team Dragonpunk

We managed to catch the project leader of Team Dragonpunk, Dan, for an interview to shed more light on the mod, how it came to be, what the mod is about and where it aims to go in the future.

Hello Dan, today we will be discussing a little bit about your mod that is releasing for ARK: Survival Evolved and look to get some information about the mods history and it's becoming.

Team Dragonpunk: Hi Ashbash,

Thank you and the rest of the team at Nitrado for sharing our story, especially at this time. It seems like yesterday when we started, but Team Dragonpunk’s second anniversary was in May.


Nitrado: What is the inspiration behind the formation of your Studio?

Team Dragonpunk: The formation of “Team Dragonpunk” was a bit unusual, as the idea of a “Professional Mod Studio” is still relatively new. In 2008, I had the privilege of leading an extremely talented team of fellow students at UT Dallas in creating an urban fantasy game named “Recursive Blue.” Its cloud-based augmented reality concept resembled what “Pokemon Go” would popularize 8 years later, but aimed to render AAA graphics in the cloud in real-time, providing richer graphics than mobile devices can offer.

Red Hat Linux generously supported us in creating Theia, a cloud gaming service similar to OnLive. While developing Theia, I began to understand the potential of the concept to improve game accessibility to countless players. As a student startup unfamiliar with the venture capital world, however, we had a difficult time finding funding for our game, and we ultimately disbanded in 2010. That same year the US Army was standing up its Cyber Command, so I set aside my entrepreneurial goals and returned to active duty as an officer. However, my experience creating Theia had instilled in me a passion for cloud gaming which would shape my future decisions in the civilian world. I enjoy the technical challenges involved in developing the concept, and I relish its potential to render high level gaming experiences accessible to a wider range of players. The current global gaming community already supports a multibillion dollar industry, but I expect the community to double or even triple in size once cloud gaming becomes mainstream starting in 2018.

My father knew how passionate I was about cloud gaming, and for the next 6 years, he would always start our conversations with, “So when are we going to make that game of yours?” He didn’t know a lot about gaming, but he kept my dream alive when I had given up.

One day, in late April 2016, while I was serving as a Cloud Consultant to the Chief Information Officer of the Army in Washington, DC. My father called me while I was on my way to a meeting and started the conversation with the typical “So when are we going to make that game of yours?” I asked to call him back, but never got the chance. A few days later, my father was fatally shot; a month later, my childhood friend Francis died in an explosion in Iraq. Needless to say, I was in a bad place, and delving into the creative process was the best way I knew to cope.

My father and I enjoyed playing Shadowrun, so I approached Microsoft Game Studios about making a simple cloud gaming Shadowrun “mod” for XCOM 2 in memory of my father. While Microsoft declined to license us the Shadowrun IP, we learned that we weren’t alone in our desire for a AAA Shadowrun game. The struggle gave rise to Dragonpunk, a fan-led initiative to create a cloud-based Shadowrun-like AAA game. As cloud gaming services are common now, our goal is simply to get players excited for cloud gaming, whichever platform they choose. Though the trial for my father’s death is ongoing two years later, I’ve worked through the loss and continue with Dragonpunk for our passionate fan-base.


Nitrado: What do you hope to change about the industry?

Team Dragonpunk: I hope to change the way studios treat their modders: I can’t think of any other industry in which talented professionals provide years of free labor to create content for a product, despite the fact that many of the top grossing games on Steam once started as mods. Modders provide innovation essential to growth, and they have earned the respect of the industry. Back in the late 90s, many people hoped that the gaming industry would avoid the pitfalls of the Entertainment Industry, which now relies almost entirely on recycled ideas, sequels and nostalgia. Due to the substantial costs of making a AAA game, however, the gaming industry has become just as risk averse. In recent years, however, mod communities evolved into incubators for innovation. As professional mod studios continue to grow, I hope to see AAA studios continue to recognize the value of modding. By their pioneering ARK Sponsored Mod Program, Studio Wildcard has proven through their actions, as well as words, that they value the contribution of modders.

When I set out to make a free, cloud-based game to honor my late father, I quickly realized that my ambition far exceeded the scope of my $200,000 budget. Modding seemed to provide a logical way to build the Dragonpunk brand, hone our team’s skills, and attract new players, while also providing a value-add to the base game. Since then, I’ve learned that almost all the pieces needed to make an entirely new game already exist as ARK mods, thanks to the tireless efforts of modders. Now, I use that budget to hire artists to assist ARK modders in bringing their vision to life.

Dragonpunk 3

Nitrado: What is your official studio name and why?

Team Dragonpunk: Ok, I’ll admit that “Team Dragonpunk” isn’t the most creative name for a studio, and this story isn’t one of my proudest moments. After months of trying to get to the right person within Microsoft to license Shadowrun, I was finally able to schedule a call. I put together a market analysis and business case study, but was not taken seriously. To my horror, I was quite literally laughed out of the call, and remember hearing something to the effect of, “nobody wants Sci-Fi and Dragons.” As I broke the bad news to the team, I was so frustrated that I said something like, “Who doesn’t like Dragons? We’ll show Microsoft… We’ll make… Dragonpunk, with… Dragonie McDragonface, from… Dragonware Studios!” To this day, the team hasn’t ever let me live that down. We decided that having a character named Dragonie McDragonface from Dragonware Studios might be slightly excessive dragoniness, but we kept “Dragonpunk” and our tentative team name “Team Dragonpunk.”


Nitrado: Any upcoming project name and screenshots?

Team Dragonpunk: We’ve been hinting at our newest total conversion mod on Twitter for the past month, and while our announcement trailer officially launches on August 22nd, the secret is out this week. We’ve been working with Amazon, Parsec, and a number of industry partners to create Dragonpunk: Tribe of Gods. This ARK: Survival Evolved total conversion mod streams Dragonpunk: Tribe of Gods on our cloud gaming servers using Amazon’s new G3 Cloud Gaming Instances. We’re introducing our own characters and game mechanics, as well as collaborating with many notable ARK modders, to bring the best fantasy roleplaying mods together on one package. Over the duration of Dragonpunk: Tribe of Gods, players will craft the backstory and lore for the Dragonpunk Universe. Truly legendary players will be offered the option of immortalizing their characters as NPCs in our future game, tentatively titled “Dragonpunk Cloud” which is built from the ground up for cloud gaming in Amazon Lumberyard.


Dragonpunk (2)


So there you have it, that gives you a basic idea of what Dragonpunk: Tribe of Gods is about, where it came from, what it brings and where it aims to go in the future. For more information about them, please go to their official website by pressing the big yellow button below. Thank you Dan, for sparing some time for this interview and I hope this interview gets all you readers as excited for this mod as I am!


Official site for Dragonpunk: Tribe of Gods

Aug 7 2017, 09:14 pm
Ashleigh Laywood
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