Using Presets to Automate Item Set Creation

Presets are a form of instruction set Beacon can use to build an item set. Presets can include or exclude contents based on the selected maps, as well as adjust qualities and quantities based on the destination loot source.

While this makes them very powerful, there is also a lot to learn about them.

Create a Preset

Open the Library Drawer to the Presets List. Press the plus button to create a new Preset from scratch. Alternatively, to create a Preset from an Item Set you've already created, right-click the item set and choose Create Preset….

The General Tab

The General tab holds the simplest settings: Name, Grouping, Min Items, and Max Items.

The Name field is quite simply just the Preset name. Set it however you like. The Grouping field tells Beacon how to organize the Preset in the Add Item Set menu. Presets with the same Grouping value will be grouped together. Min Items and Max Items map exactly to the Min Entries and Max Entries fields in an Item Set.

The Contents Tab

This is where things begin to get interesting. At the top of the list is all the maps supported by Beacon. You may select any number of maps to edit availability at the same time. The checkboxes below will update based on the selected maps. A checkmark means the item is included in all of the selected maps, a blank box means the item is not included in any of the selected maps, and a minus (Mac) or square (Windows) means the item is included in only some of the selected maps.

The Quantity and Quality columns work just like an Item Set, but these columns also have checkboxes. Checking the value in one of these columns allows the value to be adjusted by information in the Modifiers tab.

The Modifiers Tab

Modifiers instruct Beacon how to edit the quantity and qualities of items when generating an Item Set. Pressing Add Modifier presents a dialog with three fields. Quality Tiers is a number of steps up or down the quality tiers. Quantity Multiplier is a multiplier to apply to the quantity of items. Group defines which loot sources are affected by the modifier.

Creating Modifier Groups

Choosing New Group… from the Group menu adds some fields. Name is the name of the new group, and Regex Pattern is the regular expression use to search through Beacon loot source classes.

Modifier groups cannot be edited once created. You will need to create a new group with corrected settings. Beacon will automatically delete modifier groups that are not used.

See this Regular Expressions Quick Start guide for a basic starting point to matching loot sources. Beacon matches against the loot source class string, not its Beacon name. This is because Beacon needs to be free to rename the loot sources if necessary, which could break expressions. The class strings are constant and defined by WildCard, so they can be counted on not to change.

For example, the built-in Bonus Drops group uses the following expression to match any of the bonus drops.

^SupplyCrate_((Cave_Aberration_Level\d\d_Double)|(Level\d\d_Double)|(Level\d\d_Double_ScorchedEarth))_C$

This basically says the class must begin with SupplyCrate_ followed by Cave_Aberration_Level##_Double, Level##_Double, or Level##_Double_ScorchedEarth, and finished with the _C suffix, where ## is a two digit number.

Building an Example Preset

To demonstrate how presets really work, this tutorial will walk you through building a preset that includes a crossbow and some stone arrows, tranquilizer arrows, or flame arrows. However, the fire arrows will only be included when the Scorched Earth map is enabled in Beacon.

On the General tab, name the preset "Crossbow Demo" and "Examples" for the Grouping value. Set the Min Items and Max Items both to 2.

Preset General Tab

In the Contents tab, make sure all 6 maps are selected and add an item. Find the Crossbow, set Min Quantity and Max Quantity to 1, Min Quality to Primitive, Max Quality to Apprentice, Chance To Be Blueprint to 0%, and Weight to 1000. Once the row is added, make sure the checkbox in the Quantity column is not checked and the checkbox in the Quality column is checked. This allows more difficult crates to improve the crossbow's quality, without giving extra crossbows.

Next, add another item. This time, find Stone Arrow, Tranquilizer Arrow, and Flame Arrow. Make sure all 3 are checked. Set Min Quantity and Max Quantity to 100. Quality settings do not matter for arrows, so ignore those menus. Set Chance To Be Blueprint to 0%, and Weight to 1. Make sure Merge selections into one entry is not checked, because we want the 3 items to create 3 rows.

By setting the weight this way, we nearly guarantee that the crossbow will always be selected. Since the preset is set to choose 2 of the 4 lines, odds are Ark will choose the crossbow and one of the arrow types. However, this is not a true guarantee, but extremely likely.

Feel free to uncheck the Quality column for the arrow rows, however leaving them checked will have no in-game impact.

By default, Beacon knows that flame arrows are only available on Scorched Earth. So the Crossbow, Stone Arrow, and Tranquilizer Arrow lines should have normal checkmarks while the Flame Arrow line has a partial mark as described above.

Preset Contents Tab

To see how what this means, try deselecting Scorched Earth and Ragnarok. You should see Flame Arrow change to a normal unchecked box. And if you select only Scorched Earth, Ragnarok, or both, the Flame Arrow line will have a normal checked box. This is how you specify which items should be included for each map.

Lastly in the Modifiers group, we're going to boost ammo count in bonus drops, and crossbow quality in cave drops. Press Add Modifier, select Bonus Drops from the menu, and set Quantity Multiplier to 2. Press OK and add another modifier. This time, choose Cave Crates, set Quality Tiers to 3, and Quantity Multiplier to 1.5, then press OK to add the modifier.

Preset Modifiers Tab

The Quality Tiers value affects both minimum and maximum quality. So when increasing by 3 tiers, Primitive becomes Journeyman and Apprentice becomes Ascendant. The Quantity Multiplier multiplies the quantity by the number specified. In this case, the 100 arrows would be increased to 200 in bonus drops, and to 150 in cave crates. That should do it. Make sure your preset is saved and go create a new document.

First, add a plain Island White drop. You can choose to include the Crossbow Demo preset at the Customize Loot Source screen, or you can add it later by holding the add button in the Item Sets list and selecting the preset from the menu. When you do this, you should see the new Crossbow Demo item set has 3 lines: a crossbow and two types of arrows.

Next, add the Island White Bonus drop and just like before, add the Crossbow Demo preset. The resulting item set will still have the 3 lines, but arrow quantity will be increased to 200. The crossbow should remain unaffected.

Next, add the Island Cave Blue drop and - you guessed it - add the Crossbow Demo preset to that one. Same 3 lines, but crossbow quality has been increased and arrow quantity is 150.

Finally, go to the map selection editor in Beacon and enable Scorched Earth. Return to Loot Drop Contents, add the Scorched White drop, add the Crossbow Demo preset, and this time notice that the Flame Arrow line is included.

Now things get a little interesting though. Because both The Island and Scorched Earth are selected, the items that should be included in the other Island drops should change since you're now designing loot drops for a The Island and Scorched Earth cluster by enabling both maps. So select the Island White drop, right click the Crossbow Demo row in the Item Sets column, and choose Rebuild from "Crossbow Demo" Preset. Just like that, the Flame Arrow row is now included. But it would be tedious to do that to every drop. Instead, press the Rebuild Presets button in the Sources column. The icon looks like an box with some objects and a downward arrow. Just like that, Beacon will have rebuilt all your item sets based on the presets they came from. This makes it easy to adjust your item sets should you decide to change a preset.

Wrapping Up

These instructions should cover just about everything you can do with a preset. There are a lot of options because they are a powerful templating feature. They can make your life a lot easier if you learn to master them.

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