Version History

1.0.0 (Build 40)

This is it. Finally calling Beacon 1.0 finished. Out of beta and ready for everybody to enjoy. Here's what has changed.

  • Fixed bug when importing local files.
  • Another attempt to fix a "random" exception that was previously believed to be fixed.
  • Added missing Extinction map filter to engrams manager.
  • Fixed a handful of other exceptions related to issue resolution and empty engram sets.
  • The process of converting Beacon data into JSON so it can be saved to disk or uploaded to the cloud is now handled in a low priority thread. This should prevent all saving, including autosave, from locking up the app while it happens. For users with exceptionally large files, this should make autosave feel much less noticeable.
  • Beacon will prevent users from closing documents that are busy, such as while being saved.
  • Export window will correctly write new files, instead of failing silently.
  • Document-level "Rebuild Item Sets from Presets" will function again.
  • Turns out there are more 32-bit copies of Windows out there than there should be. So Beacon has a 32-bit version once again.

1.0.0fc1 (Build 39)

In an ideal world, this build (39) will be relabelled 1.0.0 and Beacon will officially be out of beta after much too long.

This build is mostly a bug and quality of life build.

  • Revamped set of base quality values. Users who have been advised to set their "Loot Drop Quality Scale" lower should reset to 100% and deploy/export their config.
  • New top-tier quality class: "Perfected" - this tier equals 100 quality in Ark, the maximum possible.
  • The Mac version is fully signed and sandboxed.
  • Using "Save As" will generate a new document UUID. This allows users to download another user's file and "Save As" into their own account without ownership conflicts.
  • Duplicate SupplyCrateLootQualityMultiplier lines will no longer cause a parsing error. Only the last value will be retained.
  • Added status bars to most of the loot config interface.
  • Fixed bug causing empty Simulator after editing a loot source.
  • Document export now has an "Update File" to make the behavior more obvious. "Save As" would update the file previously, but since the operating system asks about replacing the file, this was not obvious. So the behavior as been separated.
  • Importing engram data is now threaded. This should prevent "Beacon has stopped working" errors when parsing content, especially from websites.
  • Beacon will more reliably restore the last used config view when opening a file.
  • Significant updates to the mod editor view. Now includes a column for Extinction, along with a bunch of quality-of-life improvements.
  • On OS X 10.10 and 10.11, Nitrado authorization will now be handled in the user's browser since their website is broken before WebKit 602.2.14.
  • Fixed bug with server importing not correctly detecting the server's map.

1.0.0b28 (Build 38)

  • It is now possible to add multiple loot sources at once.
  • Beacon automatically saves backup documents every minute.
  • Tabs will show an indicator while saving is in progress.
  • Double-clicking a loot source will show the loot source edit dialog.
  • Fixed bug preventing the simulator from respecting the "prevent duplicates" settings.
  • Fixed bug causing issues view to duplicate the same issue over and over again.
  • Fixed showing Document menu as disabled.
  • Beacon is more resilient to switching between database-incompatible version. It is still not recommended to switch backwards to old versions, but the situation will be handled better going forward.
  • Fixed error on start caused by Beacon's inability to write to its log file.
  • Other minor fixes

1.0.0b27 (Build 37)

This is a minor bug build to fix a couple significant issues.

  • Fixed error when moving the cursor over a toolbar that has not fully drawn yet.
  • Fixed error with item set entry quantities not respecting the desired value.
  • Fixed error with empty or zero quantity fields.

1.0.0b26 (Build 36)

To be honest, there's too many changes to list. 430 commits were made to Beacon's GitHub repository since beta 25, which represents 42% of all commits made to Beacon. This is a massive release. So this change log will be more of a highlight reel.

  • Major redesign
  • Added Extinction map support.
  • Beacon now integrates with Nitrado, making server management easier than ever. If your server provider has an API Beacon can use, let us know via forgotmyparachute@beaconapp.cc.
  • Added "Show only console-safe engrams" document option, which hides engrams from mods not supported by consoles.
  • Added simulator view at the bottom of the item sets list. Allows previewing of loot source contents.
  • Added support for SupplyCrateLootQualityMultiplier config.
  • New export window shows changes for Game.ini, GameUserSettings.ini, and command line options.
  • Library and Developer windows have been moved to a drawer on the left side of Beacon's window.
  • Beacon documents and Preset files use a new format. Old formats will be imported, but are not compatible with older versions of Beacon.
  • Users can now sign into a Beacon account, allowing easy access to cloud documents from multiple computers.
  • Beacon is now a 64-bit app on Windows. 32-bit versions of Windows are not supported.
  • Mac version supports dark mode.
  • Mac minimum support operating system increased to 10.10 Yosemite.
  • Tuned loot quality formula. Loot should more closely match intended qualities.
  • Importing ini files is dramatically faster.
  • Increased number of supported digits in quantity fields to 4. This means values up to 9999 are possible.
  • Weight scale increased from 100 to 1000. This change does not affect any existing content, it only allows more precision in weight values.

1.0.0b25 (Build 33)

This release works around an unexpected behavior when Ark is running as a server process. Single player instances are not affected. All server admins should rebuild their loot overrides using this version to get more diverse loot distribution.

Do not use Beacon to import your current Game.ini, as your qualities will be adversely affected. The config lines that Beacon produces are intended to be used by Ark and are pre-multiplied by Ark's multipliers. Importing, however, must assume the values are not pre-multiplied. The recommended way to rebuild your config is by opening your saved ".beacon" file and going to File -> Deploy.

Here's the nitty gritty details Per numerous discussions online, Ark's weights should all total to 1.0. So two item sets with equal weight should be 0.5 and 0.5. In single player, this appears to be true.

However in server processes, this logic was producing an unbalanced distribution of item sets. Some item sets, decided by an unknown factor, would have a zero or near-zero percent chance of selection. Others would be selected too often. This might actually explain why water jars and crop plots appear in the official drops so often.

The solution was to use a whole integer value instead. Weights now total to 1000, which gives plenty of resolution even at low weights. Immediately, loot should feel more diverse. Single player instances work exactly the same using these new values too.

1.0.0b24 (Build 32)

  • Fixes the completely broken mods view.
  • Fixes the lockup Beacon would experience on Windows while updating. Installing this update will still appear to get stuck towards the end of the update download, but just leave it, the download will finish. However, this should be the last time, this new version does not have the problem.
  • Fixes a bug that would prevent engram updates if loot sources were reordered.
  • The installer now installs/updates the Windows Universal Runtime on systems that need it.

1.0.0b23 (Build 31)

This minor release adds an easier way for console admins to deploy Game.ini updates. Also fixes a bug with custom loot sources not saving their type.

1.0.0b22 (Build 30)

Fixes bug causing CSV parsing to fail on Windows.

1.0.0b21 (Build 29)

This release fixes a critical bug that would trigger an exception in the new engrams export feature.

1.0.0b20 (Build 28)

  • New Feature: Automatic Deployments
    Besides exporting to a new Game.ini or updating an existing Game.ini, Beacon can now connect to game servers via FTP and update the Game.ini right on the server!

  • New Feature: Cluster Support
    Admins can now select multiple maps when creating or editing a document. Even better, the deployments feature supports multiple servers, so changes can be deployed to the entire cluster at once.

  • New Feature: Engram Import and Export
    The engrams list in the Library window now has an "Export All" button which creates a CSV file with all custom engrams. The "Import File" button will now recognize CSV files so they can be imported again. Note: just as before, the import function will NOT overwrite previously imported engrams. So users looking to use this feature to edit engram names in another editor should clear their engrams before importing the edited csv.

  • Fixed bug causing only the first API action to be correctly authenticated on Windows.

  • Game.ini builder will produce a cleaner file, at the cost of stripping unnecessary whitespace.

1.0.0b18 (Build 26)

  • Fixed spelling of Aberration.
  • Fixed crash caused by an empty preset grouping value.
  • Fixed exception caused by a bad engram blueprint path.
  • Fixed invisible "Edit" checkbox next to "Weight" when editing multiple item set entries.
  • Fixed preset editor's "Create Blueprint Entry" working on all the preset's entries instead of only the selected entries.

1.0.0b17 (Build 25)

  • Fixes issue when working with presets that would create duplicates and prevent deleting.
  • Fixes a bug with saving the entry created from the "Create Blueprint Entry" option inside an item set.
  • Fixes a bug where the item set list could become out of sync with the actual loot source contents when renaming an item set would cause the list to be re-sorted.

1.0.0b16 (Build 24)

  • Added feature to rebuild all item sets in a document using their original preset.
  • It is now possible to change the map. Doing so will also offer to rebuild the item sets to match the new map.
  • Added an "Open Recent" item under the "File" menu.
  • Custom presets are now stored inside the Library.sqlite file. For most users, this should have no functional change. Users copying their data to another computer should be aware of this organization change however.
  • Fixed exception caused by opening the Library without an internet connection.
  • Fixed exception triggered when defining a custom loot source.
  • Added Abberation checkbox to the custom loot source wizard.

1.0.0b15 (Build 23)

  • Fixed bug that would silently prevent saving of engrams if a duplicate was found.
  • Fixing an exception that would occur while saving a document with no map key.
  • Support for Abberation DLC.

1.0.0b14 (Build 22)

  • No longer causing an exception when the export dialog is cancelled.
  • Weight slider appears when editing multiple entries.
  • Fixed editing engram weights in the entry editor.

1.0.0b13 (Build 21)

  • Significantly improved loot quality math. Now difficulty is included in quality calculations, making loot quality significantly more consistent across servers.
  • Files are now limited to a single map per file. If you currently have multiple maps worth of loot sources in your file, please use cut/copy and paste to separate the loot sources into separate files.
  • A number of output format improvements have been made, but should have no functional change.
  • Importing from an ini file always assumes 1.0 difficulty.
  • "Pretty" JSON has been improved and is enabled again on Windows.
  • Exporting now offers to update an existing Game.ini file, rather than only creating a new file. When updating, all unrelated lines will be left alone.
  • Entry editor now shows the mod name.
  • Weight slider has been added back to the entry editor. Sorry this was forgotten!

1.0.0b11 (Build 19)

  • Fixing bug extracting incorrect blueprint paths from cheat codes.
  • Update window will now display all changes between the current version and new version.

1.0.0b10 (Build 18)

  • Beacon files finally show up with their own icon and can be used from Windows Explorer.
  • Engrams view in the Library will refresh after importing.
  • Recognizing more cheat/spawn codes as valid.
  • Added support for the beacon:// url scheme to Windows.
  • Added an option when defining custom loot sources to increase compatibility with mods that do not support blueprints in loot definitions.

1.0.0b9 (Build 17)

  • Removed JSON pretty printing on Windows because it was much too slow.

1.0.0b8 (Build 16)

This build has a significant number of refinements to its config generation code. Most notably, it no longer generates two config entries for every item set entry. This was done previously to counteract Ark's odd selection system. This caused other problems, such as preventing the "Prevent Duplicates" option from working correctly.

It is very strongly recommended that users not only rebuild their configs, but also inspect some of their item set entries. There is a new "Simulation" section in the entry editor that will give you an idea of how Ark will pick its loot. There is a very good chance this will not be what you expect, so adjustments to your file are likely necessary.

Custom Items

Beacon has changed from using class strings (such as PrimalItemResource_Wood_C) to blueprint paths. For most documents, this will be an inconsequential change. For documents using custom/mod engrams, there are two side effects:

  1. Most importantly, since blueprint paths are unique, there is no possibility of conflict. There are some mods which share the same class strings which confuses Ark's loot generation. Using blueprint paths solves this issue.
  2. Beacon must have a blueprint path for each item. Since custom items were only supplied with class strings in the past, this means Beacon cannot generate a proper config for documents which have custom items. So Beacon has a new "problem resolution" dialog which will alert authors for problems such as this. The solution is to simply paste in cheat/spawn codes. Beacon will extract what it needs automatically. Despite these changes, the Beacon document format remains backwards compatible.

Library

The "Preset Library" has been moved into a new "Library" window. In addition to the presets previously available, the Library now contains a document browser and engram manager.

The document browser allows users to discover popular configurations, publish their own, or unpublish previously published documents.

The engram manager allows users to import lists of spawn/cheat codes to maintain a persistent list of custom items. The import process will attempt to guess at item names, but users can adjust the name and other settings.

Preset Updates

Presets can now specify The Center and Ragnarok as targets. Right-clicking one or more entries in the preset editor will bring up a menu option "Create Blueprint Entry" which will set all the selected blueprint chances to 0% and create a new entry with all the blueprintable engrams at 100% chance. The purpose of this is to act closer to Ark's default loot system. This feature may introduce multiple blueprint entries to keep the items properly contained within their selected maps.

The Center & Ragnarok

Because these maps use the same loot sources as The Island (with some exceptions) the switcher at the top of the Loot Sources list now directs how presets will build their contents.

Here's an example of what this means. The Mantis is available on Scorched Earth and Ragnarok, so its kibble should only be available on those two maps. However, Ragnarok uses The Island's loot sources. So, if adding the "Dino Consumables" preset to the "Island White (Level 3)" loot source with "The Island" selected, "Kibble (Mantis Egg)" will not be included. Doing the same thing with "Ragnarok" selected will include the Mantis Egg Kibble.

Users are advised to keep this menu set to the intended map for best results.

Other New Features & Changes

  • Beacon documents and presets now format their contents nicely, making them easier to version control.
  • Beacon now supports mods! Mod authors can register their mods with Beacon and manage the items within the mod for Beacon users to easily use. Just give Beacon a file of spawn codes or a URL to the codes online, and it'll try its best to parse out all the items. Mod authors may also publish their engram lists to their own servers in JSON or CSV format, and Beacon will maintain its database accordingly.
  • Improved identity management. All Beacon users have an "identity" file which authenticates their online actions. Now this identity can be backed up and restored, as well as making it easy to view the identity key pair.
  • Public Beacon API! Anybody can manage documents, mods, and engrams however they please. The new "Developer Tools" window has built-in an "API Guide" section for learning about the API, and an "API Builder" section for generating sample API code.
  • New admin spawn code list at https://beaconapp.cc/spawn/ - if Beacon knows about it, including mod items, you can find it and its spawn code here. Mod authors may even link to this from their Steam page using https://beaconapp.cc/spawn/?mod_id= to show only items for that mod.
  • It is now possible to paste a spawn/cheat code or blueprint path into the entry editor's filter field.
  • Entry editing has a new UI! Per-engram weights are now supported, and there is a new "Simulation" section. This will give you a live idea of how Ark will choose items based on your settings.
  • Item Set list now allows multiple selection.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue with engrams not automatically updating.
  • Improved tab order in most, if not all, views.
  • Fixed some UI elements being too short on Windows.
  • Default and Cancel buttons have been swapped on Windows to better match system standards.
  • Beacon will swap min/max values when the maximum is less than the minimum.
  • Weight values from imported configurations will be respected down to 0.0001 instead of 0.01.
  • Fixed an issue with custom items not appearing in the entry editor when editing an existing entry.
  • Fixed bug which caused the delete confirmation to appear when cutting an item.

1.0.0b7 (Build 14)

  • This update fixes a critical issue with editing presets on Windows. Adding and editing preset entries was not working correctly in beta 6. In order to fix this issue, presets have become documents rather than modal dialogs. Rather than "Cancel" and "Save" buttons, saving a preset is done like any other document: with keyboard shortcuts or menu items.
  • Mac version is now a 64-bit binary. Users should not notice any difference. Windows 64-bit support is likely a few more months away.

1.0.0b6 (Build 13)

  • Fixes exceptions on Windows caused by user account paths containing non-ASCII characters.
  • Fixed issue preventing update checking, engram updates, document publishing, mailing list subscription, and all other online functions from working on Windows 7 and Windows 8.0.
  • Fixed issue with importing config files which had excess spacing around keys.

1.0.0b5 (Build 12)

  • Removing the special considerations for Scorched Earth desert crates. This means exporting an entire ini file is possible. Beacon will automatically adapt the loot source accordingly. Rebuilding your ini files is recommended.
  • No longer possible to paste duplicate item sets into loot sources. This would end up hiding the sets entirely, only to become visible in the export. Beacon will automatically clean up loot sources which might have been affected by this in the past.

Regarding the desert loot crates

I had previously concluded, based on Google search results, that SE desert crates and Island deep sea crates used the same class string. It turns out this is incorrect, so all the special workarounds I implemented needed to be removed. My thanks to Ark Community member Gumballz who pointed this out to me. The correct information was right in front of my in the dev kit, and I just didn't notice.

1.0.0b4 (Build 11)

  • Now offers to subscribe users to the Beacon Announce mailing list. This only happens during the first launch, the dialog will never be seen a second time.
  • Special considerations are now made for the desert loot crates in Scorched Earth. Most users will never notice anything peculiar about this loot source. However, in order to support this particular crate, exporting both The Island and Scorched Earth configs at the same time is no longer possible.
  • Fixed loot source color and sort order of duplicated sources.
  • Fixing bug with showing the engram database date incorrectly on Windows.
  • About window now has a button to update engrams automatically. This should still happen automatically at startup, but the button will provide confirmation of success or failure.
  • Added offline logging to help track down certain bugs. This is stored in %AppData%\The ZAZ\Beacon on Windows or ~/Library/Application Support/The ZAZ/Beacon on macOS.

1.0.0b3 (Build 10)

  • About window now shows when the engram database was last updated.
  • Now possible to import engram definitions. If for some reason your copy of Beacon cannot update definitions automatically, they can be downloaded from the Beacon website and imported using the Import menu item. See https://beaconapp.cc/download/ to download definitions.
  • Deleting a loot source or item set now has a confirmation dialog.
  • Adding custom loot icons for the boss sources.

1.0.0b2 (Build 9)

All users should rebuild their configs using this version. Quality values were not correct in previous builds.

  • Now possible to duplicate a preset.
  • Entry editor engram list will correctly sort on the checkbox column.
  • Item set entries can now be double-clicked to edit.
  • Added steppers to item set min and max fields.
  • Item sets will correctly default to NumItemSetsPower=1 rather than 0.
  • Fixed critical issue where Beacon was truncating the decimals from loot source multipliers.
  • Fixed exception caused by trying to create a new preset from an item set that was previously created from a preset which no longer exists.

1.0.0b1 (Build 8)

The first beta is here! This means Beacon is now considered feature complete for now. Development focus going forward will be on bug fixes, polishing, and setup of support resources such as the website and tutorial.

Not only is this the first beta, it's also one of the largest updates since the initial release. Here's the release notes.

Loot Sources

  • Loot source list now includes icons and can be filtered to show all sources, island sources, or scorched sources.
  • New loot source wizard. Selecting a defined source is clearer, allows adding presets while adding a loot source. Custom loot sources now have a full range of settings available to ensure proper loot calculation on export.
  • Loot sources are now sorted by design instead of alphabetically.
  • Editing or duplicating a loot source allows the item sets added by a preset to be reconfigured. This is useful when duplicating a standard beacon into a bonus beacon, for example, as it will adjust qualities and quantities accordingly.

Item Sets

  • Added right-click option to reconfigure item sets from their preset.
  • Item sets now know which preset defined them. This allows an item set to be renamed, but can still be reconfigured by the loot source wizard without altering the other settings such as name and weight.

Item Set Entries

  • Editing multiple entries is now much nicer, as the "edit" checkboxes will default to off, and automatically enable when changing a setting.
  • No longer possible to set an entry's blueprint chance if no blueprint exists for the engram.
  • Exporting no longer creates set entries for blueprints if the engram has no blueprint.
  • It is now possible to change the engrams in a set entry.
  • When adding multiple engrams, it is now possible to choose between creating one entry per engram (the previous behavior) or adding all engrams to a single entry. This is useful, for example, to include both a Quetzal Saddle and Quetzal Platform Saddle in the same entry so the game will pick one or the other, but not both.
  • Set entries list now supports multiple item copy and paste.

Presets

  • Built-in presets are now updated automatically by the server.
  • Added "Preset Library" to the "Window" menu, which is used for managing presets.
  • Option/Alt while selecting a preset from a menu will no longer trigger an edit action. Instead, edit presets from the preset library.
  • New per-item options for presets to prevent modification of quality and or quantity based on the loot source.

Other

  • Added increased resolution icons, supporting Windows scaling settings up to 300%.
  • Improved engram lookup speed, which should make the loading files faster.

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