How to run ARK: Survival Evolved as a Windows Service with FireDaemon Pro.

Ark: Survival Evolved logo

What is ARK: Survival Evolved as a Service

Ark: Survival Evolved is a realistic survival game that pits players against dinosaurs, each other and the environment. Hunt, harvest, build and tame dinosaurs to survive.

Ark: Survival Evolved screenshot

The Ark: Survival Evolved dedicated server can be run as a Windows service using FireDaemon Pro. This allows you to start and run the dedicated server automatically when Windows boots and before login. FireDaemon Pro also allows you to start multiple instances of the Ark: Survival Evolved server, monitoring them and automatically restarting those instances in the event they crash. FireDaemon Fusion can also be used to manage your Ark: Survival Evolved service, plus other Windows services via your web browser.

Ark: Survival Evolved Server Setup Under FireDaemon Pro

Please follow the steps below to set up a Ark: Survival Evolved dedicated server as a Windows service with FireDaemon Pro

Step 1: Download and Install SteamCMD for Windows

SteamCMD is a command-line version of the Steam Client. Its primary use is to install and update various dedicated servers available on Steam using a command-line interface.

  1. Create a folder on your system, for SteamCMD, C:\SteamCMD
  2. Download SteamCMD to this folder. A single ZIP file is downloaded.
  3. Extract the contents of the ZIP file into the folder. A single program file, steamcmd.exe, is extracted.
  4. Double-click steamcmd.exe. This will download SteamCMD and corresponding support files into the C:\SteamCMD folder.

Step 2: Download and Install FireDaemon Pro

  1. Download FireDaemon Pro installer
  2. Double-click installer and follow the installation wizard to complete the installation.
  3. For more information about installing FireDaemon, see the FireDaemon Pro Users Guide.

Step 3: Download and Install the Ark: Survival Evolved Server

Download the Ark: Survival Evolved server files via the Steam SteamPipe servers. Go to the directory where you installed SteamCMD and create a shortcut to "SteamCMD.exe". In the shortcut, edit the properties and in the target box, at the end of it (with a space before the following), put:

+login anonymous +force_install_dir "C:\Ark" +app_update 376030 validate +quit
SteamCMD Shortcut PropertiesThe game is currently 11.9GB.

If the Ark: Survival Evolved successfully downloads, the command window will close on its own. Otherwise it will stay open and tell you what went wrong (most likely you don't have enough free disk space).

The Ark: Survival Evolved server also requires DirectX. Most already have it but if the server fails to start, then you also need to to install the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer.

Step 4: Set Up Ark: Survival Evolved as a FireDaemon Pro Service

Double click the FireDaemon Pro icon on your desktop, then click on the New (i.e. +) button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl + N) to create a new service. Enter the information into the fields as you see below. Adjust the path names to suit your installation. Note the required parameters.

FireDaemon Pro Ark: Survival Evolved Dedicated Server Service Program Tab

The most important field on the tab is the Parameters. The Parameters define the initial setup of your server. The minimum parameter list should be as follows:

The rest of configuration is done in 2 files (DefaultGame.ini and DefaultGameUserSettings.ini) located in "C:\ark\ShooterGame\Saved\Config\WindowsServer".
  • TheIsland Loads "The Island" map. To load DLC maps, replace with "TheIsland" with ScorchedEarth_P, Aberration_P, Extinction, TheCenter, Ragnarok, Valguero_P or CrystalIsles.
Note: To load a custom (steam workshop) map, leave parameters in FireDaemon Pro empty and add the map workshop id to "ActiveMods" line of "C:\ark\ShooterGame\Saved\Config\WindowsServer\GameUserSettings.ini".

Next, click on the FireDaemon Pro Settings tab:

FireDaemon Pro Ark: Survival Evolved service settings

Enter appropriate values in the fields on the Settings tab as follows:

  • (Required) Job Type: You must set job type to "Global Job".
  • (Optional) Logon Account: Enter the Windows account under which the Ark: Survival Evolved is to be run, e.g. the current user account.
  • Password / Confirm Password:  Enter the logon account's password twice.
  • (Optional) Interact with Desktop: If this setting is enabled (default), the Ark: Survival Evolved server's output messages can be seen in the console window on Windows Session 0. To switch to Session 0, it may be necessary to install FireDaemon Zero and ZeroInput. Alternatively, this setting may be disabled, in which case the Ark: Survival Evolved server's messages will be hidden.
  • (Optional) Priority: To allocate more CPU time to the Ark: Survival Evolved server, select a higher scheduling priority in this field.
  • (Optional) CPU Bindings: To run the Ark: Survival Evolved server on a specific CPU, specify the appropriate CPU in this field.

Next, click in the Lifecycle tab. Set Shutdown By to Forceful Termination and check "Console Program".

FireDaemon Pro Ark: Survival Evolved lifecycle settings

Lastly, click the Save and Close (ie. the tick) button on the toolbar. If the service's Startup Type is set to Automatic or Automatic (Delayed-Start), it will start immediately.

Step 5: Verify that Ark: Survival Evolved is Running Correctly

The Ark: Survival Evolved Ark: Survival Evolved server's status can easily be checked on the main FireDaemon Pro Services List - look for a Running Status value and a numeric Process ID (PID) value.

FireDaemon Pro Services list

If the service's Interact with Desktop setting is enabled, the Ark: Survival Evolved status can also be verified by switching to Windows Session 0 to view the Ark: Survival Evolved's messages.

Ark: Survival Evolved dedicated server messages window