Why it took four hours and a dozen dead sheep to get my toilet working in Ark: Survival Evolved

You're going to see a lot of my poop in this story, but if it's any comfort to you, the amount of poop you're going to see is far, far less than I saw while creating it. Ark: Survival Evolved is probably the poopinest game ever made, with dinos and humans constantly dropping turds all over the map. It's not just for laughs: dung is used in the creation of fertilizer for farming, but having to pick up all that poop with your bare hands and carry it around in your pants is a little gross. Especially human poop.

A little bit of civilization arrived in Ark in the last update: namely, functioning toilets. Naturally, I wanted to build myself a bathroom: there's something nice about the idea of being able to use a proper toilet instead of just having a doot fall out of me while in the midst of a conversation or task.

I have a little house (it's more of a box) on an island I share with my friend and tribemate, Katie, and I've decided to add a restroom to it. I begin by building a couple of interior walls and a door to serve as a tiny bathroom, and then get to work crafting the toilet. Naturally, this being Ark, the crafting ingredients are ludicrous, requiring 40 units of crystal. For what? I don't really know, but considering a jousting lance requires 260 metal ingots and 100 units of obsidian (and no wood, mind you!), I suppose I'm getting off easy.

After a quick jaunt to a nearby cave to collect crystal, some rock mining to gather metal, some tree chopping (my favorite) for wood, I build the toilet, place it in the new restroom, sit on it, and try to take a dump. I can't. I wait a while, but there's still no deployment. Finally, I decide to start chowing down on the dozen or so lambchops I'm carrying. I know it's not exactly classy to eat on the can, especially when there's a grubby monkey on my shoulder, but I'm eager to try out my new throne.

After eating a dozen chops and periodically pressing the defecate button, I finally take a shit. However, it appears to fall out of my ear and land on the toilet seat next to me. That's the thing about plumbing: you've got to hook it up to something. Though it's technically a chair with a hole in it, and the poop should just fall in regardless, it won't: I need a water supply to make my toilet go.

My house is some distance from the beach, and I really don't feel like running pipes all the way across the island, so I figure I'll just add a water tank behind my house, connect it with a pipe, and either manually fill it or wait for it to rain. I build and place the tank, craft some water skins, fill them in the lagoon, and drop them into the tank. The tank still shows itself as empty, though, and the toilet looks empty as well. Again, I can sit on the toilet, it but it won't work, and my dumps just land on the seat next to me.

Luckily, it begins to rain, and soon my tank is filled. Peering into the toilet, I can see water inside. Perfect! I sit down, but I'm not ready. I mean, I'm ready, but my body isn't. I kill a few sheep, cook up more chops on the grill, and eat roughly 40 of them in a row. Then I squeeze out another deposit.

Basically, the same thing happens. It won't go into the toilet, it just lands right there next to me. I can't tell what's wrong: there's water in the tank, there's water in the pipes, and there's water in the toidy. But my doots aren't splashing down. Am I missing something? Is there an attribute or skill I need to level? Do I need to unlock a 'Knows How To Take A Dump' Engram?

I take all the shit out of my inventory—I've collected five of them by now, the ones that dropped out of me while I've been working and running around—and start lobbing them at the toilet. After several throws I eventually get one in, but there's no option to flush. I'm perplexed. Maybe the toilet doesn't work with the tank, which would be odd since toilets are traditionally, you know, tanks.

Fine. I'll just spend the entire night crafting water pipes and run a mess of plumbing from the lagoon, up the beach, over to the house, and through the back wall. This isn't difficult, just time consuming, and the line of pipes are pretty ugly along the landscape (thankfully, they can be made invisible).

Eventually, I've got pipes leading from the water all the way to my house. I demolish the tank, but discover a new problem: the pipes leading from the beach are at a different angle than the pipe protruding from the house, because I've unfortunately placed the toilet itself at a slight angle. I have to demolish the existing toilet, run the new pipe in, and build a second toilet. I need a bit more crystal for the second toilet, which means another trip to the cave.

It's been, like, two in-game days now spent gathering resources, crafting, placing pipes, killing sheep, eating lambchops on the toilet, and throwing shit around the bathroom, but I've got the pipes running into the house now. Problem? Yes, of course. The new toilet won't sit against the wall on top of the pipe. It will only let me place it in the middle of the bathroom, which is displeasing to the eye.

In frustration I demolish one section of stone foundation, hoping I'll be able to attach the toilet and then place the new foundation under it, but doing so collapses the entire back wall of the bathroom (which is also the back wall of my house). No wonder contractors charge so much: plumbing is a pain in the ass.

At last, after sitting in my partially destroyed bathroom, now monkeyless (I have long since thrown my pet away in frustration), and consuming at least forty more lambchops (many sheep died to bring us this bowel movement), the moment finally arrives. I hit the shit button, my character grunts and waves his arms as if in pain (perhaps I should add some vegetables to my diet), and low and behold, I have successfully dropped the kids off at the pool.

One last test: will it flush?

It will. It does. And it's beautiful. 

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.