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About Console Commands in Video Games: Ark, Unturned and Subnautica

Video games are amazing things, console commands serve as a utility that can often make them much better. How, you ask? Well, there are many things that commands can do to not only subtly improve your experience, but also completely change the way a game is played. Examples of how commands can be used in video games:

  • Cheat commands can spawn items into the game instantly – some games even allow you to obtain originally unobtainable items.
  • Commands can be used to change gameplay mechanics. An example of this is in Subnautica the ‘speed’ command changes the speed the game runs at meaning you can make the game run twice as fast, or twice as slow.
  • Commands often also serve a vital role in performance tweaking and bug fixing – some can disable graphics settings that aren’t can’t be tweaked via the interface, and some can get your game character out of bugged positions.
  • They can be used to skip parts of the game you don’t like, by allowing you to teleport/warp to locations rather than spending the time moving, prevent your character losing their inventory when they die, and even putting you in god mode (so that you can’t take any damage.

Again, the above uses are just examples, there are lots of other possible uses for console commands in games. We have looked into how console commands work in three games – Unturned, Ark: Survival Evolved and Subnautica – below we have outlined our findings.

Console Commands in Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved is one of the most popular survival/crafting games currently in existence – the objective is to survive in “the Ark” filled with dangerous dinosaurs and crazy terrain. Console commands play a vital role for many players, in that they allow them to spawn in items, dinosaurs, creates and change gameplay mechanics that can get a little stale after a while. Ark also has a multiplayer server feature, for which moderation commands such as the ban command come in very handy.

We looked at an Ark Console Command List to find that there are 133 console commands in Ark. Ark is a cross-platform game (PC, XBOX and PS4), and surprisingly, these commands work across all platforms (which commonly isn’t the case for other games).

To execute commands in Ark, all you need to do is open the console, type the command you wish to execute, and press enter. If you need to know how to open the console, here’s how:

  • On PC: Simply press the TAB key
  • On XBOX: Simply press the LB, RB and X buttons at the same time
  • on PS4: Press the L1, R1, Square and Triangle buttons at the same time

In most cases, after opening the console, you are free to execute as many commands as you want. In Ark, unlike Subnautica and Unturned, some commands require you to first authenticate yourself. You can do this using the enablecheats command.

Console Commands in Unturned

Unturned is similar to Ark: Survival Evolved in that is has both multiplayer and singeplayer gamemodes, but it has only half the amount of commands: a total of 63 commands according to this Unturned command list.

There are a few differences in Unturned in the way that commands are formatted and enabled, here’s the rundown:

  • Most commands are executed via chat, and not via a console. The exception to this rule are commands that must be placed in the commands.dat file, you can read more about that here.
  • Commands sent via the chat must be prefixed with either @ or /, so to execute the airdrop command, you could send the message ‘/airdrop’ or ‘@airdrop’ in chat.
  • Cheats must first be enabled, read more about that here.
  • Arguments (parameters) for commands are separated with a ‘/’ rather than a space, which is standard for most other games (e.g. ‘/experience PlayerName/22’ and not ‘/experience PlayerName 22’.

Commands in Unturned have lots of different uses ranging from banning players (admin commands) to simply changing the time of the day. Using RocketMod, lots and lots of other useful commands can be added to Unturned servers, which make them popular amongst Unturned players.

Console Commands in Subnautica

Subnautica, unlike Unturned and Ark: Survival Evolved, does not have a multiplayer gamemode. For this reason, commands that would usually be present for server administration (like ban commands, kick commands,etc) do not exist in Subnautica.

This Subnautica Command List lists a total of 93 commands, almost on-par with Ark: Survival Evolved, which is impressive given its lack of a multiplayer gamemode.

Subnautica is a cross-platform game for Windows, Mac and XBOX One, and the commands work the same way on each and every platform. The only difference is in how the console is opened. Here’s how to open it:

  • On PC: Press F3, F8, and untick the “Disable Console” option on the top left menu. Then, press enter to open up the command input box. For more help, see Subnautica Command’s guide on how to open the Subnautica console.
  • On XBOX: Simply press LB, RB and A all at the same time. There is no need to enable/disable the console, as you would in Windows/Mac.

We have concluded that amongst all the games, commands usage is quite similar. The main differences really are just the commands themselves, the way the console is accessed and the syntax. If we had to rank the usefullness and extensivity of the console command system from 1-3 for the above games, our verdict would be:

  1. Ark: Survival Evolved – Ark has standard syntax, more commands than the other three games, lots of customization options, and continues to add commands with updates. For these reasons, Ark undoubtably holds the #1 position for the game with the best console commands.
  2. Unturned – whilst Unturned has the least commands out of the three, with just 63, there are ways to add more, and most are not only self-explanitory, but very easy-to-use.
  3. Subnautica – Subnautica is unfortunately lagging behind a little with console commands. Some of them are dysfunctional, and don’t work the same across all platforms, but there are definitely a lot of them. Lots of players actually end up using commands in Subnautica because they encounter bugs with the game itself (and need to use commands to fix them). Despite the fact that a few are dysfunctional on some platforms, we think that the vast array of commands in the game would still come in handy to most players, and can definitely make gameplay more exciting and less dire after it has already been played through.

Sources: Ark IDs, Unturned Hub, Steam, Subnautica Commands.