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Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

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  • [GUIDE] Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

    I am by no means an experienced mission developer. But due to a recent interest I have collected the following tools and programs. I would like to leave this knowledge of what they are used for and how they are used. This is for myself as documentation (formatting PC soon) and for those who are trying to begin editing missions. In this wall of texts several links are embedded which points to tools and programs which are designed to make a mission developer's life easier. This is the result of short time of doing this. So if somebody has more to add or offer alternatives to some of the tools, please feel free.

    The guide is written as a list of steps to take in order to gut a mission and look inside to see how it works.

    Step 1: Finding mission files.
    So far there are two ways I can retrive mission files with the pbo extension: from MPMissionCache (1.1) or from online resources (1.2)

    1.1 Once you join a server and load a mission it is downloaded to your MPMissionCache. It is located in the following folders depending on which one you are interested in:
    C:\Users\B\AppData\Local\ArmA 2 OA\MPMissionsCache
    C:\Users\B\AppData\Local\Arma 3\MPMissionsCache
    You must make hidden folders visible to be able to see AppData folder. This can be done by following this tutorial. Now you have the mission files, you can copy them and move them wherever you want (Step 3 will go into more detail about preferred location to move them).

    1.2 Arma's general community fan websites and forums are the place where people release their own content to anybody to download and use. It is here that some missions can be downloaded and tested. Two general purpose websites such as these are Armaholic and BIS forums.

    Most of these missions are released as compressed files which uses different compression techniques (.rar, .zip, .7z). To be able to extract these compressed files I would recommend the Izarc. Another alternative would be 7 zip. Both are free and widely used compression and decompression tools.

    Step 2: Extracting mission files (UnPBO).
    After Step 1 you should have a file with .pbo extension. Now to really look inside the mission you have to extract the .pbo file (unpbo). My tool of choice is PBO Manager program. Once extracted you will have list of folders and files.

    Step 3: Editor and preview.
    Once positioned in the correct folder you can see this mission in your Multiplayer editor as Unkl demonstrates in his guide video. The location to place the unpbo-ed folder for me is:
    C:\Users\B\Documents\Arma 3 - Other Profiles\%7cTG-Irr%7c%20B\MPMissions
    Once placed you may open and look in the editor and preview much like any mission you are creating.

    Step 4: Editor and preview.
    Almost all of the missions have .sqf files which is the part of its scripting. To be able to open, view and edit them, specific programs and tools are recommended. My current setup is Notepad++ and SQF syntax highlighting.

    A much more friendly and easy to setup editor which is widely utilized would be Arma Edit editor. This includes several wizards and built in syntax highlighting and full scripting environment which can support .sqf, .ext, and .sqm files.


    TexView 2 will allow you to open and view and convert to and from .paa image files. (Phasing out in Arma 3 but still compatible and used by some mission makers.)
    VLC player will allow you to play videos and audios used in Arma missions. Radio chatter and intro videos can be played with VLC (.ogv and .ogg files)

  • #2
    Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

    are we just going to use .bmp or .jpeg for arma 3? or are they making another texture file type?

    oh and thanks for linking the sqf highlighter... thought something like that existed but wasnt sure
    Yink | Vanilla Pilot | Killer of Stirling | CS GOD | Projects Team


    • #3
      Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

      Nice work B.

      Current ARMA Development Project: No Current Project

      "An infantryman needs a leader to be the standard against which he can judge all soldiers."

      Friend of |TG| Chief


      • #4
        Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

        Adding for reference. Steam workshop is now integrated into Arma 3. You subscribe to a mission and it will automatically download and update as the content provider updates his mission. But where does these mission files go? What if we want to edit the mission for our community?

        They go to:

        C://Program Files/Steam/userdata/some_random_number/ugc/referenced


        • #5
          Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

          Extra info
          Some pbos wont allow you to depbo them, This is normally because they where created with a double folder structure or with eliteness.

          Either way eliteness is the tool that will unpack them for you.
          The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the devil's own satanic herd.


          • #6
            Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

            Bangabob added a tutorial on how to enable SQF syntax highlighting onto Notepad++ in his video. I thnk it is an essential setup for editing scripts for Arma. You can also view .ext, .sqm files with the syntax highlighted by selecting the language.


            • #7
              Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

              So, in my hour of insomnia I wanted to bump up this to include instructions on how to setup a scripting environment for Arma 3 mission developers. Specifically after a conversation I had with Caps. I for one cannot imagine doing scripting or coding without syntax highlighting. The difference can be seen in the following image. Readability of the code, and once used to, the ability to catch errors is much higher with syntax highlighting.

              1. Download and install Notepad++ from here. The program is free and widely used.
              2. Download and extract the NotePad++ Syntax Highlighter somewhere in your computer. Once you extract that file a single file with the name "userDefineLang.xml" will be there. Save it for now somewhere you can find again.
              3. For it to work with the syntax highlighter, we have to use a dark theme on the NotePad++. Open NotePad++.
                • From the menu Settings go to Style Configurator.
                • From the drop down menu named Select theme choose Deep Black (Once you familiarize, you can check out other dark themes)
                • Check the checkbox that says Enable global background colour.
              4. Now to install the syntax highlighter, we have to traverse to the AppData folder of the user. There are a few ways to do this, but I will write one way.
                • Turn on hidden items in windows explorer. Windows 10, it is under View menu of windows explorer. Windows 8 and Windows 7 instructions.
                • Go to C drive. Go to Users folder. Go to the folder with your username. You should see a hidden folder named AppData if the hidden folders are visible according to the immediate previous instruction item.
                • Inside the AppData folder, go to Roaming folder. Find the folder named Notepad++.
                • Copy and paste the "userDefineLang.xml" file we have downloaded and extracted from instruction item number 2 into that folder (i.e., C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming)

              You have setup the scripting environment that I use. A few optional and additional notes:
              • I want to point you towards a guide to setup default programs for certain extensions so that you can set it up so that all sqf files will open with Notepad++.
              • description.ext file is not automatically highlighted. To turn on syntax highlighting for that file in Notepad++, open the description.ect file and then go to menu Language and choose AhoyWorld Arma 3 v 0100101.
              • This is not the only way to do things. Recently somebody made a plugin for IntelliJ - a Java editor for Arma 3. But this is the way I have done things for quite a while now and it works for me.


              • #8
                Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

                Wait... you mean I don't have to do it the hard way!?

                Thanks B


                • #9
                  Re: Tools and programs. Gutting a mission.

                  [MENTION=4091]|TG| B[/MENTION], you sir are a scholar and a gentleman.
                  Thank you for this thread. It is absolutely paramount in regards to mission making. For all levels of ones aptitude.

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                  TGU Instructor TG Pathfinder

                  Former TGU Dean Former ARMA Admin Former Irregulars Officer

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