Build Environment Setup – ArmA: Armed Assault

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Updated Information

Notes from Mikero (nee Ook?) 03:20, 29 November 2010 (CET).

With the introduction of Operation Arrowhead/Baf/PMC and Steam, considerably more needs to be done, extracting pbo's and creating a p:drive, than simply looking in ~Addons (which sometimes doesn't exist). The orginal document of this page is presented after this note.

Briefly, you need to do the following

You will end up with a My Documents\ArmaWork folder which becomes the P: drive
If that doesn't suit you, simply copy everything in ArmaWork to where YOU have your existing p: Most of it is not required and will be over-written, but as a no brainer install, copy armawork content to your p: or copy your p: to armawork (and change setdrive of course)
  • Download [Arma2P (dead link)] from dev-heaven
This cmd file will locate all your arma folders and engines (oa, co, a2, baf, betas, steam) and extract every necessary pbo, in the right order
If you already have p:content from other projects. Fear not. Arma2P will not erase or fiddle with YOUR files
  • Voila

Note also that there are various 'gotchas' in creating a usable p: which the cmd file overcomes. Such as

  • buldozer's\dta\product.cpp is required for visitor. (NOT the engine's dta)
  • stringtable.xml needs to be copied to \bin
  • and etc. Rather than list them here, The workarounds are maintained in arma2p.cmd, as and when they rear their ugly heads

Original Text


work in progress until finished you may find the .pdf version (although older) will help in the meantime.
The pdf version is not as clear and concise as this online version is intended to be.
ArmABuildEnvironment.pdf (from RKSL)
ArmABuildEnvironment.pdf (not 24/7)

The <ArmAWork> Folder

You can find the links to the latest ArmA Tools Suite through the tools section or through the ArmA Editing News forum.

Before Tools Installation

Step One

  • Make a folder somewhere on your computer called 'ArmAWork'.
This folder can live anywhere, however you should place it somewhere where there is going to be literally 10’s of Gigabytes of free space.
For instance I have a physical hard drive partition called the O:\ drive.
And, I created a subfolder in the root of this drive called ‘ArmAWork’.

Step Two

  • Extract all the pbo’s in the <ArmAInstallationFolder>\AddOns folder.
You can find community produced tools here to facilitate this.

Step Three

  • Move the <ArmAInstallationFolder>\AddOns\Ca folder to the <ArmAWork> folder you created in step 1.
<ArmAInstallationFolder>\AddOns\Ca moves to O:\ArmAWork\Ca

Step Four

  • Move each of the remaining folders you extracted in the game installation and place them inside the <ArmAWork>\ca folder you moved in step 3.
<ArmAInstallationFolder>\AddOns\air moves to O:\ArmAWork\Ca\air

Step Five

  • Run the BIS Tools Suite installation package.
And, when asked point the installation at the <ArmAWork> folder you created in step 1.

After Tools Installtion

When the BIS Tools Suite installation has completed you should have a new ‘virtual hard drive’ on your computer called P:\ (By default). Although, you can have it as another drive letter and this is explained in the Installation information.
This P:\ drive should now be populated with the necessary basic tools setup, which also would have overwritten some of the content you previously copied across from the extraction process of the game data. This is ok.

Step Six

  • Acquire the BIS Example Models packages.
Go to the ArmA Editing News forum. Find and download the BIS example models.
The 4 file you are looking for are...
  • (110 Megabytes approx.)
  • (67 Megabytes approx.)
  • (60 Megabytes approx.)
  • (31 Megabytes approx.)

Tools Configuration

Oxygen2 PE

Visitor3 PE

BinPBO/Build Tools

CPP's & CFG's

Your Namespace


This area of setting up your development environment is quite subjective.
A number of people have differing setups to me and what I am about to go over is just my way of doing it. My naming conventions may not fit with your way of thinking about things.
Firstly, we should note that the BIS default content for ArmA comes in a Mod namespace prefix called ‘ca’. And, it resides in the root folder of your <ArmAWork> folder.
Secondly there is a BIS supported community convention whereby a MOD team or Addon maker registers a short ‘tag’ principally for denoting addons are created by that given person or MOD team. This initiative has other benefits, like how well your addon interacts with other people's work.
This initiative is not mandatory. Although it has its merits and usefulness for some aspects I prefer to have my own subtly different naming convention.
You may develop your own naming convention or subscribe to the community initiatives.
My ‘tag’ registered at OFPEC is 'SYN'.
ALL people who wish to make addons for ArmA should register a tag with this community managed initiative.
This 'tag' then becomes your Namespace / Prefix / Mod Prefix or Virtual Folder Prefix.


Step One

  • Create an empty folder in the root directory of your <ArmAWork> drive the same name as your tag.

Step Two

  • Copy the 'ca' mod config files to your mod.
Open a MSDos prompt window.
Navigate to the P:\ca folder.
Run the following dos command.
xcopy *.bin P:\<YourNamespace>\ca\ /S /Y
This command creates a duplicate set of '\ca' folders under your namespace and copies only the config.bin files to each subfolder.

Building From Your Namespace

Adding Other's Work To Your Namespace