Arma2: Startup Parameters

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These parameters can be configured by creating a new shortcut on your desktop and then adding the appropriate option in the target line.

For Steam version:

  1. Choose the game shortcut in Library
  2. Right click on the game
  3. Select properties
  4. Hit "Set launch options"

Example:

"C:\arma2\arma2.exe" -nosplash -mod=test;x\test;c:\arma2\test2

Available parameters

Display Options

-window Displays Arma windowed instead of full screen. Screen resolution / window size are set in arma2.cfg.

Game Loading Speedup

-nosplash Disables splash screens.
-world=<string> Select a world loaded by default. Example: -world=Utes.
For faster game loading (no default world loaded and world intro in the main menu, only at game start, disabled): -world=empty.
-skipIntro Since OA 1.55 - Disables world intros in the main menu permanently.

Performance

-maxMem=<number> Defines memory allocation limit to number (in MegaBytes).
256 is hard-coded minimum (anything lower falls backs to 256). 2047 is hard-coded maximum (anything higher falls back to 2047).
Engine uses automatic values (512-1536 MB) w/o maxMem parameter.
yet FileCache was always excluded from the virtual address limit, see our developers blog: http://www.bistudio.com/index.php/company/developers-blog/85-breaking-the-32-bit-barrier
-maxVRAM=<number> Defines Video Memory allocation limit to number (in MegaBytes). Use to resolve e.g. Windows problem: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2026022/en-us?p=1

128 is hard-coded minimum (anything lower falls backs to 128). 2047 is soft-coded maximum , any value over 2GB might result into unforseen consequences!

-winxp Forces the game to use Direct3D version 9 only, not the extended Vista / Win7 Direct3D 9Ex http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ee890072(v=vs.85).aspx
- the most visible feature the Direct3D 9Ex version offers is a lot faster alt-tabing. May help with problems using older drivers on multi-GPU systems.
-noCB Turns off multicore use. It slows down rendering but may resolve visual glitches.
-cpuCount=<number> Change to a number less or equal than numbers of available cores. This will override auto detection (which equate to native cores). Details below.
-exThreads=<number> Change to a number 0,1,3,5,7. This will override auto detection (which use 3 for dualcore and 7 for quadcore). Details below.
-malloc=<string> Since OA 1.60 - Set the particular allocator to be used. Significantly affects both performance and stability of the game. More details.
-noLogs Since A3 0.76 and A2: OA 1.63 - More details here.

Be aware this means none errors saved to RPT file (report log). Yet in case of crash the fault address block info is saved.

Profile Options

-name=<string> Profile name.
-profiles=<path> Location of user-profile folder. Details: -profiles.

Developer Options

-noPause Allow the game running even when its window does not have focus (i.e. running in the background)
-showScriptErrors Introduced to show errors in scripts on-screen.
-noFilePatching Ensures that only PBOs are loaded and NO unpacked data. For more info see CMA:DevelopmentSetup.
-init=<command> Run scripting command once in the main menu. For example to start a certain SP mission of choice automatically. Example: -init=playMission["","M04Saboteur.Sara"]. See also playMission. The Mission has to reside in the "arma2\Missions" folder, NOT the user directory.
"<path>\mission.sqm" Load a mission directly in the editor. Example: "c:\arma2\users\myUser\missions\myMission.intro\mission.sqm"
"<path>\mission.biedi" Load a mission directly in the 3D editor. Example: "c:\arma2\users\myUser\missions\nextMission.intro\mission.biedi"
-autotest Loads automatically a series of defined missions and on error writes to a log file. See below for details.
-beta=<string> Loads the specified beta sub-folders. Separated by semi-colons. Absolute path and multiple stacked folders are possible.
In Linux multiple folders arguments need the following separation syntax: -mod=betamod1\;betamod2\;betamod3
This allows use of beta build w/o disabling in-game mod/extension management (in UI menu).
-checkSignatures Introduced to provide thorough test of all signatures of all loaded banks at the start game. Output is in .rpt file.

Misc.

-buldozer Starts Buldozer mode.
-noLand Starts with no world loaded. (Used for Buldozer)
-noSound Disables sound output.
-donothing Engine closes immediately after detecting this option.
/secuexp Starts securom support for troubleshooting.

Modifications

-mod=<string> Loads the specified sub-folders for different mods. Separated by semi-colons. Absolute path and multiple stacked folders are possible.
In Linux multiple folders arguments need the following separation syntax: -mod=mod1\;mod2\;mod3
This setting always auto-disable in-game mod/extension management (in UI menu).


Complex example:

-mod=test;x\test;c:\arma2\test2
  • "test" is located in the arma2 installation folder ("Arma 2\test") (relative path)
  • "x\test" is in the installation folder ("ArmA 2\x\test") (relative path; subfolder)
  • "c:\arma2\test2" is in "c:\arma2\test2" (absolute path)

"Relative path" starts from, or is rooted at, the directory from where the arma2 executable has been started, and is not always the same where the executable is, like in betas. Usually this is the same as the installation path and the same of what's written in Windows registry. But if you copy or symlink the necessary file and folders, you may have different roots. It's useful when have more dedicated server.

Client Network Options

-connect=<ip> Server IP to connect to.
-port=<number> Server port to connect to.
-password=<string> Server password to connect to.
-host Start a non-dedicated multiplayer host.

Server Options

-server Start a dedicated server. Not needed for the dedicated server exe.
-port=<number> Port to have dedicated server listen on.
-pid=<filename> File to write the server's PID (process ID) to. The file is removed automatically when the exe is stopped. Only works for dedicated servers.
-ranking=<filename> Generates a ranking file. See below for details.
-netlog Enables multiplayer network traffic logging. For more details see server configuration.
-cfg=<filename> Selects the Server Basic Config file. Config file for server specific settings like network performance tuning.
-config=<filename> Selects the Server Config File. Config file for server specific settings like admin password and mission selection.
-BEpath=<path> If you are running BattlEye this allows you to specify a separate path for the BattlEye auto updates - this is required if you are running multiple dedicated servers.
-ip=<nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn> Command to enable support for Multihome servers. Allows server process to use defined available IP address. (b1.57.76934)
-par=<filename> Command to read startup parameters from a file. For more details see Startup parameters config file

Use unknown

-download Use unknown. (Possibly set auto download of missing Mod pbo's from server.)
-generateShaders Use unknown. (Possibly for use with Buldozer)
-disableProgramDrawing Use unknown. (Possibly for use with Buldozer)
-useProgramDrawing Use unknown. (Possibly for use with Buldozer)
-gamerTag= Use unknown.
-benchmark Intended for automated benchmarking, but was never finished and is not working.
-noTexHeaders Use unknown. (does seem to prevent error messages like 'Failed to load TextureHeaderManager from file "ca\provinggrounds_pmc\texheaders.bin" - failed to open the file.' on linux dedicated server)

Closer Description

Path info

There are a few basics to keep in mind when defining path as part of a parameter.

Spaces

When your path contains spaces, you need to enclose it with quotes, like:

"-profiles=c:\arma 2\profiles"

Relative vs Absolute

You can define most, if not all path in both ways.

Relative:

-profiles=profiles

Absolute:

-profiles=c:\arma2\profiles

The relative path is normally based on the game main folder, where the exe resides in. Using beta patches does NOT change this! However when you use -profiles, some commands use this path defined there as base.

config

The option -config allows you to specify a specific server.cfg file.

profiles

-profiles is a startup option allowing you to choose an alternate location for the user profile files, such as downloaded missions and .cfg files.

The windows user account would need permissions to write to the folder of choice.

An example might be like this:

"C:\arma2\Arma2.exe" -profiles=C:\arma2\Profiles

or

"C:\arma2\Arma2.exe" -profiles=Profiles

would store all your profiles/configs/downloaded content into your ROOT ArmA folder under the folder name "Profiles"

ranking

-ranking is a startup option allowing you to output ranking info or othewise know as player stats.

The windows user account would need permissions to write to the folder of choice.

An example might be like this:

"C:\arma2\Arma2.exe" -ranking=C:\arma2\ranking.log

Output sample:

class Player1
{
	name = "PlayerName";
	killsInfantry = 71;
	killsSoft = 3;
	killsArmor = 5;
	killsAir = 5;
	killsPlayers = 0;
	customScore = 0;
	killsTotal = 84;
	killed = 3;
};

nosplash

-nosplash is a startup option that allows you to bypass the splash screens on startup of Arma2.

Note: Real speed-up gained with this is likely to be negligible with Arma2, as the loading screens are handled in parallel with the game data being loaded, and the loading itself takes quite long thanks to the amount of data needed.

cpuCount

-cpuCount= is option which allows define number of CPUs/cores available.

The best way to simulate dual core on quad core is to use -cpuCount=2 when you run the game and then change the affinity to 2 cores to make sure additional cores can never be used when some over-scheduling happens. It might be also possible to set the affinity in the OS before you launch the process, that would work as well.

exThreads

-exThreads= is option to define extra threads.

All file operations go through a dedicated thread. This offloads some processing from the main thread, however it adds some overhead at the same time. The reason why threaded file ops were implemented was to serve as a basement for other threads ops. When multiple threads are running at the same time, OS is scheduling them on different cores. Geometry and Texture loading (both done by the same thread) are scheduled on different cores outside the main rendering loop at the same time with the main rendering loop.


Ex(tra)threads table
Number Geometry loading Texture loading File operations
0 0 0 0
1 0 0 1
3 0 1 1
5 1 0 1
7 1 1 1

autotest

The parameter can be used to automatically run a series of test missions. For example FPS measurement or scripting validation.

  • The game runs in special mode. It runs all missions from the given list.
  • If any mission fails (ends with other than END1), it is logged into the rpt file (search: <autotest).
  • In case of any fail, the game also returns an errorlevel to DOS. This can be used to issue an notification by a secondary application.

Launch arma with:

-autotest=c:\arma2\autotest\autotest.cfg

The autotest.cfg looks like:

class TestMissions
{
	class TestCase01
	{
		campaign = "";
		mission = "autotest\TestCase01.Desert_E";//relative path to the arma directory
	};
	class TestCase02
	{
		campaign = "";
		mission = "c:\arma2\autotest\TestCase02.Desert_E";//absolute path
	};
};
 ! NOTE: If you use -profiles, the relative path is relative to your specificity path.

Rpt entry:

<AutoTest result="FAILED">
	EndMode = LOSER
	Mission = autotest\TestCase01.Desert_E
</AutoTest>

If possible use simple worlds, like Desert, to keep the loading times short. The loading screen command might be useful as well to speed up task that need no rendering.

Tag: Commandline; Command-line