Difference between revisions of "Introduction to Arma Scripting"

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{{SideTOC}}
 
{{SideTOC}}
{{Informative|This page is WIP. Feel free to contribute!}}
 
 
 
== Introduction ==
 
== Introduction ==
  
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During [[ArmA: Mission Editing|mission editing]] and [[ArmA: Addon Editing|addon editing]] you may come across situations where actions or features you would like to have in your mission or addon cannot be accomplished using the basic (or even the more advanced) capabilities of the [[ArmA: Mission Editor|mission editor]] or within config files (in the case of addons). Some examples of this might be really cinematic cutscenes in missions or special animations for an addon.
 
During [[ArmA: Mission Editing|mission editing]] and [[ArmA: Addon Editing|addon editing]] you may come across situations where actions or features you would like to have in your mission or addon cannot be accomplished using the basic (or even the more advanced) capabilities of the [[ArmA: Mission Editor|mission editor]] or within config files (in the case of addons). Some examples of this might be really cinematic cutscenes in missions or special animations for an addon.
  
The '''solution''' to this is to take advantage of the game-engines ability to call on an even more advanced feature known as [[Scripting|scripting]]. [[Armed Assault|Armed Assault's]] '''scripting language''' gives you more direct control of core game commands. With any combination of these [[:Category:ArmA: Scripting Commands|scripting commands]] you can then create custom processes that meet the specific needs of your mission or addon.
+
The '''solution''' to this is to take advantage of the game-engine's ability to call on an even more advanced feature known as [[Scripting|scripting]]. '''Arma''''s '''scripting language''' gives you a more direct control of core game features. With any combination of these '''[[:Category: Scripting Commands|commands]]''' and '''[[:Category: Functions|functions]]''' you can create custom processes that meet the specific needs of your mission or addon.
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== Before anything ==
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=== Is your idea necessary? ===
 +
 
 +
* Will players even notice or use what you want to script? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes less is more!
 +
 
 +
=== Is it possible to do this in the editor? ===
 +
 
 +
* [[Eden Editor]] is an incredibly powerful tool and with it alone one can achive a lot of things, even without writing a single line of [[SQF syntax|SQF]].
 +
* ''Poorly written'' scripts are often the reason for poor performance both in singleplayer and multiplayer scenarios.
 +
 
 +
=== Can it be scripted using SQF? ===
 +
 
 +
* This might be hard to answer, especially for beginners. Try to get as much information about what you want to do and what [[:Category: Scripting Commands|commands]] and [[:Category: Functions|functions]] there are before spending time on writing a script, just to find out it is ''not'' possible in the end.
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 +
 
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Depending on your answer for these questions, you may want to rethink your approach.
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 +
{{Informative | '''Scripting''' is <u>not</u> a solution to everything.}}
  
  
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'''Syntax''':
 
'''Syntax''':
See [[SQF syntax]]
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* See [[SQF syntax]]
See [[SQS syntax]]
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* See [[SQS syntax]] (obsolete)
  
 
'''Script''':
 
'''Script''':
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'''Operators''':
 
'''Operators''':
 
See [[Operators]]
 
See [[Operators]]
<!--
 
= The things to ask yourself beforehand =
 
 
{{note|Be careful: Scripting isn't a solution to everything. }}
 
 
=== Is it not possible to do this in the editor? ===
 
* [[Eden Editor]] is an incredible powerful tool and with it alone one can achive a lot of things, even without writing a single line of SQF.
 
*Poorly written scripts are often the reason for poor performance both in singleplayer and multiplayer scenarios.
 
=== Is it necessary? ===
 
* Will players even notice or use what you want to script? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes less is more!
 
=== Can it be scripted by using SQF? ===
 
* This might be hard to answer, especially for beginners. Try to get as much information about what you want to do and what commands there are before spending time on writing a script, just to find out it’s #not possible in the end.
 
 
*Should any question above be answered with ‘’’Yes’’’, then you should rethink your approach.
 
-->
 
 
 
== Recommended programms ==
 
 
The following programms are recommended when working with sqf, sqs, cpp or many other file types. Most of them offer syntax highlighting and other useful features. Check them out and select the one you like the most.
 
 
*[https://notepad-plus-plus.org/ Notepad++]
 
*[http://www.geany.org/ Geany]
 
*[https://atom.io/ Atom]
 
*[[Poseidon Tools]]
 
*[https://www.eclipse.org/ Eclipse] with [https://forums.bohemia.net/forums/topic/202181-sqdev-sqf-developing-in-eclipse/ SQDev]
 
<!--
 
== The Concept ==
 
 
Scripts are an essential part of making missions. They allow you to create amazing cutscenes, create effects and customize almost every aspect of your mission. Some diverse examples of what could be scripted are: a simulation of artillery fire, a poisonous gas cloud, or a money system for purchasing equipment.       
 
  
--><!--
 
  
===Let's start===
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== Recommended programs ==
  
Every script consist of commands (see category [[:Category:Scripting Commands|Scripting Commands]]) and [[Control Structures|program flow]] statements (they are implemented as commands in Armed Assault, but it isn't relevant for now). The most useful command in your first script is [[titleText]]. It can write any text you want to the player's screen.
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'''Code Edition''' programs can be found on the [[:Category:Community Tools#Code Edition|Community Tools - Code Edition]] page section.
  
[[titleText]]["Good morning, captain", "PLAIN DOWN"]
 
  
It's a typical way to run commands. Behind the name of the command the parameters follow (but it depends on the command (see [[:Category:Scripting Commands]]). Every command can only have one parameter before it's name and/or one after (more arguments can be given with arrays which count as one parameter). Parameters can be of various [[:Category:Types|Data types]]. In this case it's an [[Array]] - a list of other data types. It can contain 0 - 4096? values. The first value is a [[String]] representing the text to be displayed and the second, in this case, says in what position on the screen the text will be displayed. There can be a third value: a [[Number]] which says how long the text needs to fade in. If this value is not entered, its default value (1) is used.
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== Must-read articles ==
  
[[titleText]]["Good morning, captain", "PLAIN DOWN", 5]
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=== Best Practices ===
  
Scripts which are called [[function]]s) are stored in .SQF files the mission folder, or in .SQSs files and then called only scripts.
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* [[Code Best Practices]]
  
If you want to try our 'script', create a mission in the mission editor, save it as ''testingmission'', open your favorite text edtior (eg. Notepad), write <code>[[titleText]]["Good morning, captain", "PLAIN DOWN"];</code>and save it as ''hello.sqf'' to gamefolder/user/yourname/missions/testingmission. Then add a soldier in the mission editor and type <code>nul = [] [[execVM]] "hello.sqf"</code> to his initialization line. When you run this mission, you should see output of your first script. Well done, soldier! (If you are confused from this quantum of informations, don't panic, more continuously explanation follows.)
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=== Debugging ===
 
 
 
 
== Scripting Code ==
 
 
 
The core of scripting is '''scripting code'''. The code consists of [[:Category:ArmA: Scripting Commands|scripting commands]] that tell the game engine what to do. These commands are executed one after another.
 
 
 
The code is written into special fields of the [[ArmA: Mission Editor|mission editor]] (see below) or into separate files that are executed at some defined point (i.e. through [[Triggers|triggers]]) during the running mission.
 
 
 
=== Layout ===
 
 
 
Code should be written in a specific '''layout'''. Complementary to the syntax, the layout assures that ''you and other coders'' can easily read the code. This is especially important when you haven't looked at your code for a long time and want to improve or change this code.
 
 
 
* There should be '''only one [[Statement|statement]] per line''' in [[Script (File)|scripts]]. This rule doesn't apply to script lines in the mission editor, since there all the code has to be written within a single line.
 
* Use '''spaces or tabs''' to indent code in [[Block|blocks]]. This way you can easily tell to which block some code belongs.
 
 
 
Example:
 
 
 
Statement 1;
 
 
Block
 
{
 
    Statement 2;
 
 
    Nested block
 
    {
 
        Statement 3;
 
        Statement 4;
 
    };
 
};
 
 
 
=== Comments ===
 
 
 
You can and should write comments into your [[Script (File)|scripts]] that describe the purpose of your code. These comments are written in free text and completely ignored by the game engine.
 
 
 
Check out [[SQF syntax]] for information about the notation of comments.
 
 
 
'''Important:''' Don't write down what the code does, but rather what ''you'' want to do with the code. This is not as easy, but maybe the following example explains it a bit better:
 
 
 
Bad comment:
 
 
 
// the variable i gets the value 1
 
i = 1;
 
 
 
Good comment:
 
 
 
// reset the counter to start with 1 again
 
i = 1;
 
 
 
== Code Execution ==
 
 
 
how can I execute code? (external files vs. mission editor)
 
 
 
=== Mission Editor ===
 
 
 
how to execute code in the editor, listing of mission editor fields to start scripts
 
 
 
=== External Files ===
 
 
 
how to execute code in external files, scripts & functions
 
 
 
== Developing a Script ==
 
 
 
script in this case: code in external files (scripts/functions). how to develop a script?
 
 
 
* Requirements
 
* Concept
 
* Implementation
 
* Test
 
 
 
usually in your head, for complex scripts on paper and drafts
 
 
 
=== Requirements ===
 
 
 
what shall the script do?
 
 
 
=== Concept ===
 
 
 
How shall the script do it?
 
 
 
=== Implementation ===
 
 
 
Writing the code
 
-->
 
 
 
 
 
== Debugging ==
 
  
 
* [[Debugging Techniques]]
 
* [[Debugging Techniques]]
 +
* [[:Category:Community_Tools#Debug_Console.2FSystem|Community Tools - Debug Console/System]]
  
 
+
=== Optimisation ===
== Optimisation ==
 
  
 
* [[Code Optimisation]]
 
* [[Code Optimisation]]
 +
* [[Mission Optimisation]]
  
  
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These links offer a great deal of information about [[Scripting]]:
 
These links offer a great deal of information about [[Scripting]]:
 +
* [[:Category:Example Code|Example Code]]
 
* [[Control Structures]]
 
* [[Control Structures]]
 
* [[Multiplayer Scripting]]
 
* [[Multiplayer Scripting]]
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Additionally, the following are more resources for more general learning:
 
Additionally, the following are more resources for more general learning:
* [[6thSense.eu:EG]]
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* [[6thSense.eu/EG|6thSense.eu Editing Guide]]
 
* [http://www.armaholic.com/page.php?id=20465 Fockers Arma 3 Scripting Guide]
 
* [http://www.armaholic.com/page.php?id=20465 Fockers Arma 3 Scripting Guide]
 
* [http://www.armaholic.com/page.php?id=4847 Mr-Murray's Armed Assault Editing Guide - Deluxe Edition]
 
* [http://www.armaholic.com/page.php?id=4847 Mr-Murray's Armed Assault Editing Guide - Deluxe Edition]
* [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmEBN-RbK44 Excellent German SQF tutorial]
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* [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmEBN-RbK44 Excellent German SQF tutorial (YouTube)]
 +
 
  
[[Category:Arma Scripting Tutorials|Introduction to Scripting]]
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[[Category:Scripting Topics]]
 +
[[Category:Operation Flashpoint: Editing]]
 +
[[Category:ArmA: Editing]]
 +
{{GameCategory|arma2|Editing}}
 +
{{GameCategory|arma3|Editing}}
 +
[[Category:Take On Helicopters: Editing]]

Latest revision as of 21:17, 2 August 2020

Introduction

This page should give beginners an overview of how to begin with scripting and where to find most of the information they need in the beginning. Some information might not be complete and can be found on other wiki pages.

During mission editing and addon editing you may come across situations where actions or features you would like to have in your mission or addon cannot be accomplished using the basic (or even the more advanced) capabilities of the mission editor or within config files (in the case of addons). Some examples of this might be really cinematic cutscenes in missions or special animations for an addon.

The solution to this is to take advantage of the game-engine's ability to call on an even more advanced feature known as scripting. Arma's scripting language gives you a more direct control of core game features. With any combination of these commands and functions you can create custom processes that meet the specific needs of your mission or addon.


Before anything

Is your idea necessary?

  • Will players even notice or use what you want to script? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes less is more!

Is it possible to do this in the editor?

  • Eden Editor is an incredibly powerful tool and with it alone one can achive a lot of things, even without writing a single line of SQF.
  • Poorly written scripts are often the reason for poor performance both in singleplayer and multiplayer scenarios.

Can it be scripted using SQF?

  • This might be hard to answer, especially for beginners. Try to get as much information about what you want to do and what commands and functions there are before spending time on writing a script, just to find out it is not possible in the end.


Depending on your answer for these questions, you may want to rethink your approach.

Scripting is not a solution to everything.


Terms

Before getting started, you should understand the meaning of these terms.

Data Types: See Data Types

Algorithm: In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an explicit specification of how to solve a class of problems. Algorithms can perform calculation, data processing and automated reasoning tasks.

Interpreter: Reads your code from a script file and translates it into instructions for you to achieve your desired outcome/effect in the game.

Control Structures: See Control Structures

Syntax:

Script: When speaking about a script, we usually mean a .sqs or .sqf file.

Game Engine: The core program of the game which reads and executes your scripting commands at run time.

Function: See Function

Variables: See Variables

Operators: See Operators


Recommended programs

Code Edition programs can be found on the Community Tools - Code Edition page section.


Must-read articles

Best Practices

Debugging

Optimisation


Useful Links

These links offer a great deal of information about Scripting:

Additionally, the following are more resources for more general learning: