Introduction to Arma Scripting

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Revision as of 20:39, 25 February 2021 by ansin11 (talk | contribs) (Some scaffolding and groundwork for future changes)
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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 for this is to take advantage of the game-engine's ability to employ an even more versatile feature known as scripting. Arma's scripting language SQF (and its predecessor SQS from Operation Flashpoint) can give you more direct control over core game features through script commands and scripted functions.

Before anything

Is your idea necessary?
Will players even notice or use what you want to script? Just because you can does not mean you should. Sometimes less is more!
Is it possible to do this in the editor?
The Eden Editor is a powerful tool and with it alone one can achieve a lot of things without writing a single line of code.
Poorly written scripts are often the cause of poor performance both in singleplayer and multiplayer scenarios.
Can it be scripted using SQF?
This question might be hard to answer. 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 that what you hoped to achieve is not possible after all.


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

Scripting is not the solution for everything!


Terms

The following is a collection of terms frequently encountered when talking or reading about scripting.

Game Engine
The core program of the game which executes your scripting commands at run time.
Script
When speaking about a script, one is usually referring to a .sqs or .sqf script file.
Syntax
See SQF Syntax (Arma, Arma 2, Arma 3, Take On Helicopters).
See SQS Syntax (Operation Flashpoint, Arma).
Variables
A Variable is a named storage container for data.
The name of a variable is called its Identifier.
Data Types
The Data Type of a variable specifies which kind of data that variable can contain.
Operators
See Operators
Control Structures
See Control Structures
Functions
See Function


Recommended programs

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


Must-read articles

Best Practices

See Code Best Practices

Debugging

Optimisation


Useful Links

These pages cover further aspects of scripting:

Consider the following resources for more general learning: