SECTION TO DO - UPDATING TO ARMA 2 EDITOR GUI
THIS ARTICLE IS AN EARLY WORK IN PROGRESS - CONTINUED FOR BIKI 2.0
This article will take you on a tour of the ArmA 2 mission editor, explaining the functions of the many menu options and dialogues. The focus of this article is explaining the function and effect of each option, rather than recommending which option should be used to create a desired outcome. Many options create different effects depending on different circumstances. The shear amount of information presented may seem daunting at first, but remember ArmA 2 is more complex than many other games, and there is always more than one way to create the desired effect.
The mission editor is divided into two sections. On the left is the Map Section, which is environment where units and other entities are placed and manipulated. On the right are the Control Menus, which are used to control the current mission editing mode, mission parameters and file management.
The basics of the mission editor are easy to grasp, allowing beginners to create "instant action" style missions in a matter of minutes. Other mission editing options are far more complex and cryptic, and some are even redundant. Creating a complex mission can take weeks of editing, and will require knowledge of scripting and creation of some supporting text files outside of the game. Multiplayer missions create further complexities that will need to be considered, e.g. locality. It is recommended that the user becomes familiar with creating single player missions and scripts before attempting to create a multiplayer mission.
For the purposes of this article only, the following terms use are used:
- Unit - A controlled object. This includes soldiers and game logics, but not vehicles.
- Vehicle - A literal vehicle or a vehicle class object. For example, a car, tank or static machine gun is a vehicle. Note any crew or passengers are referred to as units, and are not considered to be an integral part of the vehicle.
- Object - Any object that appears in the mission. This includes terrain defined objects (trees, buildings) and mission editor placed units and objects.
- Entity - Anything on the mission map that is not the terrain. This includes terrain defined objects, mission editor placed objects, triggers, waypoints and markers.
Control Menus and Options编辑
The control panel on the right of screen controls the many settings and editing modes of the mission editor. They are, from top to bottom:
Mission Folder Name编辑
The folder (directory) the current mission is saved into is displayed at the very top of the control panel. This will become the mission's filename when saved as a pbo file. If the current mission has not yet been saved, this field will be blank. If the mission been changed since the last save, the name will be prefixed by an asterix.
Currently Edited Mission Component编辑
This drop down listbox is used to select which component of the mission is currently being edited. A single mission stores all objects and mission parameters for the intro and possible outro cutscenes separately from the gameplay component of the mission. It is not essential to use any components other than the Mission component. While each component requires a player unit if it is to be used, the player will only have control of the unit in the Mission component. In the Intro and Outros, AI will control the player's unit. The Intro and Outros will not end automatically when the player unit dies, and must be ended using a trigger.
- Mission is the default component. This defines the interactive part of a mission. It is the only essential part of a mission.
- Intro plays before the mission briefing is displayed.
- Outro - Win will play after the debriefing screen in the case of a End 1-6 trigger being activated.
- Outro - Loose will play after the debriefing screen in the case of a Lose trigger being activated.
The Intel box is the dark grey box with a weather icon, mission time and date. It allows the user to name a mission, give it a brief description, set the mission starting date and time, the current and forecast weather, and which sides independent forces are friendly to. Clicking on the Intel box opens the Intel dialog.
The mission name is used in mission lists, such as when browsing single missions in the "Scenarios" menu, multiplayer session and mission lists, campaign mission lists, the in game map and pause menu. If the name field is left blank, the mission's folder/pbo name will be used.
The mission description is only displayed while in multiplayer mode, but it is recommended to give every mission a short description explaining what the mission is about, failing all else to assist in identifying it in the future.
Date and Time编辑
These options should be self explanatory. Remember that ArmA 2 is highly accurate in its rendering of seasonal patterns. Thus daylight hours, the sun's path across the sky, star constellations and moon phases are all simulated correctly given the current terrain's world location. Tides are also accurately simulated, and can be somewhat hard to predict as different seasons and moon phases create vastly differing high/low water marks.
In this section, the first slider defines the mission's initial weather conditions. Setting the weather slider all the way to the right results in clear skies, and all the way to the left is a heavy thunderstorm. The fog slider beneath controls the initial fog levels - left is no fog, right is maximum fog. The two "Forecasted" weather sliders work in exactly the same way, with a linear transition from the initial conditions to the forecast conditions occurring over the first 30 minutes of a mission. After the first 30 minutes of mission time have passed, ArmA 2 carries out some long term dynamic weather simulation, although it is over a timescale beyond most missions (changes occur over 1.5 to 14 hours). To control the weather beyond the first 30 minutes of a mission, use environment scripting commands.
Independents are friendly to:编辑
Current Map Editing Mode编辑
The mission editor is always in one of these seven modes. The current mode is highlighted with an opaque dark grey box. Each mode allows the creation and manipulation of different types of map entities. The current mode can be set by either clicking on the mode name, or pressing the associated function key. The modes are set out in the basic order they would be used while creating a mission. For more information on using each mode, see the map editing section below.
- Units Mode (F1) allows the creation and manipulation of individual objects, units or vehicles.
- Groups Mode (F2) allows the creation of predefined groups of units or vehicles, and the manipulation of group links between entities.
- Triggers Mode (F3) allows new triggers to be created.
- Waypoints Mode (F4) lets the user create new waypoints for the currently selected group.
- Synchronize Mode (F5) allows the user to synchronize different waypoints and triggers.
- Markers Mode (F6) allows for map markers to be placed on the map. In the editor, markers are only visible while in Marker Mode.
- Modules Mode (F7) is used to add optional gameplay modules to the mission.
Loads a previously saved mission. Only uncompressed mission folders in the current user profile's missions folder can be loaded.
Merge imports all map data (units, groups, waypoints, triggers, etc) from one mission into the currently loaded mission. Other settings such as those set in the Intel Dialogue are not imported.
The current mission can be saved with this dialogue.
- User missions - User missions are only available from within the mission editor while using the current user profile. Note that if a mission is saved under a new name, only the Mission.sqm file will be written in the new folder. Saving an already named User mission also reloads any mission support files that are in the chosen mission folder, such as Description.ext and Init.sqs.
- Export to single missions/multiplayer missions - Use these options to export the mission to either the single mission or multiplayer mission folders. This process creates a pbo file of the current mission folder (includes all files) and moves it to the global "Mission" or "MPmissions" folder. These can be accessed from the ArmA 2 main menu while using any user profile.
- Send by e-mail - This option will create a pbo file of the mission folder and load the default email program using the mission pbo as an attachment.
Clicking this removes all map entities such as units, waypoints, markers and triggers. Settings such as those defined in the Intel Dialogue are retained. While a confirmation dialogue is used, be warned that there is no undo function in the mission editor.
Every object defined in the current terrain has an assigned ID number that can be used to refer to the object in script code. These IDs are normally hidden from the map for clarity, and this button toggles them on or off. Object IDs are only visible at high zoom levels.
Clicking on this option will backfill the map with the satellite map texture rather than the default white. This gives the user an idea of the terrain type of an area, although the satellite map does not always correspond exactly with the ground detail textures as seen at close range. The terrain texture is not displayed at low zoom levels.
Preview starts the mission from within the editor, allowing the user to test the results of their labour. A player unit must be on the map for the preview button to be visible. If shift is held down while clicking on the preview button, the mission preview will include the mission briefing and debriefing (if defined). Note that when a mission is previewed from within the mission editor, some aspects of the mission may not behave in exactly the same manner as when the mission is played as a single mission. It is wise to check a mission in "single mission mode" (outside of the mission editor) before considering release.
After a mission preview has been exited, clicking 'Continue' will allow the user to resume the mission from the point it was aborted. Any changes made in the editor since exiting the preview will not take effect. 'Preview' must be used to restart the mission as it appears in the mission editor.
Will exit the mission editor and return the user to the main menu. Any unsaved work will be lost. A confirmation dialogue is shown.
The mission map makes up the main portion of the mission editor view.
- Clicking and holding the right mouse button (RMB) anywhere on the map allows the user to pan around the map by moving the mouse.
- The mouse wheel and keypad +/- keys control the map zoom level (view zooms around the cursor)
- Clicking the left mouse button (LMB) on an entity selects it. Selected entities are opaque, non selected entities are slightly transparent. Only one entity is selected at a time using this method.
- Clicking and holding the LMB in empty space allows a drag box to be created for selecting multiple entities.
- Holding the Control key down allows the user to select (and deselect) multiple entities using either of the two methods above.
- Holding Shift and clicking the LMB on an unit or waypoint will select all entities associated with that unit's or waypoint's group.
- Holding Shift and clicking the LMB on an object with a waypoint attached to it selects the underlaying object.
- Clicking the LMB in empty space deselects all entities.
- Double clicking the LMB on an entity generally opens the appropriate entity's editing dialogue. While the editor is in Waypoints Mode, double clicking the LMB on a object will create a waypoint for the currently selected group that is attached to the clicked object.
- Holding Shift and double clicking the LMB on an entity with a waypoint on it opens the appropriate entity's dialogue (rather than the waypoint's).
- Double clicking the LMB in empty space will create a new entity, if possible in the current editing mode.
- Clicking and holding the LMB on an entity allows it to be dragged around the map. It is not possible to move units in this manner while in Group Mode or move waypoints in Synchronize Mode.
- Holding Shift and clicking on and holding the LMB on a selected entity rotates the selected entities.
- Pressing Delete will erase the entity under the mouse cursor.
- Holding Control and pushing X will cut the selected entities to the clipboard.
- Holding Control and pushing C will copy the selected entities to the clipboard.
- Holding Control and pushing V will paste a copy of entities from the clipboard. Copy and pasted named entities automatically have a number appended to their names to avoid conflicts.
- Holding both Control and Shift and pushing V will paste a copy of entities on their original position (useful when copying units between missions).
Units Mode (F1)编辑
Units Mode is used to place individual units, vehicles and objects on the map. To do so, double click the LMB in the empty space where the object is to be created. This opens the the Unit Dialogue. You can alter an existing object (except while in Waypoints Mode) by double clicking the LMB on the object. Note that if there is no player unit yet on the map, placing a new unit will open the Unit Dialogue assuming that a player controlled unit is desired, which only allows placement of playable units (static and empty objects are hidden).
There are seven sides objects can be belong to: BLUFOR, OPFOR, Independent, Civilian, Ambient Life, Game Logic and Empty. Playable units can only be placed on the first five sides. The Ambient Life side is used to place individual animals. The Game Logic side is used for abstract game logic objects, which among other uses can be used to create script like effects from within the mission editor. The Empty side includes empty vehicles, and map objects such ammo crates, sound sources, tents, flagpoles and fences. Note that to the Arma 2 game engine, objects placed on the Ambient Life and Empty sides are actually on the Civilian side. The side of an object contols the available options in many other Unit Dialogue options. It is not possible to change the side of an object once it has been placed. Player friendly units are represented on the map by green icons, enemy units by red, Civilian and Game Logic units by blue, and Empty side objects by dark yellow.
Each of the playable sides (except Ambient Life) allows placement of units from several different factions. The faction an object belongs to limits the available units in the Unit selection box, generally to units belonging to specific nations.
This is the general type of entity you wish to place. The purpose of this class is to further reduce the many hundreds of available objects into more easily searched groups. It is not related to any game config classes.
Defines who controls the entity. This option is not available for Game Logic or Empty side objects. All non-player controlled units will be controlled by AI. If the selected object is a vehicle, additional options will become available for the various vehicle positions.
- Non playable - Self explanatory.
- Player (as vehicle position) - This unit will be controlled in single player mode. There is only one Player controlled unit per mission. The player's unit is indicated by a red circular icon.
- Playable (as vehicle position(s)) - Is used to define units that may be player controlled in multiplayer mode, and are available via Team Switch in single player mode. Playable units are indicated by a purple circular icon.
Defines how long it has been since the player's side has last seen this target (at mission initialisation). Info Age is used to reveal an enemy unit to the player's side's center (AI). By default, enemy units are Unknown until spotted during the mission. The impact of this value on AI behaviour is minimal, it influences mostly path-finding (AI groups try to avoid known enemies), to some extent it changes how quickly AI will identify the unit once they detect it, and it may also cause AI center to send units which are available as guards (are ready at a guard waypoint).
This option is only functional if the selected object is a vehicle. It defines whether any player controlled unit or members of a group lead by a player can board the vehicle or not (All AI groups do not respect this setting). Default is unlocked. Note that an AI leader does not understand that a player unit can not enter a locked vehicle, and script commands do not respect this setting.
This defines the rank of the unit. The highest ranking unit in a group will normally be the group leader. Rank also has some affect on gameplay, such as highly ranked units being less likely to flee and more intimidating to enemy forces.
This is the specific type of object you wish to place or edit. The options available in this list box depend on the chosen Class and Faction.
Defines special placement options for the starting position for the unit at the very beginning of a mission. If the unit is part of a group, default AI behaviour will make it try to return to formation as soon as the mission begins.
- None - If you wish the unit to begin the mission out of formation, choose 'None' from this list. It will start the mission at it's location in the mission editor.
- In Cargo - If the unit's group possess a vehicle with empty cargo spaces, choosing "In Cargo" will place the unit in one of those cargo spaces. If no cargo seats are available, it will start at it's location in the mission editor as it would if it's special setting was None.
- Flying - Aircraft units will begin the mission in the air, and in formation around the group leader irrespective of the unit's map position. If the unit can not fly, it will begin the mission as it would if it were In Formation.
- In Formation - The unit will begin in formation around the group leader, irrespective of the unit's position in the mission editor.
The name of a unit is optional, and can be used to refer to the object in script code. Like all variable names, the name must not contain any spaces or reserved characters. Unit names should be meaningful and avoid conflicts. Note that if a variable exists with an identical name, no warning is be given and the name will refer to the variable first, rather than the named unit. If you copy and paste a named entity, the duplicate will be automatically have an underscore and number appended to it's name to avoid conflicts.
Highly skilled units can see farther, shoot more accurately and are generally more devious. Lowly skill units will be less observant, poor marksmen and generally stupid. Moving the slider to the right gives the unit a higher skill. Skill values set by the slider range between 0.2 and 1.
Any script code placed in this box will be executed as the mission initializes. Script code is extremely powerful and useful - it allows you to create many effects and change aspects of the mission that would be difficult or impossible to achieve using only the graphical interface of the mission editor. For example, to make a soldier begin the mission unarmed, add "removeAllWeapons this" (without the quotation marks) to it's initialization string.
This text will appear next to the unit in the multiplayer unit selection screen.
Defines how damaged the object is at the beginning of the mission. Moving the slider to the left makes it more damaged, up to a maximum of 0.97. Note that fully damaged units will begin the mission alive, then be instantaneously damaged. This means fully damaged soldiers will display a death animation, and vehicles will generally explode within 10 seconds of the mission starting.
Defines how much fuel the object has, moving the slide left results in less fuel. This only has an effect on vehicles. Note that this setting does not change the amount of fuel cargo a refueling truck or petrol station holds. Use setFuelCargo for that purpose.
Defines how much ammunition the unit has at the start of the mission. Moving the slider left removes whole magazines for most units and removes individual rounds for single magazine weapons (such as the main tank cannon and aircraft missiles). This setting does not alter the amount of ammunition cargo carried by a vehicle or ammunition crate.
Defines which direction the unit will be facing. You can drag the pointer around the circle, or enter the desired bearing into the text box. If the unit is set to start In Formation, the unit will use the group leader's facing.
Probability of Presence编辑
Defines how likely it is that the entity will exist each time the mission is played. This can be used to add an element of randomness to a mission. Moving the slider all the way to the right means the object will always be there, all the way to the left means the unit will never appear. Note the Condition of Presence must also return true for the entity to appear in the mission.
Condition of Presence编辑
This is a script code condition which must return true in order for the object to appear in the mission. By default this reads "true" which means the object will appear as defined by it's Probability of Presence. For an example, if you wanted a unit to appear only if the mission is being played in Veteran mode, place "!cadetMode" (without quotation marks) in it's Condition of Presence box. A unit with a Condition of Presence that returns false will not exist in the mission, irrespective of its Probability of Presence.
Changes the object's starting position to a random point within a circle of this radius, in metres. An object's placement radius is shown on the mission map by dashed circle. This can be used to add an element of randomness to a mission. For grouped units, the placement radius is only used by the group leader, and group members with a Special setting of None (or In Cargo for a group without suitable vehicle).