db’s Twitter Digest for 2011-05-02 to 2011-05-08

Adding Ambient Civilians & Vehicles To A Map.


Ambient civilians on Thirsk

How To Add Ambient Civilians To A Custom Map

Using the Ambient Civilian and the Ambient Civilian Vehicles editor modules on a stock Arma2 map is very easy. Just insert the modules into the mission and the modules will populate the map with vehicles and civilians; nothing else required. If you are using a custom built map where the cities are not defined though, just inserting the modules will do nothing. The modules don’t know where the cities are, so they will not spawn units to populate the island.

When I first saw that there were location game logics called City Center, I assumed that I could just synchronize them to the editor module and all would work. This does not work. Scripting is required.

Defining City Locations

Since the city locations are not defined on some addon maps (in my example, Thirsk) you need to tell the Ambient Civilian editor modules where the cities are located. To do this open up the mission editor and make sure Units (F1) is selected. Double click roughly where you figure the center of your city is and insert a game logic. In my example I used an actual City Center Location game logic, but it makes no difference; a regular game logic will do. It is important however that you name the game logic. You will need the name when you script the editor modules.

ambiant civilian gamelogic

ambiant civilian gamelogic

I Inserted my first game logic with the following properties:

  • Side: Game Logic
  • Class: Locations
  • Unit: City Center
  • Name: Thirsk

I inserted my second game logic over the center of the airport with the same options as above, but I named it Thirsk_airport.

Townlist for Ambient Civilians

Once I have my named game logics inserted where I want my civilians to spawn I can insert the actual Ambient Civilian editor modules. Make sure Modules (F7) is selected and double click anywhere on the map to insert a module. In my example I inserted both an Ambiant Civilians and Ambient Civilian Vehicles module. Next the scripting.

In the initialization line of each module I need to add the following bit of script:

this setVariable ["townlist",[Thirsk,Thirsk_airport]];


  • this refers to the module. I could have named the module and used it’s name here instead
  • setVariable is a scripting command to set a value for a variable.
  • “townlist” is a variable built into the editor module. We will be setting it to the names of the game logics we inserted in the mission editor earlier.
  • [Thirsk,Thirsk_airport] is an array of names of our game logics that we inserted into the mission editor.

Once I’ve typed this script into the initialization field of both the Ambient Civilians and Ambient Civilian Vehicles modules I can then preview the mission. If I’ve setup my mission correctly I should see random vehicles and civilians around where I’ve placed my game logics. Note that it does take a few seconds for the modules to spawn the civilians and send them walking/driving around. You may not see them right away. To verify that your city locations are working properly, turn on the module’s debug feature by inserting the following line of code into the editor module’s initialization field:

this setVariable ["debug",true];

If your mission is setup correctly when you preview it and look at the map you should see something like this at your city location.


ambient civilian debug mode

Map markers will be inserted on the map indicating where the civilians are, door locations (tiny triangle’s on the buildings) and where the vehicle spawn areas are.

I’ve included a sample mission on Thirsk with all the city locations setup already. Grab it and give it a try.



How To Setup Respawn In An Arma2 Mission.


Warfare in Thirsk

Adding respawn to A Custom Mission.

I’ve started building a new custom Warfare mission from scratch using Thirsk Island by Raunhofer. It’s a cool little island that doesn’t have Warfare locations built in, so I can tinker. The first thing I’ll need to setup for this mission is respawn. With my skill level, it’s a feature I will be using frequently.

Setting Up Respawn

All the settings for respawn are placed in the description.ext file in your mission folder. Description.ext is a text file that you will have to create in a text editor, as it can’t be created in the Arma mission editor. My personal text editor of choice is Notepad, but just make sure that when you save the file you don’t choose the “Text” file type. This will result in a file called description.ext.txt, which Arma will ignore.

Respawn Options In Arma II

Arma II offers six different respawn types:

  • “None”
  • “Bird” – player respawns as a seagull
  • “Instant” – player respawns where they died
  • “Base” – respawns at a specially named marker placed in the editor
  • “Group” – respawns to an existing AI in the player’s group. If the group has no AI the player is respawned as a seagull.
  • “Side” – respawn to an AI on the player’s side. If there are no AI left, the player respawns as a seagull

For my warfare mission I will want to have the player’s respawn at their base, so in my description.ext I type:

respawn = "BASE";
respawnDelay = 15;
respawnDialog = false;

where respawn is the respawn type. respawnDelay is the amount of time (in seconds) that the player will have to wait before they respawn.  respawnDialog = false; turns off the scoreboard and respawn countdown timer.

Normally with the respawn type set to “BASE”  I would need to provide a markers named respawn_west, respawn_east or respawn_guerrila, but the warfare module builds these for me automatically at the mission’s startlocation.

Vehicle respawn

To respawn vehicles I would need to insert a marker named respawn_vehicle_west, respawn_vehicle_east or respawn_vehicle_guerrila where I wanted the vehicle to respawn. In my description.ext I could set respawnVehicleDelay = DelayInSeconds;

If I wanted to limit the number of respawns or time delay for a particular vehicle, I would use the respawnVehicle command in the vehicles init field. For example if I wanted an A-10 to only respawn three times with a one minute wait between respawns I would type the following in the A-10 init field:

this respawnVehicle [60,3];

All this is taken care of by the Warfare module, so I don’t need to worry about this for my mission.

The following table describes the types of respawn that are available and is taken directly from the Description.ext documentation at the biki.

RespawnType Description
0 or “NONE” No respawn
1 or “BIRD” Respawn as a seagull
2 or “INSTANT” Respawn just where you died.
3 or “BASE” Respawn in base. Requires a marker named:

  • respawn_west
  • respawn_east
  • respawn_guerrila
  • respawn_civilian

Add markers named with the prefix ‘respawn_west’ with any suffix (eg: respawn_westABC, respawn_west1, respawn_west_2, etc) for multiple random respawn points. Similarly for east, guerrila and civilian.
Vehicle respawn in base requires a marker named:

  • respawn_vehicle_west
  • respawn_vehicle_east
  • respawn_vehicle_guerrila
  • respawn_vehicle_civilian
4 or “GROUP” Respawn in your group (if there’s no AI left, you’ll become a seagull).
5 or “SIDE” Respawn into an AI unit on your side (if there’s no AI left, you’ll become a seagull) – implemented in ArmA 1.08: with this respawn type, team switch is also available to any AI controlled playable units.

respawn = RespawnType;

respawnDelay = DelayInSeconds;

respawnVehicleDelay = DelayInSeconds;

respawnDialog = 0; // Show the scoreboard and respawn countdown timer for a player if he is killed with respawnType 3. Default is 1 (true).


Description.ext documentation

respawnVehicle documentation

Thirsk Island by Raunhofer

Example mission with a separate CDF respawn point  (In answer to a comment by Like A Troll)

db’s Twitter Digest for 2011-01-31 to 2011-02-06

Adding Support Units To An Arma2 Mission.

Logistical Support for my A-10 Practice Mission.

beware fueltrucks on the taxiway

A little help here?

One of the benefits of using the Ambient Combat Manager coupled with the Secondary Operations Manager are they create plenty of random targets for me to practice on. This is good as I need the practice. The problem is I’m soon injured with my plane shot up, and I’m out of ordinance but not out of targets. So this week I decided to add the standard logistical support vehicles to my A-10 practice mission from last week.

Adding the support vehicles and making them available via a radio support request is quite simple in Arma2. It works the same way as it did in the original ArmA (see
How To Setup ArmA’s Built In Support System. for details) By giving the support unit a Support waypoint type the unit will respond to both AI and player support requests without any scripting.

Logistical Support vehicles

Logistical Support vehicles with waypoints

For my mission I added fuel, ammo and repair vehicles, each in their own group with their own Support waypoint. For the ambulance support vehicle I added a humvee with two riflemen. I made the ambulance vehicle the highest ranking unit of its group so the other units would follow it when a support call is made.

I noticed a few things different between the ArmA and Arma2 (1.57) support system.

  1. Support is only available via the Complex Command Menu. i.e. you would have to type 5 1 1 to call a medic. The support option is not available thru the Quick Menu  (spacebar). Support will just be grayed out.
  2. Support is only available to a player if they have other units in their group.

Since I didn’t want to add another unit to my group this last one was problematic. What I ended up doing was adding a game logic to the mission and grouping it with my A-10.

grouping the player with a game logic

Grouping the player with a game logic

This had the advantage of forcing the game engine to think I had more than one unit in my group, but I didn’t have to listen to the AI bitch every two minutes “Where are you?”

I could have just added myself a wingman but I’ve got enough to worry about without having to babysit the AI. Maybe if my flying skills improve enough I’ll do this in an “advanced” mission.

Player with Game logic

Support Menu available with Game Locic grouped to player


How To Setup ArmA’s Built In Support System.

Support way point not working for me


A10 Practice3 Chernarus
A10 Practice3 Chernarus
Version: 3
2.3 KiB


A10 Practice3 Chernarus
A10 Practice3 Chernarus
Version: 3
2.3 KiB