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[Tutorial] Bohemia Sample Data Modding 101

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This guide aims to help navigate the Bohemia Public Data model releases.


BI Public Data Modding 101 - Part 1

BI Public Data Moding 101 - Part 2


The sample models and their relevant licenses can be found on Bohemia's Wiki under "Public Data" 

There is a content licensing Q&A thread on the BI Forums here 
There is also a VERY easy to follow breakdown of ALL the Bohemia Licenses here

They have packaged the data releases according to their licenses in order to keep that very clear, the result however is navigating it can become a bit of a pain.


Anything to do with terrains, maps, or map objects (houses, signs, trees, grasses bushes etc etc.), are all under the "Arma Public License Share Alike License" (APL-SA)

Anything to do with characters, animations, weapons, or vehicles (animals, guns, people, and vehicles) are all under the "Arma Public License" (APL)

There is also a DayZ Mod license" (DML-SA); however there is no asset release, so it's not relevant to these discussions

What does this mean?

Well, put simple:

1. NOTHING can be used outside of Arma and its sequels (Arma 3 right now).

2. Anything under the (APL-SA) or (DML-SA) is open for others to create derivative mods; HOWEVER, you are NOT obligated to share your modified source in the case of models and terrains.

3. Anything under the (DML-SA) cannot be used in Arma 3.

OK We have a basic, (and I do mean basic, please take the time to read the licenses they are common sense interpret-able (for the most part.) understanding of the license.


Let's get modding.... ok, not so fast...

There are VERY different approaches, techniques and optimal workflows for single asset production/modification VS batch editing production.

However there are some Rules to live by no matter what the size/scope of the project is.




1. NEVER jump straight to the Arma 1 files, even if you're fairly certain they were not in A2.

ALWAYS check the A2 files; there are VERY often upgraded/updated versions of the A1 assets in the A2 data packs.

Only start with a file out of the A1 Data Pack is there is no alternative available. For our work on Sahrani M1lkm8n has already upgraded and ported the majority of A1 buildings that are not in the A2 release. I can provide source on a request basis, however will shortly and hope to set up a public repo for them.

2. ALWAYS save/back up your work as you go, AND as you achieve goals

3. ALWAYS pack with PBOProject

4. After bathing in the warm glow of satisfaction for having gotten something "finished"... realize, there is likely a LOT more work to be done.

5. Check, Double Check, Re-Check; Check again... when you're done with that, CHECK SOME MORE.

If you plan on releasing your addon, you have a responsibility to produce good quality work, both to yourself, and to the community. You should check your client .rpt files to ensure your addon is not creating any errors, you should also check Mikero's PBOProject's Bin log for warnings. If the addon is meant for Server hosts to use in the MP environment you should at least some testing in a dedicated server and ensure the server.rpt is clean.


II - Getting Started


Obviously, when you first start out, you want to set realistic goals. So I suggest you keep it simple at first, and graduate up to more complicated assets.

With this same methodology in mind, I will breakdown navigating the data packages.

As outlined above, the packages are broken down by relevant game version, and then by relevant license. Also VERY IMPORTANT to note, is that the Licensed Data Pack.

This package contains ALL the game PBO's by Game Version, INCLUDING Cold War Crisis. These packages are broken down by license in the same manner the model release files are.

So, it looks basically like this:

Arma 1 Sample Models


- A1SM_Data_APL - A10, air, air3, animals, anims, characters, tracked, voice, water, weapons, weapons3, wheeled, wheeled3

- A1SM_Data_APL-SA - buildings, data, desert, desert2, introanims, language, misc, plants, roads, rocks, sara, signs, sounds, ui, uifonts (config only), + some root configs

Sahrani Community Package


Sahrani Community Package - Data, Scenes, surface textures, surface textures’ source RVMATs, Source, layers.cfg, mapLegend.png, Sara.pew, surface mask master supertexture, "satellite" master supertexture

Arma 2 Sample Models


- A2SM_Anims APL Part 1 - anims 1/2

- A2SM_Anims APL Part 2 - anims 2/2

- A2SM_Data_APL - Air, Creatures - characters and animals, RootCfg - root configs, Tracked, Water, Weapons, and Wheeled

- A2SM_Data_APL-SA - "Map Objects" - misc, plants, roads, rocks, signs, "Maps" (configs, scripts, scenes and source RVMATs only), Structures

- Licensed Data Pack - The purpose of this package is to provide the data files required to populate a P drive if you DO NOT already own the relevant game title. There is no need to download or use anything from this package unless you do not already have a local copy of the file.
Asset Types

OK... Now that we have an idea of what is where... lets quickly breakdown asset types by how complicated they are.

Static Objects - This refers to any object that doesn't physically move. The object remains static on the map, it cannot be picked up, driven, or move on its own. This is NOT to say they cannot be animated, as obviously houses can have animated doors, or windows etc.

Most of the Static Objects are contained in the APL-SA packages

The A2SM_Data_APL-SA package is broken down into 3 sub folders:

1. Map Objects - Includes all Misc Objects, Plants, Roads, Rocks, and Signs

2. Maps - Includes all the map terrain data files (These are by no means simple, terrain editing is highly complicated)

3. Structures - Includes all Buildings, and Structures (there are a lot of odds and ends you'd expect to be in the map objects folder, stored here)

Dynamic Objects - This refers to objects that interact with other static or dynamic objects, they can either be moved, driven, or can move according to user or game inputs.

Most of the Dynamic Objects are contained in the APL Data packages

The A2SM_Data_APL package is also broken down into subfolders:

1. Air - Includes all air vehicles broken down by their relevant container PBO names (e.g. A10, AH64, Air, Air_ACR etc.)

2. Creatures - Includes all Animals, and Humans broken down by their relevant container PBO names (e.g. Animals, Characters, Characters_PMC etc)

3. RootCfg - Includes lots of configs, and models for effects like flares, leafs, and clouds

4. Tracked - Includes all tracked vehicles, as well as water craft

5. Water - Includes only the water craft

6. Weapons - Includes all the weapons

7. Wheeled - Includes all wheeled vehicles

In the next section I will introduce modifying Static Objects.

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