What Is SQF Scripting?


Larry Thompson

What Is SQF Scripting?

SQF scripting, also known as Simple Query Format, is a scripting language used in the popular military simulation game, Arma 3. It allows players to create custom scenarios, missions, and mods by defining behavior and interactions of objects and characters within the game world.

The Basics of SQF Scripting

At its core, SQF scripting is a lightweight and easy-to-learn language that follows a strict syntax. It is based on the C programming language and shares similarities with other scripting languages like JavaScript. However, it is specifically designed for use within the Arma series of games.

SQF scripts are written in plain text files with a .sqf extension. These scripts can be executed by various entities in the game, such as AI characters or triggered events. The scripts are typically placed within mission folders or included in mod files.

Syntax and Structure

The syntax of SQF scripting resembles other programming languages but has its own unique characteristics. Here are some key elements:

  • Variables: Variables in SQF are declared using the private, local, or global keywords.

    They can hold different types of data, including numbers, strings, arrays, and objects.

  • Comments: Comments are used to add explanatory notes to the code. Single-line comments start with two forward slashes (//) while multi-line comments are enclosed between /* and */.
  • If-else statements: Conditional statements like if-else can be used to control the flow of execution based on certain conditions.
  • Loops: Loops, such as for and while, allow for repetitive execution of code blocks.
  • Functions: Functions are reusable blocks of code that can be defined and called from different parts of a script. They help improve code organization and maintainability.

Using SQF in Arma 3

SQF scripting is an integral part of creating custom content for Arma 3. Whether you want to create complex missions, add new gameplay features, or modify existing behavior, SQF provides the necessary tools and flexibility.

Arma 3 offers a variety of in-game editors and tools to assist with SQF scripting. The Eden Editor allows for visual mission creation, while the Arma 3 Tools package provides advanced editing capabilities through programs like Terrain Builder and Object Builder.

Tips for Effective SQF Scripting

To make your SQF scripts more efficient and readable, consider the following tips:

  • Code organization: Use proper indentation and spacing to enhance code readability. Group related code together to improve maintainability.
  • Error handling: Implement appropriate error handling techniques to prevent unexpected crashes or glitches in your missions or mods.
  • Code reuse: Utilize functions and libraries to avoid duplicating code.

    Reusable components can save time and effort when building complex scenarios.

  • Testing and debugging: Test your scripts thoroughly to ensure they function as intended. Use debugging tools provided by Arma 3 to identify and fix any issues.


SQF scripting is a powerful tool for customizing and extending the gameplay experience in Arma 3. By learning the syntax and structure of SQF, you can create immersive missions, mods, and scenarios that enhance the overall gameplay and keep players engaged.

So, dive into the world of SQF scripting and unleash your creativity in the Arma 3 universe!

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