What Language Does Arma 3 Use for Scripting?


Scott Campbell

Arma 3 is a popular military simulation game that allows players to create their own scenarios, missions, and mods. To achieve this level of customization, Arma 3 uses a scripting language called SQF (Scripting Language for Arma). SQF stands for “Scripting Language for Arma” and is derived from the Real Virtuality engine used in the Arma series of games.

What is SQF?

SQF is a lightweight scripting language that was specifically designed for Arma 3. It offers a simple syntax and powerful functionality, allowing users to create complex gameplay mechanics, AI behavior, and user interfaces. SQF is similar to other scripting languages like JavaScript or C++, but it has its own unique features tailored specifically for the needs of the Arma series.

Why Use SQF?

SQF provides game developers and modders with a high level of control over their creations. Whether you want to create a new mission or modify existing gameplay mechanics, SQF allows you to do so with relative ease. The language supports various data types such as numbers, strings, arrays, and structures, making it versatile enough to handle a wide range of tasks.

Features of SQF

  • Simplicity: SQF has a straightforward syntax that is easy to learn even for beginners.
  • Powerful: Despite its simplicity, SQF offers powerful functionality with built-in commands and functions.
  • Event-driven: The language supports event-driven programming paradigms, allowing developers to respond to specific in-game events.
  • User interface support: SQF enables the creation of custom user interfaces using dialogs and controls.

Scripting in Arma 3

To start scripting in Arma 3, you need a text editor to write your SQF code. Popular choices include Notepad++, Visual Studio Code, or the built-in Arma 3 editor. Once you have written your script, you can save it with a .sqf file extension.

Executing Scripts

Arma 3 executes scripts using triggers or by calling them directly from other scripts. Triggers are in-game objects that activate a script when certain conditions are met. On the other hand, scripts can also be executed by using commands like “execVM” or “call” from within another script.


In conclusion, Arma 3 uses the SQF scripting language to provide users with a powerful and flexible tool for creating custom content. Whether you want to create new missions, modify existing gameplay mechanics, or develop complex AI behavior, SQF has you covered.

With its simplicity and powerful functionality, SQF allows both beginners and experienced developers to bring their ideas to life in the immersive world of Arma 3.

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