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Offline alimag

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Arma II Briefing Manager (ACCEPTED)
« on: 02 Aug 2009, 12:56:49 »
Hi,

This is a little tool that I think might be very usefull to some of you.

Here's part of the readme file

Code: [Select]
========================
Arma II Briefing Manager
Author: alimag
Version 1.0
========================

Since Arma II is out, I've seen numerous post on different forums from people asking how to create briefings for their missions.

In OFP, some HTML format knowledge was necessary to pull it out but in Arma II BIS as reduced the process to a few scripting commands more accessible for experience scripters but still a bit difficult for new users.

But it's not until I found Mikey's briefing template that the idea of facilitating the process crossed my mind. His template, and the description he gave, were so clear and well organized that I instantly saw the basic of the program that would output such a file. The version I found is 0.02 and this is the one that I've used. Good work Mikey!

So, how does it work ?

The Briefing Manager facilitates the creation and maintenance of your briefing file. More precisely, it will help you create and maintain the two main entities that are the core of the new briefing format, the tasks and the notes sections. It will also manage the HTML code needed to attach markers to text, insert pictures in your briefing, and define the current task. All this using a very simple GUI interface accessible to anyone.

The command buttons are self-explained and have tool tips briefly explaining what they do. If you know how to use Windows, using the manager will be very easy.

Any feedback will be appreciated.

Have fun and good missions

Cheers

Updated version uploaded

Updated version 1.1 uploaded - 1/9/2009
Added the possibility to convert OFP/Arma briefings (HTML) to Arma II format (SQF)
No install. Unzip and run the exe.

Corrected version uploaded - 3/9/2009
Prevention of possible bug (nasty).

Get Briefing Manager v1.1 at ED
« Last Edit: 04 Sep 2009, 18:23:48 by Mandoble »

Offline mikey

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #1 on: 02 Aug 2009, 13:34:42 »
Wow dude, this is seriously awesome. Even my grandma could make briefings with this  ;)

I did have some issues though, I'll just list them:

Bugs:
- I couldnt open my own briefing files (Err #5 - Invalid Procedure call or argument), but I can open the files I've created with your program (it depends on the comment you put on the top perhaps?).

Feature reqs:
- Support for createDiarySubject (to make your own subjects in the briefing like this)
- Change from side player to faction player. I'm planning to do that in my template as well
- Support for setSimpleTaskDestination (you know the orange objective markers)


All those things aside, this is great stuff. If you ever need any help, or are planning to port it to c# .net, don't hesitate to pm me  :good:





Offline kju

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #2 on: 02 Aug 2009, 13:51:56 »
Nice work. :)

Do you think it is possible to parse an OFP/A1 briefing and create an a2 briefing format out of it?
To what degree this may or may not be possible?

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #3 on: 02 Aug 2009, 15:08:14 »
Hi,

Thanks for the remarks

@kju

I'm not sure how much work would be involved or if it's even possible. But I'll have a look.

@Mikey

Not beeing able to open other files but the ones created by the program is not a bug but it was the fastest way to open the files. And yes, I use the header comments to put informations that accelerate the file reading process. It can be done differently. It will involve more coding and a more global approach but I might consider it.

About the features that you requested. Since I used your template v0.02 to make the program, only what was in the template was considered. I didn't really have time yet to look into the new scripting commands so it's much easier for me to base my work on an already existing template.

I'll make a deal with you. Give me a template with all the features you think should be in the program and I'll see what I can do to incorporate them. If it is well written and explain as the first one, half of my work will already be done.

Cheers

PS: I just attach a copy of your briefing in the manager format...

Offline kju

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #4 on: 02 Aug 2009, 15:24:03 »
Thanks alimag. :)

Just to give you a little background.
With project OAC we have been porting OFP missions to A1.
Now we are doing OPF and A1 to A2.

We have automated the process to large degree based on simple and complex
regular expression search and replacement statements.

So for us it would be already very helpful to see what needs to be done in
a short bullet point list in terms of the very technical part.  :)

Offline Dazakiwi

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #5 on: 13 Aug 2009, 01:36:34 »
After having problems with using a briefing template from another mission i made (which does show the briefing/tasks ingame). My new mission im getting no joy in making the briefing show.  :dry:
Ive compared it to the previous mission briefing and i do not see any syntax errors.

So i was glad to discover your Briefing Manager is available.
But alas, i created a briefing in one pass (ie. no edits or alterations made)and i still having the same problem.

Here is my briefing.sqf
Quote
// A2BM W    100
// DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE

waitUntil {!(isNull player)};
waitUntil {player==player};
switch (side player) do
{
case WEST:
{
player createDiaryRecord ["Diary",["Situation","They will be well defended, there are initial reports of a T90 and two BMP3's in the area. Also there are some 256 Tunguska's in the area. <br/>Although not confirmed it is possible Russian Special forces are part of its security, so look sharp. Once the alarm is raised at main objective, reinforcements will arrive, and possibly more as time goes on. So dont hang around. "]];
player createDiaryRecord ["Diary",["Mission","This is a straight forward OP. However the tricky bit will be flying one of the choppers from out of the hanger. Best not to destory the other one until one is safely out."<br/>The other chopper can be destroyed, if its not, the mission will be a failure.<br/><img image='missionpic1.jpg' width='200' height='200'/>"]];
player createDiaryRecord ["Diary",["Intel: Operation Shark","Two new prototype <marker name='obj1'>KA50s</marker> straight out of R&D are here for some advanced testing. Which likely will be on us. We need to steal of one these choppers, the other one has to be destroyed."]];
tskObj1=player createSimpleTask ["Destroy the other KA50"];
tskObj1 setSimpleTaskDescription ["What else is there needed to say? turn it into scrap metal!","Destroy the other KA50","Destroy the other KA50"];
tskObj0=player createSimpleTask ["Capture One Ka50"];
tskObj0 setSimpleTaskDescription ["Capture and fly this helicopter out of the hanger and back to <marker name='LZKA'>base</marker>,","Capture One Ka50","Capture One Ka50"];
player setCurrentTask tskObj0;
};
case EAST:
{
};
case RESISTANCE:
{
};
case CIVILIAN:
{
};
};
if (isNil {player getVariable "mk_briefingEH"}) then
{
player addEventHandler ["killed",{[] spawn {waitUntil {alive player};execVM"briefing.sqf";};}];
player setVariable ["mk_briefingEH",true];
};

A general Question about the briefing file itself. If i try to add some lines or manually edit the file in say notepad, then save it. Will that stuff it up? and when i save it do i need to again have .sqf at the end of the file, even though the original file has correct extension? I take it you will recommend to load the briefing file into the manager and click on edit.

I just want to work out why the briefing.sqf is seemly so temperamental in general....its very frustrating.

Thanks for any light thrown on this problem.

Dazakiwi

Offline ArMaTeC

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #6 on: 13 Aug 2009, 10:26:02 »
would be nice if you added justification (left, right, center)
and maybe a live preview of what it will look like ingame
« Last Edit: 13 Aug 2009, 13:28:45 by ArMaTeC »

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #7 on: 13 Aug 2009, 13:29:59 »
Hi,

@kju
I did not forget you but real life has taken to much of my time recently. I'll be back to you.

@Dazakiwi
If your briefing is not showing at all then your problem is probably the way you call it.
A brief reminder:

1 - Save the file as briefing.sqf

2 - In your init.sqs (if you dont have one, create it) add the line [] execVM "briefing.sqs". Now, there is no way it will not show.

3 - If you want to start with the briefing open, you'll need also a briefing.html file in your mission directory.

As for your other question, yes there are places that you could correct or add things without messing the file for the editor but I would NOT recommend it. Stay on the safe side and use the editor to modify your briefing file.

@ArMaTeC
You're right. I tought of it but since the file is not supposed to be manually modified I did not see the necessity to make it easier to read. People might be tempted to modify it themselves...

Cheers

Offline kju

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #8 on: 13 Aug 2009, 14:27:31 »
no worries mate. too busy with other stuff too.
still to see this process simplified would be a huge help  :good:

Offline JamesF1

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #9 on: 13 Aug 2009, 14:57:00 »
Whilst a very good idea, I do have two points to raise with the execution of the idea. Please don't think I'm being overly critical, the good points have already been raised in the above posts, and I'm simply trying to offer insight from years in software development and usability audits/testing:

1) Firstly, distribution method: why do you need an installer for this?  Installers are simply bloat when you have nothing but an EXE.  You're not modifying the registry (and if you are, why?) - it simply complicates things.  It's not like you're trying to keep users out of doing any scripting manually, as you're requiring them (as you need to) to create/add to "init.sqf" to call your generated script.  Additionally, if you absolutely have to provide an installer... at least provide an uninstall link in the start menu folder, too.  ;)

You might also want to consider either packing the installer into a single file, or making WinRAR extract silently.  At first, I thought that you were simply using a WinRAR SFX archive to distribute the program (rather than just the installer).  Also, the set-up files are not removed after the installer has run (which, given the above confusion, could be a bit annoying for users with less technical knowledge).

To combat this, you can cause an SFX to extract silently to the temporary directory (and clean up after itself) by putting this in the SFX's comment (the first line MUST be present):
Code: [Select]
;The comment below contains SFX script commands
Silent=1
Overwrite=1
Setup=setup.exe
TempMode

Of course, this is largely a moot point, as there's little benefit to be gained from archiving an installer (as, if you've selected decent settings in your installer generator, it'll already be compressed in some way).  It might be worth you reading up a little more on the Bootstrap installer for VB (which you've used) to see if it enables you to package an installer into a single EXE.  If not, most archive software (e.g. WinZip, WinRAR, 7zip, etc.) will automatically extract a zip file's contents when a user opens a setup.exe (or install.exe) file from an archive.

As an aside: if you feel the need to compress your installation, I'd suggest you compress the application EXE itself with UPX (or a similar solution), rather than use an SFX (which has a significant overhead).

Additionally, the uninstaller doesn't remove the start menu program group.


2) Secondly, what about clashes between variable names (either in other scripts, or simply through user-added tasks later on)?  As you've used non-local variables (and rightly so), why don't you account for (or at least, drastically reduce the incidence of) naming conflicts by prefixing the variable names with your OFPEC tag:)


Overall, though, I think you've made a good start - it'll be good if you can tidy up the interface, and make the application handle the other aspects of briefings/tasks that were mentioned, in the future.  :good:

Offline Camus255

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #10 on: 14 Aug 2009, 02:52:11 »
i don't know if im doing something wrong but i ve got a problem with my coop mission

example

before death:
task: 1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
note: briefing


first respawn:
task: 1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
        1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
note: briefing
        briefing

second respawn
task: 1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
        1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
        1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
note: briefing
        briefing
        briefing

and so on....

init
Quote
execVM "briefing.sqf";


briefing.sqf made with briefing manager
Quote
// A2BM W    100
// DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE

waitUntil {!(isNull player)};
waitUntil {player==player};
switch (side player) do
{
case WEST:
{
player createDiaryRecord ["Diary",[""]];
player createDiaryRecord ["Diary",[""]];
player createDiaryRecord ["Diary",["]];
tskres = player createSimpleTask [""];
tskres setSimpleTaskDescription [""];
player setCurrentTask tskres;
};
case EAST:
{
};
case RESISTANCE:
{
};
case CIVILIAN:
{
};
};
if (isNil {player getVariable "mk_briefingEH"}) then
{
player addEventHandler ["killed",{[] spawn {waitUntil {alive player};execVM"briefing.sqf";};}];
player setVariable ["mk_briefingEH",true];
};

description.ext
Quote
// Respawn Settings
respawn = "BASE";
respawndelay = 30;

Offline Dazakiwi

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #11 on: 14 Aug 2009, 09:51:40 »

@Dazakiwi
If your briefing is not showing at all then your problem is probably the way you call it.
A brief reminder:

1 - Save the file as briefing.sqf

2 - In your init.sqs (if you dont have one, create it) add the line [] execVM "briefing.sqs". Now, there is no way it will not show.

3 - If you want to start with the briefing open, you'll need also a briefing.html file in your mission directory.

As for your other question, yes there are places that you could correct or add things without messing the file for the editor but I would NOT recommend it. Stay on the safe side and use the editor to modify your briefing file.

Yeah i got briefing.html file as well as an init.sqs. And using the right call code for the briefing. Shouldnt it be briefing.sqf. You had briefing.sqs (perhaps a typo?). I have a working briefing for another mission i created, and i used that as my template for this new one. It seems how both the briefing and the init files are saved seems important.

I used Briefing Manager a second time to see if i had done something wrong. With the init.sqs file, whats the best way to save it? i usually use notepad and choose all file types and choose unicode.
Its possible the init isnt being recognised or something. It would also be nice if the briefing manager could highlight lines that are missing code or needs changes made etc..



Offline Mandoble

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #12 on: 17 Aug 2009, 12:01:28 »
Hi alimag, nice and useful tool  :good:, should we consider it ready for submission to the Editors Depot?

Offline Pirin

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #13 on: 22 Aug 2009, 03:53:03 »
i don't know if im doing something wrong but i ve got a problem with my coop mission

example

before death:
task: 1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
note: briefing


first respawn:
task: 1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
        1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
note: briefing
        briefing

second respawn
task: 1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
        1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
        1- kill a cow
        2- eat a cow
note: briefing
        briefing
        briefing

and so on....


This is due to a bug fix in 1.03.  After ArmA2 1.03 you no longer lose tasks/notes after respawn (unless you're using TeamSwitch) so what's happening is the player workaround (built into this program) of using a killed eventhandler to rerun the briefing.sqf ends up repeating it each death.

The "fix" is to simply not re-run the briefing.sqf after death.  Due to how this program is designed however it's not an end user fix at this time.  But manually removing the following lines from your briefing.sqf should fix it:

Code: [Select]
if (isNil {player getVariable "mk_briefingEH"}) then
{
player addEventHandler ["killed",{[] spawn {waitUntil {alive player};execVM"briefing.sqf";};}];
player setVariable ["mk_briefingEH",true];
};

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #14 on: 22 Aug 2009, 11:23:15 »
Hi,

Thanks Pirin. I know about the change in 1.03 I just didn't have the time to upload the corrected version. Done now! (see first post)

Real life is all over me these days. I dont even have time to finish my dialog manager...

@Mandoble

It's all yours. Thank you.

Cheers

Offline Pirin

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #15 on: 22 Aug 2009, 23:34:35 »
Excellent news!  Some of the mission designers in my group were having so much trouble with briefings, they'll love using this.

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #16 on: 01 Sep 2009, 20:15:54 »
Hi,

Just uploaded the latest version (1.1) of the Briefing Manager.

I added the possibility to convert OFP/Arma briefings that was in HTML format to the new Arma II format (SQF).

Objectives are converted to tasks an any other relevant sections are converted to notes.

You might need to manually change some titles, Task #1 might not be explicit enough, but it will definitely help a lot if you're trying to convert your briefings.

Pictures and markers are correctly transfered in the right format and the text links are idientified by {LINK} in front of them. Since they are useless in the new format I could have remove them but some relevant information might be in there. If not, just delete the useless ones.

To open an HTML file, just select HTML format in the Open Dialog.
After opening the HTML file you'll receive a message asking you if you want to create the file A2BM_Briefing.html. This is in fact your debriefing file. Say yes if you want it. The program use the debriefing data of the HTML briefing file. To use it in your missions, just rename it Briefing.html.

I hope I'm done for now, unless some bugs are discovered...

Have fun!

Cheers

Offline JamesF1

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #17 on: 01 Sep 2009, 20:53:04 »
Conversion of briefings is a good improvement  :good:  That said, it is a shame you've chosen to proceed with the frustrating multiple-installer set-up (when fixing the 'issues' with it would take less than 2 minutes of your time), etc. - and haven't prefixed your generated variables with your OFPEC tag, as advised.  If you read over my earlier post, I offer several simple solutions to the installer issue.

At the end of the day, it's Mando's choice as to whether this is accepted to the ED in its current state - but if it were (entirely) up to me, I'd certainly want to see at least the variables tagged before accepting it, as it's just likely to cause people trouble at some stage.  Software should be as hassle-free as possible - but the variable naming style, and cumbersome installation process aren't really holding to that mantra at the moment.

Please, spare the 5 minutes it'll take you to fix these basic problems (for less-experienced users).  :good:

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #18 on: 01 Sep 2009, 22:02:32 »
Hi,

Sorry man, I dont think I understand what you're talking about.

OFPEC Tag for an executable ?

I tought those things were for addons and scripts that can conflict with other ingame variables. I'm not using any global variables but even if I was I fail to see how an executable running in its own windows workspace can conflict with any other program running in another one.

Oh, wait... I think I get it. You're talking about the script generated by the program. Well, if it's the case, sorry it's my bad. You are right, I do use some global variables so users can manipulate the briefing objects from their own scripts. Ok, so the tags are there just in case so there is no conflicts. Very smart, I should have tought of that. Sorry man, most of the time my brain is somewhere else so it took me some time to focus on what you were saying. I know that I could get on people nerves some times because of that. Ok, what do I do now...I'll read your post again and I'll be back to you.

About the installer, I think I could just put the exe and the ocx file in a zip. It should work, at least with XP. Then no more installation problems at all.

Sorry again man, the last thing I wanted to do was to give you problems. I just want to share something I find usefull with the community (that has given me so much) nothing more nothing less.

Ok, let's see about those tags...

Cheers

Offline JamesF1

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #19 on: 01 Sep 2009, 22:12:29 »
Oh, wait... I think I get it. You're talking about the script generated by the program. Well, if it's the case, sorry it's my bad.
Yup, that's exactly what I mean!  Sorry I wasn't more clear :)  It should simply help to clear up any conflicts users might find (e.g. if they named something manually, and it conflicted with one of your variables).

Quote
About the installer, I think I could just put the exe and the ocx file in a zip. It should work, at least with XP. Then no more installation problems at all.
Sounds good to me :)  I was just concerned that some users less technically-savvy users might become confused by the 'two-stage' install!

Quote
Sorry again man, the last thing I wanted to do was to give you problems. I just want to share something I find usefull with the community (that has given me so much) nothing more nothing less.
No problems for me, but I just wanted to stress that I think it's important to resolve possible conflicts and 'usability problems' before finalising an application.  It's an advantage to everyone: people have an easier app to use, and you get more people inspiring you to make developments!  Everyone wins  :good:

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #20 on: 01 Sep 2009, 22:23:18 »
Hi,

I registered my tag and modify the program.
I just put the dlls and the exe together in the zip. It should work no problem.

Thanks for your patience

Cheers

Offline JamesF1

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #21 on: 02 Sep 2009, 00:32:30 »
Looks great  :good:

Offline tcp

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #22 on: 02 Sep 2009, 19:38:57 »
Feature Request: When you put single quotes ("text"), can you make it so they are automatically converted to double quotes (""text""). It will break briefing files for people who don't know they can't use single quotes.

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #23 on: 03 Sep 2009, 12:50:32 »
Hi,

Uploaded a corrected version.

There was a potential nasty bug just waiting to appear.

Cheers

@tcp
Good idea.
But now I would have to check if they did not put the double quotes already...
Next update.

Thanks
« Last Edit: 03 Sep 2009, 16:09:40 by alimag »

Offline DaKa

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager (ACCEPTED)
« Reply #24 on: 07 Sep 2009, 21:36:17 »
"Feature Request: When you put single quotes ("text"), can you make it so they are automatically converted to double quotes (""text""). It will break briefing files for people who don't know they can't use single quotes." Hot darn tcp you just saved me! I was starting to break things when I saw that one of the sections was not working  (I had single quotes). Thank you man! Sorry for being off-topic.  :whistle:

Offline 3inar

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager
« Reply #25 on: 13 Nov 2009, 13:55:15 »
Hi,

@kju
I did not forget you but real life has taken to much of my time recently. I'll be back to you.

@Dazakiwi
If your briefing is not showing at all then your problem is probably the way you call it.
A brief reminder:

1 - Save the file as briefing.sqf

2 - In your init.sqs (if you dont have one, create it) add the line [] execVM "briefing.sqs". Now, there is no way it will not show.

3 - If you want to start with the briefing open, you'll need also a briefing.html file in your mission directory.

As for your other question, yes there are places that you could correct or add things without messing the file for the editor but I would NOT recommend it. Stay on the safe side and use the editor to modify your briefing file.

@ArMaTeC
You're right. I tought of it but since the file is not supposed to be manually modified I did not see the necessity to make it easier to read. People might be tempted to modify it themselves...

Cheers



I have done this but I still cant get the briefing up in the game :/


and this is how my briefing looks (just a test one)


and heres the init.sqf

I do wright  this [] execVM "briefing.sqs" in the init file but the sqf still changes to [] execVM

Edit: I just noticed that I was suposed to wright it in an sqs file :/
Whell I realy dont know how to make a sqs file or what programs to use so hellp is needed :/

Thanks in advance!! :)
« Last Edit: 13 Nov 2009, 14:00:38 by 3inar »

Offline alimag

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager (ACCEPTED)
« Reply #26 on: 13 Nov 2009, 19:52:29 »
Hi 3inar,

1 - The program will generate a file that you should call briefing.sqf.

2 - Take this file and put it in your mission directory (the directory of the mission the briefing is created for).

3 - Then, in that same mission directory create a text file that you'll name init.sqf. Now, this is important, be sure the file is a text file (with no formatting) and that it is named exactly init.sqf.

4 - Open the init.sqf that you've just created with any text editor, notepad will do, and type this in it:

[] execVM "briefing.sqf";

5 - Save the file and run your mission from the editor. When you press the map key (M by default) your briefing should be there.

Hope I was clear enough

Cheers

Offline 3inar

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager (ACCEPTED)
« Reply #27 on: 13 Nov 2009, 22:32:30 »
Perfectly described and thanks! :), but still it dosent work :(

I have don this a cuple of times now and nothing hapeneds...

Im gona try downloading it one more time to see if there is something wrong with the copy that I downloaded.

Edit: nope still wont work :( Im still doing exactly what you described in the Post but I still got nothing... :/

Not one single thing shows up on the map...
« Last Edit: 13 Nov 2009, 22:50:13 by 3inar »

Offline Moby Dave

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager (ACCEPTED)
« Reply #28 on: 07 Dec 2010, 19:20:56 »
  Hi
 I jiust downloaded the Arma 2 briefing manager and it will not open for me. This is the error message that I get.   --------->  [Component"COMDLG32.OCX" or one of it's dependencies is not correctly registered; a file is missing.] :dunno:

Can someone please help? I need something real bad to help me with making tasks and briefings.
Moby

Offline kMaN

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Re: Arma II Briefing Manager (ACCEPTED)
« Reply #29 on: 27 Feb 2011, 07:22:42 »
Thanks for making a tool for us noobies to try and understand how to make briefings, etc.  Does this tool create a MP and/or JIP compatible briefing.sqf?

Thanks again for the awesome tool!