HowTo: Unit logo.

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HowTo: Unit logo.

Postby Evil_Echo » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:49 pm

In OFP, ArmA, and ArmA2 you can specify a unit that your player belongs to. If you define one, when you join a server your player name will include the clan tag and you optionally get clan shoulder patches ( aka flash ) and clan decals on most vehicles. Very cool and handy for discovering which transport your gang is using or letting the opposition know who just pwned them.

All you need to do is fill in the "Squad URL" for your player when creating or editing it. Sounds easy.

Yes and no. You need a URL to paste into that field. But what URL and how to make it?

The URL points to a squad.xml file hosted on a web server. It's documented on the BI Wiki. You could just take a template, fill in the fields and host it on a public web server - IF you have easy access to one that is.

The easier way is to use the services of a couple of web sites that are dedicated to the ArmA community for just this purpose. I used the one in the US, for DRTB. I registered there in both the site and their forum - you need both.

Why both? So you can upload your clan image. It's got to be there first if you want to access it during the clan registration.

The image part can be easy or a bit of a pain. It has to be 128x128 pixels. If you use a "solid" image with no transparency required, you can just submit a .jpg or .png image ( make sure it's 24-bit if using PNG ). For transparency, it's going to take a bit of image-processing and format conversion. In the case of DRTB, we based our logo on the 341th MI Bn, so of course we had to go the hard way. :(

If you already good at Photoshop, you are in luck. I am a noob in this field and had to struggle a bit. Plus I used GIMP. It's a great tool, but expects you to already know a bunch of things that I didn't. After 12 tries I finally figured out how to make a image with a transparent background.

  1. Fire up GIMP.
  2. Open up a the original image.
  3. Rescale the image to 128x128. The original image was close to being square anyway so distortion was not really noticable.
  4. Select the background color.
  5. Invert the selection. Now I have the interesting part.
  6. Copy that selection.
  7. Close the original file - throwing away all the changes so far except what's in the cut buffer.
  8. Open a new image, select transparent background, 128x128 pixels.
  9. Paste my image in and merge the layers so it's just one layer. I now have an image with transparency!!
  10. Save the image in .png format.
  11. Resave the image in .tga ( TARGA ) format. Make sure RLE encoding is off.
  12. Exit GIMP.

Now you need to convert the .tga image to the .paa format used by ArmA. You need to do this regardless of whether you used PhotoShop or GIMP.

The tool you use is TexView, available at the armatech site if you register or via It's used by developers in ArmA so worth getting if you ever want to do map making or modeling too.

  1. Start TexView.
  2. Open your .tga file. If don't see an image you messed up. Redo your image processing.
  3. Save the file in .paa format.
  4. End TexView. Your done.

Log onto the armatec forum and go to the XML logo help room. Double-check the rules and post a request asking to add your logos. Include your file(s) as attachments and mention the name of your clan. In a little while you should see a response from them and the name of the image file they used in their image area.

While you are waiting. Get the Game ID for your player and any other members of your unit. It's displayed in the lower right corner of the player editor window in ArmA - same place you go to chose your face and voice options.

Go to the main armatec forum and launch their Projects -> Squad XML Hoster.

After logging in, select the Create Army function. Browse through the squad images and select yours - it should be near the end of the list since it's brand new. Fill in the other fields, some are optional. Leave the unit as public for now while you add members. Save.

Now use the Create Player to add other people to your unit. Fill in the fields and save. It'll return a URL for you to use for that player. That's the URL you paste into your player's URL field in the ArmA editor - same place you got the game ID from.

That's it. You can always go back and touch up the unit entries you own without messing with your player URL anymore.

Is it worth the effort? When I was struggling with GIMP, almost no. But after getting past that - yes. The response from the others in DRTB helped too, they love the look.

I am fear.

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