The addons are .pbo files which add new content to the game like units, vehicles, weapons, ... or combined ones.
When we download an addon, normally a zip or rar compressed file that we can open using 7zip compressor, we have three options to install and launch them.
* Notice that for ArmA2 in this guide where it says ArmA you must use ArmA2. * ArmA2 folders for steam version can be found following these instructions: Modfolders with Steam version. * Since Operation Arrowhead, you can use the ingame expansions menu to manage the addons installed. Anyways you must use Modfolders to work with it. (Check Option 2: Modfolder method)
Option 1 : Normal method (not recommended at all!)
Simply place the .pbo files into the Addons folder inside the installation main folder, by default ArmA. So place them in the ArmA\Addons folder.
By doing this, when you launch the game it will load all the addons we have "installed", using this method, at the same time.
NOTE1: If the download contains any .bisign file they should go to the same folder you place the pbo ones. This .bisign files are there so players using properly signed addons can join to that server which requires them.
We can use this method so we just load at the startup the addons we want to use, saving loading time, avoiding incompatibilities, ...
I will use the FDF Sound mod as an example:
First we have to create 2 folders inside the main ArmA one. We create a folder called @FDF_Sounds and inside this one another called Addons.
Inside this new Addons folder we place the .pbo file(s), in this case the FDF_Sounds.pbo and FDF_Sounds_c.pbo files.
NOTE2: If the download contains any .bisign file they should go to the same folder you place the pbo ones. This .bisign files are there so players using properly signed addons can join to that server which requires them.
Now what we have to do it's edit the ArmA shortcut so the game launches using that addon. To do this, we do rightclick on the ArmA shortcut in the desktop or where we have it and select properties.
In the target box we add -mod=@FDF_Sounds as shown in the pic:
NOTE3: The pic its in spanish but its easy to find the analogies. NOTE4: By adding also -nosplash we will get that the game launches faster as it doesnt load the intro movies. NOTE5: To load more than one mod folder use semi-colons to separate then (-mod=@mod1;@mod2;@mod3) NOTE6: Since Operation Arrowhead you can install the modfolders in My Documents\ArmA 2 directory.
After creating the folders and placing the .pbo files, instead of editing the shortcut or having to have various shortcut for different modfolders, we can use one of the arma launchers created by the community. For example the Arma launcher by Kegetys. (Other launchers can be found in this section: ArmA2 Misc&Utilities)
We start the launcher and first we have to select where we have the arma.exe file. We do this by clicking on "change" and pointing the program to our installation folder.
Once we do that in Options --> Options we can mark Skip splash screens so we don't launch the intro movies.
Now we have to add the mod(s), we go to Options --> Mods and we add the mod as its shown on the pic.
NOTE6: Check that the Mod directory name must be the same as the one we created, the other is just a name for reference.
And finally we have to launch the game on Single or Multiplayer, but first we have to select what mod we wanna launch by checking the box close to the mod name.
With the launcher we can also add any server and select what folders we want to use when we join that server, just go to Options --> Servers and fill the boxes with the required info.
Additionally we have a few videos for you so you can see how it is done:
Arma2 addon tutorial part 1/3 (use fullscreen and 720p)
Arma2 addon tutorial part 2/3
Arma2 addon tutorial part 3/3
And 3 more
Option 4 : Addons in your Documents folder
While majority of users still prefer the old fashioned OFP style command line driven mod handling, there is also another way of doing it, using the in game expansions manager and documents settings. One real advantage of doing it that way is that it no longer matter from where you launch the game (be it steam, other version etc.). It makes clean installations also much simpler than messing within the game folder.
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