Many people are confused about the famous devP (hereafter P Drive or P), used by some applications from Arma 3 Community Tools. In this entry, I will try to demystify what’s P and why it has been implemented.
What is P Drive?
First, P is not a virtual drive but a substitute drive, the concept is very simple: It associates a path (from anywhere in your file system) to a drive letter, in some kind, a shortcut, a letter for a directory. P is well known to be used even necessary to use Bulldozer. To explain a little, most of the tools are prepared with P in mind because it’s simple for everyone, the community and us (BI developers)… But P is not necessary, just a convenience. In consequence, you can setup your work environment like you want, without P, but this would require additional time and knowledge.
Our first thought while preparing Arma 3 Tools was that there is no need of such substitute drive. We actually use it for our work, but it’s not needed. There was a strong push for reintroducing the P: drive from community who was used to it and it’s even easier for us to have some “standard” drive to refer to in Arma 3 Tools.
The first iteration of the tools (without P: drive) was more meant for expert users who should be able to set their own working drive according to their needs in all tools (and may name it even differently than P: drive).
In fine, P Drive is not necessary, but by defining default, it makes the tools easier to setup, use and permit to solve common issues.
P Drive is now the standard in Arma modding and there is two main ways of using it:
- Can be considered as an
All In Onedisk where you have all data & tools regarding Arma 3 Tools: One place to find everything;
- As a sort of representation of ‘what the engine sees’, that’s the reason why settings.ini was introduced.
Firstly, you will need to install Arma 3 Tools, very simple!
- Find in the Steam library (switch the filter to “Tools”) – “Arma 3 Tools”,
- Right click, install (or double click on it),
- The, start “Arma 3 Tools Launcher” (primary tool) once to add (or update) all needed registry entries for the rest of tools,
- You’re ready to go!
If you want to use it as the first case, nothing more simple, you just need to install Arma 3 Tools from Steam (see steps above) and from Arma 3 Tools Launcher, just click on “Mount P Drive” and enjoy your P Drive!
If you want to define your own directory as P, there is only one more step before mounting P, edit your settings. Two ways, run Arma 3 Tools Launcher and press CTRL+E to open the settings dialog or manually, open the file named settings.ini and stored in the root directory of the tools (by default, it’s F:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Arma 3 Tools) with notepad, Poseidon Tools or any other text editor.
In the example above, P_DriveUser is set to 1 to tell scripts and tools that real directory used for P is user defined, then P_DrivePath is just the path to your own directory.
Once your P is mount and functional, you just need to run DevP to get your P drive ready. It prepares P with content required for using Arma 3 Buldozer in Addon builder and Terrain Builder if you have Arma 3 installed. Note, if you don’t use Terrain or Object builder, you can skip the devP.References: “Why is necessary to use virtual drive?” – Pettka “What is it?” – Tom_48_97