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murdock

[XNA] Custom Content Pipeline?

6 posts in this topic

I am wanting to build a stand alone editor to build levels for my game. I would like to be able to build an editor and ship the exe to the art team and just have them load that and not have to worry about loading VS or GS. I have read where the assemblies for the built in pipeline are not distributable per the license. So, with this limitation, how does one handle this situation?

Is there a way I can bypass the built in content pipeline assemblies and build my own?
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If you use the content pipeline in an application, whoever wants to use that app has to install the full XNA game studio and not just the redristributable (e.g. what you download as a developer to create your app). So it's doable and probably more convienent than rolling your own content pipeline.

The latter of course is possible, but you have to do a lot of things yourself...e.g. read the source content files, parse the data, and load that data up in your own data types (e.g. believe you'd have to roll your own Model classes, stuff like textures would be easier but you'd have to do the image processing yourself). The potential sticky area would be with shaders since you do need the XNA content pipeline to compile those.
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This [url="http://rbwhitaker.wikidot.com/content-pipeline-extension-1"]tutorial[/url] explains exactly what you need to do to extend the content pipeline to fit your needs, and you can run it on redistributable version.
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Ok, so as I see it, I can build an editor and let the artists do their thing and then take content files from that and pull it in via the custom content processors. Now, what if I wanted to include a copy of my "game" with that editor so they could edit/test content with the "game"?
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To be clear, the pipeline is split between "runtime" and "design time" [url="http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb447745%28v=xnagamestudio.40%29.aspx"]components[/url]. If you want to build a tool that imports content from a source file (e.g. a FBX model for example) then you're using the "design time" component and need to install the full XNA Game Studio, not the redistributable. There's quite a few threads on the XNA forums (and probably here) regarding it, [url="http://forums.create.msdn.com/forums/p/40043/233976.aspx"]for example[/url].

If you want to load custom user content, you may have to take a hybrid approach. Have stuff like shaders and sprite fonts pre-built using the XNA content pipeline, but retain the ability to load models and textures using custom loaders/parsers.
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Yeah, I just want to be able to toggle between the design and runtime. It would be nice for level designers to test their levels when they are working on them instead of having to send to a developer and have them import it into the game.

I was just curious how the majority of people handled this sort of thing.
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Yes I'm having the same problem, and I cannot find a solution. I want to load my level data during runtime but I can't find any way to do it. I tried the MSDN but their approach doesn't work, maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I tried multiple times and failed.
Do you know how can I do this?
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