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Ultrahead

Unity Upcoming Tool: The Asset Pipeline Editor

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Hi, 

 

During this year 2013 I've been developed a tool named "The Asset Pipeline Editor" (or "The APE") which allows game devs to build their own content pipeline, if needed, as well as managed asset files for their games on a per-platform basis. Here is an example picture of it:

 

ss_09.png

 

The tool is being use for inhouse projects right now, so it's a work-in-progress for public release. In a few weeks I will starting an IndieGoGo campaign to bring this baby to its first release/major version.

 

It's important that even though I'm using this tool for XNA/Monogame-based projects right now, it can be use with any custom game engine that does not have a CP of its-own regardless the langauge being used: C++, Objective-C, C#, Java, Phyton, etc. So this is not for games being developed with Unity, UDK and such.

 

If you want to see a short trailer, please follow this link: 

 

Also, on my blog you will find a series of posts with more in-depth details about it (four, so far):

 

http://amapplease.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-asset-pipeline-editor-part-1.html

http://amapplease.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-asset-pipeline-editor-part-2.html

http://amapplease.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-asset-pipeline-editor-part-3.html

http://amapplease.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-asset-pipeline-editor-part-4.html

http://amapplease.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-asset-pipeline-editor-part-5.html

http://amapplease.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-asset-pipeline-editor-part-6.html

 

And you can always follow me on twitter for latest news: [twitter]Yoruguaman[/twitter]

 

Hope you guys like and support it.

 

~Pete

Edited by Ultrahead

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Looks pretty neat. Two features I'm not seeing showcased in your video or blog posts that are really important that came to mind while checking it out:

Do you support a command-line mode? That's useful to adding this to a continuous-integration server or for generating automated builds remotely. All our builds happen on a headless server run by an MSBuild script managed by a continuous integration service. No human beings involved, just new builds spit out after every commit.

Secondly, does this support a file-watching mode? One of the more annoying parts of many asset pipelines is the need to edit a file in a source format, go to a whole separate tool to convert it, and then restart the game engine to pick it up. The last bit is of course the engine's problem, but the middle step would be up the alley of APE.

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Hey, great questions.

 

They deserve a proper explanation on my blog but I'll answer them briefly here:

 

1. "APEBuild": yes. In fact, when I designed the APE i thought of this use case; this feature was a corolary of the way I designed the tool in order to test import/write units before promoting them to the editor. As a matter of fact, project files contain all needed info to build assets. So, when you call the APEBuild you eiither indicate whether to build the whole solution or specific projects.

 

2. Repository: in the way the APE works there is no need to watch files, since compilation/build actions in the editor need user interaction (press a button, etc.) and it handles raw files as opposed to source files. Let me explain it a bit better: when you add a file, the editor copies the source file to the solution's repository and add a raw file in the solution tree. Thus, as long as you change the source file in the repository, next time you build assets this updated source file will be loaded, processed, and so on so forth to obtain the asset file. So, if you have say a mono sound.wav file on the repostirory and then you manually replace it with a stereo sound.wav file, the later kicks in for next builds. 

 

3. Processing: the APE will not replace production tools like Photoshop, Sound Forge, and so on so forth. So you will need to create your source files there: jpegs, wavs, mov, etc. What the APE provides is a way for you to indicate how to convert them to the file format you need for your games. In case the built-in import/write units or the ones provided later on by me and or any other user are not useful to you, then you can implement your own with full control over them. So, if you want to implement a processor that converts WAVs into OGGs, you can go ahead and do it with ease. What about resizing a texture? Sure. What else? Everything you can imagine of that can be achieved by setting parameters on a property grid. For example, for the case of XNA'ers, in part 4 of the series I show a processor with many features that pre-multiply alpha, resize textures, changed formats and so on. To sum up, to create source files use production tools, to convert them to game assets, use the APE.

 

Thanks for your smart questions. Hope you like the answers. More in my blog soon ...

Edited by Ultrahead

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