Shawn Hargreaves Blog
I want to talk about the XNA Framework Content Pipeline! I do, I do, I do!
But apparently Michael is working on an overview post, so I'm going to wait for that before diving into any details. In the meantime, I decided to talk about some of the background assumptions that went into our design.
Game content (by which I mean graphics, sounds, physics settings, AI data – basically everything that isn't your actual code) is created in a DCC (Digital Content Creation) tool. This could be Photoshop, 3D Studio Max, Maya, Milkshape, Paintshop Pro, MSPaint, the Visual Studio XML editor, Notepad, or perhaps even a custom editor written just for your game.
After it has been created, this content is then used by your game.
So where's the problem? Why do we need a pipeline here at all? In fact what even is a "pipeline"? Should environmentalists be worried about potential impacts on the Alaskan wilderness?
The fundamental issue here is that DCC tools tend not to create content in the right format for games. For instance:
Those examples are just off the top of my head: there are many more. I'm sure you get the point that lots of conversion work is needed before a game can use data out of a DCC tool.
So tell me, I hear you cry, how and where should this work be done?
There are really only three possible options.
Anyone care to venture a guess which approach we chose for XNA?
As I wrote the other day, I'd like to help out people that are having trouble understanding the content