Content Pipeline

The XNA Game Studio Express Content Pipeline builds art assets that you have included in your project into a form your game can load at run time on either Windows or the Xbox 360 by calling ContentManager.Load.

This build process for art assets is controlled by Content Pipeline importers and content processors. When you press F5 to build a game created with XNA Game Studio Express, the appropriate Content Pipeline importer and processor for each asset is invoked, and that asset is automatically built into your game.

The flexibility of this process lets you create and update art assets using a wide variety of digital content creation (DCC) tools. XNA Game Studio Express supplies importers for several popular export formats supported by DCC tools, and also lets you develop custom importers for other formats.

In This Section

Overview of the Content Pipeline
The XNA Game Studio Express Content Pipeline lets you build art assets into your game automatically from whatever file formats they are being maintained in.
Content Pipeline Architecture
The architecture of the XNA Game Studio Express Content Pipeline build process is designed to be extensible, so that it can easily support new input file formats and new types of conversion.
Standard Importers and Processors
XNA Game Studio Express ships with standard Content Pipeline importers and content processors that support various common art-asset file formats.
Installing a Custom Importer or Content Processor
This topic explains how to add a custom processor or importer to an existing game solution.
Extending an XNA Framework Standard Processor
XNA Game Studio Express lets you modify or extend the behavior of any of the standard Content Pipeline processors that ship with the product.
Writing a Custom Importer
You can write a custom importer to convert art assets saved in a particular file format into a form that can be loaded and used within XNA Game Studio Express.
Sprite Font XML Schema Reference
This section contains a list of the valid tags and values for the Sprite Font (.spritefont) XML files used by the Content Pipeline to create SpriteFont textures.
How to: Write a Custom Importer and Processor
To add support for a new art asset file format, you may need to write a custom processor, serializer, and reader as well as a custom importer.
How to: Extend the Font Description Processor to Support Additional Characters
This document describes the process of developing a custom content processor to add additional characters to a FontDescription object based on the text that is required by the game.