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.

Importers and content processors are implemented as assemblies. In addition to the standard ones provided by XNA Game Studio Express and listed below, you can also use custom importers and processors that you or other third parties develop. Use the Properties window to assign an appropriate importer and processor for each game asset you add to your game project (see Game Asset Properties for more information).

Standard Importers

The following table describes the standard importers shipped with XNA Game Studio Express and the type of game asset each supports.

NameType NameOutput TypeDescription
Autodesk FBXFbxImporterNodeContent

Imports game assets specified with the Autodesk FBX format (.fbx).

This importer is designed to work with assets exported with the 2006.11 version of the FBX exporter.

EffectEffectImporterEffectContentImports a game asset specified with the DirectX Effect file format (.fx).
Font DescriptionFontDescriptionImporter FontDescription Imports a font description specified in a .spritefont file.
TextureTextureImporterTextureContent Imports a texture. The following types are supported: .bmp, .dds, .dib, .hdr, .jpg, .pfm, .png, .ppm, and .tga.
X FileXImporterNodeContentImports game assets specified with the DirectX X file format (.x). This importer expects the coordinate system to be left-handed.
XACT ProjectN/AN/A

Imports game audio specified in the Microsoft Cross-Platform Audio Creation Tool (XACT) format (.xap).

Associating an .xap file with XACT allows you to automatically open XACT when editing any .xap file. Associate the file in XNA Game Studio Express by right-clicking the .xap file in Solution Explorer and clicking Open With. Once the dialog box has opened, select the XACT-specific string and then click Set As Default.If the XACT-specific option is not available, XACT must be run before this option appears. The application is available from the Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express group on the Start Menu (click Tools, and then click Microsoft Cross-Platform Audio Creation Tool (XACT)).
XML ContentXmlImporterobjectImports game assets specified in the XNA Game Studio Express XML cache-file format (.xml). The Content Pipeline uses this format to generate intermediate cache files that serialize XNA Game Studio Express Content DOM objects. For more information, see Content Pipeline Architecture.

Standard Content Processors

The following table describes the standard processors shipped with XNA Game Studio Express and the type of game asset each supports.

NameType NameInput TypeOutput TypeDescription
No Processing Required PassThroughProcessorObjectObject

Performs no processing on the file.

Select this processor if your content is already in a game ready format (for example, an externally prepared DDS file) or a specialized XML format (.xml) designed for use with XNA Game Studio Express.

XNA Effect EffectProcessor EffectContent CompiledEffect Compiles the string in EffectContent to the appropriate platform.
XNA Material MaterialProcessor MaterialContent MaterialContent Converts all textures in MaterialContent.Textures by using the ModelTextureProcessor. If the input type is an EffectMaterialContent, the effect is converted using the EffectProcessor.
XNA Model ModelProcessor NodeContent ModelContent Traverses the node hierarchy represented by the input object and converts the result to a model. The materials for each Geometry property on every MeshContent child (specified by the Material property) are processed using the MaterialProcessor.
XNA Model Texture (DXT, mipmapped) ModelTextureProcessor TextureContent TextureContent Generates mipmaps and compresses the input texture using DXT1 compression. Treats magenta pixels as transparent and transforms them accordingly. This processor type is appropriate for textures being applied to a model or other 3D object.
XNA Sprite Texture (32 bpp) SpriteTextureProcessor TextureContent TextureContent Converts the pixels in the texture to the Color format. Pixels of Color.Magenta are converted to Color.TransparentBlack. No mipmaps are generated from the input texture and the input texture is not compressed. Use this processor for overlays, such as a heads-up display (HUD), and other UI elements in a game.
XNA SpriteFont Description FontDescriptionProcessor FontDescription SpriteFontContent Converts a .spritefont file specifying a font description into a font.
XNA SpriteFont Texture FontTextureProcessor Texture2DContent SpriteFontContent Converts a specially marked 2D bitmap file (.bmp) into a font. Pixels of Color.Magenta are converted to Color.TransparentBlack.
XNA Texture (mipmapped) TextureProcessor TextureContent TextureContent Generates mipmaps and does not compress the input texture.
XACT ProjectN/AN/AN/AGenerates audio assets from an XACT project.