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Creating an XML File

For complex game data, using a software tool to create and maintain these assets may be useful. Level tables, for example, might be easier to develop through a custom-level editor tool.

The IntermediateSerializer class of the XNA Framework can be employed by custom tools running under Windows to directly serialize game data to an XML file.

An XML file generated in this way then can be included in the game project and imported by XmlImporter Class as part of the Content Pipeline. Because XmlImporter is actually a wrapper for IntermediateSerializer, it is certain that the XML file will be in the correct format to be deserialized by the same facility.

The IntermediateSerializer class is controlled through the XmlWriter class of the .NET Framework Class Library defined in System.Xml. The properties of the XmlWriterSettings class can be used to specify its output properties.

The serializer produces its output according to these rules:

  • All public fields and properties are serialized; a separate XML element is used for each.
  • Protected, private, or internal data is skipped.
  • Get-only or set-only properties are skipped.
  • Properties come before fields.
  • If there is more than one field or property, these are serialized in the order they are declared.
  • Nested types are serialized using nested XML elements.
  • When the class derives from another, members of the base class are serialized before data from the derived type.

XML Serialization Example

The following steps create a simple program that demonstrates how a program can use the IntermediateSerializer method IntermediateSerializer.Serialize Generic Method to serialize program data to an XML file.

Step 1: Create a New Project

You will create a new project in Visual Studio.

  1. On the File menu, click New, and then click Project.

  2. In the New Project dialog box, ensure Windows is selected in the Project types pane, and then click Console Application in the Templates pane.

  3. In Solution Explorer, right-click the References folder, and then click Add Reference.

  4. In the Add Reference dialog box, select Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Content.Pipeline assembly, and then click OK.

Step 2: Add XML Serialization

  1. In Solution Explorer, double-click Program.cs to edit it.

  2. Add using declarations for the System.Xml and Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Content.Pipeline.Serialization.Intermediate namespaces.

    using System.Xml;
    using Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Content.Pipeline.Serialization.Intermediate;
    
  3. Define a class to serialize to XML.

    namespace XMLSerializerTest
    {
        class MyData
        {
            public int elf = 23;
            public string hello = "Hello World";
        }
    }
    
  4. Within the function Main, add the following code that employs IntermediateSerializer.Serialize Generic Method to serialize the MyData class an XML file.

    MyData ExampleData = new MyData();
    
    XmlWriterSettings settings = new XmlWriterSettings();
    settings.Indent = true;
    
    using (XmlWriter writer = XmlWriter.Create("example.xml", settings))
    {
        IntermediateSerializer.Serialize(writer, ExampleData, null);
    }
    

Step 3: Generate XML

  1. Press F5 to build and execute the program.
  2. Examine the example.xml file in the project's bin\Debug folder.

    
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
      <XnaContent>
        <Asset Type="XMLSerializerTest.MyData">
          <elf>23</elf>
          <hello>Hello World</hello>
        </Asset>
      </XnaContent>
    

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