Teaching a man to fish

Simon (Darkside) Jackson edited this page May 27, 2017 · 1 revision

Teaching a man to fish

Variants of the following question come up somewhat regularly on the forums:

  • I want to import game data from an XML file
  • I plan to do this using the Content Pipeline IntermediateSerializer
  • I have my custom data type all ready to go
  • But I don’t know how I should format the XML for it!

You already have the tools to answer this yourself. Here’s how:

Fire up Visual Studio and create a new Console Application project.

Right-click on the References node, and add the Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Content.Pipeline assembly.

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

Add a test class with the same layout as whatever data you want to serialize, but initialized with dummy test values. For instance:

    namespace XmlTest
    {
        class MyTest
        {
            public int elf = 23;
            public string hello = "Hello World";
        }
    }

Add this code to Main:

    MyTest testData = new MyTest();

    XmlWriterSettings settings = new XmlWriterSettings();
    settings.Indent = true;

    using (XmlWriter writer = XmlWriter.Create("test.xml", settings))
    {
        IntermediateSerializer.Serialize(writer, testData, null);
    }

To use this in MonoGame currently, you will need to reference the MonoGame Content Pipeline dll, which is normally located in

"C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\MonoGame\v3.0\Tools\MonoGame.Framework.Content.Pipeline.dll"

However, DO NOT leave this reference in a LIVE build, as it wil include the entire Content Pipeline architecture which is not needed for live projects.

Run the program. Look in the bin\Debug folder, and open the test.xml output file. With the class shown above, this will look like:

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

Tada! That’s how IntermediateSerializer represents this particular class in XML.

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