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A Monogame Content Pipeline enhancer.
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You know, Monogame is nice. C# cross-platform game framework which is a pretty good base for an engine or a game.

What certainly is not nice - their Pipeline Tool. For some reason, the only Monogame resource manager is a total pain in the ass to work with: clunky external GUI, no ability to add whole directories. And of course, bugs. Countless, countless bugs.

So what shall we do about all this?

Fear not - NoPipeline comes to the rescue. It's an addon for Pipeline Tool, which generates and updates .mgcb config for you. You can safely add, delete and move around resource files right in Explorer - NoPipeline will do the rest for you.

Additionally, you can make resource files watch other files! Let's say, you got Tiled map project. It has one main .tmx file and a bunch of textures and tileset files. But Pipeline Tool has referenced only .tmx file, so if you update only texture or only tileset, you have to either update the .tmx or do a manual rebuild, because Pipeline Tool doesn't know about files other than .tmx.

With NoPipeline you don't have to do any of that - just set .tmx file to watch textures and tilesets - and Pipeline Tool will detect and update everything by itself.

Sounds cool and all, but I don't want to migrate to some other tool.

You don't have to. NoPipeline is not a Pipeline Tool replacement - it's an addon. You can add or remove NoPipeline at any point in development, and nothing will break. NoPipeline won't override resources which already exist in the .mgcb config and will leave a perfectly valid config after itself.

Now we're talking. How do I integrate this thing in my project?

First of all, install the latest release of NoPipeline. After that, you will need a NPL config. NPL config is what NoPipeline uses to generate MGCB config. Inside it looks like this:

			"path": "Textures/*.png",
			"recursive": "True",
			"action": "build",
			"importer": "TextureImporter",
			"processor": "TextureProcessor",
				"ColorKeyColor": "255,0,255,255",
				"ColorKeyEnabled": "True",
				"GenerateMipmaps": "False",
				"PremultiplyAlpha": "True",
				"ResizeToPowerOfTwo": "False",
				"MakeSquare": "False",
				"TextureFormat": "Color",
			"path": "Path/To/File/specificFile.txt",
			"recursive": "False",
			"action": "copy",

NPL config is essentially a JSON. Config above has two file groups: textures and specificFile. Each file group describes one specific resource type. File groups can contain whole directories or single files.

Let's look at an each parameter:

  • path is a path to the resource files relative to the main Content folder. Here are some examples:
    • Graphics/Textures/texture.png will grab only texture.png file.
    • Graphics/Textures/*.png will grab any .png file.
    • Graphics/Textures/* will grab any file in the Textures directory.
  • recursive tells NoPipeline to include resource files from subdirectories. For example, if set to True, and the path is Graphics/Textures/*.png, files from Graphics/Textures/Subdir/ will be grabbed as well. If set to False, they will be ignored.
  • action tells what action has to be done for this file group. Can be build or copy.
  • importer tells what importer should be used for building.
  • processor tells what processor should be used for building.
  • processorParam is an optional list of processor parameters, if resource has any.

There is also an optional watch parameter. Its usage looks like this:

      "path": "Graphics/*.spritegroup",
      "recursive": "True",
      "action": "build",
      "importer": "SpriteGroupImporter",
      "processor": "SpriteGroupProcessor",

With watch parameter present, all the .spritegoup files will be built by Pipeline Tool, if any .png or .json file will be changed. Note that all the paths listed in watch are relative to the main path, so final paths will look like this: Graphics/Default/*.png.

You can also take a look at a sample config SampleContent.npl, which is included with the program.

With NPL config done, save it in the same directory as MGCB config and name it the same as it. So, if your MGCB config is named Content/Content.mgcb, your NPL config should be Content/Content.npl

You can also include NPL in Visual Studio project, if you want.

After all that, open .csproj file in text editor and find these entries:

<Import Project="$(MSBuildToolsPath)\Microsoft.CSharp.targets" />
<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\MonoGame\v3.0\MonoGame.Content.Builder.targets" />  

Insert <Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\NoPipeline\NoPipeline.targets" /> before content builder entry, so it would look like this:

<Import Project="$(MSBuildToolsPath)\Microsoft.CSharp.targets" />
<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\NoPipeline\NoPipeline.targets" />
<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\MonoGame\v3.0\MonoGame.Content.Builder.targets" />  

And from this point you can start forgetting about Pipeline Tool. : - )

If you want more seamless pipeline-forgetting experience, you can check out Monofoxe Engine, which has NoPipeline integrated out of the box (COMING SOON!).

All the other stuffs.

The thing is licensed under MPL 2.0, so you can use it and its code in anything you want for free.

Huge thanks to MirrorOfSun, who wrote most of the code.

Don't forget to pet your foxes.

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