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The purpose of the PathEngine content-side integration is the generation of information about the possibilites for agent movement within an environment, in a format which can be understood by the PathEngine run-time.
At the heart of PathEngine's world representation is a ground mesh representation of the
surfaces of the world over which movement will take place.
An overview of PathEngine 'ground meshes' can be found here.
Other information that can be associated with this representation includes obstacle shapes 'pinned' to the surface of this mesh, ground attributes and named positions.
The ground meshes and associated information are often referred to as PathEngine 'markup' for
This markup resides in a single file, which is then referred to as a PathEngine 'ground mesh' file.
This file may be in XML format, or in PathEngine's own tokenised version of XML. Both formats store identical information, but the tokenised XML format takes less space.
PathEngine includes support for both '2D' and '3D' content processing pipelines.
The '2D content processing' pipeline is essentially based on manual markup of ground mesh (although, depending on the exact setup, this is something that may only need to be done per placeable building or object type).
The '3D content processing', in contrast, aims to fully automate the ground mesh generation from more general 3D representations of world geometry.
This Content Creators Guide focuses mostly on the 2D content processing pipeline, but some points are also relevant when working with the 3D processing pipeline (e.g. position resolution from 'anchors', pinned shape shape placement, ground attributes).
The process of generating PathEngine's world representation can be broadly categorised into two approaches.
In a single-stage content process, markup for a scene is compiled together and exported in one go
from a single content application.
In this kind of approach, the PathEngine exporter runs PathEngine's 'content processing functionality' directly, and the resulting full scene markup is then exported directly into a single file, in PathEngine's run-time 'ground mesh' format.
In a two-stage content process, blocks of geometry are marked up individually, in one content application,
and then placed into the world later on in the content process with another application.
The blocks of geometry might be buildings, bridges or dungeons, or even parts of buildings or dungeons which are designed to be connected together later on in the content chain.
PathEngine's content exporters support the export of markup for each block as 'content chunks', which can then be combined with each other and with a base mesh or terrain, later on in a custom world editor.
In this case it is the custom world editor which runs the content processing functionality, and generates PathEngine's run-time ground mesh format.
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