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We have several questions floating around asking for help loading with and/or , or converting between various file formats. For example, the following:

In general, should we consider questions of that form (loading and/or converting specific file formats) off topic? On topic? Something else?

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I think it depends. If the file formats are game development specific and the question is about the format structure (as in, how the data is arranged), I think it could be on topic here. Some formats are poorly documented, and might benefit from experienced game developers.

If the questions are about how to code the conversion, it would be a better fit for stackoverflow.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So in other words, "what is the format of <filetype>," where filetype is some game-specific thing, is on-topic, but "what is the code to load .pngs" is not? \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jan 2 '14 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep. Like "How does X format store rotations?" or "How do I find the parent child relationship in format Y?" would be on topic. But, "How to convert from X to Z?" is not on topic (because it's too broad/unclear) and "How do I convert format Y using C#?" is also off topic. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jan 2 '14 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seems reasonable to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jan 2 '14 at 19:37
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It's my opinion that these sorts of questions aren't really game-development related (in the sense that a game developer would give a better answer); fundamentally the process is to read the documentation of the file format and perform basic file IO based on the documentation therein. This would work for most file formats out there and isn't a game development topic.

Similarly, I don't think we need to be a wiki-like repository for code snippets to load every file format in existence in every language in existence, and that's the only other reasonable answer I can think of for such questions.

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I think general parsing problems should be asked on Stack Overflow, unless it is specifically about dealing with a kind of material, transformation matrices or bones data (sth graphics or game related). I think it should dealt with on one by one basis like other programming questions, if a game developer can give you a better answer, then it is probably on-topic.

On a side note, some 3D formats are really ugly to parse, 3D PDF for instance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I recently did some work with parsing Skeletal animation data from Assimp, and the top answer here gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/26382/… was my solution in the end really. I think having a sort of community wiki for various file formats might be worthwhile? \$\endgroup\$ – maccard Jan 6 '14 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @maccard maybe you can open a new discussion here on meta about the idea. Sounds neat. \$\endgroup\$ – concept3d Jan 6 '14 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Done! see: meta.gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/1447/… \$\endgroup\$ – maccard Jan 6 '14 at 20:42

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