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Some people are developing utilities to help players in their games. This includes things like saved game editors, fan-created modding tools, .ini file editors, adding Windows Store games as non-steam games and vice versa,... In essence, external tools that help players customize their games to their own tastes and liking.

What these utilities do is very much similar to mod development, which we already allow. They give players more options in how they want to play their game, whether they want to make themselves invincible, make their enemies harder, fix a bug with their saved game,... They're modifying existing games to either add new content or change existing content.

With this in mind, should we allow questions related to development of game related utilities?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any examples of existing questions in this domain? Generally I think it's better to discuss this sort of policy issue when there are concrete question examples available, so we don't make rules in a vacuum that end up unable to reflect reality. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jun 17 '16 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I removed your opinion on the matter from the question; you should post that on its own, with your rationale, as an answer. Including opinion in the meta question makes it hard to disambiguate question votes: do they mean "this is a good question we should discuss" or do they mean "I agree with the opinion presented here." \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jun 17 '16 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshPetrie We were discussing this in the chat this noon. I wanted to create that question, but they weren't sure whether it was on-topic, since we haven't defined our scope that well yet. they told me to ask it on Meta. relevant discussion in chat: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/30424348#30424348 and beyond that. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Jun 17 '16 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd say you should ask the actual question you have, at this point. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jun 17 '16 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshPetrie I'll just ask it then and see what the community thinks \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Jun 17 '16 at 19:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshPetrie question asked: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/124100/… \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Jun 17 '16 at 20:23
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I don't really think this is worth establishing any kind of policy on at this point in time. Or possibly ever. Given the almost-complete-lack of any actual questions in this domain on the site, I think we're still firmly in the frame of reference where we need to take each of the actual questions that appear on their own and analyze them.

I don't think hypothetical speculation is warranted or productive; we can go in circles all day long:

  • I don't think it's worth declaring them, as a group, to be off-topic, because there is a fuzzy line between them and between questions about modding games.
  • I don't think it's worth declaring them, as a group, to be on-topic, because there is a fuzzy line between them and between questions about general application development.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for case-by-case evaluation. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Jun 20 '16 at 14:50
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My personal opinion on this matter: Game related utilities are functionally identical to mods: they allow people to make changes to their game or their individual game state to suit their playstyle better. there is not much difference between developing a mod that gives you more points to spend versus a savegame editor to just give you those points directly.

In addition, it's not always clear where the border between Utility and Mod lies. For example: in World of Warcraft, certain mods have optional extra external applications that allow you to upload certain mod settings or similar to an online service for analysis or further usage. Examples are Trade Skill Master, Warcraft Logs, Wowhead,... these programs walk a fine line between modding and utility, sometimes hanging on one side, sometimes on another. if an addon developer wants to add a similar service, it makes sense that they might want to post questions about their external software as well.

In summary: I think the development of game-related utilities should be part of the scope. They're similar enough to mods that people proficient in mod development probably know their way around utility development enough to answer utility-related questions.

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