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I recently flagged to close this question about modeling in Maya. I believe this question to be off-topic and my reasoning is this:

It has nothing to do with game development. While it's true that you can use Maya in game development that does not mean that this question is on-topic here. This question is exactly as appropriate on any other forum about modeling or programming as it is here. The only hint of game development in this question is the brief mentioning of Unity.

This reasoning comes from the help center itself:

Would a professional game developer give me a better/different/more specific answer to this question than other programmers?

I believe this question does not fit that description. Any thoughts?


PS. This question might also be too broad since I asks for the "best practice" but I'm unsure how I feel about that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just for reference, the title of the quote you posted from the help center reads "General programming questions more likely belong on Stack Overflow instead of here. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself...", so I don't think that applies to this question about a modelling software as it seems to be aimed at generic programming questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Tyyppi_77 Jun 6 '17 at 11:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand this but I feel like it can be generalized to other topics as well. If it's the case that any modeling questions are appropriate here that would be a good candidate for an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Charanor Jun 6 '17 at 11:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps changing the text and re-use the term "developer" instead of "programmer", as it's a bit more generic and would reflect a bit more the target audience of this site... \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Jun 6 '17 at 12:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also note that votes are generally used to reflect agreement, here on meta. Downvotes do not mean "bad question" or "shows no research" as much as it would, on the main; downvotes simply mean that users disagree with the main point of your post (or at least, what they interpret to be the main point of your post). \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock Jun 6 '17 at 12:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gnemlock correct, I spoke too fast. Edited. I'm also aware of the vote system on meta but thanks anyways! \$\endgroup\$ – Charanor Jun 6 '17 at 12:22
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The comment from @Gnemlock reflects my opinion too:

We do not close questions because they are better suited, elsewhere. We close questions because they are not suited, here. As is, we do accept questions regarding 3D; especially those regarding 3D in context of game development.

Keep in mind that a professional game developer is quite vague. An artist proficient with Maya can be considered as a game developer, and as such, fits the description you've quoted.

Also, there is a Blender.se, but it does not mean that questions are off-topic here, and we don't migrate questions there automatically.

You can tell the user that there could be a better stack to ask such questions, then if they want to have it migrated, or ask their next question about the subject on that other stack, it's up to them.

But they're not off topic here.


As for the 'too-broadness' of the question, questions asking for "the best practice" can often be edited to ask "how can I achieve it" instead, which lets users to come up with solutions they think are appropriate for the issue.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There does not appear to be a Maya Stack anyway \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 6 '17 at 11:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener No, there has been some proposals for 'generic' 3d graphics design and the like, but they all have been closed. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Jun 6 '17 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean that any modeling question is appropriate here as long as it's vaguely about game development? Because I feel like this question is very "how do I do this thing in Maya? Oh btw I'm creating a game"-y if that makes sense. This question would be just as legitimate if we edited out the game development part. \$\endgroup\$ – Charanor Jun 6 '17 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Charanor Sure, why not? We already facilitate "How do I do this thing in Blender" without any mention of a game development context, and people modeling for games even need to make movie cutscenes sometimes. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 6 '17 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Charanor From my experience, yes, it is legitimate. If you ask a bunch of game devs how to make a model, you'll get a game dev perspective on how to achieve what you want, and I don't think game dev modeling has the same constraints as general movie/tv animation modeling. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Jun 6 '17 at 12:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexandreVaillancourt, furthermore, game developing sometimes has additional constraints for 3D (for example, you can bake a movie/TV animation set into a formatted video and run on any projection device; in game developing, you often have to animate while keeping the end user hardware constraints in mind). \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock Jun 6 '17 at 12:25
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I think it's perfectly on-topic here. We are a site about game game development, not programming, so I think we should welcome questions that touch more on the art pipelines involved in game development.

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The argument of "Would a game developer offer a better answer than anybody else" reflects a much stricter scope than what we allow, here. The general rule of thumb would be to ask if a game developer would be able to answer the question, with a confident and absolute answer.

We do not necessarily apply the rule of "would a game developer provide the best answer.

As I provided, in the comments, a very good example of this is the questions we take. A game developer would not be the best at answering these questions; a lawyer would be. However, we still happily accept these questions2. As Tyypii_77 points out, the quoted argument derives from our help center; this quote more specifically applies to programming, but even than, it appears debatable that we should loosen our definitions for pushing these questions to other exchanges. I was personally of the opinion that any such question should be pushed to Stack Overflow; but others have made arguments that have since changed my opinion.

There is a game development context to this question, if you look closer.

I admit that you have to read between the lines, a little, to identify the game development aspect of this question. It actually took a re-read to realise that the original post does not contain any actual mention of game development. However, if you look at the language, it very much sounds like the user is asking in context of game development. In fact, they go as far as to confirm this in the comments. At best, the game development context should be strengthened through an edit to the post; this is an example of where we can save a question, rather than delete it3.

There may be the opinion that the question is too broad, but we can fix that.

Again, this applys to any opinion that the question is too broad. The user is asking for a "best practice"; perhaps there is an absolute best practice. If not, the key is to determine the askers requirements for the "best practice". In such cases, if you feel the question is too broad, ask some probing questions. Work out more specific requirements for what the user is asking. With more specific requirements, it is often very plausible to provide an absolute quality answer to these sort of questions; which generally negates the principle of a question being "too broad".


1 I use the logic of your original comment, as I find it applies to 3D a lot more than "programming" does. 2 You may find a few downvotes for lack of research, but we do not close them, other than as duplicates. 3 The fact that I initially interpret the question to apply to game development leads me to the conclusion that such an edit is, in fact, unnecessary; however, if others disagree, I would not argue against the resulting edit.

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There are several other answers that refer to the game dev context without explicitly identifying it. I think that clearly identifying that portion is helpful for framing this discussion.

What is the best approach for modelling such large environments. Should I scale it down, add smaller details and scale it up in Unity? How would I best go about this?

To me this generalizes into asking about which modelling tasks are most appropriate for modelling software versus the game engine. The question is modelling related, but it's really about the interplay between tools & engines. In that regard, it seems totally on-topic.

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