I know the features wouldn't be installed until this SE makes it out of the public beta. But in the event that it does, I think that this is something that we should be prepared for.

What would the criteria be for deciding if a question would be left here, or suggesting it be on Stackoverflow?


5 Answers 5


I feel quite strongly that GameDev should cover all aspects of "game development" (note the site isn't called "game design"), which should absolutely include programming. Just because there's another SE site that already covers some related topic (i.e. SO in the case of programming), doesn't mean that the content doesn't belong here.

My reasoning is that although the content of two sites may have some overlap, the audiences may not. If I want to know about a specific DirectX API call, or tips on doing efficient 3D matrix transforms, I'm much more likely to get a relevant/complete answer from professional game developers than I am to get them from a broader programming audience (even though they're "programming questions").

My feeling is that GameDev should cover questions relating to:

  • Game design (architecture, gameplay, ideas, mechanics, etc)
  • Game assets (creation, storage, editing, etc)
  • Game programming (coding, bugs, best practices, patterns, etc)
  • Game development (testing, team development, tools, etc)
  • Game release (hosting, publishing, etc)
  • Game industry (careers, trends, technology, etc)

However, I do agree, that at some point there will be a line where questions become too general and are probably better migrated to SO (or some other SE site). Basically we need to come up with a nice simple single rule that we can apply objectively to a given question to determine whether it's on/off topic. For example, on SO you can apply the question: "If I replaced the word 'programming' with the word 'knitting', would this still belong on SO". (so "What music do you listen to while programming?" is a bad SO question since "What music do you listen to while knitting?" is clearly unrelated to programming).

For GameDev I think that defining question is: "Would a professional game developer give me a better/different/more specific answer to this question than other programmers?". For example if I'm asking about a specific game engine API, then SO is probably not the best choice, since it's unlikely you'll find enough people with the right exposure (different audience). If I'm asking about, say, a path finding algorithm, SO is probably not the right choice since if its for a game, you'll probably trade off some accuracy for more efficiency (different needs/goals). But if you're asking how to reverse the order of an array, then a game developer is going to give the same answer as any other programmer, so it probably belongs on SO.

Buy hey, that's just my 2c... I guess we'll see how the votes turn out.


I see no reason why programming questions can't be here as long as they are related to game development. Saying this site should be for theory only, and not practice could really be hurtful.

I am sure you could find an answer to a programming question on SO, but you could possibly get more, and better answers here. We are the professionals, right?

Why wouldn't we want programming question here? Would it be harmful to allow them?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I see where you are coming from and agree that it wouldn't be harmful. I am suggesting that we stick to the theory so that we stand out from the 1001 other game coding sites out there (gamedev.net etc..) and preserve some uniqueness. \$\endgroup\$
    – SD021
    Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ We somehow must figure out what 'are related to' means, a question that falls under the terms of StackOverflow and doesn't involve "Game Design, Game Programming, Asset Creation, Writing for Games..." should not be here. It would be logic and add to StackOverflow, but it would result in bloat here... Look at the list on the front page, would you want to see that cluttered with questions that can belong to SO and to which we can't add extra value? @SD021 The uniqueness is a good idea. :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 21:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the key in Joe's answer is that they must be related to game development. Bug fixing is one example of a programming question I think should be discouraged. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ As stated in my comment to SD021's answer we need to draw the lines of what types of programming questions can and cannot be posed and place those in the FAQ... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 as I agree. As long as the question is being asked in terms of game development than I think it would be fine although there will probably be quite a few that could go to SO. \$\endgroup\$
    – Casey
    Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 23:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I propose a test for "related to": If the answers to a question would not be affected by it being about games, than it is not related. For instance, a question like "what's the specific behavior of typedef in this language construct" would have identical answers if the context is games or a spreadsheet app. In contrast answers to the question "What are some good open source frameworks for UI?" could differ heavily between games and a spreadsheet. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 8:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ What about for OpenGL related code that isn't technically for a game? It's very useful for me to have the 3D coding focus (e.g. GLSL) but since it's not strictly for a "game" I find myself debating whether to post in SO. Also what about someone coding a 3D medical application in DirectX or OpenGL? \$\endgroup\$
    – Hari Honor
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 9:57

I would personally prefer a lot that only game development specific questions are asked here, not general programming ones.

Moreover, when asking such question, I will definitely be asking it on SO and not here, because there is a lot of smart people in the general programming which are in no way related to games, and I would not like to avoid the chance of getting the answer from them.


About game programming, i think there are questions and topics that should stay on gamedev.SE if they are specific to game programming, some examples:

  • 3D programming and/or maths that some programmers would be horrified by.

  • Design Patterns: well they are not specific to game programming, but if the question has a context about game programming, why not.

  • Optimisation: well it depends, because on SO it seems there are some strong C language advocates who will bash C++ because they do embedded systems or system programming, but in the game industry we need high level and speed, and also because well, most of the industry now works with C++, so I think it stills belong to gamedev.SE.


I think that this site should be more theoretical rather than practical. There are numerous sites, such as SO that will answer any coding question you have but not many that will help you with the theory behind game design/development etc...

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I support this answer. If the question can be answered without knowledge about game development, the question should be on StackOverflow. Questions that you must think about in terms of game development should belong here... This still leaves the question: Where is the line between both? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 20:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not agree. There are tons of professional game programmers & developers that, at least based on discussions on Twitter, really would like to be able to contribute to a practical and concrete forum and site. I think the value of that knowledge and interest is also much higher than theoretical discussions about game development. Would love if we professional developers actually have a part in this site and it is not just yet another hobby game developer forum / Q&A site as well, which I think there is a higher chance for if sticks to only the theoretical. \$\endgroup\$
    – repi
    Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 22:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a misunderstanding regarding 'theory' and 'theoretical', in the way SD021 it includes your 'practical' discussions but does not include 'just any coding questions', 'knowledge' and 'interest' is part of it too. What's in a word? A lot! I'm getting confused... :-D \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 22:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ theory is so.. theoretical though. Our Q&A engine is best at specific, concrete things. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ As mentioned above, it is all about the Audience. \$\endgroup\$
    – Some One
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 23:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. There's tons of theory out there, I want the answers that are more like "That's great in theory, but here's how it really works..." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 14:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem with using SO for game programming questions is that the hordes of business programmers with no game experience drown out the few decent answers pros with utterly wrong answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – munificent
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 19:20

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