I have noticed recently that people at Stack Overflow usually move questions related to game development to Game Development SE. So are questions related to game development no longer appropriate at Stack Overflow?

If this is the case,

  1. Questions related to programming, DirectX or OpenGL etc are obviously valid questions on Stack Overflow.
  2. What about questions related to problems specific to game engines, like problems in collision detection, key binding, importing models from 3DS Max or Maya into a game engine, are they relevant to StackOverflow or Game Development?
  3. What about questions related to scripting? They should be relevant to Stack Overflow in my opinion.
  4. Questions related to game development, strategy, marketing etc are not valid questions on Stack Overflow.

So what are the rules now? Tags specific to game development, game engines &c. are available, and in the form of game development, there is another place for these questions. So what is for Stack Overflow, and what is for Game Development?


If it's borderline, the user should ask on the site where they think they'll get the best or most relevant answer. Same goes when asking about a Sci-Fi movie (Sci-Fi vs Movies & TV) and so on.

IMO no programming question should be rejected from SO just because it's for a game. It's still programming and the user has the choice of whose expertise to solicit. The exception I think is your point #2: asking how to do things like importing models into a game or what functions to call to create something in Unity. Answering the latter requires knowledge of Unity, rather than general programming knowledge, and would generally be better served by Game Dev.

And if the question is about other non-programming game dev issues then it should be on Game Dev, as you noted.

  • Being a GD.SE user, the problem I see with your answer is that nobody knows that GD.SE even exists. Migrating questions is one way to tell relevant users that GD.SE is here. I first found out that Stack Exchange was a network, and not just a website when someone migrated a question from SO to GD.SE, and I think it's important that others know these websites exist too. – John McDonald Jul 5 '13 at 5:10
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    @John As I understand it, it's somewhat frowned upon for sites to manage their scope based on that of other sites or to migrate questions for the benefit of other sites. Migration should be about the fit of the question. – user154510 Jul 5 '13 at 18:08
  • Well, there's already a unity3d tag in SO, which deals exactly with the issues specificied by point #2. – Galandil Feb 23 '18 at 16:59

In general, I would say that the following questions belong on Stack Overflow.

  • Questions related to programming, DirectX, or OpenGL
  • Questions related to scripting

Likewise, the following questions probably belong on Game Development.

  • Questions related to problems specific to game engines, such as collision detection, key binding, or importing models from 3ds Max or Maya into a game engine
  • Questions related to game development, strategy, and marketing

Of course, to be fair I think that some of the questions above—such as those related to collision detection—are really borderline cases. I would keep them on whichever site they were asked as long as they weren't specific to a particular game engine or middleware.

Just my 2 cents.

Of course, it's also worth considering what the Game Development FAQ has to say:

A note on programming-related questions: general programming questions more likely belong on Stack Overflow instead of here. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself …

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

If yes, then feel free to ask it here. For more discussion on that topic, see this question on our meta site.

Note that, as mentioned in the FAQ, this has also been discussed on the Game Development meta site.

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    we tend to see a lot more general holistic questions on gaming, like "How do I generally do X given I am writing a game to do Y, Z and A?" Those are good gamedev questions as the site is more about the entire process of writing games, not just the code. – Jeff Atwood Sep 22 '11 at 23:20
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    @JeffAtwood Good point. I updated my answer to direct people toward the FAQ. – Chris Frederick Sep 23 '11 at 0:29

Game programming questions are pretty nebulous even with game-specific APIs, because you can use Irrlicht or XNA for non-gaming related things (or even merge it with WinForms making a WinForms XNA application). However game design questions should stay in Game Dev as it's more of a way of thinking in general problem solving terms that is not a generic programming problem.

Most of the time, proper game design has nothing to do with programming, and more to do with creating game mechanics, balancing and overall "fun factor" of a game (like how much HP to give bosses, and should NPCs react differently based on player factors). These are proper game-related questions, whereas there are some, like AI algorithms, that have different audiences that can benefit from it (for example if one were to needs something specific to robotics). These kinds of questions are beneficial both in SO and in GameDev.

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