I understand your point, but the thing is, if your goal is to make a Starter Save, then why not make one traditionally how it should be done instead of heavy game file editing? ACE in this case is nothing else but a Cheat and an easy way out. If your goal is to program and create something with ACE, then why not do it? It is interesting nonetheless as you'll be able to explore a wide range of programming stuff and research about it.
It depends on the goal you want... Like I said, ACE is a cheat IF you want to make a Starter Save or 100% Save with Special Vehicles. ACE is a cheat IF you can make any vehicle H/UH/AP/PP/TP/WP/EC/PC/NE...
If ACE/SSU is cheating then collecting special vehicles is cheating too, no? Both involve doing things you were not supposed to do. As for why not making a save "traditionally", why making one to begin with? Trying out something new is the point. Also, traditionally, starter saves involved doing everything on the first island, not the whole map. Getting to the other island early is cheating if that logic is to be applied. Even things like listening to custom music in-game, or even watching a replay of a cool stunt or something is cheating with that logic.
In the end, it comes down to two things:
-Anything that you can do within the game without third-party tools or incrementing the "times cheated" stat isn't cheating.
-Anything you do that wasn't intentionally allowed (be it going to the other island early, duping mission, or collecting special vehicles that weren't specifically given to you to keep) by the devs is cheating.
If you want to make, let's say, 100% Completion in VC, then it takes much more knowledge and dedication to actually get 100% in VC. It may not sound hard after you do it multiple times, but you'll learn the game with playing the actual game. You will never have experience on the game by just editing or modifying game files, adding stuff in it or reading the game scripts, you will get the experience by actually PLAYING the game. I agree that a lot of knowledge needs to be put to make a program called "Press this Button to beat VC", but when it's done kids will use it as a cheap way to complete the "hard" tasks...
That is true, but even duping stuff requires skill. Once you get the hang of it it's really, really easy - just like every other challenge in the game without glitches. If you're new to duping/glitching stuff you will have a problem at first. The difference is that once you get the hang of duping you can do things much faster and even skip them entirely.
Besides, that's how people choose to play their game. Why do you, or anyone else for that matter, care about how they play their game? You're all discussing a common interest. Instead of being elitist about how one side plays the game and derailing the thread with arguments, why not just share the knowledge with eachother and talk about the common interest in a friendly environment?