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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description

Ethereal Darkness Interactive

Northampton, Massachusetts based Independent Game Developer founded by Raymond Jacobs and well known to GameDev.net; over the course of three years they designed, produced and sold the Indie game Morning's Wrath.


A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract between two parties which outlines confidential materials the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict from generalized use.

Licensed Games

A game based on a story or character from another medium, such as a movie, comic book or TV show. Examples include Batman, Beavis and Butt-Head, Bart Simpson, etc. The rights to make these types of games have to be licensed from their respective owners.


What does AAA stand for? We have found one definition saying: "What does a Triple A rating mean? The ILFs are rated independently by the rating agency Moody's Investor Services. AAA (Triple A) is the highest rating that can be assigned by the rating agency to ILFs of this type. The rating is independent of JP Morgan Fleming and is only given after a thorough examination by the rating agency of a number of elements. These include an examination of the portfolio management team and its investment process, internal control procedures, the quality of securities held by the portfolio and the consistency of performance by the ILFs. A full technical definition on an AAA rating can be obtained from Moody's Investor Services. " From: http://www.efs-online.com/efs/faqs/jpmorganfaqs.asp, Q11

Unique Selling Proposition

In advertising, the single unique proposition you make to your customer about your product that is strong enough to convince them to buy it. There are 3 parts to this principle: 1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: "Buy this product and you will get this specific benefit". 2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique -- either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising. 3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product. from Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves

Paper launch

Product specifications released well before the real product launch. A paper launce describes all the features the new product will include in order to beat the rival companies. This is especially common in the computer hardware industry.


The term “abandonware” was coined in 1997 to refer to any game that has been discontinued by its publishers. Even through a game isn't being commercially sold, it doesn’t make it legal to download from sites not permitted by the publisher. Even if a company stops distributing a product, does not mean the copyright lapses.

Blizzard Entertainment

Renowned game designing company who created the smash hit games Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft, as well as their sequels.Praised by pc gaming columnists worldwide, Blizzard Entertainment has earned itself a reputation for releasing only high-quality games.


A business that buys, warehouses, ships, invoices and sells to retailers for non-competing products. Contrast to a wholesaler which carries non-exclusive lines of products.


A business that buys, warehouses, ships, invoices and sells to retailers without exclusivity. Contrast to a distributor which carries non-competing lines of products.

Trade Advertising

Advertising not meant for the consumer, but instead intended to reach retailers, wholesalers, reps and salespeople.


Stock Keeping Unit. Any unit recieved by the retailer that they have to keep inventory on.

Niche Market

Buzzword for defining a narrowly-targeted market. Normally referring to a segment of consumers who are not being targeted by mainstream products.

Affiliated Chain

A group of retail stores who take advantage of large-scale purchasing or co-op advertising buying efficiency by associating with each other.


Market Development Funds. Money used to secure shelf space and end caps with retailers and advertising.

End Cap

A display that is placed at the end of a retail shelf and considered the premiere placement. Publishers will pay extra for end caps so that their games are more prominent to customers.

Game Schools

There are several University type schools for game programming, a list of which be found here: (WWW)


Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

The art, sound, music, code, 3d models, design, story, and the like created during game production that make the product what it is. Typically, IP can be copyrighted, trademarked, or patented.


A trade exchange system whereby employees of two different developers or publishers trade retail copies of one game for another. Popular at the close of E3 and ECTS shows.


Another name for the final manufactured CD. See Going Glass.

Gold Master

The CD that will be sent to the CD manufacturers to be reproduced. So named because of the CDR burnable CDs are gold backed normally.


A concept that grew out of the desire to make software free for use, but not to give up all authorial rights which a public domain license does.

Third Party Developer

A developer which is not owned or run by the maker of a platform or operating system. For instance all developers besides Microsoft are third party developers for Windows. Developers for consoles need to be licensed by their console manufacturer before they are allowed to develop for the platform.


In game industry there is no real director position, besides possibly a corporate position like "Director of Technology". The position which is closest to this film position in games would be a designer or producer, depending on the company.