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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


Advance on royalties. Money given from a publisher to a developer to create a game that will be recouped from the developers royalties on sales. For instance, if a developer is given $25,000 as an advance to create a game. When the developer is finished with the game and it is sold, the developer will not recieve any money from the sales royalties until the advance has been paid back. So if the product is retailed for $30, and the net proceeds for the publisher to sell the game is $15 and the developer has a 10% royalty, the developer will recieve $1.50 for every game sold. Before the developer recieves any money after the advance the game will have to sell 16,667 units ($25,000 / $1.50).


A deal where a publisher pays a development team to do a specific set of work and all work done is owned by the publisher. These deals are normally initiated at the publishers request for a specific product, as opposed to the developer creating a spec and getting a deal on it. See Licensing Deal.

Licensing Deal

An agreement between a publisher and a developer where the developer grants the rights to distribute a game. Deals are normally exclusive and detail regions for distribution, such as North America or world wide. See Work-For-Hire.

Infinate Power

Infinate Power is a game development group based out of Alberta, Canada. There focus genre(s) are: R.P.G.'s Fantasy, Action, and Adventure. For More information go to http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Monitor/9250


Units sold from retail stores to customers. See Sell-In.


Units sold to retail stores. See Sell-Through.


Unique Selling Points. Normally what will be put on the back of a box or an advertisement showing how a game is different and better than its competitors and predecessors.

Going Glass

Terminology used when software is burned onto the final CDs that will be distributed and sold. So named because in contract to "gold" CDR discs, the distribution CDs are clear. See Going Gold.


Acronym: "European Computer Trade Show". This is Europe's premier industry trade show and is roughly analogous to the US' own E3 (q.v.). It is held in London and usually uses one of the sprawling Earls Court exhibition complex's many halls. The ECTS is specific to computer games and the interactive electronic media industry. Although there were attempts to run it twice a year initially, it is currently held only in September to coincide with Christmas release schedules.


(AKA: 'Corporate Suit') Derogatory term used by front-line development staff for anyone who _has_ to wear a suit to work. Usually applies to managers, producers, accountants, company directors and anyone else who generally has little to do with either programming, graphics, audio or game design. Also applied to anyone in the company who has little or know knowledge of how computer game design and development is done. ["Joe? Heck no, he don't know jack 'bout programming; he's just a Suit! We gotta kowtow to him, 'cuz he's the guy who pays us."]

Expansion Pack

An expansion to a previously sold game which usually includes new characters, enemies, levels, stories, and bug fixes. Sometimes refered to as Mission Pack.

Price Point

A term used to classify a product in a price range.


Interactive Digital Software Association. An organization dedicated to improving the business aspects of the industry, often in the areas of piracy and the industry's image.


When a product is not finished has passed its' date of completion.

Going Gold

Terminology used when software is burned onto a "gold" cd that will be sent to the CD manufacturers to be reproduced.So named because of the CDR burnable CDs are gold backed normally. See Going Glass.


The act of counterfeiting software.


Agents will normally be a buffer in between a publisher and a developer, working for the developer. The standard agent's pay is 10% of what the developer is given on the advance.


A right given to use a brandname or theme from another company for a game. For instance many movies have been licensed for video games, such as Goldeneye.

Independent Developer

A developer that is not owned by a large publishing company.

Mission Pack

See Expansion Pack.

Submission Agreement

A document you'll have to sign to get a publisher to look at your game. Publishers have a lot of ideas they are considering and they don't want to risk someone suing them for an game they were already considering or working on.


The process of getting a product from the factory - the developer, in this case - onto the shelves in a store, and, ultimately, into a plastic bag in some hapless punter's hand. This process is nowhere near as easy as most people think.


A retailer is someone who sells things. For instance, the store CompUSA or Babbages are computer software retailers.


When something is sold, it is said to be a retail item.

Publishing Deal

A deal that is made, usually at first for funding, between a development company and a publisher. The developer will often get a royalty percentage of the net profit on the game once it is sold, minus their advance.