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Game Development Dictionary


Design


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  Term Name Description

Linear

Linearity can occur in a game's story and in a game's gameplay. A game's story is linear when there is only one story that is introduced to you as you move on, much like reading a book or watching a movie. A game's gameplay is linear if there is only one option for how to react. Adventure games normally have both linear story and gameplay.

Maze

A complex system of paths

MMO

Massively Multiplayer Online. Games built with MMO support have the ability to connect hundreds or thousands of players throughout the world into a single and continuous gameplay. The most popular genre that support MMO is what people commonly refer as RPG, where people interact to each other either by regular social interactions such as talking, hunting together, or killing each other.

Mood

While the word mood doesn't seem to require a definition, I believe that its importance in game design merits an entry in the Dictionary.

Although the mood of a game is often overlooked by players, it is very important to every game.

Some game genres, such as Horror, must pay very strict attention to the mood of their games. This is because if a Horror game doesn't capture the right mood, it will fail completely.

Moves

Anything a character can do in a game. While early games, like Galaga, may have had only three moves (move left, move right, and shoot), newer games, particularly fighting games, may have hundreds (low punch, block, mid-kick, high block, etc). Often, in fighting games many of the moves are hidden, and not revealed in the documentation.

MUD

Multi-User Dungeon. A multiplayer online game, usually an RPG, where users telnet to the server to play the game with other people.

Murder Based Experience

An advancement system in which points are only rewarded once an opposing creature is killed. This is a specialized form of Combat based experience that doesn't reward the player for defeating the enemy unless death has occurred.

MUSH

Multi-User Shared Hallucination. A type of MUD where the users can create their own rooms, items and environments.

NIS

Non-interactive sequence. Synonyms: cut-to's, movies. A non-interactive sequence is a part of the game when the player watches the events rather than participates (or interacts). E.g., a transition movie from one level to another.

NPC

Non-Player Characters

One-up

In early two-player simultaneous games, this message would flash on-screen when the first player received an extra life. Two-up would appear when the second player received an extra life. Since then, it has come to be shorthand for getting an extra life, usually not by accumulating a certain number of points, or collectables, but by finding a special icon. This icon is often referred to as a "one-up."

Online Game

A game which is meant to be played while connected to the Interner, or network, with one or more other people over the network.

Palette Swap

A technique in which a videogame uses the same basic character, with a different color scheme, to make that character look like a different character. Used often in may RPGs.

Paper doll

An image of a character in a inventory that can be dressed or equipped by dropping clothes or items onto it. Is mostly used in CRPGs.

Path Finding

Quite simply, finding a path for units or characters in a game. This is often a serious problem because obstacles and avoiding other units in the game requires a number of different kinds of checks.

Playtesting

When a game is played to judge its balance, and how entertaining it is. Playtesting is different than testing for bugs as it deals with how the game plays, rather than whether it functions properly.

Plot

A plot is a sequence of events that raise the level of dramatic tension as the player progresses and becomes emotionally involved with the game, then satisfies this tension with a resolution that (hopefully) prevents the player from being resentful that there isn't any more game. A plot can be linear or branching, and may have one ending or a multitude of possible endings.

Power-Up

An incremental reward for items or a characters stats. For example, mushrooms in Super Mario Brothers that would make Mario larger.

Puzzle

A problem created for testing ingenuity

Real-Time

A game that proceeds constantly which the player needs respond actively as it changes from second to second matching natural time progression.

Real-Time Strategy

A game usually based on controlling many units in real-time (as opposed to turn-based). Often the perspective is an overhead view to give a better overall view of the playing field.

Refactor

To rewrite a piece of code in order to improve structure and/or readability without changing it's external behavior or overall meaning. Refactoring code will often result in simpler code which will potentially be more performant and/or readable than the original version.

ren'ai

A ren'ai game, also known as a dating sim, is a popular genre of game in Japan but hasn't made it to western gaming very much. In this game the player plays one main character, (usually) male, and the game objective is to court and impress one or more (usually) female NPCs. Gameplay usually relies heavily on dialogue choices and may contain sim or adventure elements. There is not usually any combat. Perhaps the clearest western examples of this genre would be the Leisure Suit Larry games. There are also X-rated versions of these games known as hentai games, h games, or ecchi games.

Role Playing Game

Role Playing Games have been a popular paper game system since Dungeons & Dragons and before. This genre has enjoyed a good amount of attention in software form as well, with some of the original titles being Ultima, Wizardry and Bards Tale. Software Role Playing Games usually give the player more than one character which they can build into a powerful fighting force by slaying monsters and gaining experience points and then levels.

RPG

Roleplaying Game. A game that is usually based on controlling one or more characters to finish some large and more minor quests while fighting and gaining experience points.


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