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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


A game which progresses in stages where time is only applied after the player has finished making their decisions for their next actions.


A game which was made to be played by a single person.

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.


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.


Having qualities of the cinema. Often used to mean dramatic in the sense of being sensational or thrilling.


Software that attempts to emulate a real event or action.


A systematic plan of action, often used with military plans.


A problem created for testing ingenuity


A complex system of paths


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


Usually an enemy character that will be found at the end of a level which is harder to kill. Originally bosses were given specific patterns you would have to learn to beat them.


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


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.


Real-time (not turn-based) Strategy.


An Archtype is a commonly followed pattern in design. It can apply to any design aspect.

For instance the "Quest" archtype is a common adventure game plot archtype. As part of the "Quest" archtype, character X must save the world from evil by retrieving/ destroying/ the magical object/person/ thing Y. X starts off as an inexperienced person but his quest will bring an new maturity to him.

Character Archtypes are often followed. The "Princess" the "Rogue Warrior", the "kind old wizard" are some examples that can be easily recognised. By using archtypes as part of a story design, a user can instantly gain a feel for the story, and can gain an instant insight into the interactions between characters.

User Interface

The part of the game that in which information is displayed and presented on screen with various commands that the user uses to communicate with; The uses of the controls in the game, supportive peripherals needed to accomplish certain game actions, the on-screen interface (inventory icons, life gauges, scoreboard, etc.), on-screen text and messages, menus, commands, and options that are described or presented for the user to use to communicate to the game visually and/or audibly.


In Role-Playing Games, attributes are numbers that represents specific aspects in a character's stats. EX: Agility, Intelligence, Luck, Power, etc. are all attributes.


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

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.


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.

Artificial Emotion

Simulation of moods and personalities in software.


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.


Full Motion Video. Video streams such as AVIs and MPEGs are examples of FMV. Games that used FMV extensively, both real actors and computer created, were often classified as FMV games.

Easter Egg

Something in a game that has nothing to do with the main game or is an unnecessary bonus. For example, some games have hidden pictures of their developers that can be viewed by pressing special key combinations.

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.