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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


Meaningful interactions during a game.

Experience Points

Often used in Role Playing Games (RPGs), experience points are a way of measuring how much the player has experienced to grant them additional benefits often in the form of increased statistics or skills.

Adventure Game

A genre of games that typically are graphics, character and story based. The player usually has to solve a series of puzzles while being given a deep story. Examples of this genre would be many of the LucasArts such as Grim Fandango, the Monkey Island series, and many of the Quest series from Sierra Online.

Design Document

A document that the designer creates which contains everything that a game should include. Sometimes referred to as a "design bible", this document should list every piece of art, sound, music, character, all the back story and plot that will be in the game. Basically, if the game is going to have it, it should be thoroughly documented in the design document so that the entire development team understands exactly what needs to be done and has a common point of reference.

Hit Points

Used in most games to reference the amount of times a player can be damaged before their character passes out or dies.


A class of games. Common genres would be the shooter, First Person Shooter (FPS), Role Playing Game (RPG), simulation, Real Time Strategy (RTS)


An interactive, self-contained system of rules containing a challenge and a victory condition that defines a focused reality for the purpose of entertainment.


The process of creating something by first designing the base elements and then creating the big picture out of them. Opposite of Top-Down.


The process of creating something by looking at the big picture first, then working your way down to the details. Opposite of Bottom-Up.

Turn Based Strategy

Often a war game that the player will be given as much time as is necessary to move or perform the actions they wish. Actions will then usually performed one at a time and the sides trade of. For instance, Chess is a turn based strategy game.


A system of rules that tries to emulate reality.


Part of the science of communication. Specifically, Semiotics deals with the use of symbols and 'signs' (in a very broad sense) and how well/badly these perform their tasks. Anything from ideograms, gestures, alphabets and even road signs are affected by this science. For computer games, Semiotics comes into its own when dealing with the User Interface design and 'signposting' within a game.


Guides for actions. Rules for board games are usually given as written instructions, which the players then opt to follow. In a computer game, the rules are inherent and the player is forced to follow them.


First Person Shooter