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Game Development Dictionary


Design


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  Term Name Description

Power-Up

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

Hit Points

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

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.

Rule

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.

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.

FPS

First Person Shooter

Game Mechanic

A game mechanic is a rule which defines how a game proceeds. For instance, in Chess, a bishop may move only along the boards diagonals. In the Mario Bros. games, Mario may squish his enemies by stomping upon them. In football, a team loses posession of the ball after failing to advance 10 yards in 4 downs. Each of these rules is a game mechanic.

Simulation

A system of rules that tries to emulate reality.

Interface

The means by which an entity interacts with something. In programming, an interface is often used to provide abstraction of functions. The interface defines what methods that a function or class MUST possess. This allows the simple replacement of functions with any other function which also meets the requirments, without requiring any modification elsewhere in the program (particular useful when porting to a different platform, or using an alternate rendering system, etc).

First Person

A perspective in which a player's character is not represented on the screen, but rather the view is such that the player "sees" what he or she would if they were actually performing the actions found in the game (looking through the window of a cockpit, for example).

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.

Strategy

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

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.

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.

Flowchart

Design tool that graphically shows the logic in an algorithim, using symbols that represent various operations in a program's logic.

MUD

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

Gameplay

Meaningful interactions during a game.

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.

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.

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.

Life

Many videogames give you multiple chances at gameplay, which are commonly called lives. Failing in a videogame results in your character getting 'killed' or otherwise terminated. When all the lives are lost, the game is over. Almost always, there is a way to acquire more lives, by reaching a certain goal or objective in the game.

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.

MUSH

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

Game+

Game+ is a game feature that allows a character who has beaten the game to play again, retaining some advantage that zie has earned, or allowing the player to start at a plot-branch point and travel the "road not taken". The first game with this feature that I know of was Chrono Trigger.

Storyline

Provides a rationale for the gameplay. Game storylines vary from the very simplistic (e.g. rescue the princess) to exceptionally complex and involved storylines (as found in RPGs such as the Final Fantasy series).


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