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Game Development Dictionary


Design


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  Term Name Description

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.

Fatality

A special move that can be executed in some fighting games, notably the Mortal Kombat series, after a match is over, which results in the graphic death of the losing character. Variations include; "animalities", where the character is turned into an animal before killing it’s opponent, "babalities", where the loser turns into a baby, and "friendship" moves where the character does something goofy, like signs an autograph for the loser.

Gameplay

Meaningful interactions during a game.

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.

Entity Relationship Management

Managing the relationship of game design entities (see Entity). As the number of entity types in a game increases, the relationships between them increases geometrically, so for instance in a game with 3 entity types there are 3 possible relationships. For a game with 4 entity types there are 12 and so on. For games such as large adventure games where there may be many different entities, it will become necessary to manage this in some way, by creating standard interactions, or reducing the number of entities available in any one scene.

Hit Points

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

Maze

A complex system of paths

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.

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.

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.

FPS

First Person Shooter

Simulation

A system of rules that tries to emulate reality.

MUD

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

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.

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).

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.

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.

Strategy

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

Gameplay

The key element in any game, the fact of the game itself, what the player actually does. Examples: Pong - the act of bouncing the dot, which represents the ball, off the line that represents the paddle. Super Mario Bros - moving the plumber around, jumping on heads of enemies, breaking blocks, when trying to rescue the princess.

MUSH

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

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).

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.

Flowchart

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

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.

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.