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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description

Ethereal Darkness Interactive

Northampton, Massachusetts based Independent Game Developer founded by Raymond Jacobs and well known to GameDev.net; over the course of three years they designed, produced and sold the Indie game Morning's Wrath.


A series of games from Maxis that allowed the player to create a town. Progressive installments in the series added sewage, garbage disposal, and other resource management to the player's plate. Notable for being one of the first games to simulate a complex reality-based system on the relatively underpowered machines of the time. In series: Simcity, Simcity 2000, Simcity 3000, Simcity 4000 (Multiple expansion packs released for each). Computers/Consoles: SNES, Saturn, PlayStation, PC, Mac among others

Wolfenstien 3D

Critically acclaimed and the game that brought real-time first person game play to the masses, Wolfenstein 3D was a raycasting based engine set in Nazi Germany. Created by id Software and published by Apogee (now 3D Realms). (WWW)

NeverWinter Nights

A very in-depth Role Playing Game released by BioWare. It has a very well constructed multiplayer system and allows for DMing. The rule set is based on AD&D but manages to keep the Player away from the dice rolls and other unnecessarily complex systems. The viewing angle is fully 3D isometric, but the view can also be rotated and zoomed in for a different viewing angle depending on the players discression. This game is by far a gem of RPGs and has a very entertaining single player campaign.


The first video game to be a mass market success, Pong was the pioneer of video games in stores and the home. Its creator, Nolan Bushnell, went on to found Atari.


A classic arcade game. The game screen displayed a maze. This maze was inhabited by four little ghosts, and a creature called Pacman. Pacman was the player's character, and looked somewhat like a lemon pie with a slice cut out. Essentially, he was an eating machine.

The player directed Pacman through the maze. The maze was strewn with pellets, and when Pacman came into contact with one of these pellets, he would eat it. The game level would be completed when Pacman had gobbled up all the pellets in the maze. (This ensured that Pacman had been virtually everywhere in the maze at least once.)

The four ghosts would pursue Pacman through the maze. And if they caught him, he would die. When Pacman had died three times, the game would be over. (The player could earn extra lives by reaching certain scores during the game.) So the player would have to direct Pacman through the maze, avoiding the ghosts, and eating up all the pellets.

To help the player out, each maze featured four "power pellets". When Pacman ate one of these, he would gain the ability to eat the ghosts. This power only lasted for a brief time. But this added a wonderful element of strategy to the game.

Another nice feature was the presence of "side exits". These were openings on the side of each maze. When Pacman went out through one of these exits, he would reenter the maze through its corresponding exit on the other side of the screen. In other words, if Pacman went out one of the side exits on the left, he would reappear on the right side of the screen.

This often helped Pacman to avoid the ghosts. But the ghosts could also use the side exits. However, it seemed that the ghosts traveled through the side exits more slowly than Pacman did.

Pacman also featured very nice artificial intelligence programming. Each of the four ghosts actually followed a different strategy when pursuing Pacman. One followed him, one attempted to head him off by taking alternate routes through the maze, one stayed toward the center of the maze, and the fourth, who was a nice fellow (ut-bay ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray,) just sort of wandered about.


A wonderfully innovative Puzzle game, designed by Alexy Pajitnov. Tetris was the original "falling blocks" game.

Tetris was a 2D puzzle game. The play area was an empty box. A number of different shaped, randomly selected pieces would fall one at a time from the top of the screen. The player would be able to rotate these blocks, and move then toward the left or right as they fell. Once the current block came to rest at the bottom of the screen or on another block, its place would be fixed, and another block would enter the playing field.

The blocks would continue to fall until they were piled to the top of the screen, at which point the game would end. But a player would put this off as long as possible by carefully stacking the blocks in a compact manner.

Whenever the blocks were stacked in such a way that an entire horizontal row of the play area was completely filled with blocks, that row would disappear, and the blocks above would fall down to take their place. Every time the player completed a row, he would be awarded points.

Through careful planning, is was also possible to complete several rows at once. When this happened. the player would be awarded more points in proportion to the number of rows completed simultaneously.

The game mechanics of Tetris were uncomplicated, and it was easy for people to learn to play in just a few moments. Yet the gameplay was addictive, and Tetris became very popular.

A whole host of Tetris clones have been created. And because this type of Puzzle game is relatively easy to program, it is common for new programmers to learn by creating their own versions of Tetris.


A sub Genre of RPGs. Sim RPGs combine the elements of RPGs and Turn based strategy. They have experience, Levels, Story and Various other Roleplaying elements but the gameplay is focus more towards battles and Story than exploration. Infact Sim RPGs usually lack sidequests and secrets. Examples: Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle, Vandel Hearts.


A graphical roguelike/RPG game written in Java and released as open source GPL software.


MMORPG stands for: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. A type of role playing game that supports a huge number of players in the game world. Such examples are Ultima Online, Everquest, Ragnarok, the new up and coming Star Wars: Galaxies and many more.

Mortal Kombat

A series of popular fighting games created by Midway. Mortal Kombat was one of the first console games to show blood. Thus, it has always been a target, for the "Violence in video games" issue.


Half-Life is an innovative First Person Shooter that brought real scenario and artificial intelligence. Its main ability relied in the fact that it was customable, so that people could program game mods (modifications).


Play by E-mail. A way to play normally face-to-face games over the Internet. The most common genres include turn-based strategy and roleplaying games.


A game that is somewhat different than other games; you're alone on a desolated island and you must solve some very complicated puzzles. A game for people with a good brain. Superior graphics. Made with Bryce (graphics) and Hypercard (underlying programming).


One of Nintendo's most popular game series. Zelda always centers around an action/adventure style of play in different fantasy worlds. The main characters in the series are Link, an elven heroe (the player), and Zelda, a princess who is, most often an intricale part of the plot. Zelda's appeal and history have made it a best-selling series throughout Japan and the United States.


The third installment in the Elder Scrolls chronicles. This is a highly detailed world with a vast amount of freedom for a character while still having a great storyline. Morrowind is a first person Fantasy RPG that aims to bring all of the depth of Daggerfall into the high tech 3D world that is ensuing. As Daggerfall became a timeless classic so should Morrowind.

Jagged Alliance 2

A turn based/real time tactical squad strategy game. A very unpopular genre which is my very favorite. Similar to games such as Silent Storm, Xcom, and Soldiers At War. You were a mercenary leader (with an in-game avatar), who hired other mercs. Each one had TONS of fully voiced lines, and had their own likes and dislikes for other merc. If you ask Drakkcon you'll find that this was the best game ever made.

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

A PSX Remake of the Sega CD game Lunar: The Silver Star. Lunar is an RPG game with almost an hour of anime FMVs and a story about a boys quest to become a hero and his journey to rescue the girl he loves from an evil magical emperor. Of course along the way there are many twists and turns where the hero and heroin both realize thier fate. Lunar also spawned a sequal in which a boy name Hiro must accompany a girl to see the goddess of Lunar. Both stories intertwine greatly and both have endings that set them for a sequal.


A evolutionary body that regulates the intrinsic intelligence of Living and Artifical Living systems. Developed in 1979 Eigen, M. and P. Schuster, hypercyclic systems have become primary factor in the study of evolving systems. Since 1999, the Bionic Bros. GmbH lauched the development of an ALife gaming system based on the Eigen - Schuster Proposal. Watch it evolve.. www.bionicbros.de

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

A RPG/Adventure game made by Nintendo in 1998. It is the 5th game out of the series and is about a boy named Link who is courageous to save the Princess Zelda from the evil Gannondorf.

Zelda hold the triforce piece of wisdom, Link has the triforce piece of courage, and Gannondorf steals the triforce piece of power. Link needs to save all the pieces to make a triforce (powers that make up the whole world) so that Gannondorf can't rule the world.

Considered by some to be one of the best games of all time.


A Remake is generally a newly programmed version of an existing (usually quite old) game. Remakes can be true to the original, but most tend to use improved graphics or enhance gameplay with new ideas. There are several websites dedicated to making Remakes.(e.g. http://www.remakes.org)


A derogatory term for someone who has little or no experience.

Planet's Edge

A science-fiction role-playing and strategy hybrid, Planet's Edge grew out of the first attempt to realize a computer driven version of Task Force Games' "Star Fleet Battles." It featured a massive storyline, and offered the first fully customizable starships in a detailed space strategy environment. Created for New World Computing by Eric Hyman, Neal Hallford, and Kenneth Mayfield.


A popular series of games, from Akalabeth in 1979 (often referred to as Ultima 0) to Ultima IX in 1999. U-VII also had to extensions. Ultima Online was released 1995 and still (2001) has thousands of active players. The most of the Ultima games are played in a fantasy world called Britannia (except U-II and U-VIII). Britannia is ruled by Lord British which is the alias of Richard Garriot, the original creator of the Ultima world. All games in the Ultima series is tile-based except U-IX and Ultima Online 2 which is yet to be released.


Highly popular space combat game by Nintendo for their SNES platform. Recently converted into an RPG for the GameCube platform by Rare.