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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description

Euler Cycle

A path through a graph which starts and ends at the same vertex and includes every edge exactly once. Also known as an Eulerian path, Euler tour, etc.

Fibonacci Numbers

A sequence of numbers such that each number is the sum of the preceding two. The first seven numbers are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 13.


First in, first out. This is opposite of how the stack works, LIFO. This stands for Last In First Out.


Another name for a kill, usually associated with First Person Shooter deathmatch. Originally used in Vietnam as slang for killing the officer with a "stray" fragmentation grenade.


Can be shortened to GB. 1 GB Approx.: 1 billion bytes

Gone Askew

The term refers to a glitch in a game. It's a word used by game programers when they come across a problem which causes the screen to sway from side to side on random moments in a game (like the camera was being shaken). Incorrect camera data positions and faulty code cause this rare glitch. Nick Askew was the person who first came across this while beta testing the game Doom. Ever sense then this 1 in a 1,000 chance of occurrence has been called "Gone Askew" (as a side note: many programmers use it as kind of a joke because it refers to "bad" programming and hours of work for it to be corrected)


One who is extremely familiar with games and gaming terms. Usually knows more about the industry than most, and enjoys niche and import games such as anime and RPG based games. Also, are known for being large fans of import gaming. Usually "live and breath" games.

Hash Table

The Hash Table is a data structure which is suited to searching large amounts of information by a key value. Hash tables are most useful with a large number of records are stored, and allow information to easily be located. Hash tables function by processing the key using a function which returns a hash value - this value determines where the the data the particular record will be stored. This same value can then be used to search the hash table, and will point to the same location.


The hexadecimal number system is a base 16 number system. This number system uses values 0-9 and A-F to represent values.

Hungarian Notation

A list of suggested prefixes to variable and function names created by Charles Simonyi. There are different versions for both Visual Basic and Visual C++. VC++: b - boolean operator by - byte (unsigned char) c - char cx / cy - size stored in a short dw - DWORD; double word, unsigned long fn - function h - handle i - integer l - long n - short int p - pointer s - string sz - ASCIIZ string terminated with a zero (null-terminated) w - WORD (unsigned int) x, y - short used as coordinates These can be combined in many cases. For instance, lpsz - long pointer to a null-terminated ASCII string. Visual Basic (almost all Visual Basic notations are three letters long): bln - Boolean chk - Check box cbo - Combo box cmd - Command button cur - Currency dtm - Date/Time (variant) dlg - Dialog Box (also used for common dialog control) dbl - Double (double-precision float) frm - Form fra - Frame hsb - Horizontal scroll bar img - Image box int - Integer lbl - Label lst - List box lng - Long mnu - Menu opt - Option (radio) button pic - Picture box shp - Shape or Line sng - Single str - String txt - Text box vnt - Variant vsb - Vertical scroll bar

Idle Motion

Idle motions are scripted events that are triggered when the player does not provide any input for a certain period of time. The motions are generally small, like fidgeting, or polishing the weapon.


In My Humble Opinion.


An integer is a whole number, positive or negative commonly stored as a group of bytes. The integer size usually is in proportion to the pipelining capabilities of the processor architecture it is implemented in. On modern x86 architectures, integers are normally 32-bits in length.

Intro Sequence

Generally an intro is a fully animated sequence that appears when a game is first loaded and explains the back-story of the game and may introduce the main character and nemesis.


The kernel is the core that provides basic services for all other parts of the operating system. A kernel also can be defined as the outermost part of an operating system that interacts with user commands.

Typically, a kernel includes an interrupt handler that works with all requests or completed I/O operations that compete for the kernel's services, a scheduler that determines which programs share the kernel's processing time in what order, and a supervisor that actually gives use of the computer to each process when it is scheduled. A kernel may also include a manager of the operating system's address spaces in memory or storage, sharing these among all components and other users of the kernel's services.

Because the code that makes up the kernel is needed continuously, it is usually loaded into computer storage in an area that is protected so that it will not be overlaid with other less frequently used parts of the operating system.


Can be shortened to KB or K. 1K = 1024 bytes, 8192 Bits

Kolmogorov Complexity

The minimum number of bits into which a string can be compressed without losing information. This is defined with respect to a fixed, but universal decompression scheme, given by a universal Turing machine.

Kripke Structure

A finite state machine, whose states are labeled with boolean variables and whose next state is chosen nondeterministically. It may be extended with fairness constraints.


A point lattice generated by taking integer linear combinations of a set of basis vectors.


1) A character level: This is a measurement of a game character's strength, ability, etc. In many games, especially RPGs, the characters which the player controls may grow and become more powerful or more skilled throughout the course of the game. The character's level provides an indication of how capable the character currently is.

2) A monster level:

The relative strength and skill of monsters and NPCs may also be indicated by level. For example, a 1st level monster is very weak. But a 23rd level monster is a much more formidable opponent.

3) A difficulty level: In some games, the player is able to control how easy or difficult it will be to play the game. For instance, playing the game on the "easy" or "please don't hurt me" setting makes the game easier, while playing the "difficult" or "I'm completely insane" version will be much different.

4) A game level: A section of the game. Most modern games require the computer to process a tremendous amount of information. These data cannot all be stored in the computer's main memory at the same time. (Sound files in particular take up a lot of space.) So the game is broken up into sections, or levels.

When a game level is to be played, the computer loads only the information which is required for that section of the game. When that portion of the game is finished, the computer loads the information for the next game level. (Because this usually means that the player must wait before continuing to play the game, some developers have chosen to implement "streaming", in which portions of the game are alwaysbeing loaded.)

5) To gain a character level: Some allow the player's character to increase in level. When the character attains the next level, the character is said to have "leveled up". It is not uncommon for players to refuse to stop playing an RPG until a character has reached the next level.

Lexicographical Order

Alphabetical or ``dictionary'' order.

Load Time

The time it takes for information to transfer from the storage deice, like a CD-ROM or cartridge, to RAM. Long load times from CD-ROMs were initially thought to be a potentioal problem with next-generation systems. Now dynamic loading methods are being developed to lessen or eliminate the load-waiting experience for the player.


The word 'logic' comes from the ancient Greek word for 'Reason' and is primarily about proof and reasoning in arguments. In a computing context, logic implies a precise, reasoned, provable system which can be rigorously tested for accuracy.

Lossy Compression

A Lossy Compression, used in such formats at .MP3, discards what it feels is 'unnecessary' information during encoding. Therefore, after compressing a file with a Lossy format, you are unable to decompress it to the same state in which it was originally. While many times this information truly is unnecessary, proponents of lossless compression would argue that it's a sloppy practice.

Markov Chain

A weighted graph in which all weights are nonnegative and the total weight of outgoing edges is positive.