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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description

massively multiplayer

A specific designation of multiplayer game in which the number of simultaneuous players is on the order of hundreds or even thousands.

Matched Vertex

A vertex on an matched edge in a matching, or, one which has been matched.


The value which has an equal number of values greater and less than it. For an even number of values, it is the mean of the two middle values.


Can be shortened to MB. 1 MB Approx.: 1,000,000 Bytes


Business that created OS Windows 3.1, 95, 98, NT, 2000. Also creates development SDK called DirectX which is used by most games on Windows OS. (WWW)


Short for modification. Many current games have tools that have been developed by the creators or players which allow the game to be changed by players to create different looking and sometimes playing games. See Total Conversion.

Model of Computation

A formal, abstract definition of a computer. Using a model one can more easily analyze the intrinsic execution time or memory space of an algorithm while ignoring many implementation issues. There are many models of computation which differ in computing power (that is, some models can perform computations impossible for other models) and the cost of various operations.


A mode of game in which the primary aspect is to compete against one or more human players.


The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Parallax Scrolling

Kind of scrolling in which you have several (usualy) 2D bitmap/tiled layers that scroll at different speeds giving a Different Depth Sense to the viewer. It is usualy used in arcade games as the background world maps e.g. Jazz Jack Rabbit or Mortal Kombat series.


A game, generally a role-playing game in which there is no overall victory condition. There may be short-term victories and losses, but the overall goal of the game is to refine and improve the player's "character".


Can be shortened to PB. 1PB = 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes


The science of matter and energy and their interactions.

Player Killing

Player Killing or Team Killing refers to the act of "killing" a player in a game that is on your team or general "side".


To convert a game to work on another platform than the one originally developed for. Example: Converting a PC game to work on Sony's PlayStation.


This the person who actually writes the software. There are often several different titles of programmers in a game development projects. There is normally a programming lead who coordinates the team and takes on a majority of the base programming. There is sometimes tool programmers who create the tools the artists and others use to add content to the game and there are also sometimes AI programmers.


Programming is the act of developing software.


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.


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)


Read The Fu****g Manual. Usually said to people who keep bugging others with their questions BECAUSE they didn't RTFM. :-)

Skeletal Animation

The process of animationg by deforming a mesh over a series of contollable "bones" (seen in Half-Life)

Strategy Guide

A book designed to aid the player in learning basic and advanced strategies for a particular game. These strategies can range from simplistic (such as a moves list) to complex (such as a walk-through for an RPG). There are both official (approved by the publisher of the game) and un-official (have not obtained permission from the game publisher) strategy guides.


The abbreviation TANSTAAFL stands for "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch" and is quite often used by Michael Abrash when he talks about optimization. It means that whatever you do, there's always a trade-off, be it size, speed, or the developer's nerves.


Can be shortened to TB. 1 TB Approx.: 1 Trillion bytes

Total Conversion

A modification (mod) to a game that changes all of the graphics, levels and often adds in new elements of gameplay. For example, the Quake 1 was converted into a car racing game. See Mod.