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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


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.

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.

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.


An assembler is basically a low level compiler which translates assembly instructions into object code, which can be read by the processor. See also: Assembly language.

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.


A game with an AAA rating is one that is considered 'best of breed'. These titles have excellent production values, large budgets and often come from well-known developers. Examples of AAA title games would include: Doom III, Final Fantasy VII, and Starcraft.


Unicode is a standard which describes character encoding, similar to ASCII. However, in contrast to ASCII and other encodings, Unicode tries to encompass all characters ever needed. While ASCII is limited to one-byte units and therefore 256 different characters, Unicode uses three different encoding forms: UTF-8 uses 8-bit units; UTF-16 uses 16-bit units; UTF-32 uses 32-bit units. All three of these forms can make use of all characters covered by the standard; in UTF-8 and UTF-16, a character may however consist of more than one unit. The web site of the Unicode consortium is http://www.unicode.org/

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.

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.

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".

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.


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


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)

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.


UML is the Unified Modelling Language. It is a highly structured, object oriented methodology for software engineering. Currently, it is accepted as the defacto standard.

Windows Console

A Windows Console is basically a DOS prompt the opens under the Windows OS inside its own Window. In Windows 95/98, the Windows Console was truly a DOS prompt, which allowed the user to access the underlying DOS-powered operating system, where as in NT-Based Windows distributions, the console is enumerated, and has a bit less functionality than that of it's predecessors.


1) A resizable array of elements (such as std::vector) 2) A mathematical object, usually in 2D or 3D space containing position elements of the same order. A vector is different than a point of the same magnitude in that it generally assumes movement from the origin of the coordinate system to the specified position.

Boolean Geometry

Named after mathematician George Boole Boolean geometry refers to combining multiple objects. Common operations include "unions" which combine two shapes and "difference" operations. Difference operations can be used to cut one shape out of another. 3d Studio Max and the game Red Faction for the Playstation II are good examples of how Boolean geometry can be used in practical applications.

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


The science, art, or profession of designing and constructing buildings, bridges, etc.


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


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


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


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


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