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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dual Linear Program

Every linear program has a corresponding linear program called the dual. It is maxy {b · y | ATy c and y 0 }. For any solution x to the original linear program and any solution y to the dual we have c · x (AT y)T x = yT(Ax) y · b. For optimal x and y, equality holds. For a problem formulated as an integer linear program, a solution to the dual of a relaxation of the program can serve as witness.


American National Standards Institute.


A term used to define someone who acts as a sniper in a First Person Shooter. Usually used derogatively.

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.


A word is usually the natural size of data that a processor works with. On early x86 systems, a word was 16 bits. On 32-bit systems, a word is 32 bits. (However, for compatibility with 8088 terminology, Windows uses "word" to mean 16 bits.) On 64-bit systems, a word is 64 bits, but often the operating system "word" is 32 bits for compatibility with existing 32-bit Unix systems.


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.


The science of matter and energy and their interactions.


In My Humble Opinion.


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.


Something which performs like something else. In the game world, this is usually one system being able to run software that was created to be run on a different system.


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)

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.


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.


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".

massively multiplayer

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


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


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.


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.


Similar in context to byte, a word is string of bits of any length.


A byte is 8 bits, which is the equivalent of 256 different possible combinations (0 to 255). A single letter (character) on a computer is normally stored as a byte in ASCII format.