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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description

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.

Skeletal Animation

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

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".

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.


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


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


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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


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

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.

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.


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

Matched Vertex

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


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.

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 KB or K. 1K = 1024 bytes, 8192 Bits


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 standard for representing characters as numeric values.

Whereas the ASCII standard uses single bytes, and is therefore limited to 256 characters, Unicode uses two bytes to represent each character. This allows Unicode to represent up to 65,536 characters.

At present, Unicode only contains about 30,000 meaningful characters. But that is enough to represent virtually every major written language in the world. Unicode includes, for example, the entire character sets for Chinese and Japanese.

Because Unicode can easily represent characters from so many languages, its use is standard to the Java programming language. This is yet another feature which helps to make Java such a portable language.