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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


Usually a polygon that is part of an object.

Flat Shading

That which assigns only one color shade per face.


The process of putting a hazy, fog-like area near the end of the visibility distance so that objects appear to disapear more naturally.


Frames Per Second. A measure of animation display rate. Not to be confused with First Person Shooter.


Frames per Second.


Fractional Dimensions. The name comes from the process of using fractional dimension mathematics to create images or data.

The data often works on a system of patterns being repeated in larger and smaller forms with the same algorithm.


A processed scene that consists of a static view of the game moment, it includes all objects, sprites and textures. Along with a set of frames, its possible to create an animation.

Frame Skipping

When a computer cannot process the frame graphics, or the game engine fast enough, a solution is to compensate the frame rate with "skipping". Each time the game loses performance, it skips some calculations and think ahead for compensating the time, without the heavy processing.

Frustum Clipping

When a polygon is clipped against the viewing frustum.


Flexible Vertex Format.


'Genre-lizing' (or non-US 'Genre-lising') is the act of defining a game to be within a specific genre. This has mainly pertained to the RPG genre, but is not limited to it. Genre-lizing, from a development point of view, is limiting to a designer in that they are forced to include attributes of a game that are associated with that genre and to not include those attributes that are not associated with that genre.

Ghost Images

Another term for Phosphor Persistence.


The bloody pieces of meat that fly off of a character when they get shot, chopped, etc., etc. Usage: "After I used my rocket launcher on that demon there were gibs _everywhere_!" Probably derived from 'giblets.'


Graphics Interchange Format. A format for saving graphics that usually uses a 8-bit (256 color) indexed bitmap.

Gimble Lock

A problem encountered when one tries to rotate using the 3 axises where one ends up rotating in the wrong direction after several rotations.

Common fixes to this problem are to use matrix multiplication for rotations or quaternions.


The OpenGL Auxillary Library. A library including functions to load textures and do other common tasks. It is no longer supported or updated, but it is still used for many beginning OpenGL tutorials.


The OpenGL Utility Toolkit. This set of libraries provides a set of helper functions to OpenGL, including methods to abstract the windowing system (for cross-platform development), rendering "standard" 3D objects, etc. For more info, visit the GLUT homepage


gMAX is a powerful subset of the game industry-standard 3D content creation tool – 3d studio max – that will be provided to game players for no charge on the web. gMAX is narrowly targeted at the interactive computer & video games market, and will be based on the next major release of 3d studio max. It is designed to serve as a highly extensible and customizable content creation platform for both professional and consumer use.

Gouraud Shading

Also known as intensity interpolation. A shading model where the light intensity is calculated at each of the vertices, and is interpolated across the polygon.


A form of data representation. Without graphics, we'd just have numeric displays. * Graphics use imagery, such as pictures, lines, points, colors and so on to represent information. It's the difference between a spreadsheet and a pie-chart. The spreadsheet is a numeric representation; the pie-chart is a graphical representation. Since computers see all things as numbers, programmers and electronics engineers have had to design ways to convert those numbers into moving images. The electronics engineers gave us the Graphics Card for this very purpose.


An algorithm by which a color is converted into a shade of gray(where R, G, and B are all equal), usually by weighting each of the R, G, and B components by certain percentages.


Graphical User Interface.


Real world lighting contains a high range of luminance values. HDR, or High Dynamic Range lighting, is essentially a technique that exceeds the normal computer graphics color range of 0 to 255, allowing for more realistic lighting models.

Height Map

A method often used to create 3D landscapes, height maps contain a grid of points that are given height values and the landscape is rendered by building polygons out of them.


High-Level Shading Language. A C-like language developed by Microsoft for DirectX Graphics. Shader programs, such as vertex and pixel shaders, can be written and compiled in HLSL rather than the various hardware shader assembly languages. The resulting compiled can then be loaded onto modern graphics hardware that supports programmable shaders.