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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


TGA is a graphical format for saving files.


The process of creating an image from 3D components.


Recursively using 2 cutting planes to subdivide space.

Used for image/model storage and visibility determination (i.e. terrain rendering.)

See also: Spatial-partioning, Binary Space-Partitioning Trees (BSP), and Octrees


Level of Detail. Often pertaining to the complexity of 3D models, such as having less or more polygons when the model is closer or farther from the camera.


Usually the conversion of three dimensional coordinates to two dimensions, thus making drawing the polygon on a two dimensional screen far simpler.


Texture compression developed by S3.


Having the property of admitting and diffusing light so that the objects beyond cannot be clearly distinguished : partly transparent. (ie. Alpha-blending two polys together).


Little electronic, pipe, or mechanical looking objects that add function/life to a space ship texture.

Right Handed Coordinates

A version of the Cartesian coordinate system where positive X points right of the origin, positive Y points up from the origin, and positive Z points behind the origin.

Lens Flare

A refraction that appears in a camera lens normally when it is directed at the sun. A favorite added effect by many computer artists.

Scan Conversion

Method by which a graphical object (such as a line, circle, ellipse, etc) is converted from its algebraic equation into its approximate representation on a raster display.

Rendering Context

aka: RC The active area of memory that OpenGL writes information derived from the Model View, Projection View and Texture matrices, that is displayed on screen. Similar to the Device Context (DC) used by Windows when drawing graphics with GDI.


A texture that is used to wrap around an entire model. Normally skins are drawn on a single bitmap, and then the coordinates are mapped onto the vertices of the model.

Lambert Shading

A shading model where the light intensity is calculated at one point along the polygon and is used to shade the entire face. Also commonly refered to as flat shading.

Motion Capture

Used for creating complex movements for 3D objects, such as a persons walk, run, jump or other actions. This is currently used more on console games due to the expensive costs in owning or renting equipment.


Developed by Criterion Software Limited in 1993, RenderWare (RW) is a 3D "middleware" applications programming interface (API) graphics rendering engine that has become more popular since version 3 and the Playstation 2 video game console where it has been used in various games (most notably Grand Theft Auto 3), many of which have been ported to the PC.