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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


The act of extracting strings from a larger string to gather elements that are needed. Usually referred to when extracting data from a text file, which may or may not be formatted specifically for this purpose.


A language created to teach structured programming. It was designed by Niklaus Wirth in the early 1970s and named after Blaise Pascal, a mathematician.

Perlin Noise

A function, inveted by Ken Perlin, who invented it to generate textures for the movie Tron (1982). One of the first films to use computer graphics extensively, Tron has a distinctive visual style. He won a special Academy Award for Perlin noise in 1997. Perlin noise is widely used in computer graphics for effects like fire, smoke and clouds. It is also frequently used to generate textures when memory is extremely limited, such as in demos.


PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML. For more information, visit the official website.


A pointer is a variable which stores the memory address at which certain information is stored. A pointer may hold the address of another variable, an object, a function, or other important data.


A high-level general-purpose programming language. It was created by Guido Van Rossum in early 1990. Python is quite commonly referred to as 'executable psuedocode' in reference to it's incredibly simple syntax. Python.org


Qbasic stands for Quick Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.It was originaly made in 1975 by Biil Gates and Paul Allen. QBASIC is one of many BASIC programming launguages.


QuickBASIC stands for Quick Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.It was originaly made in 1975 by Biil Gates and Paul Allen. QBASIC is one of many BASIC programming launguages.


The most popurar sorting algorithm to sort an array of items.


an algorithm used to sort elements in an array. Developed by C.A.R. Hoare, it has an average efficency of 1.4n log2(n) as compared to Insertion, Selection, and Bubble with averages of n(n-1)/4, n(n-1)/2, and


A BASIC compiler/interpreter/IDE by William Yu. It's features are very similar to Visual Basic, and it is easy to use. (It's also free!) For more information, or to get a free download, check out the following address:( WWW)


For a computer programmer, this is when a function you've written has to call itself in order to get a result. (The classic, textbook example is a routine which works out the factorial of a number.) It can be very elegant if done right. It can also be a complete bastard to debug if done wrong.


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.


An alias of a variable.


Short for reproduce. When testing the game, defects are typically logged into a database system. Bugs are then repro'ed (reproduced) according to directions left in the database to help the software engineer(s) locate and correct the defect.


Ruby is the interpreted scripting language for quick and easy object-oriented programming. It has many features to process text files and to do system management tasks (as in Perl). It is simple, straight-forward, extensible, and portable.


The process of using an interpreted language, from a "script" file which is normally text, rather than a compiled executable which is binary. Scripting allows for higher level functions which can be changed without having to rebuild an executable.


Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion. The first scripting engine based on the "point-and-click" principle, written in 1987 by Ron Gilbert and Aric Wilmunder of LucasArts Entertainment. Still being adapted and enhanced for use in LucasArts' adventure games today.


Software Development Kit.


Simple DirectMedia Layer. A cross-platform game programming library. SDL uses the OS's native multimedia support to provide fast graphics, sound, and input processing on several platforms. SDL also provides a portable way to create OpenGL contexts, and can be used as a much more powerful replacement for the GLUT toolkit. SDL currently supports Win32, Linux, FreeBSD, IRIX, MacOS, and BeOS. It is covered by the GNU Library General Public License, and it may be used in commercial projects. SDL's website is http://www.libsdl.org.


An assembly-like program which replaces part of the rendering pipeline with custom code. Shaders that affect vertices (vertex shaders) replace the normal transformation and lighting stage of the pipeline, while shaders that affect pixels (pixel shaders), work at the rasterization stage, affecting how the final screen color is determined. Shaders are supported in DirectX 8 and later, and in OpenGL through extensions (and as part of the proposed OpenGL 2.0 standard).

Sieve of Eratosthenes

An algorithm to find all prime numbers up to a certain N. Begin with an (unmarked) array of integers from 2 to N. The first unmarked integer, 2, is the first prime. Mark every multiple of this prime. Repeatedly take the next unmarked integer as the next prime and mark every multiple of the prime.


Abbreviation for Spherical Interpolation, based on Lerp for Linear Interpolation. Spherical Interpolation is used in Quaternions.


An object-oriented programming language designed in the early days of Xerox PARC. Popular for its powerful English-like syntax and array of features only now coming to other programming languages (such as Java and C#). More information can be found here. It is extremely unpopular in game development, particularly due to the lack of large corporate backing -- it is nonetheless a good environment for learning and playing with the extremely powerful API.

source code

In compiled languages, such as C++ and Java, this is the set of instructions which the programmer types and edits. Source code is not understood by computers.

One of the advantages of source code is that it is easy for a person to read and understand. A computer needs its information in the form of numbers. But 0068 3A6C doesn't make much sense to most people!

So when creating a program, the programmer uses instructions such as "currentHitPoints -= damageAmount;". This is much easier to understand than 06FF 3D4A! A compiler later converts these instructions into a form which a computer can understand.