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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


The act of simulation a set of circumstances out of the original context. Emulators often simulate hardware calls so that different machines can run each others software. This has been seen in the game world by programs like MAME which emulate old arcade machines on current machines and operating systems.


Euphoria is a new programming language. A remarkably simple, flexible, powerful language definition that is easy to learn and use. Euphoria runs under Windows, Dos, and Linux. Available memory usage equals the amount of onboard memory. Not an "object oriented" language yet achieves the benifits of these languages in a much simpler way. The language definition is easy to learn and use.


A new programming language. Remarkably simple, flexible, powerful language definition that is easy to learn and use. Euphoria runs under Windows, Dos, and Linux. Available memory usage equals the amount of onboard memory. Not an "object oriented" language yet achieves the benifits of these languages in a much simpler way.

File Formats

So that files can be loaded by different programs, there are different formats that are adhered to for compatibility. Examples of file formats would be .BMP, .TGA, .JPG, .WAV, .TXT. (Wotsit's Format)


A chart or plan that is used to help out in designing a program by using standard ANSI symbols to present the detailed series of steps needed to solve a programming problem (in chart form).


Foo is a generic word that game designers use to stand for any object.


Finite State Machine. A "machine" called every frame to control an object. An FSM can take care of allmost everything by looking at the current state, plus the input provided for it, and thereby achieving a new state.


A group of instructions that perform one or more functions, mathematical or otherwise. (e.g.: main() )

Fuzzy Logic

Developed by Lofty Zadeth (UC Berkeley), it is based on a system of logic what uses 0s and 1s instead of True and False to attempt to more accurately represent a conclusion that cannot be a True or False result.

Game Engine

A program code that runs all aspects of the game.


Graphics Device Interface. The standard way to do graphics within Windows.


An open source 3D engine which has recieved a large amount of community support. (WWW)


GLFW is a free, open source, portable framework for OpenGL application development. In short, it is a link library that constitutes a powerful API for handling operating system specific tasks, such as opening an OpenGL window and reading keyboard, mouse and joystick input.


A 3D API developed by 3DFX for their Voodoo chipset.

Glide was once a very popular API, as it was the first available to utilitize hardware acceleration for the general gamer. Since the proliferation of Direct3D and OpenGL, Glide's usefulness has waned because it only works on 3DFX cards.

See OpenGL, Direct3D.

(Glide Underground)


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


Globally Unique Identifier


Hardware Abstraction Layer. The driver used by DirectX to perform functions using hardware such as a graphics card.

Hash Table

The Hash Table is a data structure which is suited to searching large amounts of information by a key value. Hash tables are most useful with a large number of records are stored, and allow information to easily be located. Hash tables function by processing the key using a function which returns a hash value - this value determines where the the data the particular record will be stored. This same value can then be used to search the hash table, and will point to the same location.

Header Files

A header file is a file that is included into your program source. For Instance: #include "gamestuff.h" Whatever is in gamestuff.h is availible to the program.


Hardware Emulation Layer. The driver used by DirectX to perform functions that cannot be performed by hardware (and therefore cannot be done through the HAL).


A rule of thumb or educated guess that reduces or limits a search on a domain that is difficult to search.

Hierarchical Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence that is build on several levels, in order to produce concrete and local actions from a global concept or strategy. Mostly used in Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games, in order to simulate military hierarchy.


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.

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


An Integrated Development Environment. An IDE consists of all the basic tools a programmer needs to create a program. Typically, an IDE consists of a text editor, a compiler, a debugger, and other necessary tools.