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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


A 64K segment of video memory commonly found in older video cards which were made during the times of 16-bit compilers which had a maximum word size of 2 bytes, allowing a programmer to linearly address only 65K of screen space at any time.

Game Engine

A program code that runs all aspects of the game.


A cross-platform programming language developed by Sun Microsystems that often used on web pages and is capable of handling graphics.


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.

Collision Detection

A process of determining if two objects have collided by testing their bounds or a spatial overlap.


A popular free IDE (Integrated Develpment Environment) for varius C++ compilers. Comes packaged with the MinGW compiler but can be used with almost any command-line compiler.


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


Formally "WDL". C-style programming langauge used in Conitec's game developing kit "3D GameStudio", available at http://www.3dgamestudio.com


In most programming languages, there are areas of memory abstracted to contain certain values. Since most languages higher than C, do not worry about Registers and Memory Addresses, Variables are an abstract concept for those higher languages to store values that are not constant. In most languages, constants are not much use, as you may be required to gather user input, or change various states of the program. Constants generally include anything not put into variables. Just for further knowledge: [code] six = 4 + 2; # In this fictional example, six is a variable, while 4 and 2 are constants (or atleast as far as the interpretor/compiler is concerned). [/code] Generally the interpretor has the job of alloting various areas of memory for the variables to be put into and referenced from. In some languages (mostly compiled ones) variables may also be put into Registers--however that should be done with utmost caution.


From the Greek root "Tribos" which means 'to rub'. Tribology is the science or study of rubbing. Used in physical simulations to determine friction of two objects, such as tires on a road for a driving game.

This discipline includes the study of two interacting (sliding)surfaces, the materials that make-up the surfaces, the space between the surfaces and lubricants used to reduce friction between the surfaces. Tribology is used in many industries including Automotive, Research, Manufacturing, and High Tech.


1) A resizable array of elements (such as std::vector) 2) A mathematical object, usually in 2D or 3D space containing position elements of the same order. A vector is different than a point of the same magnitude in that it generally assumes movement from the origin of the coordinate system to the specified position.

Visual C++

An Integrated Development Environment used to create C++ programs.


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 3D API developed by Micosoft and part of the DirectX SDK. Contains two modes, one working at a higher level but slower which is Retained Mode, and a lower level, faster version called Immediate Mode. (WWW)

See OpenGL, Glide.

Parallax Occlusion Mapping

Employs per-pixel ray-tracing for dynamic lighting of surfaces in real-time on the GPU. The method uses a high precision algorithm for approximating view-dependent surface extrusion for a given height field to simulate motion parallax and perspective-correct depth. Additionally, the method allows generation of soft shadows in real-time for surface occlusions. Alternatively, POM can be coupled with well-known bump mapping algorithms such as normal mapping if physical accuracy can be sacrificed for greater computational efficiency.

Technical Design Document

A specification for all of the programming algorithms, data, and the interfaces between the data and the algorithms.

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.

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


Debugging is the process of tracking and eliminating errors or bugs from your source code.

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.


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.


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.


For game programming turoials of all type go to the: GameDev.net Programming Reference section.


The name for a group of more than one characters stored as a single unit. Often stored in classes or as an array of characters in memory ending with a "null terminating" character.


WDL stands for "World Definition Language". WDL scripting is used to make interaction in 3D game programming. WDL is used with the powerful "Acknex" game creation system created by Conitec at conitec.com.