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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


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


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.

Technical Design Document

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


Terminate but Stay Resident: TSR is when a program terminates, but remains resident in memory.

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.


The means by which an entity interacts with something. In programming, an interface is often used to provide abstraction of functions. The interface defines what methods that a function or class MUST possess. This allows the simple replacement of functions with any other function which also meets the requirments, without requiring any modification elsewhere in the program (particular useful when porting to a different platform, or using an alternate rendering system, etc).


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.


Concurrent Versioning System: A system for managing simultaneous development of files. It is in common use in large programming projects, and is also useful to system administrators, technical writers, and anyone who needs to manage files. More info at http://www.cvshome.org/


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.


Basic based lenguage made by The Games Creator which features easy direct 3d use provided by his functions


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.

Unary Operator

Operators that take only one operand, like Not, the minus sign, and the plus sign.


A freeware C++ compiler for DOS created by DJ Delorie.


A true compiler for the BASIC language by Max Reason. www.xbasic.org


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


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


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


Globally Unique Identifier


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.

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.


Content Management System: A backend portal system which assists in the management (creation, deletion and modification) of content on web pages. Some examples are PHPNuke or GeekLog.


See Collision Detection.


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.


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).

Carmack's Reverse

Refers to a modification to Heidmann's original stenciled shadow volumes technique generally attributed to John Carmack, although others came up with the same modification at about the same time. Rather than incrementing and decrementing for the front and back faces (respectively) when the depth test passes, the method increments for back faces and decrements for front faces when the depth test fails. This prevents shadow volumes from being clipped by the near plan, but introduces the problem of them being clipped by the far plane.

You can find out more about the algorithm here.