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Game Development Dictionary


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  Term Name Description


A game with an AAA rating is one that is considered 'best of breed'. These titles have excellent production values, large budgets and often come from well-known developers. Examples of AAA title games would include: Doom III, Final Fantasy VII, and Starcraft.


American National Standards Institute.


The science, art, or profession of designing and constructing buildings, bridges, etc.


American Standard Code for Information Interchange.

This is a standard for representing characters. In addition to text characters, other control characters are used. (Control characters include CARRIAGE RETURN, BACKSPACE, DELETE, etc.


An assembler is basically a low level compiler which translates assembly instructions into object code, which can be read by the processor. See also: Assembly language.


The binary number system is a base 2 number system. This system uses combination of 1's and 0's to represent data.


Short for binary digit. the smallest unit of data a computer can represent -either ON or OFF

Boolean Geometry

Named after mathematician George Boole Boolean geometry refers to combining multiple objects. Common operations include "unions" which combine two shapes and "difference" operations. Difference operations can be used to cut one shape out of another. 3d Studio Max and the game Red Faction for the Playstation II are good examples of how Boolean geometry can be used in practical applications.


Acronym short for "Blue Screen Of Death", commonly displayed after a major system error under numerous versions of Microsoft Windows. Seeing a BSOD generally means a reboot is soon to follow.


An error in a game or computer program. The word originated with mainframes; Insects would crawl inside the machines seeking warmth and destroy delicate wiring. "Bug" now means any error or undesired effect in a game or program.


A byte is 8 bits, which is the equivalent of 256 different possible combinations (0 to 255). A single letter (character) on a computer is normally stored as a byte in ASCII format.


A term used to define someone who acts as a sniper in a First Person Shooter. Usually used derogatively.

Capture The Flag

A multiplayer game with teams where the objective is to capture the other teams flag and bring it back to your own teams base while protecting your own flag.

Collision Detection

Collision detection is a means of determining whether two objects have come into contact with one another. In games, this is necessary in order to make decisions. For example, in a Fighting game, it is important to know whether a character's punch has hit or missed an opponent.

If the two objects intersect, meaning that they are in the same place at the same time, they are assumed to have made contact. In the Fighting game, if one character's fist and the other character's face are in the same place at the same time, someone has a bloody nose!


Electronic machine, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory, that can accept data, manipulate the data according to specified rules, produce results, and store the results for furture use.


The term coined for multiplayer games in Doom, usually consisting of all players trying to see who can get the most kills.


The game designer is the one who takes a game from an initial concept and flushes out all the components of a game until it is totally complete on paper. The designer usually writes this information into a design document.


This term refers to anyone who is involved in the process of development of games. This could include anyone in a game company, or it could only mean those who are directly involved in creating the game such as the artists, designers, programmers and musicians. Developer is also sometimes used as a synonym to a programmer.


Development is a process of creating something.

Difficulty ramping

Like music or theatre, video games often have a pattern of action that starts low, then steadily rises through the game, and climaxes near the end. This means that the challenges faced by the player are not equal in difficulty as the game progresses. Games tend to start with simple challenges and build to a higher difficulty level as the game nears completion.

Obtaining a desired difficulty ramp is one of the reasons developers make video games linear. As a linear game has fewer variables to consider, it is much easier to apply an even ramp to than to a non-linear game.

Dual Linear Program

Every linear program has a corresponding linear program called the dual. It is maxy {b · y | ATy c and y 0 }. For any solution x to the original linear program and any solution y to the dual we have c · x (AT y)T x = yT(Ax) y · b. For optimal x and y, equality holds. For a problem formulated as an integer linear program, a solution to the dual of a relaxation of the program can serve as witness.


Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Primarily used on mainframe computers, EBCDIC is used to represent data.


Something which performs like something else. In the game world, this is usually one system being able to run software that was created to be run on a different system.


This refers to the value of bits which comprise a number. Binary numbers are made up of 1s and 0s. A typical eight bit binary number looks like this: 1000 0101

Using a little endian system, the leftmost bit represents a high value, while the rightmost bit represents a small value. A 1 in the rightmost position (0000 0001) represents the number 1. A 1 in the leftmost position (1000 0000) represents 128. Using eight bits, any number from 0 to 255 may be represented.

A big endian system orders the bits in the other direction. In this case, a 1 in the rightmost bit (0000 0001) has the value of 128, while a 1 in the leftmost bit (1000 0000) has the value of 1.

Generally, PCs use a little endian system, while Macs use a big endian system.

Visit the site below for more information and a history of the problem. http://www.mackido.com/General/endian.html

Ethereal Darkness Interactive

Northampton, Massachusetts based Independent Game Developer founded by Raymond Jacobs and well known to GameDev.net; over the course of three years they designed, produced and sold the Indie game Morning's Wrath.