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Look Up: (916 Terms)
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A platform, rpg, or fighting game in which there is a 3-D engine but that features 2-D control or graphics, i.e. Paper Mario, Super Smash Brothers, Parappa the Rappa.
3D Studio Max
A highend package used for both game development, character development and film. Although a high package the price is resonable. ( www.ktx.com )
Adventure Game
A genre of games that typically are graphics, character and story based. The player usually has to solve a series of puzzles while being given a deep story. Examples of this genre would be many of the LucasArts such as Grim Fandango, the Monkey Island series, and many of the Quest series from Sierra Online.
An Archtype is a commonly followed pattern in design. It can apply to any design aspect.

For instance the "Quest" archtype is a common adventure game plot archtype. As part of the "Quest" archtype, character X must save the world from evil by retrieving/ destroying/ the magical object/person/ thing Y. X starts off as an inexperienced person but his quest will bring an new maturity to him.

Character Archtypes are often followed. The "Princess" the "Rogue Warrior", the "kind old wizard" are some examples that can be easily recognised. By using archtypes as part of a story design, a user can instantly gain a feel for the story, and can gain an instant insight into the interactions between characters.

Artificial Emotion
Simulation of moods and personalities in software.
Artificial Life
AL is basically the antithesis of Artificial Intelligence (AI). While AI seeks to simulate real world by following a complex series of rules, AL starts with very simple rules for a system and enables complex behavior to emerge from them.
In Role-Playing Games, attributes are numbers that represents specific aspects in a character's stats. EX: Agility, Intelligence, Luck, Power, etc. are all attributes.
A buzzword used by the Virtual Reality community to mean a "representation of the user".
Bonus Level
A level or stage in a game where the character can obtain special items or additional points that otherwise can not be achieved in regular gameplay. Being aply to play the bonus level usually requires some trick or cheat that can not be easily found in normal gameplay.
Usually an enemy character that will be found at the end of a level which is harder to kill. Originally bosses were given specific patterns you would have to learn to beat them.
The process of creating something by first designing the base elements and then creating the big picture out of them. Opposite of Top-Down.
Codes or tricks that are programmed into a game, which give the player special abilities; like invulnerability or extra weapons. Cheats are often programmed into games to facilitate easy testing, and left in to add depth. Many magazines print game cheats that they have discovered. Today many cheat websites now store thousands of cheats for games across multiple game platforms.
Having qualities of the cinema. Often used to mean dramatic in the sense of being sensational or thrilling.
(1) Games designed or made with special features similar from other local video games. (2) Games that are made to look similar to other popular video games in appearance, gameplay, and so on, but have different titles. EX: There are a few Tetris-like puzzle games displayed out in small computer stores.
In a fighting game, a "combo" is a combination of moves executed in rapid sequence, often following so closely together that the opponent has no time to respond. Combos can do more damage to the other character than the sum of the damage inflicted by the individual moves. Some moves are only available during or after combos.
Computer Game
A simulation created using a relational database and all the client (and, optionally, server-side) software required to interact with it, with the traditional business rules layer replaced by a gameplay rules layer. The database's media content, user interface and gameplay rules are usually specified and defined by a 'game designer'. The database and rules engine programming is created by one or more 'game programmers'. The graphical content of the database is usually created by one or more 'artists'. The audio content is similarly created by one or more musicians and/or audio technicians.
In arcades, when a game is over, one is often presented with the opportunity to continue where one died (instead of starting over at the beginning of the game) by inserting another quarter or token. Most home games also have the continue option, but have a limit of some set number of continues to prevent one from finishing the game the first time it is played.
Critical Path
The necessary route from start to finish in a game. Everything that must be done to complete a game is considered to be within the “critical path”. This holds especially true in linear games, where a player is forced to proceed along a specified path. Often the critical path is shown to the player with “primary objectives” or “main goals” of a level or the game as a whole. Other, smaller objectives or secondary goals that are not required to finish the game are considered “non-critical path”.
A screen which is removed from the gameplay to segue between different situations, such as levels or different kinds of interfaces.
An animation that segues between different components of a game, such as providing information or entertainment between levels or missions.
Design bible
see "design document"
Design Document
A document that the designer creates which contains everything that a game should include. Sometimes referred to as a "design bible", this document should list every piece of art, sound, music, character, all the back story and plot that will be in the game. Basically, if the game is going to have it, it should be thoroughly documented in the design document so that the entire development team understands exactly what needs to be done and has a common point of reference.
Design Spec
Short for design specification; A document that is a technical version of the design document. The design spec is like a "map" for how the game will be constructed. Here the designer must include what the game needs to be put together, including a list of materials, required people, and so on. The design spec is a way to detail the construction of the game.
Design Theory
The underlying and abstract thought behind the simple idea of making games 'fun'. Simple to understand, hard to master. Anybody can write up a design document with countless revolutionary, inventive, and well-documented ideas. It is only a true Design Theorist who can make that design document produce a fun and addictive game.
Design Treatment
A basic summary description of the concept of the game, explaining what the game will be like. Mainly, the design treatment should discuss the game's basic plot, gameplay, general discussion of the target audience(age and gender), the basic presentation of how the game would be constructed, and other features. The treatment is made to be short and simple.
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.

Easter Egg
Something in a game that has nothing to do with the main game or is an unnecessary bonus. For example, some games have hidden pictures of their developers that can be viewed by pressing special key combinations.
The base unit of a design. This is anything that can react with anything else in any way: For instance in an adventure game, every inventory object, every item that the player can interact with, every NPC and the player themselves are all entities. In a FPS, any missile that an NPC fires is an entity, as is an exploding section of wall or an exploding dustbin. As a game has more entities, the ways that they can react together increases geometrically. Thus entity relationship management becomes necessary.
Entity Relationship Management
Managing the relationship of game design entities (see Entity). As the number of entity types in a game increases, the relationships between them increases geometrically, so for instance in a game with 3 entity types there are 3 possible relationships. For a game with 4 entity types there are 12 and so on. For games such as large adventure games where there may be many different entities, it will become necessary to manage this in some way, by creating standard interactions, or reducing the number of entities available in any one scene.
Experience Points
Often used in Role Playing Games (RPGs), experience points are a way of measuring how much the player has experienced to grant them additional benefits often in the form of increased statistics or skills.
A special move that can be executed in some fighting games, notably the Mortal Kombat series, after a match is over, which results in the graphic death of the losing character. Variations include; "animalities", where the character is turned into an animal before killing it’s opponent, "babalities", where the loser turns into a baby, and "friendship" moves where the character does something goofy, like signs an autograph for the loser.
First Person
A perspective in which a player's character is not represented on the screen, but rather the view is such that the player "sees" what he or she would if they were actually performing the actions found in the game (looking through the window of a cockpit, for example).
Design tool that graphically shows the logic in an algorithim, using symbols that represent various operations in a program's logic.
Full Motion Video. Video streams such as AVIs and MPEGs are examples of FMV. Games that used FMV extensively, both real actors and computer created, were often classified as FMV games.
A foozle is an object which a player must acquire and give to an NPC or use in a certain area to advance the plot.
First Person Shooter
An interactive, self-contained system of rules containing a challenge and a victory condition that defines a focused reality for the purpose of entertainment.
Game Entity
A entity is a abstract class of an object that can be moved and drawn over a game map
Game Mechanic
A game mechanic is a rule which defines how a game proceeds. For instance, in Chess, a bishop may move only along the boards diagonals. In the Mario Bros. games, Mario may squish his enemies by stomping upon them. In football, a team loses posession of the ball after failing to advance 10 yards in 4 downs. Each of these rules is a game mechanic.
Game Progression
The way a game moves from beginning towards a (possibly undefined) end. The most common game progression is linear, however many other game progression structures exist.
Game+ is a game feature that allows a character who has beaten the game to play again, retaining some advantage that zie has earned, or allowing the player to start at a plot-branch point and travel the "road not taken". The first game with this feature that I know of was Chrono Trigger.
Meaningful interactions during a game.
The key element in any game, the fact of the game itself, what the player actually does. Examples: Pong - the act of bouncing the dot, which represents the ball, off the line that represents the paddle. Super Mario Bros - moving the plumber around, jumping on heads of enemies, breaking blocks, when trying to rescue the princess.
A class of games. Common genres would be the shooter, First Person Shooter (FPS), Role Playing Game (RPG), simulation, Real Time Strategy (RTS)
Heads Up Display
This is a technique for imparting vital information to the player during gameplay, without requiring him to access a separate menu. The relevant information is simply overlaid on the game screen. This makes the information instantly available, without destroying the flow of the game itself. Typical examples of the Heads Up Display include the health bars common to Fighting games,and speedometers found in Racing games. While the Heads Up Display can help to support the game's pacing, it may also detract from the mood of a game. So it is important to make the Heads Up Display blend with the rest of the game as seemlessly as possible.
Hit Points
Used in most games to reference the amount of times a player can be damaged before their character passes out or dies.
Hybrid Camera System
The most common types of cameras used in games today are OTS (Over the Shoulder; Tomb Raider series) and FP (First Person; Quake series) along with some others such as isometric etc. A hybrid camera system is a camera system that combines two or more camera types in a single game. One example is Morrowind an RPG which uses both OTS (so the player can see his character's equiped items and the combat more closely) and FPS (to give the player a sense of immersion in Morrowinds rich enviorments).
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).
1) A character level: This is a measurement of a game character's strength, ability, etc. In many games, especially RPGs, the characters which the player controls may grow and become more powerful or more skilled throughout the course of the game. The character's level provides an indication of how capable the character currently is.

2) A monster level:

The relative strength and skill of monsters and NPCs may also be indicated by level. For example, a 1st level monster is very weak. But a 23rd level monster is a much more formidable opponent.

3) A difficulty level: In some games, the player is able to control how easy or difficult it will be to play the game. For instance, playing the game on the "easy" or "please don't hurt me" setting makes the game easier, while playing the "difficult" or "I'm completely insane" version will be much different.

4) A game level: A section of the game. Most modern games require the computer to process a tremendous amount of information. These data cannot all be stored in the computer's main memory at the same time. (Sound files in particular take up a lot of space.) So the game is broken up into sections, or levels.

When a game level is to be played, the computer loads only the information which is required for that section of the game. When that portion of the game is finished, the computer loads the information for the next game level. (Because this usually means that the player must wait before continuing to play the game, some developers have chosen to implement "streaming", in which portions of the game are alwaysbeing loaded.)

5) To gain a character level: Some allow the player's character to increase in level. When the character attains the next level, the character is said to have "leveled up". It is not uncommon for players to refuse to stop playing an RPG until a character has reached the next level.

Many videogames give you multiple chances at gameplay, which are commonly called lives. Failing in a videogame results in your character getting 'killed' or otherwise terminated. When all the lives are lost, the game is over. Almost always, there is a way to acquire more lives, by reaching a certain goal or objective in the game.
Linearity can occur in a game's story and in a game's gameplay. A game's story is linear when there is only one story that is introduced to you as you move on, much like reading a book or watching a movie. A game's gameplay is linear if there is only one option for how to react. Adventure games normally have both linear story and gameplay.
A complex system of paths
Massively Multiplayer Online. Games built with MMO support have the ability to connect hundreds or thousands of players throughout the world into a single and continuous gameplay. The most popular genre that support MMO is what people commonly refer as RPG, where people interact to each other either by regular social interactions such as talking, hunting together, or killing each other.
See Also:Role Playing Game
While the word mood doesn't seem to require a definition, I believe that its importance in game design merits an entry in the Dictionary.

Although the mood of a game is often overlooked by players, it is very important to every game.

Some game genres, such as Horror, must pay very strict attention to the mood of their games. This is because if a Horror game doesn't capture the right mood, it will fail completely.

Anything a character can do in a game. While early games, like Galaga, may have had only three moves (move left, move right, and shoot), newer games, particularly fighting games, may have hundreds (low punch, block, mid-kick, high block, etc). Often, in fighting games many of the moves are hidden, and not revealed in the documentation.
Multi-User Dungeon. A multiplayer online game, usually an RPG, where users telnet to the server to play the game with other people.
Murder Based Experience
An advancement system in which points are only rewarded once an opposing creature is killed. This is a specialized form of Combat based experience that doesn't reward the player for defeating the enemy unless death has occurred.
Multi-User Shared Hallucination. A type of MUD where the users can create their own rooms, items and environments.
Non-interactive sequence. Synonyms: cut-to's, movies. A non-interactive sequence is a part of the game when the player watches the events rather than participates (or interacts). E.g., a transition movie from one level to another.
Non-Player Characters
In early two-player simultaneous games, this message would flash on-screen when the first player received an extra life. Two-up would appear when the second player received an extra life. Since then, it has come to be shorthand for getting an extra life, usually not by accumulating a certain number of points, or collectables, but by finding a special icon. This icon is often referred to as a "one-up."
Online Game
A game which is meant to be played while connected to the Interner, or network, with one or more other people over the network.
Palette Swap
A technique in which a videogame uses the same basic character, with a different color scheme, to make that character look like a different character. Used often in may RPGs.
Paper doll
An image of a character in a inventory that can be dressed or equipped by dropping clothes or items onto it. Is mostly used in CRPGs.
Path Finding
Quite simply, finding a path for units or characters in a game. This is often a serious problem because obstacles and avoiding other units in the game requires a number of different kinds of checks.
When a game is played to judge its balance, and how entertaining it is. Playtesting is different than testing for bugs as it deals with how the game plays, rather than whether it functions properly.
A plot is a sequence of events that raise the level of dramatic tension as the player progresses and becomes emotionally involved with the game, then satisfies this tension with a resolution that (hopefully) prevents the player from being resentful that there isn't any more game. A plot can be linear or branching, and may have one ending or a multitude of possible endings.
An incremental reward for items or a characters stats. For example, mushrooms in Super Mario Brothers that would make Mario larger.
A problem created for testing ingenuity
A game that proceeds constantly which the player needs respond actively as it changes from second to second matching natural time progression.
Real-Time Strategy
A game usually based on controlling many units in real-time (as opposed to turn-based). Often the perspective is an overhead view to give a better overall view of the playing field.
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.
A ren'ai game, also known as a dating sim, is a popular genre of game in Japan but hasn't made it to western gaming very much. In this game the player plays one main character, (usually) male, and the game objective is to court and impress one or more (usually) female NPCs. Gameplay usually relies heavily on dialogue choices and may contain sim or adventure elements. There is not usually any combat. Perhaps the clearest western examples of this genre would be the Leisure Suit Larry games. There are also X-rated versions of these games known as hentai games, h games, or ecchi games.
Role Playing Game
Role Playing Games have been a popular paper game system since Dungeons & Dragons and before. This genre has enjoyed a good amount of attention in software form as well, with some of the original titles being Ultima, Wizardry and Bards Tale. Software Role Playing Games usually give the player more than one character which they can build into a powerful fighting force by slaying monsters and gaining experience points and then levels.
Roleplaying Game. A game that is usually based on controlling one or more characters to finish some large and more minor quests while fighting and gaining experience points.
Real-time (not turn-based) Strategy.
Guides for actions. Rules for board games are usually given as written instructions, which the players then opt to follow. In a computer game, the rules are inherent and the player is forced to follow them.
Part of the science of communication. Specifically, Semiotics deals with the use of symbols and 'signs' (in a very broad sense) and how well/badly these perform their tasks. Anything from ideograms, gestures, alphabets and even road signs are affected by this science. For computer games, Semiotics comes into its own when dealing with the User Interface design and 'signposting' within a game.
A system of rules that tries to emulate reality.
Software that attempts to emulate a real event or action.
A game which was made to be played by a single person.
Provides a rationale for the gameplay. Game storylines vary from the very simplistic (e.g. rescue the princess) to exceptionally complex and involved storylines (as found in RPGs such as the Final Fantasy series).
A systematic plan of action, often used with military plans.
The process of creating something by looking at the big picture first, then working your way down to the details. Opposite of Bottom-Up.
Tree of Death, The
The term used for an overabundance of branching pathways in game design. When the number of possible outcomes governed by player choice becomes unmanagable, it is said you have planted "The Tree of Death".
Turn Based Strategy
Often a war game that the player will be given as much time as is necessary to move or perform the actions they wish. Actions will then usually performed one at a time and the sides trade of. For instance, Chess is a turn based strategy game.
A game which progresses in stages where time is only applied after the player has finished making their decisions for their next actions.
User Interface
The part of the game that in which information is displayed and presented on screen with various commands that the user uses to communicate with; The uses of the controls in the game, supportive peripherals needed to accomplish certain game actions, the on-screen interface (inventory icons, life gauges, scoreboard, etc.), on-screen text and messages, menus, commands, and options that are described or presented for the user to use to communicate to the game visually and/or audibly.
World - Usually a series of similar levels that are grouped together into a mega-level.

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