Questions tagged [terminology]

Terminology is the vocabulary of technical terms in the game development field.

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132
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4answers
14k views

What are “affordances” in game design?

I keep hearing the word "affordance" in terms of game design, most recently in the movie Indie Game: Life After. I also vaguely remember it from a UX class in undergrad. But I have no idea what it ...
68
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2answers
15k views

What is unit slotting?

I was watching the "Devs Play" S01E05 where JP LeBreton sat down with John Romero and played through Doom, while Romero would explain some of the game/level design choices they made. There are loads ...
57
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5answers
7k views

What exactly is a physics engine?

A program should take input, process it and give output. So what exactly does a physics engine take as input and provide as output?
55
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6answers
125k views

What is ambient occlusion?

I've heard about ambient occlusion and it looks nice, but what exactly is it?
54
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3answers
21k views

What is deferred rendering?

I've heard about deferred rendering and how using it can allow for "lots" of lights in a scene without a huge performance hit, but what is it and (from a high level) how is it implemented?
50
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3answers
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What is the little dot/icon at the center of the screen in an FPS game called?

So I am developing a game and trying to find one of those to use, but I don't know what to search for. If you don't know what I am taking about, look at these examples: What are these called?
50
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3answers
11k views

What is “game logic code?”

I'm using C#/XNA and have been told quite a few times not to mix update code with draw code -- and I'm certain I'm not! But could anyone please describe what exactly is 'logic code'? As seen here: ...
50
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2answers
7k views

What is a quaternion?

What is a quaternion, and do how they work? Also, what advantages do you gain using three points on a 2D plane? Finally, when is it considered good practice to use quaternions?
49
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3answers
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What is the term for a 3x3 tile set used to create larger areas?

What is the pattern/design name of using a 3x3 tileset (usually in a tiled 2D game) that can be used to create larger areas of itself. For example, these: (Image source) I thought it was a "9 tree" ...
37
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4answers
6k views

What is a fragment in 3D graphics programming?

What is a fragment in a fragment shader? Wikipedia says that: In general, a fragment can be thought of as the data needed to shade the pixel, plus the data needed to test whether the fragment ...
35
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1answer
7k views

What does SoC stand for?

… and no, I do not mean System-on-a-Chip. I stumbled upon this question which was using the acronym in the context of graphics, and found myself wondering about its meaning. Neither the question nor ...
34
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9answers
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What is the difference between a HUD and a GUI in a game?

Does anyone know the difference between a graphical HUD (head-up display) and a GUI (graphical user interface) in a game? Is a HUD part of the GUI and just displaying information? That would mean that ...
33
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5answers
9k views

What is meant by “System Programming”?

I am preparing for an internship as game programmer at a world-renowned game development company. When I searched their website for necessary prerequisites, it showed me this: Added Advantage ...
32
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4answers
26k views

What's the difference between mesh and a model?

Which one is created first? For example if a team worked on a graphical asset of a car, what would be a model and what would be a mesh of the car?
31
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9answers
24k views

What is a “2.5D” environment?

I don't understand the meaning of the term "2.5D." I'm specifically confused about the difference between 2.5D and 3D environments, even though I've read different definitions and articles about both. ...
31
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4answers
11k views

What is a vertex color?

My question is what is written in title. This term "vertex color" appear a lot. I am having hard time to understand this. For example: Isn't a vertex simple point on 3D space? If so, how can a point ...
31
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3answers
8k views

What is the difference between a library and an engine?

I am working on a library to help 2D game development with Scala. So far, it is a collection of helpful classes, file loading, collision detection, images, sprites, etc. So when does it stop being a ...
27
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6answers
10k views

What's the technology that allows programming inside a game?

There are some games which allow the player to write/create scripts in-game, for example: Space engineers or Psi. I want to use something similar to either one, but I've had a hard time finding ...
27
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4answers
8k views

What is the difference between a Sprite and a Texture?

I have an assignment due for University, and my task is to discuss textures used within video games, and how they have evolved. My main question is, what is the fundamental difference between using ...
27
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4answers
16k views

Difference between Material and Shader

In games, materials often only influence the visual appearance of objects. The visual appearance is effected by shaders. So regarding to terminology is there a difference between materials and shaders?...
26
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3answers
23k views

What is a “Gameplay Programmer”?

In job descriptions, I often see positions called "Gameplay Programmer." What do people in that position do?
23
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6answers
117k views

What is the difference between an alpha and a beta release?

What is the difference between an alpha and a beta release? I'm surprised this question hasn't been asked here before.
23
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5answers
16k views

What is the difference between a game framework and a game engine?

What is the difference between a game framework (for example, XNA with C#, SDL for c++) and a game engine? Do game frameworks use engines? Does a game engine encapsulate sub-engines like physics ...
22
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1answer
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What is “procedural generation” and how is it done?

I hear a lot about "procedural maps" and "procedural textures". What does that mean exactly, and what resources are there for learning these techniques in a game?
21
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3answers
6k views

Why is it called “roguelike” and “metroidvania”?

As the title says, where did roguelike and metroidvania genre games get their names from? All other genres (that I can think of) have pretty self-explanatory names like: First Person Shooter: You ...
19
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5answers
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Is there any term for reverse gamification?

Gamification is a process of applying game mechanics to non-game contexts. Reverse gamification is a process of using non-game context or non-game mechanics in games. For example: Gamification - ...
18
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4answers
9k views

What is “tools development?”

I have been looking at different jobs in the games industry and a lot of the jobs that I have seen advertised are for a "Tool Developer" position. I do not know what this actually is. Could someone ...
18
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5answers
2k views

What is the graphical effect occurring to non-mipmapped distant textures called?

We all know about mip-mapping. It reduces texture quality when a texture is further away. Without mip-mapping, a texture appears to "flicker", like the top of the mountain here: Is there any ...
18
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1answer
4k views

Why is this Procedural Content Generation while that other isn't?

I'm reading the online Procedural Content Generation book and on chapter 1, page 2 there's one example of what PCG is and another of what PCG is not and I can't tell them apart. This is PCG according ...
17
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3answers
9k views

What is the technical definition of “sprite batching?”

Platform and language agnostically, how is sprite batching defined? It seems as though there are many different techniques for lessening the amount of work when drawing, and that they are often lumped ...
17
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2answers
1k views

What is “convexity” in the context of game design?

I have overheard game designers mentioning something called convexity in games. This seems to be a game-design-specific concept, different from (although possibly related to) that in geometry or game ...
16
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1answer
5k views

What are “world space” and “eye space” in game development?

I am reading a book about 3D concepts and OpenGL. The book always talks about world space, eye space, and so on. What exactly is a world inside the computer monitor screen? What is the world space? ...
16
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3answers
3k views

What is “simulated human operator” cutscene camera movement called?

I have some questions related to the non-smooth camera movement in cutscenes of quite a few games which appears to try and simulate the nervousness of a human operator holding it. This is opposed to ...
16
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3answers
1k views

Is there a term for the sounds that play when text is printed out letter by letter?

Take a game like Undertale: whenever a character "talks", the text is printed out one by one, and a sound is played for each letter, as if the character is actually talking (even if it's just ...
15
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7answers
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What does the term “channel” mean when used in regards to computer graphics?

I was studying terminology for computer graphics, and this statement came up that confused me. The image can have alpha channels for transparency. I tried searching for the meaning of the term "...
15
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3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “dynamic generation” and “procedural generation”?

When I think of a dynamically generated game, I think of things like Diablo with randomly generated levels. When I think of a procedurally generated game, I think of things like Flappy Bird and other ...
15
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2answers
16k views

What is “game state?”

The terminology "game state" is a bit vague to me. Could anybody clarify what is included in the game state, please? Is it a state of all the variables and objects within the game at particular ...
15
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1answer
3k views

What’s an “IHV”?

I have seen several questions here referencing the “IHVs,” e.g. this one, without defining the abbreviation. A Google search offers “Inter-Human Virology,” and, a few links down, a Wikipedia ...
14
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2answers
6k views

What is an actor in game development?

I am reading a book about game development (Game Coding Complete, Fourth Edition) and there is an "Actors" topic which just explains how to use them briefly instead of explaining what it is. Here's ...
14
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3answers
981 views

What makes a game “casual?”

I've seen the term "casual" used to describe games at times, and have seen people refer themselves or others as "casual gamers." What exactly is a "casual" game? Is there any real difference between ...
14
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1answer
2k views

In platformer games, what are “hole in the ground” obstacles called?

In most jump and run games, holes in the ground are common obstacles: You need to jump over them, or you'll fall down and lose a life. It would be helpful to know for documentation, variable naming ...
12
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4answers
16k views

What is a “tick” in the context of game development?

Ok so this is a very beginner level question but I need to know this, what does the term "tick" refer to in the context of game development? Is it the same thing as FPS? Thanks!
11
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2answers
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What is the difference between PBR and SSR?

I am very new to game development and I have been trying to understand the difference between Screen Space Reflection and Physically Based Rendering. I have read about PBR, and from what I understand,...
11
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1answer
2k views

Is there a specific name for this type of concept art and the artist who does them?

Let's say you already have the fundamentals of your game: you created gameplay that you and your (possible) playtesters find enjoyable to play, and you think you can flesh out your game more. However, ...
11
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2answers
14k views

What are diegetic, non-diegetic, spatial and meta user interfaces?

Could anyone please explain to me the differences between "diegetic," "non-diegetic," "spatial," and "meta" user interfaces in terms of how they are represented in games and game development?
11
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2answers
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What is data-driven design? [closed]

I've been reading up on a lot of articles covering data driven design for games. It seems to come down to: No hard coding No game-specific code in the engine Scripting for AI, cutscenes, et cetera. ...
10
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6answers
6k views

3D Illusion of a 2D Planet Texture

Several years ago I overheard a technique that gives the user the illusion of a rotating planet by using a 2D texture. Given that the user isn't able to change its position or viewport. What's the ...
10
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3answers
3k views

Is multitexturing really just “using more than one texture”?

This might seem stupid, but it bugs me. From what I understand, multitexturing is just using more than 1 texture per shader (usually to blend them somehow). So instead of creating 1 texture, I create ...
10
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2answers
533 views

What defines a AAA game?

I tried to find a precise definition. I found clues on Wikipedia and on Gaming SE, but I cannot find more than an approximation like: Equivalent of blockbuster movie in cinema, an AAA game is a ...
10
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1answer
798 views

In OpenGL, what is “zero state” rendering?

Recently at a job interview, I mentioned that I taught myself modern OpenGL and rendering with vertex buffer objects because my university only taught the fixed function pipeline with immediate mode ...