Action Arcade Adventure Set
Diana Gruber


Action Arcade GameA game genre identified by tile- based backgrounds and animated sprites. Also known as a platform game or side-scroller.
Action FunctionA special type of function that controlls the motion and characteristics of an object.
AnimationA technique where successive still frames of a particular object appear to constitute a seemless sequence of movements.
Arcade GameA game with fast action where hand-eye coordination is the primary skill needed to beat the game.
Artificial IntelligenceAn algorithm by which the computer gives the illusion of thinking like a human. Also, the action of a character in a game as it reacts to other objects in the game.
BitThe smallest unit that can carry information in a computer - this is a base 2 number, equaling either 0 or 1.
BitBltBIT BLock Transfer, a bit string move, usually referring to moving the bits that represent an image from memory to display. Also known as a "blit".
BitmapArrays of data specifying the color of each pixel in a rectangular image of arbitrary size.
BlitTo copy an image (or part of an image) from one place to another. See BitBlt.
Boss EnemyThe biggest bad guy that must be killed in order to complete a level.
Cheat CodeA keyboard sequence which, when used, gives the player an advantage in the game, for example infinite ammunition, infinite lives, the ability to walk through walls, or fly.
CinematicsAn animated sequence at the beginning of a game, or animated transition screens.
ClippingCutting off parts of lines and/or shapes (sprites) that exceed the boundaries of a viewport or clipping region.
Clipping RegionRectangular area that defines where objects will be clipped.
Collision DetectionMethod of checking if two or more objects come in contact with each other.
ContinueAnother chance to play the game where you left off after you've lost all your lives.
CoordinateA location, or point in space, which may be addressed using arbitrary units.
CreditsListing of those involved in the development of a game, typically including the programmer, artist, musician, and producer.
Demo ModeA self-playing mode, showing off the features and artwork of a game.
EngineCode used as the basis for building a game, including the various utilities and a skeleton game.
EnergyA scale representing how close a player is to death. Usually energy declines as a player collides with enemies, and increases when a player finds certain energy items, such as food.
EpisodeOne portion of a shareware game series. Most often the first episode is used to interest the player in the game, while others are used as incentives to encourage registering the game. Sometimes different episodes have different plots.
FastgraphHigh performance programmer's graphics library.
Fat Bit EditorA feature of an image editor that zooms in on an area of the image, and displays the individual pixels larger for easier editing.
FlippingChanging the display start address of video memory, so that a completely new part of video memory is visible. Also known as page flipping or page swapping.
FrameA sequence of events ending in a page flip. Also known as an animation frame.
Frame RateSpeed of animation, usually expressed in frames per second.
GIFAn image file format where the image is compressed using LZW compression.
God ModeState of a game, usually triggered by a keystroke sequence, where the player can not die, and may have other powers such as infinite amunition or the ability to walk through walls. Also known as cheat mode.
Graphics LibraryCollection of functions that control the video ouput. Fastgraph is a graphics library.
Graphics ModeA PC mode where the screen is addressed in pixels.
Hidden PageA page-shaped area of offscreen video memory.
Keyboard HandlerFunctions or routines for programming and working with a keyboard. A low-level keyboard handler monitors keyboard activity so that special keys and key combinations can be detected.
LCRLow Cost Retail software, see rackware.
Layout ArrayAn array holding information about which tiles in a level are covered by sprites and must be redrawn during a frame.
Layout SpaceA coordinate system based on the number of tiles on a page, for example 22 tiles wide by 15 tiles high.
LevelOne continuous section of a platform game or other type of game. The goal of a game is to beat all the levels.
Level EditorA utility used for creating, viewing, and modifying levels.
LifeMore accurately referred to as a death, the unit for counting how many tries a player has before a game is finished.
Mode XA 256-color planar or tweaked VGA graphics mode popularized by Michael Abrash.
One-UpAn extra life, or the object that gives you an extra life.
PageAn area of video memory or system RAM which holds enough data to fill the screen(or more) in the current graphics mode.
Page FlippingAn animation technique that consists of writing to offscreen video memory, and then panning or flipping to that area. Also known as page swapping.
PanningChanging the screen origin to a different point in video memory.
ParallaxingAn animation technique where where the background is drawn in levels, and distant levels move at a slower speed than near levels, giving the illusion of depth.
PCXA popular image file format designed by Zsoft.
PixelThe smallest addressable unit on a computer screen.
Platform GameSee Action Arcade Game.
ProducerSomeone who coordinates and supervises a game's development.
PublisherAnybody who markets games.
RackwareGames sold on racks in retail channels at a low price. Rackware may be shareware or non-shareware, exclusive or non-exclusive.
Registration IncentiveA method of obtaining shareware registrations by offering something of value for money, such as more levels.
RLEAn image stored using run-length encoding.
ResizingChanging the coordinate limits of video memory.
ResolutionThe number of pixels or character cells available on the screen.
RetraceA total screen update, usually happening at the rate of about 60 frames per second.
RoyaltiesA method whereby a developer is paid for their work as a percentage of either net or gross receipts.
ScoreThe cumulative number of points earned.
ScoreboardA graphical representation of the score, along with other items such as one-ups, energy and ammunition.
Screen originThe pixel coordinates of the upper left corner of the screen.
ScrollingMoving the screen smoothly an any direction.
Screen SpaceCoordinate system where object positions are identified as x,y positions in video memory.
Segue(pronounced "seg-way") A transitional device that helps one sequence flow smoothly into another. In a game, a segue usually occurs between levels and involves storyline development, often in the form of cinematics.
SharewareA method of marketing software where a program is distributed freely, and users may try it before paying for it.
ShelfwareSoftware sold through regular retail channels, especially when marketed by an established commercial publishing house such as Electronic Arts.
Side ScrollerSee Action Arcade Game.
Special EffectAny unusual or special visual image or sound or music.
SPR FileFastgraph's Standard Pixel Run image format. See RLE.
SpriteA bitmap of an arbitrary shape that can be moved across complex backgrounds without flicker or damage to the background image.
Sprite ListSeveral related sprites, usually kept in a single file or buffer.
Sprite EditorA program for creating, viewing, and modifying sprites.
StorylineThe setting for the game, including such things as an introduction to the characters, their location, and the reason they do what they do.
Text ModeA PC video mode where the screen is addressed in rows and columns of character cels. The default video mode of a PC when running DOS.
TileA 16x16 image, usually blitted in sequence with other tiles to create levels.
Tile AttributeA one-byte value used to determine characteristics of a tile, such as solid on top.
Tile LibraryA collection of unique tiles used to build levels.
Tile SpaceA coordinate system based on the number of tiles in a level.
Tile EditorA utility program used to create, view, and modify tiles.
Tile RipperA utility used to reduce one or several screens of artwork to unique tiles.
Title Screen The opening screen of a computer game, which includes the title and other information.
TransitionThe sequence between levels, often consisting of storyline development, special effects, or cinematics.
TransparentPixels in a rectangular blit which are not displayed, so that the background shows through.
TrilogyA method of marketing games, where a third of the game, known as an episode, is distributed as shareware and the other two episodes are registered or purchased directly from the manufacturer.
TSRTerminate and Stay Resident; a program that stays in memory after it returns control to the operating system, such as FGDRIVER.EXE.
VGAVideo Graphics Array, any of a collection of video modes; also the hardware that supports them.
Visual PageThe page that is currently visible on screen.
WarpMoving to an area in a game level requiring a complete screen redraw, for example going through a door or advancing to a new level.

So you want to be a Computer Game Developer?


Cover | Contents | Downloads
Awards | Acknowledgements | Introduction
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6
Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12
Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18
Appendix | License Agreement | Glossary | Installation Notes | Home Page

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So you want to be a Computer Game Developer

Copyright © 1998 Ted Gruber Software Inc. All Rights Reserved.