Game Development Reference
Glossary of Terms and Acronyms
The appendix is a glossary of acronyms and game/tech industry terms frequently mentioned throughout the
book. If you're a longtime gamer or game developer reading this, a lot of them will be painfully obvious; then
again, other terms will seem alien or weird. Meanwhile, readers from the business development side of things
will probably know many of them quite well, while wondering what the heck terms like “physics puzzle” and
“2.5D” are supposed to be. This appendix is for both kinds of readers.
2.5D game Game with graphics that appear to be 3D by using a constrained, isometric perspective. Back-
yard Monsters and other KIXEYE games mentioned in this topic are 2.5D.
3D game Game that displays a first-person perspective or displays the game space with a camera view that
rotates along the full X/Y/Z axis.
AAA game Big-budget game, generally for video-game consoles. This topic is not about them, because
they are a dying breed. Fewer and fewer will develop for them—especially low-budget indie folks.
accelerometer On the iOS, the feature that detects the phone's position along the X/Y/Z axis.
acquisition cost The amount you'll spend (such as on advertising) to get a new player to try your game.
A/B testing In game development, comparing user growth, engagement, and other behaviors to a feature
change/addition, in relation to a control sample. Example: “We gave a few thousand players a deadly
garden gnome to use in the gladiator level, and ran an A/B test to see if they played longer.”
acq-hired When a corporation buys a developer's project or company for the purpose of owning its assets
and turning the staff into its own employees.
advertising-based payments Form of revenue in which an advertiser offers virtual goods in a game in
exchange for the user engaging with their product.
cloud deployment In gaming, broadband streaming of games directly to the end user, eliminating the need
for long downloads or high-end hardware. OnLive and Gaikai are two leading cloud-deployment services.
ARPDAU Average revenue per daily active user.
ARPU Average revenue per user (as opposed to ARPDAU). Refers to the average revenue earned by a
game per user on a monthly or yearly basis, or other designated timeframe.
asynchronous gaming Generally refers to multi-player games in which individual player movements are
not conducted in real time, but are turn-based. Most Facebook games and many multiplayer iOS games are
asynchronous. Most multiplayer web games are designed for real-time simultaneous play.
boss battle Final epic confrontation at the end of a game or game segment/level.
brand-to-player payment Revenue stream in which companies run ads in one game, offering virtual cur-
rency for other games.
consumables Limited-use virtual goods, such as potions, medicine, and so on.
conversion The process of turning a free player into a monetized one.