Game Design Terms


Every single thing that goes into a game. Assets include every individual piece of artwork (such as characters, backgrounds, props and more), every animation, each sound effect, video, text, music, dialogue, 2D models, 3D models, sprites. In short, each item thing you see and or hear in a game is an asset.

A problem in the game that prevents the game from running the way it is supposed to run. The bug could be a problem in the code, a missing asset or any number of issues that negatively impact playing the game.

An improvement made to a software program or game. An enhancement is different from a bug in that it does fix something that is broken, but improves the game by adding a new element or building upon an existing part of the game.

The order in which a player goes through the game from start to finish. Some game paths are linear, that is there is one way to go from the beginning to the end. Other open-world type games have non-linear paths where players can more broadly explore the game world.

How big your game project is.

This means understanding how much work and time it is going to take to make your game a reality/how in-depth your project is.

Optional reading:

How realistic it is to actually do what you are proposing in a game. Do you have the resources, skills, time and money to actually make what you are designing.

The process of building the game from beginning to end.

Reusable code
Code that can be used over again in different parts of a game or in other games.

Code Library
A number of different sets of reusable code. (This is a very simple explanation for the purposes of how it relates to game design. If you study more about programming languages, you will learn more in depth about coding libraries.)   

Taking your game code, but changing it to look different by changing the artwork, sound effects, etc.

Optional reading:

Game Cloning
In game cloning, a developer tries to copy another developer’s game. Game cloning is different from reskinning because in cloning you are copying someone else’s game. Reskinning is changing your own game.

Game cloning is usually looked down upon because you are copying someone else’s game design as opposed to designing your own.

Of course, you can still draw inspiration from other games – just try to avoid creating a straight up copycat version. (Not only because it’s unoriginal, but also because it could get you sued.)

Easter eggs
An Easter egg is an intentional element hidden within a game. An Easter egg could be a joke, hidden message or image even a completely hidden mini-game or full level. Easter eggs get their name from the fact that players usually have to look – or hunt – for them while playing the game.

Level Up
A gaming term that refers to when a player has earned enough experience points to acquire a new level in a skill or skills and/or progress to the next level of play. Often accompanied by the ability to wield new weaponry, access new places or begin new assignments.

A class or category of artistic endeavor, or in this case, the type or category of game.

Key genres include:

  • Action (first-person or third-person) shooter games (or simply shooters), players use ranged weapons to participate in the action, which takes place at a distance….. First-person shooters are played within the protagonist‘s perspective; they often include a heads-up display displaying key information such as the current health of the protagonist … In third-person shooters, the protagonist’s body can be seen fully; the environment is rendered from a distance.
  • Action-adventure games “ typically featuring long-term obstacles that must be overcome using a tool or item as leverage (which is collected earlier), as well as many smaller obstacles almost constantly in the way, that require elements of action games to overcome.”
  • Platform games “Players navigate their environment by jumping and climbing on platforms, while avoiding obstacles and battling enemies in order to advance. “
  • Casual games “ These games feature very low requirements to simply make progress (yet allow the player to increase the challenge to their liking by attempting to do things faster/cleaner etc., for additional reward), colorful, attractive graphics and sound, no negative connotations like violence … and rewarding gameplay with small and frequently awarded achievements …

Quotes above are from wikipedia which includes more on game genres than you probably want to know.