Indie video games glossary


AAA: AAA games or triple A are high-budget, high-profile video games typically developed and published by major game companies. These games often feature cutting-edge graphics, expansive worlds, and polished gameplay mechanics, backed by significant marketing campaigns and large development teams. As an example Elden Ring, Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Last of Us are AAA games.

Achievements: Achievements are in-game rewards or milestones that players can unlock by completing specific tasks or reaching certain goals. In indie game development, achievements are often used to provide additional challenges, encourage exploration, and increase replay value.

AFK: AFK is an acronym used in online gaming to indicate that a player is temporarily inactive or not actively participating in the game. Players may go AFK for various reasons, such as attending to real-life matters, taking a break, or dealing with technical issues. And for the curious, in French we say “ABS”.

Aggro: Aggro is a term used in gaming to describe the aggressive behavior of enemies towards players, often referring to the enemy’s targeting or threat mechanics.

Alpha: An alpha version of a game is an early stage of development where core features and mechanics are implemented but may be incomplete or unstable. Indie game developers often release alpha versions to gather feedback, test gameplay concepts, and iterate on game design before a full release.

Aseprite: Aseprite is a pixel art tool and animation software widely used by indie game developers to create retro-style graphics and animations for their games. It offers features tailored to pixel art creation, including pixel-perfect drawing tools, animation timelines, and palette management, making it a popular choice for developers aiming for a nostalgic aesthetic in their games.

Aspect Ratio: The proportional relationship between the width and height of a display or image.

Assets: Assets are resources used in game development, including graphics, sound files, and code libraries.


BRB: BRB (Be Right Back) is an abbreviation used in online gaming to inform other players that the user will be momentarily away from the game.

Bug: A bug is an error or flaw in a game’s code or design that causes unintended behavior or issues during gameplay. Bug can sometime create iconic things, like the creeper is a fictional creature within the game Minecraft, he was created as a result of a coding error when creating a pig mob.

Build: A build is a version of a game’s software that is compiled and ready for testing or distribution.


Collision Detection: The process of detecting when two or more objects in a game intersect.

Composer: A composer is a musician or sound designer responsible for creating music and audio for a game. If you want to contact one, ask Off Screen for me.

Construct: Construct is a no-code game development platform designed for indie developers to create 2D games without writing any code. It features a visual event system, drag-and-drop interface, and a library of pre-made behaviors and assets, making it accessible to beginners while still offering flexibility for more advanced projects.

Cross-platform: Cross-platform games are compatible with multiple gaming platforms, allowing players to play the same game across different devices or operating systems. Indie developers may prioritize cross-platform support to reach a broader audience and maximize player accessibility.

Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a method of raising funds for game development by soliciting small contributions from a large number of people, often through platforms like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Many indie developers rely on crowdfunding to finance their projects, offering backers rewards such as early access, exclusive content, or developer insights.

Crunch: Crunch refers to a period of intense and prolonged work on a game project, often characterized by long hours and tight deadlines. Numerous cases have been reported in recent years, including the “culture crunch” in some companies. Finally, it should be remembered that according to the WHO, a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems, absenteeism and loss of productivity.

Custscene: A cutscene is a cinematic sequence in a game that advances the story or provides context for gameplay events.


DLC: DLC (Downloadable Content) refers to additional content or expansions for a game that can be downloaded separately from the base game. Indie developers may release DLC to extend the lifespan of their games, introduce new features, or provide additional storytelling elements, offering players continued engagement and value. DLCs can be seen in a negative light when they are viewed as simply exploiting players as wallets.

Dithering: Dithering is a technique used in digital graphics to simulate additional colors or smooth transitions by alternating pixels of different colors.


Early access: Early access refers to a distribution model where developers release a playable version of their game to the public before it is officially completed. Indie developers often use early access to gather feedback, test gameplay mechanics, and fund further development, allowing players to participate in the game’s evolution.

Easter Egg: A hidden feature or inside joke in a game.


F2P: Free-to-play games are video games that can be played without an upfront cost, typically supported by optional in-game purchases or advertising revenue. Indie developers may adopt the free-to-play model to attract a larger player base, monetize their games over time, and offer accessible gaming experiences.

Fog of War: A game mechanic that limits the player’s visibility of the game world.


Game jam: A game jam is an event where developers come together to create playable games within a short timeframe, usually ranging from a few hours to a few days. Indie developers often participate in game jams to experiment with new ideas, collaborate with others, and showcase their creativity under pressure. Personnaly, I’ve participate to Global Game Jam and MiniJam which I recommend.

GameMaker: GameMaker is a game development platform that allows indie developers to create games. It features a drag-and-drop interface and a built-in scripting language, GML (GameMaker Language), enabling developers to design gameplay mechanics, create levels, and deploy their games across multiple platforms quickly.

Gamification: Gamification is the process of applying game design elements and principles to non-game contexts, such as education, marketing, or fitness.

GG: GG is a common expression used in gaming to acknowledge a well-played match or session, often exchanged between players at the end of a game.

Godot: Godot Engine is a free and open-source game development platform that offers a feature-rich environment for indie developers to create 2D and 3D games. It features a user-friendly interface, a powerful scripting language (GDScript), and a flexible node-based architecture, making it ideal for developers seeking full creative control over their projects without licensing fees. Godot is open source and the Godot Engine team is made of hundreds of developers around the world, with both regular and occasional contributors.


Hitbox: A hitbox is an invisible area within a game’s graphics that detects collisions and interactions between objects, characters, and projectiles. Indie developers must carefully design hitboxes to ensure fair and responsive gameplay, balancing accuracy with player convenience and game performance.

HUD (Heads-Up Display): The overlay interface that shows important game information to the player.


IDE: IDE is a software application that provides comprehensive tools and features for writing, debugging, and testing code.

Input Lag: The delay between a player’s input and the game’s response.


Jitter: Jitter refers to small, rapid movements or fluctuations in a game’s graphics or gameplay, often resulting from technical issues or instability.


Keyframe: A keyframe is a specific frame in an animation sequence that defines a significant pose or position of an animated object or character.

Kiting: Kiting is a strategy in gaming where a player leads an enemy or enemies on a chase while dealing damage from a distance or avoiding attacks.


Local co-op: Local co-op, short for local cooperative multiplayer, allows players to play together on the same device or local network. Indie games frequently support local co-op gameplay, fostering social interaction, teamwork, and shared experiences among friends or family members.

Localization: Localization is the process of adapting a game’s text, audio, and other content to suit different languages, cultures, and regions. Indie developers may localize their games to reach broader audiences, improve accessibility, and enhance player engagement with localized dialogue, subtitles, and user interfaces.

Loot: Loot refers to items, rewards, or treasures obtained by players during gameplay, often through exploration, combat, or completing objectives.


MMORPG: MMORPG is a genre of video games where players assume the roles of characters in a persistent online world, interacting with thousands of other players and completing quests, battling enemies, and advancing their characters over time. My favorite is World Of Warcraft, you should try it.

Modding: Modding, short for modification, refers to the practice of altering or extending a game’s content, mechanics, or assets by players or third-party developers. Indie developers may support modding communities to encourage player creativity, extend the lifespan of their games, and foster a dedicated fan base. Game like Factorio or Minecraft are well know for their modding community.


Nerf: To weaken a game element.

NPCs: NPCs are characters in a game controlled by the game’s artificial intelligence rather than by a player.


Onboarding: The process of guiding new players to understand and enjoy the game.

Open-world: An open-world game is a genre where players are free to explore a vast and interconnected game world at their own pace, often without linear progression or strict objectives. Indie developers may create open-world experiences to foster player agency, encourage exploration, and provide immersive sandbox environments.


Pixel art: Pixel art is a style of digital art where images are created and edited at the pixel level, often using limited color palettes and low-resolution graphics reminiscent of early video games. Indie developers frequently use pixel art to evoke nostalgia, convey retro aesthetics, and streamline development efforts. We’ve design our game Another Door in pixel art.

Postmortem: A postmortem is a retrospective analysis or evaluation of a completed project, identifying successes, failures, and lessons learned.

Procedural generation: Procedural generation, is a technique used to create game content, such as levels, environments, and items, algorithmically rather than manually. Indie developers may utilize random generation to increase replay value, create dynamic experiences, and reduce development time and costs.

Prototype: A prototype is a preliminary version or model of a game used to test and validate gameplay ideas, mechanics, and concepts.

Publisher: A publisher is a company that funds, markets, and distributes a game to consumers.



Reconciliation: Reconciliation involves the process of harmonizing or aligning conflicting data or states within a game’s systems. In the context of a Prediction Reconciliation Network, reconciliation mechanisms may be implemented to resolve discrepancies between predicted outcomes and actual player actions, ensuring consistent and fair gameplay experiences for all players. A friend of mine have write this C# project goal to simplify online multiplayer games with Client-side prediction and Server reconciliation.

Roguelike: A roguelike is a subgenre of role-playing games characterized by procedurally generated levels, permadeath mechanics, and dungeon-crawling gameplay. Indie developers often create roguelike games with challenging gameplay, unpredictable encounters, and high replay value, offering players a unique and unpredictable experience with each playthrough. Since the game “Rogue”, to which we owe this name, many games known as “Rogue Like/Lite” have appeared and have modified the codes. To name but a few: Hades, Dead Cells, Slay the Spire and Risk of Rain.

RPG: RPG is a genre of video games where players assume the roles of characters in a fictional world, often engaging in quests, battles, and character development (very often trough tree skill or equipment).

RPG Maker: RPG Maker is a game development tool that specializes in creating role-playing games (RPGs) with a focus on traditional 2D gameplay mechanics. It offers pre-made assets, event-driven scripting, and a user-friendly interface, enabling indie developers to design and customize their own RPGs without extensive programming knowledge.


Shader: A shader is a computer program used to define the appearance of graphics in a game, including lighting, texture mapping, and special effects. If you want to learn more about shader, read this newsletter by Xor.

Skill: Skill refers to a player’s ability to perform tasks or actions effectively within a game.

Spawn: Spawn refers to the location where characters, enemies, or objects appear in a game world. From this word come Spawn Kill, the action in multiplayer combat game to kill another player as they spawn.

Speedrun: A speedrun is a playthrough of a game with the goal of completing it in the shortest amount of time possible. Indie games with clear objectives, tight controls, and optimized gameplay mechanics may attract speedrunning communities, who compete to achieve the fastest completion times and showcase their skills. Speedon is a French charity speedrun marathon.

Sprite: A sprite is a two-dimensional graphical image used in video games.

Stackholder: A stakeholder is an individual or group with a vested interest or concern in the success of a game project.


TPS: TPS, or third-person shooter, is a genre of video games where players control a character from a third-person perspective and engage in combat using ranged weapons.

Turn-based: Turn-based gameplay is a style of gameplay where players take turns to make decisions and execute actions within the game’s mechanics. Indie games may feature turn-based combat, strategy, or puzzle-solving elements, providing players with strategic depth, thoughtful decision-making, and a slower-paced gaming experience.


Unity: Unity is a versatile game engine used by indie developers to create both 2D and 3D games for various platforms. It offers a robust set of tools and features for game development, including a visual editor, asset store, and comprehensive scripting support (C#, JavaScript, and Boo), making it suitable for projects of all sizes and genres. Recently, he also offered a robust drama to the community.

Unreal Engine: Unreal Engine is a powerful game development framework known for its high-fidelity graphics and advanced features. Indie developers can use Unreal Engine to create visually stunning 3D games with its intuitive editor, Blueprint visual scripting system, and extensive library of assets and plugins, making it an attractive choice for ambitious projects. Fortnite is a well know game made with Unreal.

User Interface: The user interface (UI) is the system of menus, buttons, and visual elements that players interact with to navigate the game’s features and settings. Indie developers must design intuitive and responsive UIs to enhance accessibility, streamline gameplay, and maintain consistency with the game’s aesthetic and theme. I’m writing a newsletter about UI Design in video games.

UV Map: A UV map is a two-dimensional representation of the surface of a three-dimensional object, used to texture-map the object accurately.


Virtual reality: Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that immerses players in a simulated environment through specialized hardware, such as headsets and motion controllers. Indie developers may create VR experiences to explore innovative gameplay mechanics, enhance immersion, and push the boundaries of interactive storytelling.


WP: “Well played” is a phrase commonly used in multiplayer games to compliment an opponent’s skill, strategy, or performance.


XP: XP, or experience points, is a numerical value awarded to players in many role-playing and adventure games as they progress through the game. Accumulating XP typically allows players to level up, unlocking new abilities, improving stats, or accessing additional content.


Y-axis: The Y-axis refers to the vertical dimension in a game’s coordinate system, with values increasing or decreasing vertically.