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  • Anti-Piracy - Technical efforts by developers and publishers to make games more difficult to copy and share without permission (that is, to pirate), or to induce frustration in those who play pirated copies; this does not include legal efforts or public information campaigns.
  • ASCII - A common encoding for strings using the lower 7 bits of a byte, from the American Standard Code for Information Interchange; various code pages expand this out to map as many characters as possible to a byte, and Unicode starts with this encoding, with valid ASCII text also being valid in UTF-8 (Unicode Transformation Format, 8-Bit).
  • Assembly - A set of human-readable aliases for machine code with references to CPU registers resolved by an assembler; the lowest level of coding for almost all purposes, common for old systems to get maximum performance. Can be undone, in a mostly automatic way, to create a disassembly.
  • Binary - Numbers in Base 2. Digits are either 0 or 1, known as bits.
  • Bit - Binary digit.
  • Buffer - Memory reserved to store output for a period of time before finding a more permanent place to store the image.
  • Byte - Group of 8 bits, the basic unit of most data storage (sometimes, individual bits store different data, and the byte is known as a bit field); originally a term for the amount of data a CPU could process in one instruction, but word size has replaced this usage (this is what it meant for some old consoles to be "8-bit" or "16-bit"), and it is rare to find a computer with a word size that is not a multiple of 4 bits (known as a nibble or nybble).
  • Cheat Engine - A proprietary Windows tool for modifying an application's memory area. (Official website)
  • Code Page - One of several 8-bit extensions of ASCII used by old computers to represent more characters; some code pages include drawing characters that the ISO 8859 series and Unicode would assign to higher code-points, if at all, so viewing some old games on newer computers using a different code page, or an ISO 8859 or Unicode encoding, will lead to strange text where the box-drawing characters were.
  • Compression - How data can be encoded while taking up less space than it would normally.
  • Crash - An error that leads to the game no longer being able to execute; on a modern computer or console, the game would close and the Operating System would display an error message, and in particularly bad cases, or in single-tasking OSes like DOS or older consoles without an OS, the system would be unusable until a reboot.
  • Decimal - Numbers in base 10. Digits are represented with the numbers 0 through 9.
  • Disassembly - The process of figuring out what assembly code could have created a given program, or machine code, so that others may better understand how the game works; also, the output of such a process, as a set of assembly language files. A program called a disassembler can automate most but not all of the work, and comments or variable names in the source code will not be preserved and must be figured out during a disassembly.
  • Encoding - How data is chosen to be represented. Commonly used for text representation.
  • Encryption - Applied to a piece of data to make it harder to find, especially without a tool.
  • Hang - An error that leads to execution halting, with a static image on the screen (the last thing rendered before the hang) and a buzzing sound (the last piece of audio played before the hang); a type of crash also known as a freeze or lock-up or hardlock (in contrast to a softlock) that requires a force-quit on modern computers and consoles, and a reboot otherwise.
  • Hexadecimal - Numbers in base 16. Digits are represented with the numbers 0 through 9, as well as the letters A through F (sometimes known as "hexits"). These can sometimes be represented by an '0x' prefix at the beginning of a number or an 'h' suffix. Most convenient for representing binary data in less space (one character instead of 4, for each 4 bits).
  • Hex Editor - A tool designed to view data byte-by-byte, as pairs of hexadecimal digits, and possibly as individual characters from a code page or as groups of the eight bits in a byte. One example is the freeware HxD.
  • ISO - Similar in nature to a ROM, an ISO contains data that originated from a CD, DVD, or other optical media; from the many standards for data storage on optical media that begin with "ISO", for the International Organization for Standardization (intentionally, the official abbreviation does not correspond exactly to the organization's name in any language, to avoid privileging any language).
  • Machine Code - The raw instructions interpreted by the hardware.
  • Monitor
    1. A physical display that shows graphics on the screen.
    2. A display showing activities going on within the program, usually for debugging purposes.
  • Octal - Numbers in base 8. Digits are represented with the numbers 0 through 7. After 7, 8 in decimal is 10 in octal, 9 in decimal is 11 in octal, etc. These can sometimes be represented by an '0' prefix at the beginning of a number or an 'o' suffix. Most commonly used in bit fields to represent file and directory permissions on Unix-like systems (the octal digits represent the owner, the owner's user-group, and the world of all users; for each octal digit, start with 0 and add 4 for read permission, 2 for write permission, and 1 for execute permission, which is also required to make a directory the working directory).
  • Offset - Where a piece of data or code can be located logically.
  • Palette - A selection of colors used for an image; a sprite may have different palettes applied to each copy to represent different characters known as palette-swaps of each other.
  • Prerelease - Things aren't present in the final game, including things that aren't in the game's data anymore.
  • ROM - A file that contains data from a cartridge, from the Read-Only Memory (ROM) chips that early cartridges used; a dump from a game card without its own PCB (printed circuit board) or ROM chips, but rather a later form of solid-state storage, is still known as a ROM.
  • SDK - Software Development Kit, a collection of tools, such as compilers, assemblers, linkers, and IDEs (Interactive Development Environments), and software libraries to more easily develop software for one or more systems.
  • Softlock - An error that leads the player to be unable to perform any action, while the game engine still runs; it may be possible to go back to the title screen or soft reset, and the line between a softlock and merely making the game unwinnable is blurry, but usually, if the player ends up in a confined space with no way out, it is considered a softlock even if the player can move around in that tiny space.
  • Sound - A pre-rendered audio file, or a sequence of synth instructions, that a game can load.
  • Source Code - The code in which a game was written, usually not made available to the public (a major exception being for open-source games); often relies heavily on a console-specific SDK and possibly cross-platform software libraries.
  • Sprite - A pre-rendered graphic placed on the screen independently of other graphics (rather than as part of a background layer), with animations provided by swapping with other graphics in a sprite sheet.
  • Strings - Textual data. Usually readable without special tools needed.
  • Texture - An image, often at low resolution, placed on a 3D model to provide extra detail at a lower cost than adding more polygons; also, a small image intended to be tiled as part of a 2D background layer (a type of tile).
  • Tile - A piece of image data used to make up a larger image.
  • Tile Viewer - A tool designed to interpret data graphically per a console's interpretation of data.
  • Unreleased - Games not officially released.
  • Unwinnable - Unable to have its victory condition met, whether as the result of developer oversight or a glitch; in particularly egregious cases, a game can be unwinnable regardless of the player's actions, but usually, a player would have to make an effort to make the game unwinnable, and a particularly keen developer will consider such situations and include anti-frustration features to always give the player a way out.