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The EFG Glossary

Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


Spawn Location

The areas where players, threats, or resources return to play after being either defeated or collected. Spawn Locations are sometimes marked if they are commonly used during play.

Spawn Camping

Spawn Camping is the behavior, sometimes unintended but often malicious, of staying near or directly on a Spawn Location in an attempt to gain an advantage, either in defeating players or collecting resources.

Spawn Camping in multiplayer games is often considered bad sportsmanship by players.

Example:

There are dedicated spawn locations on Overwatch maps that change as objectives are completed.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


This week the EFG Staff is going to define (and help explain the different between) Roguelikes and Roguelites.

These two popular genres are VERY similar, but the terms are not interchangable.

They share the same roots as they are inspired by the game “Rogue: Exploring the Dungeons of Doom.”

Rogue is an adventure game where you control a character who is trying to get to the various levels of a dungeon seeking treasure. Sounds normal right?

It is. BUT, the big difference between Rogue and most newer games is that when you die in Rogue you have to start over. No matter what. Every death in the game is permanent.

Rogue!

Roguelike

RogueLIKE games are just what they sound like. They are modern games that are … like rogue. Death is permanent and you don’t get to keep anything when you start over.

Roguelite

RogueLITE games are different because while you are playing you can earn powers, treasures, or currency to help increase your power for subsequent runs. You are able to build your power between runs so that you can move further into the dungeon/castle/whatever on subsequent lives. Example: Rogue Legacy, Dead Cells, Star Renegades

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to both video games and board games: Polyomino.

A Polyomino is a geometric shape made up of a group of equal squares touching on their edges.

These shapes are very important to the game design world because of all the different ways that they can be pieced together into a bigger puzzle.

The best, and most popular, example is Tetris. In Tetris, five different polyominoes that each contain four equal squares (called tetrominoes) fall from the top of the screen. Players are tasked with interlocking them at the bottom of the screen with as few holes as possible. Any complete rows that the player creates are cleared from the board as a reward.

The shapes in Tetris even have names. There was a meme that flew around in the last year or so that came just short of personifying them, but their names are straightforward.

  • Square
  • L
  • Skew
  • T
  • Straight

Polyominoes are also quite popular in the board game space. Part of this is because their shapes make great plastic and cardboard components. Their flat surfaces are also a great place to showcase interesting artwork or bright colors. The design reason is simple. The number of different available shapes is relatively small (especially if they are all made of a smaller number of equal squares), and the number of ways that they can be interlocked is vast. This leads to wide variety in game play situations.

Suggested Activities

Polyominoes are a great learning tool and there are all sorts of activities on the web that you can do with your kids.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


This week the EFG staff is going to define the term “Invincibility Frames!”

Invincibility Frames are a short period of time, lasting one frame of animation, often after the player has suffered an error or negative consequence, where players can briefly not suffer the same or similar consequence.

For the every day gamer, invincibility frames allow for players to have a moment to collect themselves after an unlucky sequence of play. Getting hit by a red shell in Mario Kart or coming back to the stage after losing a life in Smash Brothers Ultimate will both result in a moment where the you can get back into the game without other players effecting you.

This is a video that teaches how to create Invincibility Frames in GameMaker, but it also serves to explain how it all works.

Invincibility frames are often indicated visually, with the character briefly flashing a different color or becoming transparent. Occasionally, there might also be a sound effect such as when Mario shrinking down from his mushroom power.

In more advanced play, players may injure themselves intentional to use their invincibility frames to their advantage during play. This is often referred to as “Damage Boosting.”

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!

This week we are going to define pixels! Pixels aren’t talked about very often, but they are relevant when we talk about resolutions on modern consoles and the art on older games.

But… What are pixels exactly? Why were they called pixels in the first place?

Pixels

The term Pixel has a number of different definitions depending on the context. In general though, pixels are the basic building blocks of digital images.

The word “pixel” was first published by Frederic C. Billingsley of JPL in 1965. He used the term to help describe the different picture elements of video images from space probes to the Moon and Mars. You see, these pictures and images from back then weren’t exactly the hi-res images we get from Mars. They weren’t even as good as the images we received from the Rosetta probe as it crashed into a comet. He used the term Pixel (“pix” being short for “pics” and “el” being short for “element”) to help refer to the component parts of the images they received.

The volume of pixels in an image help to determine how clear the image is. More pixels also gives a greater likelihood that the captured image will be accurate compared to the subject.

More pixels means better-looking images and more clear animations. Just compare an image of Super Mario running in the original Super Mario Bros. Game and compare it to the same animation in New Super Mario Bros. Wii U. The Wii U is a much more powerful machine so it can display more pixels on the screen. As a result, Mario’s run animation is clearer.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!

This week we are going to define the game design term “gameplay loop.” This is, admittedly, a heavier word than we have defined before, but understanding what a gameplay loop is will help understand the games that our kids (and we) play a great deal!


A Gameplay Loop is a game design term that is used to describe the repetitive activities that a player will take while playing a game. It, essentially, defines what the player DOES while playing. Every level you complete in Super Mario Run, Pokemon you catch in Pokemon Go, and level you gain in Final Fantasy XV is an example of one (or more) gameplay loops.

Example

One gameplay loop example from a shooting game might work like this: (Shout out to Morten Grauballe for the killer example.)

  • a target appears
  • you aim at the target
  • you pull the trigger
  • the projectile moves towards the target
  • you hit the target
  • the target loses life

This is a “core” gameplay loop because, with a shooter, this is the activity that a player will be doing most often. It is worth noting, though, that games will often have more than one loop going at the same time. This is especially true in more complex games like RPGs.

Take a look a this example of a gameplay loop you might take from the game World of Warcraft. This is very complex game so each of these steps might include several other smaller loops that players would complete in the process.

  • You enter a new zone
  • You gather all of the quests from all of the different NPCs in the first quest hub
  • You move around the zone completing quest objectives
  • You return to the quest hub
  • You turn in all of the quests you have completed and collect your rewards
  • You move to the next quest hub
  • … and so on.

Thinking critically about the games our kids play and the way that our kids play them provides great insight. It is also a great way to connect with them. You’ll understand the games they enjoy better. You might even enjoy them a little better too!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


Video games, especially online games, provide players with great opportunities for self-expression.

  • Players can create avatars that look like them (or not).
  • Players can obtain skins to give those avatars exactly the style they want.
  • They can also obtain Emotes.

Emoting, at least in the context of acting, is all about expressing emotions and Emotes in games serve that very purpose. They can help express the joy of victory, the agony of defeat, the bond of friendship and much, much more.



Some emotes, like the infamous dances in Fortnite are more complex, (Look, I’m not a psychologist) but they are certainly an espression of SOMETHING, even if it is just a party.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


An avatar is a graphical representation of a user or the user’s persona. Avatars can be two-dimentional (like a profile picture) or a three-dimensional forms in games like Fortnite or World of Warcraft.

The term has Hindu origins where it refers to the “descent” of a deity into an earthly form. But, it was adapted to video game and computer culture by Richard Garriot (the man behind the Ultima franchise) in 1985. He used the term in an Ultima game to encourage players to imagine their character within the game to be an extension of themselves within the game world. He felt that this would force players to express their own ethics and morals through the challenges he put into the game.

The emergence (and dominance) of online games has likewise increased the importance of avatars in daily life. Our kids spend hours and hours collecting bells in Animal Crossing so they can buy the perfect outfit from the Able sisters. They’ve asked us (frequently) for money so they can buy Vbucks in Fortnite so they can grab the latest skins.

These avatars give players a wonderful opportunity for self-expression. It lets them see themselves within the game as they are OR as they want to be.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

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