Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: 5 Franchise Acronyms Worth Knowing

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

Let’s take it easy this week with some brand name abbreviations for popular gaming franchises. You might already know some of them already!

COD = Call of Duty. Popular shooter series originally themed around battles of WWII, now exploring modern day militias and futuristic mercenaries.

GTA = Grand Theft Auto. The “go anywhere, do anything” satire of the American Dream.

FIFA = Fédération International de Football Association. The games share their name with the footballing body.

DMC = Devil May Cry. Japanese series with stylised visuals and Angels & Demons theme.

TES = The Elder Scrolls. A series of fantasy role-playing games with a sophisticated and complex lore.

Nice and easy this week, ay? Why not use all that spare brain power exploring our site over at GameHubHQ.com. We break video-games down into the categories you care about, so you can see exactly what is in a game and ensure it’s right for your family. No jargon, no fuss, just clear examples of the game’s content, explained in simple, easy to understand language. We play the games, so you don’t have too. Come take a look!

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Mod

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

Modding is one of the most important creative activities in gaming. A well made mod can be the ticket to a career as a professional games designer. Or, it can break your game so badly it never works again. So, what’s a mod?

What It Is: Mod – modification. A substantial change to a game’s code, created by a player rather than the studio which made the game.

What It Means: Mod is short-hand for modification, the end result of a process called modding. Modding is a form of co-creation, where a game’s creators will release the tools with which they made the original game, in order to allow their fans and players to make their own, new content to add in to the game. Some of the resulting mods are incredibly elaborate and skillful, with modding being one of the primary ways in which young coders, designers and artists practice their skills and refine their craft. The most ambitious and impressive mods often result in job offers for their makers.

Why You Care: Modded games have the potential to cause a lot of family tension. Modded content is added to the game by coder-players after the game has been released. Therefore, modded content is not covered in the official age ratings as displayed on the back of the box, nor is it subject to technical support. Mods can be downloaded that radically alter the content of the game, by changing, adding or removing story, graphical content and music. If a video-game becomes corrupted by a badly made user mod,  a refund will not be given. Mods are installed at the player’s own risk. Mods that add extreme levels of gore to a game are common-place, as are mods that add sexual elements such as prostitution. “Body-mods” may add genitalia to characters, or force all female characters in a game to go around topless. These kinds of mods may cause concern to parents and guardians. Modding is a rewarding, valuable and skilful past-time, with many players investing hours of their free time into creating attractive clothes and jewellery, or entertaining quest-lines for their fellow players to download and enjoy. A game which can be modded arguably extends its “playability” far further than a game that cannot be modded, as the player can simply download brand new fan-made content to add to their world. Parents and guardians should monitor the modded content their children are downloading into their games and be ready to have a conversation about anything they find concerning or surprising.

modded game
Some players create mods to add their favourite characters into a game. We’ve seen My Little Pony mods, Batman mods and Catwoman mods!

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: HUD

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

HUDs Up! …possibly?

What It Is: HUD = Heads Up Display

What It Means: HUD stands for Heads Up Display, an overlay that appears around the corners of the game’s screen, providing the most important information to play effectively. For racing games, this will be a dashboard, with accelerometer, speedo, fuel gauge etc, just like in a real car. A shooting game’s HUD might show the player a mini-map and an indicator showing when to reload. Some games do not have a HUD, instead showing vital information though visual or aural cues like flashing lights or warning bells. Learning to read a HUD is a crucial skill in gaming.

Why You Care: Parents often tell us that one of the reasons they dislike or are uncomfortable around games is the amount of “visual clutter” on the screen. It’s hard to relax and enjoy a game if you feel like your eyes are being constantly distracted by bells and whistles decorating every corner of your view. Skilled players are constantly reading the HUD, taking in it’s information and seamlessly adapting their strategies in response. New players find their eyes jumping between the “main action” and the HUD, slowing down their reaction times and confusing their fingers. Some games allow the player to turn off, resize or restyle items on the HUD to the player’s preferences, but this is not a common setting.

resize hud items
World of Tanks Blitz allows the player to resize items on the HUD.

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: AFK

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

This week, an important word relating to gaming etiquette and a note about aggression.

What It Is: AFK – Away From Keyboard

What It Means: AFK is a short acronym used as a courtesy to indicate the player will be temporarily “Away From Keyboard” – typically to perform some short-duration task such as answering the phone or going to the loo. Players who remain AFK for unreasonable amounts of time are usually removed from the game, a process called “kicking.” AFK is a catch-all; players using controllers or joysticks will also claim to be “AFK” when taking a short break.

Why You Care: Arguments often arise between parents and young people when online etiquette and real-world etiquette collide. It is extremely rude for a player to abandon an online game without warning in the middle of play. Worse still, it is unsportsmanlike, because it leaves their team a player down and this is often the difference between winning and losing. “Going AFK, 2mins brb!” is announcing that some unavoidable real-world distraction has occurred and must be dealt with. It is both an apology for the intrusion and a promise to return as soon as possible. If your teen or child is being short, snappish and impatient with you, visibly keen to end the conversation as quickly as possible and get back to the computer/console, it could be that they are worried about being AFK for longer than is politely acceptable. Try not to surprise your child with chores or requests in the middle of a play session – wait until the round ends (rounds are typically no longer than a few minutes for the majority of online competitive games) before posing your question or request. As the game is in a natural pause, it is far easier for the player to politely inform their team that they are permanently leaving the game for the day and a replacement player should be drafted in. In addition, the player will be far less prone to an irritable response to their real-world distractor. Online play is fast, frantic and highly charged, so distracting a player when they are “in the zone” will almost always make them cross-tempered and aggressive  – it is not the game creating an aggressive response, but the act of being distracted whilst in a state of high concentration. Interrupt a knitter reverently counting stitches or a golfer mid-swing, and you’ll see a very similar response!

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Clipping

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

Clipping. Done to sheep, dogs, wings and children with unruly fringes. But in games, its a pain in the bum. This week, we take you into the aggravating world of clipping.

What It Is: Clipping – a glitch in which two solid objects become embedded in one another.

What It Means: Digital items are not “solid.” There is very rarely such a thing as a solid object. Rather, an object is a shell, a digital mesh with a graphical skin stretched over it. Clipping occurs when the skin of an item, object or person is penetrated by another object, and becomes jammed in the empty space inside, unable to get back out. This can be both very funny and very annoying for players.

Why You Care: Clipping can cause players serious problems. If their character clips through a wall, the player may become completely stuck, unable to move in any direction and so forced to reload from a previous save. Clipping errors may be unrecoverable – e.g. every time the player loads up a saved game, their character immediately starts falling through endless space; because they have clipped through the floor, they will never land. Clipping can also facilitate cheating, by enabling players to walk or shoot through solid walls to access parts of the game where they shouldn’t or couldn’t normally be. Clipping can also cause important objects to fall through the floor or inside walls, making them impossible for the player to pick up. A well-polished game that has been through extensive bug-testing (a process called QA (Quality Assurance)) should not contain excessive clipping errors.

Gun Embedded In Wall (Attribution to Steam User
Gun Embedded In Wall
(Attribution to Steam User “Colt”)

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: WASD

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What the hell is a WASD? How do you even pronounce it? What does it mean? In this week’s Words Worth Knowing, we give the answer to that eternal question – what’s a wasd?

What It Is: WASD – Keyboard Buttons W, A, S, D {pron: “Wasda/Wosda/Wasdar”}

What It Means: WASD is a control scheme for games, indicating the player is using a keyboard and mouse setup, rather than a controller or gamepad.

Why You Care: The WASD control scheme is unique to PC gaming. A seasoned PC-gamer will, when presented with a keyboard, automatically move their hands into a WASD configuration for gaming. It refers to the use of the W, A, S & D keys in the top left of the keyboard for movement. W corresponds to upward movement, A left, D right  and S downwards. With it, there come some additional assumptions: Spacebar is always jump, CTRL or C usually crouch, E or F for Use/Interact, ESC will pause the game, and the other keys within close reach of the left hand will take the remaining important controls. The right hand sits on the mouse.  The majority of games  using keyboard input (though not all) will allow the player to reassign the controls to their preference, including the mouse, but the WASD configuration is the usual default. The process of reassigning keys is called remapping. This information is particularly relevant as accessibility info for players of limited physical movement, who may wish to remap a traditional WASD control scheme to better suit their needs, though players may have any number of comfort, convenience or control-based reasons to change away from the traditional WASD set-up. WASD can be reversed for left-handed players, with the left hand on the keys and the less dexterous right hand assigned to the mouse. GameHub HQ covers control schemes on a game by game basis – pick the game you want to know more about and navigate to the Accessbility section to find out how to play.

WASD hand forms
The world revolves around WASD.

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: IAPs

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

For our first word, we are going to hit you where it hurts, in the wallet! What is an IAP, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: IAPs = In-App Purchases

What It Means: Real world money paid for digital goods. This could be a new outfit for a character, an upgrade for  a weapon, a fee to remove advertisements or a new pack of levels. Often instead, the money is converted into a digital currency “coins” or “game dollars” or something similar and it is this money that is spent on the item.

Why You Care: In-App Purchases can get very expensive. Sums of up to £80 for one item pack are not uncommon and kids with quick fingers may not realise that they are spending real world money when they press that button! Getting to grips with your device’s parental controls is vital to avoid scary and surprising bills. Our research talking to families around the country reveals that sometimes children are suffering from peer-pressure bullying over not having the “right” outfit/weapon/etc for their character when playing with friends, and sometimes this can be a driving factor in their desire for a particular digital good. Talking to children about why they are interested in purchasing digital goods can help parents understand their rational, as well giving parents the opportunity to to impress on their child that these IAPs cost real world money which cannot be reclaimed and spent outside the game.