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Dev Diary: The Vernacular Of Riddick Dark Athena

What kind of ridiculous terminology arises during a game's heated development? Starbreeze weighs in.

It's Friday, and you know what that means: Time for another installment in our series of developer diaries from Starbreeze Studios, the makers of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. This week, the boys from Sweden run down some of the more colorful terms that come into usage during the high-pressure months leading up to a game's completion.

We'll be back next week with the fourth and final diary. We've also got a final build of the game in-house, so we'll weigh in with a full review of Riddick in advance of the game's April 7 ship date.

The "N" Word


Martin Annander
Gameplay Designer, Starbreeze Studios

With contributions by

Johan Althoff
Sound Director, Starbreeze Studios

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No, this doesn't refer to what you think it does. Among programmers, "nuking" something refers to removing it completely. If you nuke an event, for example, you remove it from the game and make sure the flow stays interesting without it. It's on par with the KYD expression from marketing: "Kill Your Darlings."

But "nuking" is far from the only word in the Starbreeze patois.

"Bitrot"
A data disease that strikes when code hasn't been given its due attention in a while.

"Fniss"
Most likely a simple mistake, easily fixed once someone can be bothered to take a look at it. From the Swedish word for snickering.

"Krick" (adj. Krickad, verb Kricka or Kricka ur)
Out of whack, broken, hasn't recently been shown the appropriate amount of love. Usually the result of bitrot.

"Hirr"
Yet another in a string of indications that a particular system is a can-of-worms and in dire need of an overhaul.

"Stolpskott"
A failed action that causes some humiliation to the performer. You can also be a Stolpskott. Not a nice thing to say.

"Kodfel" (Eng. "code error" or "code problem")
The collective term for a bug or error you don't understand, or don't consider to be your responsibility. It's vaguely similar to Douglas Adams' SEP (Sombody Else's Problem).

"Steka" (Eng. "deep fry", primarily used by audio people)
The likely result of a request to make a sound BIG-GER. Usually involves pushing all sliders to their maximum value, regardless of their effect.

"Pimpa" (from Eng. verb "pimp" or "pimp out")
Inherently vague, the term refers to the subtle art of improving a sound without really doing anything. Most often, it involves moving a few elements slightly to the left, or raising the volume by an undetectable amount. Makes a huge difference.

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"Tårta" (Eng. "cake")
The dreaded result of over-pimping a sound, or adding too many elements to a mix. The project then ends up in an irrevocable state of chaos. Once your mix has become a Tårta, it cannot be undone, and you have to start from scratch, usually with an inferior result.

"Priblem"
This not an expression as much as a cipher. It shouldn't be a problem to understand what the hidden word really is.

"Borken"
As part of the popular Internet misspelling conspiracy, borken really means broken and it's usually either krick or fniss.

"You're a ..."
An automatic, almost instinctive response to any question or statement that twists the reply back to the inquirer. If someone asked, "Which dialogue number is it for the VO?" he'd be answered with "You're a VO dialogue number."

Personally, I'm mostly targeted with the worldwide derogative term "fanboy" whenever people pass my desk and notice the Master Chief helmet. I've already stopped explaining why the accusations are unfair, of course. It's futile. Once the wolves find a sheep among them... Well. I think you can see the consequences.

Of course, the accusations are quite unfair and it's my hope that someone will be on my side, eventually. Until then, I'll avoid as much bitrot fniss as I possibly can by telling the responsible stolpskotts: you're a fanboy!


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