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This glossary explains some common terms and abbreviations related to Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead briefly.

Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead itself

Cataclysm DDA
Abbreviation for “Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead”.
Abbreviation for “Message Of The Day”. In C:DDA the MOTD can be seen in the main menu and briefly shows the major changes in this version. The term “MOTD” is used by some other programs as well, maybe with the same or a slightly different meaning.


Friends and foes

Generic term for all sorts of enemies or friends which may or may not attack the player character. Most monsters are hostile towards the player character. Importantly, all monsters are unlike the player character. This makes them different from NPCs. In C:DDA the term “monsters” does not restrict to living beings, even small creatures like squirrels, even robots are called “monsters” in C:DDA.
Slang term for “zombie”. The word “zed” probably comes from the fact that in console mode the symbol for zombies is the capital letter “Z”, which is also called “zed” in English.
Short for “Player Character”. It is the character which is controlled by the player.
Short for “Non-Player Character”. It is a character which has (more or less) the same abilities as the PC, but is controlled by the computer instead. See NPC.


Short for “Compact Bionics Module”. See Bionics.

Game concepts

Abbreviation for “Strength”. See Stats.
Abbreviation for “Dexterity”. See Stats.
Abbreviation for “Intelligence”. See Stats.
Abbreviation for “Perception”. See Stats.
Abbreviation for “Speed”.

Technical terms

Short for “random number generator”. A RNG creates a random number, like when you throw a dice. C:DDA uses these random numbers to determine success or failure of certain actions, like attacks, dodging, installing a bionic, etc. or to determine (to some degree) how much damage is dealt and to create the world and many other things.
Short for “Simple DirectMedia Layer”. SDL is a software library which is used (besides other uses) for 2D graphics. C:DDA uses SDL optionally to draw graphical tiles.
Vi keys
The keyboard keys “h”, “j”, “k” and “l”. They stand for the directions left, down, up and right, respectively. “Vi” is the name of a text editor which uses these key bindings to move the cursor in the said directions.