resource: https://moapyr.fandom.com/wiki/Boidmachine

I know what's "machine", but what's "boid"?

I found nearly nothing it in quite a few dictionaries.

According to "Webster's Third New International Dictionary", "boid"'s etymology is "Boidae" (New Latin), the latter of which is a large nonvenomous snake.

According to https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=boid, "boid" has three definitions:

  1. to take the mik out of somone really bad

  2. Slang for "Bird", usually used by one who has a horrible, stereotypical New Yorker accent.

  3. Boid is an anagram for the phrase "blacked out in a ditch." The last two letters can be substituted for any number of different things, such as boib or boor (blacked out in a bush and blacked out on a roof, respectively).

  • 2
    Heads up: Your username and question style appear unusually similar to another user. If you have other accounts on this site, please use the Help Center contact form to request a merge of your accounts. StackExchange doesn't encourage having multiple accounts for the same user.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 19, 2020 at 6:12
  • @EddieKal 1 Yes, but I forget the password of my old account. And that's why I haven't been here for quite a long time. 2 Therefore I'm surprised that I'm remembered. 3 As a learner, I'm eager to learn your way of describing the similarities you've noticed. So please write something. 4 It's 10:00 pm now. I'll try your advice tomorrow.
    – Zhang Jian
    Jun 19, 2020 at 14:02
  • 4
    1. Just use the link I showed you, and the site managers should be able to help you merge your accounts. 2. Both accounts have had questions that made it to the Hot Network Questions list. As moderators, we take notice of these things. 3. Your username is pretty easily identifiable, so are your questions. You apparently tend to ask questions about traditional Chinese culture. Also your questions are all fairly well thought-out and detailed. I appreciate that. We need more users who post high quality questions.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 19, 2020 at 15:24
  • don't you mean acronym instead of anagram?
    – gelonida
    Jun 22, 2020 at 0:43
  • @gelonidag I just copied the three definitions from Urban Dictionary.
    – Zhang Jian
    Jun 22, 2020 at 2:19

3 Answers 3


Okay, this is not standard English at all - it's a chain of jargon and in-jokes from the field of artificial intelligence (and computer graphics) that dates back a few decades.

First of all, the word "bird" in some New York City dialects is pronounced similarly to "boid" - linguists would say that those accents are non-rhotic (that is, they drop the /r/ sound).

Second, when a computer scientist named Craig Reynolds in the 1980's started developing algorithms that mimicked flocks of birds, he called the individual particles boids, which both imitates the New York City pronunciation of "bird" and is an abbreviation of "bird-oid object," using the suffix -oid, which means "something that resembles a specified object."

Reynolds' flocking algorithm has been enormously influential in the field of artificial intelligence (generally, this sub-field is called swarm intelligence) and computer graphics (in the field of particle systems). Anyone who has done serious programming in this area would be familiar with Reynolds' boids (personally, I've implemented variations on his algorithm two or three times over the years).

Your link says that the "Boidmachine" fires a "massive particle blast." I don't know how those particles act (never having played the game), but if they are at all self-directed and interact with each other in a swarm-like manner, then they are almost certainly using some particle system algorithm that is a distant relative of Craig Reynolds' original Boids algorithm. That would explain why it's a "Boidmachine" - it's a machine that fires boids (algorithmically swarming particles).

  • I love your answer, because I too remember playing with boids in the 80s and 90s. I also have not played the game in question, but reading the wiki description carefully, I do not think that it deploys algorithmically swarming particles. It is described as a particle beam cannon whose speciality is that it can hit anywhere on the battlefield no matter where it is deployed (although it is apparently more accurate if deployed at a high elevation). That sounds like a straight shot to me, not an algorithmic swarm of particles. Jun 19, 2020 at 20:05
  • Viewing this video, there is a clear image of a deployed Boidmachine at 1:24, then the video immediately slews to the target, where the player apparently clicks the target and it's instantly hit. No sign of a swarm. Jun 19, 2020 at 20:11
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    @Lambie - While I'm sympathetic to your distinction between accent and dialect (though some experts do really refer to New York City English as a "dialect" of English), I do totally disagree with the idea that this is a Yiddish thing. See, for example, this New York Post article that uses "the oily boid gets the woim" as an example of a part of the historic "classic Noo Yawk accent." Jun 21, 2020 at 0:40
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    @RossPresser - Okay, I see that these are not algorithmically swarming particles. I still think it's likely that the origin of this does trace back to the original Reynolds algorithm, perhaps through other places where boid has been used in computer gaming, such as the Half Life game. Jun 21, 2020 at 0:42
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    The point is that this feature called the coil-curl merger is only found in older adults from Brooklyn mostly, and is almost not heard anymore. And if you listen to the speech in The Sopranos (even though they are in Jersey), there is no oi for er or ur. People who say Noo Yawk don't say oily boid. I know because I was a New Yorker for many years.
    – Lambie
    Jun 21, 2020 at 14:53

The names of things in works of fiction (books, movies, tv or (as here) video games) aren't necessarily based on or related to anything in real life. 'Boid' may have some meaning in the world of the game, but it (probably) doesn't in real life.

  • @user3067860 We can all see the other answer, which contradicts this one. (Personally, I'm not 100% convinced.) Do you have any evidence to add?
    – David K
    Jun 19, 2020 at 21:33
  • @DavidK Ok, during my intro CS class (mandatory for the whole department at a large public university, including transfer students) approximately a decade ago, they demonstrated boids and talked about flocking simulations. So at least a couple hundred students from my year know what a boid is. But the person who posted this answer may not have returned to see a contradictory answer, and frankly "I've never heard of it so it probably doesn't exist" is a pretty low quality answer. Jun 20, 2020 at 22:32
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    @user3067860 Sorry, I should have been clearer. The second posted answer is well documented and leaves no doubt about what a boid is in AI and computer graphics. What I am not 100% convinced about is whether the Boidmachine has anything to do with Reynolds' boids. See the comments under that answer. Another more recent answer makes an interesting case that the Boidmachine is named after a kind of snake, although in that case it should be pronounced "bo-id" (two syllables).
    – David K
    Jun 20, 2020 at 23:30
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    If the actual etymology of Boidmachine is that some game designer thought that combining "boid" and "machine" sounded cool, without regard to any meaning that the word "boid" might (coincidentally) have in real life, then this answer would be essentially correct--even if that game designer was in the same room with you when you learned about boids.
    – David K
    Jun 20, 2020 at 23:36
  • Thank you for all that information. I couldn't say that boid has no meaning in real life, so I added (probably). I'll stand by my first sentence, though.
    – Sydney
    Jun 21, 2020 at 11:01

"Boidmachine" is a made-up word, obviously. As I was told, "boid" here stands for "boidae snake", and there are two reasons for that: first, most units of this faction are named after extinct animals, reptiles and so on, it's kind of a theme, and second, the projectile this machine shoots makes an arch that resembles a giant snake.

In general, Mental Omega is not the best starting point for learning English given the weird made-up unit names it has. But it's a good game though :P

  • 1
    Mental Omega may not be the best starting point for learning English, but writing an article on it in English is definitely a good point. And here is my paper, which you may be interested: forums.revora.net/topic/…
    – Zhang Jian
    Jul 9, 2020 at 5:39

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