Just to clarify, the text I'm reading defines the lifecycle of a program as:
-source code
-object file

In gaming terms would this be comparable to:

-an Italian plumber goes on an adventure to save a princess from evil turtles and mushrooms.
-sketch out level designs. Write pseudocode.
-create the actual program codes that make the game work (the real coding).
-compile all code into an obj.
-export obj to an exe people can run. Self contained file you sell or burn to dvd etc.

Is that about right?
Also how does that translate over to online gaming with things like x-box live, or PC MMO's?

commented: Interesting question. +6

I am not sure what you mean by "gaming terms" or "how does that translate over to online gaming", but it is not entirely right, technically it would be

-object file

there is also the debugging processes, but that doesn't really follow a linear order like the rest.

I meant 'gaming terms' as in a practical sense. Used in a real world scenario such as developing a game.
I tried to show an example, but I assume I've made errors. My example was for a typical pc game, or console CD/cartridge.

I also wondered how this then applies to programs that run online play - talking to a central server exchanging information with other players. I'm just looking to get a general picture of how pieces fit together for now, I realize the details are beyond my comprehension at this stage.

I took a course in Systems Analysis and Design eons ago and was taught something like the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Development_Life_Cycle. I'm not a practitioner, so I don't know what people actually do, but that method of analysis abstracts it a bit from compilation and testing cycles, so it may not be exactly what you want.

commented: Payback for the other reps, thanks. +6