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I am currently developing an Android game that will have two mods: Timed and Endless.

In Timed mode you have 1 minute to complete as much items as you can. In Endless mode, you have 5 seconds to complete an item, but as long as you can keep up the game never ends.

Is the word Endless correct to describe this method? What would be a better one?


EDIT: I'd like to thank you all for your answers and opinions; as some of you have noted there is no one correct answer, but a choice of mine. I'm walking away with a lot of good options on my hand thanks to you.

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Welcome to English Language & Usage! Is there any particular reason you're not sure of Endless? Does it sound odd or off to you for any reason? – SuperBiasedMan Feb 25 at 10:42
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Thank you for the warm welcome! It sounds kind of odd to me, it feels like it does not explain the gameplay of the mode. English is not my native language, so I just figured I should ask the experts :) – Erkan Haspulat Feb 25 at 11:04
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@ErkanHaspulat I've seen Endless used in games, but more commonly Survival Mode. If you use the latter then your users are most likely to immediately understand what the mode will be about. – JBentley Feb 25 at 13:21
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I've seen use of 'Marathon' mode on a few games for an Endless variant, however it does give me a sense of a distant target, rather than continual play. – SeanR Feb 25 at 13:34
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Could you call the mode infinity? I don't play video games, well I stopped playing after the release of Nintendo's Majora's mask a long time ago... eek! – Mari-Lou A Feb 25 at 15:52

10 Answers 10

up vote 41 down vote accepted

Endless mode is commonly used in video games, and so is survival mode, which sounds a bit more exciting – how long can you last? Infinite is also sometimes used.

Of course, you can call it what you like. There's no single correct answer. You could even make up a new name like panic mode if it fit the atmosphere of your game. A more restrained suggestion like untimed might work best if it's a relaxed game with no pressure – play as long as you like, it's untimed!

So really, it's up to you as a game designer to pick the term that fits your game best. That said, my personal favorites are survival and endless. I usually end up using one of those two terms when I'm talking to my friends, no matter what the author of the game chose to call it.

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Nice answer I think. – Rathony Feb 25 at 12:21
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Not worth an answer of its own, but I've heard this called endurance, too. "panic" would suggest that time constraints are getting tighter, whilst "endurance" would suggest that the challenges are getting tougher. – ymbirtt Feb 25 at 14:04
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Considering the description the OP gives of the game, Survival seems the most applicable. – Cronax Feb 25 at 15:37
    
Not sure what the game is, but I think panic mode would be cool new mode. starts out at 5 seconds, then 4.9 then 4.8.... How low can you go? And for how long. Maybe if they fail they gain a 10th of losing. Gets them an average of how good they are... – Dan Shaffer Feb 25 at 19:37
    
@DanShaffer, it's a bit off-topic, but if you drop by a fixed amount each time you set a finite maximum to how long they can go. If you instead have the "time to live" drop by a fixed ratio each time, say multiply it by 0.98 after each item, that might work better. – Wildcard Feb 26 at 3:18

Coming from a game lexicon point of view, there's a common term that is applied to games like this - "Endurance Mode".

Games in Endurance Mode are testing just that - your Endurance. Typically you're given the ability to build your 'character' or 'building' or whatever you happen to be using in the game up to its peak performance, and are then given an endless stream of challenges, to see how long you can last in that mode.

Some games that use this terminology are Dominion Tower and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

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"Marathon Mode" is also another term, as marathons require high endurance. – ndenarodev Feb 25 at 14:30
    
@ndenarodev I'd call that a good, but separate, answer. One that you should definitely post. ;) – Zibbobz Feb 25 at 16:22

A perpetual mode, perhaps!

  1. Occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted

[ODO]

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Thank you for the answer, I'll choose between perpetual or endless. – Erkan Haspulat Feb 25 at 11:10
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IMO, endless might come off as never-ending. On the other hand, perpetual is only seemingly endless, with chances of the game coming to a closure if users fail to meet the game rules. Whatever works for you.... – BiscuitBoy Feb 25 at 11:19

Depending on the kind of game, it could be called Arcade-Mode.

Especially what you are describing actually IS an arcade mode.

An arcade game is known for its increasing difficulty, while you just have short time to get the next checkpoint giving you some additional time.

But they are never "endless"1, even more they are pretty shortlived. So the terms are not synonym, although in theory the arcademode could be played endless.


1endless-mode would let me first think of something like simcity in a mode without any dangers

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+1 This is what I had in mind, but failed to word it. – NVZ Feb 25 at 13:35
    
There's other connotations to Arcade Mode that don't quite fit into this description - some Fighting Games, for example, would be considered in 'arcade mode' if they simply cut out all the story cutscenes and play through each fight, but still end after the same number of fights. – Zibbobz Feb 25 at 14:08
    
@Zibbobz: thats why I said they are not synonym but anyway his game doesn't appear to be a fight game and so it is still to be considered an arcade mode. – Zaibis Feb 25 at 14:10
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@Zaibis Right, it has to be contextually appropriate for the type of game - it's entirely dependent on that context. So while for the original asker it would work, in a more general sense, it would not. – Zibbobz Feb 25 at 14:14

Consider non-stop action.

done or made without stopping; not stopping

Limitless, Unlimited, Infinite etc. sounds cool to me. In the end, it's always up to the game designer. Maybe you could come up with some new words, too.

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In some games, you can stop (pause) when playing either a timed game or non-timed game. – Rathony Feb 25 at 12:12
    
@Rathony Touché. But I have played some non-stop games with pause allowed in the past - names I can't remember. – NVZ Feb 25 at 12:17
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I read "non-stop" as implying that there's constant action while playing, but it does eventually stop. E.g. A non-stop action thriller movie is rarely more than 2 hours. Or if you take a non-stop flight from New York to L.A., it doesn't mean you'll be expected to leave the plane via parachute... – Darrel Hoffman Feb 25 at 17:20

You could use the adjective Continuous, meaning it's ongoing:

uninterrupted in time; without cessation

Source

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You could consider using "non-timed" which is the exact opposite of "timed". It is broadly used term as shown in the linked question on Chess Stack Exchange.

Is a timed game less strategic than a non-timed game?.

Another usage example:

Timed questions, where the length of time can be adjusted to the player's preference. A fun alternative to timed flash cards. A non-timed game option is also available.

[apkpure.com]

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As an engineer I like this because it is technically correct :) but since this is a game, choosing between "Timed" vs. "Non-Timed" on screen makes me feel a little... cold. – Erkan Haspulat Feb 25 at 11:01
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@ErkanHaspulat The word endless has a connotation that implies the game never ends. It is the best adjective that you can use to mean what you want to mean IMHO. – Rathony Feb 25 at 11:03

A lot of answers here suggest various synonyms of Endless, which make sense from an English Language point of view, but not too much from a video gaming point of view.

Endless would work fine to name the mode you described, as there is essentially no end to it.

Free Play might work, but the still timed nature of the mode might mean that doesn't fit as well.

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Although there is no pre-defined limit to your Endless game, if the player is human there is presumably a physical limit that will end the game.

In this respect it reminds me of the beep test, which similarly only ends when you don't complete a single run in time. This might not be very useful unless your game has some sort of running theme, but calling it Paced mode might work.

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you could almost describe it as 'CHAIN' mode - it's a chain of actions, each with a 5-second window for completion, and each time you complete one you move on, linking the actions together in a chain, like a combo in a fighting game.

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