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I'm a programmer and like to name my variables as accurately as possible (who knows who will be reading my code in a few years' time?)

I've been thinking about sports video games recently, and have thought about the idea of a generic sports game engine. Most sports games have an arena, crowds, a playing surface and players. They also have a puck, ball, discus, javelin, etc. and this has me wondering: What is a generic term for this object? Something that could transcend all sports.

Edit: Since it seems there may be no exact term for this type of object, I'd gladly settle for some sort of analog.

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    Would the arrow in archery belong in this group?
    – Mitch
    Jul 22, 2011 at 20:46

5 Answers 5

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How about the "mark" - meaning a target?

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  • This is a really good one too.
    – Soviut
    Jul 22, 2011 at 21:46
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    Usually the puck or ball is not the target. The puck or ball is the projectile that is aimed at a target, such as a net or goal.
    – oosterwal
    Jul 22, 2011 at 23:22
  • @oosterwal I was using mark as more of a generic term. Here is a contextual example, which I could have included originally - "keep your eye on the mark", and "target" meaning the target recepient object of some action, for example, hitting with a bat.
    – Rachel
    Jul 24, 2011 at 3:42
  • I agree with Rachel. I wasn't talking about the goal/net, I was talking about the puck/ball/golden snitch. The object that is neither player, nor implement, but the device which can score a goal/point/etc.
    – Soviut
    Jan 19, 2012 at 11:26
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Use "projectile." This covers anything that is thrown, hit, shot, hurled, tossed, etc.

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  • Actually, this isn't far off! Congrats!
    – Daniel
    Jul 23, 2011 at 14:36
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There isn't one. Just use "ball" and have some comments.

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    True but disappointing. Soviut, the English language has failed you! ;)
    – Daniel
    Jul 22, 2011 at 11:59
  • I guess that's why I prefer programming languages then ;)
    – Soviut
    Jul 22, 2011 at 18:46
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Since the item you are talking about is usually what two or more people fight for mastery over, what about something like object of contention?

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Good question. In Finnish we call any puck, ball or similar by the general term "peliväline" but there seems to be no English translation for this. I´m surprised!

Literal translation would be maybe "game device" or "sport apparatus"

I´m not sure either is helpful because they´re not really used.

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  • Well, peliväline can be used for this, but it is not limited to just the "projectiles" - even the New Dictionary of Modern Finnish gives the example ~"Sticks/bats and other [game devices]". Jan 9, 2017 at 19:21

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