An alternate mode (commonly shortened to "altmode" or "alt mode") is a term used to describe a Transformer's non-humanoid form, whether it be vehicle, animal, or otherwise.
Some Transformers don't have a humanoid form, so in those special cases, the altmode is perceived to be the mode which is more geared towards utility or disguise while their robot mode is the one geared more towards interaction with other Transformers. For example, for the G1 characters Laserbeak and Ravage, their animal forms are their primary mode, and the cassettes their alternate modes. Even Grand Slam and Raindance, who transform from cassettes to vehicles, would be thought of as having a cassette alternate mode, as their vehicle forms -- while not humanoid or animalistic -- are at least self-mobile.
For humans, the "altmode" is usually their civilian mode if they have a more famous "Codename" mode, and sometimes a mode3 for a special but seldom used outfit that provides special abilities. For example, General Hawk's default mode is "Hawk"; his second mode is General Abernathy, and his third mode is his flying jetpack outfit.
|This page uses content from Teletraan I: The Transformers Wiki. The original article was at Alternate mode.