Heads Up! Your favorite HUD

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  • Clear information is critical in any game. For reasons that would take up at least a chapter in a book, a HUD or other information on-screen can hinder a game horribly; so much so that the player may literally not know what to do.

    I remember my first ventures into RPGs...I couldn't get into them because the oddly-named items left me scratching my head as to what their purpose was. That's just one example (albeit, in a sub-menu rather than a HUD).

    So I was wondering what games stand out to you with the most interesting, useful, creative, informative, and/or otherwise unique HUD system (or, if you like, menu system).

    For me, it would be the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Not content with simply putting the player in the (GORGEOUS) Samus Aran's head, we got to see what life was like in her suit. The subtle motion delay of the visor information following along with Aran's turning of her head just added to that realism. The HUD wasn't forced - and you could adjust the opacity and motion delay settings, too - and presented easy-to-comprehend information on the fly. And that's not to mention the AMAZING menu system for accessing an Encyclopedia-worth of info on the story, creatures, and more. (Granted, I didn't totally care for MP2's whirly-wig node style, but it certainly was original. And while it wasn't bad, the map system never felt 100% what it ought to be.)

    Now it's your turn! Aaaaand GO!

  • Well, I think there is a general push in games now to reduce the hud as much as possible, and integrate it as part of the game world. Metroid Prime is a poor example of the former, but an excellant example of the latter...though I can see how it might look a bit overbearing to some. Remember those massive huds some of the early pc fps games used?:

    Or even nowadays:

    And, of course, then there's WOW:

    Anyway, all gags aside...it's trickier for games that need to present a lot of information, like rpg's and, at the extreme end, strategy games. Also, it's harder to eschew onscreen huds when you are doing a non fps game, or need to communicate anything more than player health.

    I'm really stuggling with this right now with my multidirectional shooter. I don't like sticking clutter anywhere on my screen, but I need the info there. It's all about finding the least intrusive way to do it.

  • TiAm - Metroid Prime was a bad example?!? BLASPHEMY! ... Okay, lol, seriously, why do you feel that way?

    I remember games like the DKC trilogy (now a quintrilogy) that only brought info on-screen from the edges when an item was collected. Otherwise, it was all gameplay from start to finish. Might that be a solution for your current troubles?

  • I'd have thought the older games massive H.U.D's were a technical decision to reduce the amount of rendering in them thar early 3D days...

    So for that reason I will say Doom HUD is my fave, as it was minimalist but to the point also showed your bloodied mugshot as you got fragged up, always nice...

  • Rhindon:

    Actually, no, I think the metroid prime hud is great...but it's definitely not 'minimal'.

    I'm playing around with a 'disappearing' hud now, but...meh...still tinkering.

    pixel perfick

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And, I'll concede that system shock is a bit of a cheap shot since it was very complex game. I could never really get into doom for some reason, but I do remember the bloody face thing.

    It occurs to me though...I can't really think of any hud I actually 'liked'. I guess the best hud is one that doesn't interfere or distract, and maybe even adds to the experience.

    Hmm...actually, I do remember liking the way GoW did the hud, how it would go away when there weren't enemies around, and how the camera would reframe in a really cinematic way for setpieces and the like. And the hud/menu system for Resident Evil 4 was cool, especially how you had to arrange things in your suitcase so they would fit.

    Though...I wonder...where was leon keeping that suitcase?

  • All a can say of WoW is WOW! (although probably not in the way they envision).

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  • I also really like this portrait stuff you mentioned for Doom, especially in RTS games like starcraft. But my absolut favorite was "Z".

    A super great game btw.

    This robot dudes with their super stuupid comments really rock!

  • The general rule is this: show data through the aesthetics if possible (graphics, sounds) but if that won't be clear enough then do it through HUD/UI/text/bars/icons as a last resort (and only when the player needs it!).

    You'll notice over the history of videogames that we've been able to show a lot more data through just graphics (sprites, environments, models etc.) and not having to use text as often, only having to give out the text data when it is appropriate to so.

    Btw, this is not C2 related discussion but a matter of game design in general.

  • - Agreed on the HUD points. I'm still working out in my head how to work the HUD for my main project. My main character is a robot, so I'm trying to incorporate just enough that relays that "you're playing the role of a robot" notion. Where the HUD elements fit naturally and don't feel forced or lacking.

    And, yeah, I know this isn't specifically C2 related, but I didn't know where else to put it. At any rate, I wanted to generate discussion where more ideas would pool in. I just don't seem to see enough of that going on in here.

    TiAm - *chuckles* Okay, if not "minimal", how about "unobtrusive"?

  • I've never played WoW. Is that really what the HUD looks like, or is that an extreme example? I think I would have an aneurysm if i had to play like that.

  • Wastrel - I had about the same reaction. I like lots of action, but that's just insane! I'd have to put half my brain on auxiliary just to keep from shutting down completely.

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