H.U.D (also known as Heads-Up Display) is used in nearly every game possible. This display is vital to the player as it holds information that we might need to succeed/continue in the game. A basic H.U.D will usually consist of a health reading, an XP system and a map, however some games like to go overboard and include way too much information therefore making the game more difficult for the player. A H.U.D needs to have a balance between simplicity and complication to achieve an easy to read display that is also decorative as well as informative.
Games as old as ‘Pong’ even had a H.U.D which was the score system; without that you would have no idea who would be winning. Pong was released in 1972 by Atari and this Heads-Up Display is nice and simple for us to read as you need to remember about the players line of vision.
Each player will always be looking at what is most important and to read a H.U.D the information cannot be scattered about as it will take more time for the player to read and understand that information. This is usually why a lot of H.U.D designs tend to have the same sort of placement.
For example racing games stick to using the corners. A speedometer seems to always be in the bottom right corner and the map is on the left; also lap times and the number of laps each have another corner.
Top Left Corner – Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift (PlayStation 2)
Top Right Corner – Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Xbox 360)
Bottom – Forza (Xbox One)
Combat games differ from racing games as when playing two player racing you are either split screen or online whereas a fighting game consists of the two players being on the same screen. With this in mind the health bars are normally at either the top or bottom of the screen so that the characters and environment are visible. The special moves/power bar is either with the health bar or at the opposite side of the screen. The player icon and name appear near the health bars as they are an indication to which side your player will start the game on.
Fighting game H.U.D Designs have varied over the years as many people try to improve them, however, as gamers we don’t like change in these cases as our intentions are to look in the ‘usual place’ for each part of information. One improvement that has recently been added is the curved/bent health bar. This health bar makes the health easier to read using our peripheral vision using the indentation to be a sign of the health bar being half way as well as the colour transitions (Green means healthy, Orange/Yellow means half way and Red is either Dead or close to being dead). And don’t forget each combat game has a timer in the middle for both players to read.
Each corner has a bit of simple information in it that makes my life easier as well as pressing certain buttons that pause the game as well as bringing up the option to switch plasmids or weapons. If I was to improve it I would experiment with a variety of layouts as it may be easy to read yet it may be time consuming because of the amount of time it takes to view each individual piece of information.
I really like the Skyrim H.U.D because it has all the information you need to know in your peripheral vision. Also the colour of each bar makes it a lot easier to know what you need to acknowledge. Whether it be magic (blue), health (red) or stamina (green). Also one of my favourite features has to be the enemy health bar; I find it very useful to know how much damage the enemy is taking from each hit of magic or from the use of a weapon.
I would improve the map though, mainly because it is great for navigation but the map does not tell you about the landscape. You could all of a sudden be going the right way and then end up having to climb a mountain whereas if you go on the map on the main menu it shows you where each path is and which ground is high or low.
H.U.D that need improving
I enjoy the game kingdom hearts, however, I have found a few glitches within using it as well as finding it quite had to use whilst in a battle. The magic and health gauges are easy to read but the little command box in the corner is quite difficult to use whilst fighting as you control this using the D-pad. I am used to holding an xbox controller so when it comes to playing Kingdom Hearts on the PlayStation 3 I find using the D-pad quite difficult.
On the other hand I am glad that Kingdom Hearts to used a shortcut button so that you can press one button on the controller to access a more simple way of using your magic and potions. The glitch that I found was the potions not working on the shortcut so I have to use the long way of accessing a health item therefore taking up more of my time and allowing the enemy to have an advantage.
World of Warcraft and League of Legends
World of Warcraft looks like such a complex H.U.D Design. I have never played the game but just looking at the H.U.D makes me not want to play it as it is too complex for me. These types of games like to take over your life as some people get highly addicted to them mainly because there is so much information that it would be impossible to complete this game. The H.U.D may be colourful but it still doesn’t look great and the amount of numbers that are unexplained until you hover over them with the mouse is crazy.
The League of Legends H.U.D looks a bit more simple but it still has a lot of images and icons that confuse players. Many people out there play games like this and already have an easy understanding of the game; whereas if I played this game I would probably not use most of the buttons.
Games like this are very difficult and I don’t quite like them, but I do give the players of these games credit as they must be very good at memorising and playing these games.
Heads-Up Displays are forever improving and right at this moment inventors have came up with a temporary H.U.D for a car dashboard. This project has not been released yet as they intend to further improve the item. But I believe that it will reduce car crashes as it is at a better angle to view it at and it also may feature the aspects that a phone can provide therefore causing less people to view their phones whilst driving.