Video Game HUD’s:
A HUD in games is the interface that the player sees on their screen, the HUD is often positioned on the borders of the screen giving the player as much visibility as possible. The HUD contains key features that relay information back to the player about the scenario for example; how much health the character has or where they are in the map. This is an extremely important part of games design, it can often create a players first impression of the game, if the HUD is horrible to look at then the game will be too.
My first example of this is an RPG game called ‘Skyrim’, Skyrim is a game where the player is able to make their own choices frequently and the HUD reflects this. In the game you can choose between using magic or physical weapons to kill your enemies, if the player is using spells then there is a mana section of the HUD that appears when they are casting to show the player how much mana they have left until they can no longer cast spells. This means that if you are never using magic then the mana section of the HUD will not appear giving you a clearer experience.
The rest of the HUD is also designed to give the player enough space to immerse themselves in the game, all three of the gauges for mana, health and stamina are quite thin bars along the bottom of the screen. Instead of having a mini map like most role play games there is a compass, this adds to the immersion as the player is able to see more of the game itself and adds a little more challenge to navigation. Other useful information that is displayed is the enemy health bar under the compass and the ammunition count in the bottom right, most if not all other RPG games have individual health bars above each enemy and although this is helpful to the player it takes away from the immersion by having floating boxes above peoples heads. The overall design is very slick and allows the player to have a much more indulging experience than many other games of its time.
The HUD is especially important for racing games as the player needs to know where they are, how fast they are going, what abilities they have at all times. If it is unclear what is going on it can have a major effect on the players performance.
I researched what a racing game HUD should contain and found that there are four key components; A mini map, a player position chart, a timer, and a speed meter. These are the features that I need to focus on when I design my HUD.