Heads-up display (video games)
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

In
video gaming Video games, also known as computer games, are electronic games that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device to gener ...
, the HUD (heads-up display) or status bar is the method by which information is visually relayed to the player as part of a game's
user interface In the industrial design field of human–computer interaction, a user interface (UI) is the space where interactions between humans and machines occur. The goal of this interaction is to allow effective operation and control of the machine fr ...
. It takes its name from the
head-up display A head-up display, or heads-up display, also known as a HUD (), is any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints. The origin of the name stems from a pilot being able to view inform ...
s used in modern
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. ...
. The HUD is frequently used to simultaneously display several pieces of information including the main character's health, items, and an indication of game progression (such as score or
level Level or levels may refer to: Engineering *Level (instrument), a device used to measure true horizontal or relative heights *Spirit level, an instrument designed to indicate whether a surface is horizontal or vertical *Canal pound or level *Regr ...
).


Shown on the HUD

While the information that is displayed on the HUD depends greatly on the game, there are many features that players recognize across many games. Most of them are static onscreen so that they stay visible during gameplay. Common features include: * Health/lives – this might include the player's character and possibly other important characters, such as allies or bosses.
Real-time strategy Real-time strategy (RTS) is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a c ...
games usually show the health of every unit visible on screen. Also, in many (but not all) first- and
third-person shooter Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D computer graphics, 3D shooter games in which the gameplay consists primarily of shooting. It is closely related to first-person shooters, but with the player character visible on-screen during play. ...
s, when the player is damaged, the screen (or part of it) flashes briefly (usually in red color, representing blood) and shows arrows or other similar images that point to the direction the threat came from, thus informing the player from which direction the enemies are attacking. In many
fighting games A fighting game, also known as a versus fighting game, is a video game genre, genre of video game that involves combat between two or more players. Fighting game combat often features mechanics such as Blocking (martial arts), blocking, grappli ...
, there are often two health bars on the top of the screen which often depletes to the middle (sometimes the opposite direction) with every punch or kick the player/enemy inflicts to their opponent. * Time – This may be a timer counting down the time limit or the time left until a specific event. It may also be a timer counting up to records such as lap times in
racing games Racing games are a video game genre in which the player participates in a motor racing, racing competition. They may be based on anything from real-world racing leagues to fantastical settings. They are distributed along a spectrum between more ...
, or the length of time a player can last in games based on survival. Many HUDs also use time displays to show the in-game time, such as the current time of day or year within the game. Some games may also display the real time. * Weapons/ammunition – Most
action game An action game is a Video game genres, video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, beat 'em ups, shooter game ...
s ( first- and
third-person shooter Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D computer graphics, 3D shooter games in which the gameplay consists primarily of shooting. It is closely related to first-person shooters, but with the player character visible on-screen during play. ...
s in particular) show what weapon is being used, and also how much ammunition is in it. Can show other available weapons, and objects like health packs, radios, etc. * Capabilities – gameplay options that are often accessible by the player during gameplay, such as available weapons, items, or spells. This can include when the ability will become usable again, such as ammunition,
magic point Magic or mana is an attribute assigned to characters within a role-playing or video game that indicates their power to use special magical abilities or "spells". Magic is usually measured in magic points or mana points, shortened as MP. Differe ...
s, or some other type of "charge up" timer. Icons and/or text may appear in the HUD to indicate other actions that are only available at certain times or in certain places, to show they are available to perform and which button performs it; for example the text "A – open door" may be displayed, but only when the character is near a door. * Menus – Menus to exit, change options, delete files, change settings, etc. * Game progression – the player's current score, money, lap, or level (as in stage or as in
experience point An experience point (often abbreviated as exp or XP) is a unit of measurement used in some tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's life experience and progression through the game. Experien ...
s). This might also include the character's current task or quest. *
Mini-map A mini-map or minimap is a miniature map that is often placed at a screen corner in video games to aid players in orienting themselves within the game world. They are often only a small portion of the screen and must be selective in what details ...
– a small map of the area that can act like a radar, showing the terrain, allies and/or enemies, locations like safe houses and shops, streets, etc. *
Speedometer A speedometer or speed meter is a gauge that measures and displays the instantaneous speed In everyday use and in kinematics Kinematics is a subfield of physics, developed in classical mechanics, that describes the Motion (physi ...
/tachometer – used in most games which feature user operated vehicles. Usually shown only when driving one of these. * Context-sensitive information – shown only as it becomes important, such as tutorial messages, special one-off abilities, and speech subtitles. * Reticle/cursor/cross-hair – an indication of where the character is aiming or where the mouse pointer is. Pressing a key while pointing at an object or character with the cursor can issue actions like shooting, talking, picking up objects, manipulating switches, using computers, etc. * Stealthometer – displays the awareness level of enemies to the player's presence (used mainly in
stealth game A stealth game is a type of video game in which the player primarily uses ''stealth'' to avoid or overcome opponents. Games in the video game genre, genre typically allow the player to remain undetected by hiding, sneaking, or using disguises. S ...
s and some
first-person shooter First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre, sub-genre of shooter video games centered on gun and other weapon-based combat in a First person (video games), first-person perspective, with the player experiencing the action through the eye ...
s). * Compass/quest arrow - sometimes found in RPGs, first-person shooters and driving games, they help guide the player toward the objective. An example is in the
first-person shooter First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre, sub-genre of shooter video games centered on gun and other weapon-based combat in a First person (video games), first-person perspective, with the player experiencing the action through the eye ...
''
BioShock ''BioShock'' is a 2007 first-person shooter, first-person shooter game developed by 2K Boston (later Irrational Games) and 2K Australia, and published by 2K Games. The first game in the BioShock (series), ''BioShock'' series, it was released f ...
'', which displays an arrow pointing the direction of the next objective on the top of the player's HUD. Sometimes the compass itself might not be a real compass, rather one that points toward the next location or goal. Another notable example is in the open-world driving game '' Crazy Taxi''. There are also trends common among genres and platforms. Many online games show player names and a
chat Chat or chats may refer to: Communication * Conversation, particularly casual * Online chat, text message communication over the Internet in real-time * Synchronous conferencing, a formal term for online chat * SMS chat, a form of text messagin ...
text box for talking to the other players. RTS games tend to have complex user interfaces, with context-sensitive panels and a full-overview mini-map with
fog of war The fog of war (german: links=no, Nebel des Krieges) is the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations. The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, ...
.


How the HUD is displayed

Typically this information is represented numerically, with the health level being a number from 0–100 (percent): 100 representing full health and 0 representing empty, no health or
death Death is the Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of all biological process, biological functions that sustain an organism. For organisms with a brain, death can also be defined as the irreversible cessation of functioning of the whol ...
. However, many other methods of visual representation can be used. For instance, certain games employ a "health bar" which empties as the player becomes hurt such as ''
Tekken is a Japanese Media mix, media franchise centered on a series of fighting game, fighting video and arcade games developed and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment (formerly Namco). The franchise also includes film and print adaptations. The ...
'', ''
Street Fighter , commonly abbreviated as ''SF'' or スト (''Suto''), is a Japanese media franchise centered on a series of fighting video and arcade games developed and published by Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and video game publisher, ...
'', and many others.
Armour Armour ( British English) or armor ( American English; see spelling differences) is a covering used to protect an object, individual, or vehicle from physical injury or damage, especially direct contact weapons or projectiles during combat, or ...
levels are also commonly monitored, either through a separate readout, or as part of the health system. For example, some ''
Halo Halo, halos or haloes usually refer to: * Halo (optical phenomenon) A halo is an optical phenomenon produced by light (typically from the Sun or Moon) interacting with ice crystals suspended in Earth's atmosphere, the atmosphere. Halos can ...
'' games use one recharging shield bar, acting as the health level. When this is depleted the player can only take a few more hits before their death. The same goes in ''
Destroy All Humans! ''Destroy All Humans!'' is an open world action-adventure The action-adventure genre is a video game genre, video game hybrid genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Typically, pure adventur ...
'', but in the form of the player's shields. Traditionally, games used lives to represent health. Every time the main character was injured they would lose one of their limited lives. Another way to display the life in the HUD is demonstrated in ''
Gears of War ''Gears of War'' is a media franchise centered on a series of video games created by Epic Games, developed and managed by The Coalition (company), The Coalition, and owned and published by Xbox Game Studios. The franchise is best known for its t ...
'', where the characters life is displayed only when they are taking damage, in which case a red cog known as the Crimson Omen appears in the center of the screen. The more visible the Crimson Omen is, the more damage the player has sustained and the closer they are to death. This health system is known as the 'Red Ring' system. There is also a lot of variance with regards to the display of other information. Some games permanently display all the weapons a character is currently carrying, others rely on a pull up weapon selector. Inventory or storage space may also be permanently overlaid over the screen, or accessed via a menu. Alternatively, only a limited number of items stored in the inventory might be displayed at once, with the rest being rotated into view using the ''
' and '' The apostrophe ( or ) is a punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of wri ...
' keys. In order to maintain the
suspension of disbelief Suspension of disbelief, sometimes called willing suspension of disbelief, is the avoidance of critical thinking or logic in examining something unreal or impossible in reality, such as a work of speculative fiction, in order to believe it for t ...
, some games make the HUD look like a real HUD within the context of the game's world. Many first-person
vehicle simulation game Vehicle simulation games are a video game genre, genre of video games which attempt to provide the player with a realistic interpretation of operating various kinds of vehicles. This includes automobiles, aircraft, watercraft, spacecraft, milita ...
s use this technique, showing instruments and displays that the driver of the vehicle would be expected to see. The displays in the helmet in the first-person adventure game ''
Metroid Prime ''Metroid Prime'' is an Action-adventure game, action-adventure video game developed by Retro Studios and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. ''Metroid Prime'' is the fifth main installment in the ''Metroid'' franchise and the first game in ...
'' or '' Star Wars: Republic Commando'' also mimic the player's point of view. A similar method is used in '' Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter'' and ''
Crysis ''Crysis'' is a first-person shooter video game series created by Crytek. The series revolves around a group of military protagonists with "Nanosuit, nanosuits", technologically advanced suits of armor that give them enhanced physical strength ...
''. In some of these circumstances where the player and character within the game are meant to see the same "HUD" information, such as ''
Halo Halo, halos or haloes usually refer to: * Halo (optical phenomenon) A halo is an optical phenomenon produced by light (typically from the Sun or Moon) interacting with ice crystals suspended in Earth's atmosphere, the atmosphere. Halos can ...
'', the term "HMD" (Helmet-Mounted Display) would technically be more accurate. Some games, in an attempt to increase player immersion and reduce potential screen clutter, have most or all elements disappear when not needed (usually when the status they display is static), a method commonly referred to as a "dynamic HUD". In most cases, the player can display them all by pausing the game or pressing a button. Some games also give players control over the HUD, allowing them to hide elements and customize position, size, color, and opacity. ''
World of Warcraft ''World of Warcraft'' (''WoW'') is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. Set in the ''Warcraft'' fantasy universe, ''World of Warcraft'' takes place within the world of Azeroth ...
'' is notable for allowing players to significantly modify and enhance the user interface through Lua scripting. Another example is ''
Horizon Zero Dawn ''Horizon Zero Dawn'' is a 2017 action role-playing game An action role-playing game (often abbreviated action RPG or ARPG) is a subgenre of video games that combines core elements from both the action game and role-playing video game, ro ...
'', which allows player to set the display of each element to always appear, show only when relevant, or never display. Despite the modern dominance of 3D graphics in games, HUDs are frequently rendered with a 2D look, often using sprites.


Reduction of elements

Sometimes, for the sake of realism, information normally displayed in the HUD is instead disguised as part of the scenery or part of the vehicle in which the player is traveling. For example, when the player is driving a car that can sustain a certain number of hits, a smoke trail might appear when the car can take only two more hits, fire might appear from the car to indicate that the next hit will be fatal. Wounds and bloodstains may sometimes appear on injured characters who may also limp, stagger, slouch over or breathe heavily to indicate they are injured, a notable example being ''
Resident Evil 2 ''Resident Evil 2'' is a 1998 survival horror Survival horror is a Video game genre, subgenre of Survival game, survival of the players as the game tries to frighten them with either horror graphics or scary ambience. Although combat can ...
''. In rare cases, no HUD is used at all, leaving the player to interpret the auditory and visual cues in the game-world. The elimination of elements has hardly become a trend in
game development Video game development (or gamedev) is the process of developing a video game Video games, also known as computer games, are electronic games that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game cont ...
, but can be witnessed in several titles as of late. Some examples of games with little to no HUD include ''
Astroneer ''Astroneer'' is a Sandbox game, sandbox adventure game developed by indie game developer System Era Softworks. The game was released through early access in December 2016 before a full release on December 16, 2019. The player is tasked with col ...
'', ''
Silent Hill 2 is a 2001 survival horror game developed by Team Silent, a group in Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo, and published by Konami , is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational video game company, video game and entertainm ...
'', '' Jurassic Park: Trespasser'', ''
Ico is an action-adventure game The action-adventure genre is a video game hybrid genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Typically, pure adventure games have situational problems for the p ...
'', '' The Getaway'', ''
Fable III ''Fable III'' is a 2010 Action role-playing game, action role-playing open world video game, developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The third game in the ''Fable (video game ...
'', '' Another World'', ''
Mirror's Edge ''Mirror's Edge'' is an Action-adventure game, action-adventure platform game developed by DICE (company), DICE and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2008, and for Microsoft Windows in 2009. Set in ...
'', ''
King Kong King Kong is a fictional giant monster resembling a gorilla, who has appeared in various media since 1933. He has been dubbed The Eighth Wonder of the World, a phrase commonly used within the franchise. His first appearance was in the novelizat ...
'', ''
Dead Space ''Dead Space'' is a science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to Sci-Fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, ...
'', '' Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth'', ''
Resident Evil ''Resident Evil'', known in Japan as is a Japanese horror game series and media franchise created by Capcom. It consists of survival horror, third-person shooter and first-person shooter games, with players typically surviving in environments ...
'',''
Tomb Raider ''Tomb Raider'', also known as ''Lara Croft: Tomb Raider'' from 2001 to 2008, is a media franchise that originated with an Action-adventure game, action-adventure video game series created by British gaming company Core Design. Formerly owned b ...
'' (2013) and Escape from Tarkov Another method of improving realism and immersion in games is through the implementation of dynamic HUDs such as the HUD in ''
Red Dead Redemption 2 ''Red Dead Redemption 2'' is a 2018 action-adventure game The action-adventure genre is a video game hybrid genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Typically, pure adventure games have ...
''. These types of HUDs reduce screen clutter by only displaying specific bits of information when the in-game situation calls for it. For instance, when exploring on horseback, the player will only see the mini-map (and the horse's stamina meter if they are galloping). When the player enters combat, the game will display information related to ammunition amount and type along with the meters for player health, player stamina, "Dead Eye" ability, horse stamina and horse health. The racing game '' Split/Second'' purposefully concentrated the HUD into just the lap counter, position counter and the game's "power play" meter, all floating within the car's rear bumper, and completely dropping out common racing game elements such as lap timers or speedometers to reduce clutter and distractions.


HUDs and burn-in

Prolonged display (that stays on the screen in a fixed position, remaining static) of HUD elements on certain CRT-based screens may cause permanent damage in the form of
burning Combustion, or burning, is a high-temperature exothermic redox chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the IUPAC nomenclature for organic transformations, chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances ...
into the inner coating of the television sets, which is impossible to repair. Players who pause their games for long hours without turning off such televisions or putting them on standby risk harming their TV sets. Plasma TV screens are also at risk, although the effects are usually not as permanent.


Other uses

The
Sega Dreamcast The is a home video game console released by Sega on November 27, 1998, in Japan; September 9, 1999, in North America; and October 14, 1999, in Europe. It was the first sixth generation video game console, sixth-generation video game console, ...
, released in 1998, uses a VMU on many games as a HUD. A notable example is ''
Resident Evil 2 ''Resident Evil 2'' is a 1998 survival horror Survival horror is a Video game genre, subgenre of Survival game, survival of the players as the game tries to frighten them with either horror graphics or scary ambience. Although combat can ...
'', '' Resident Evil 3: Nemesis'' and '' Resident Evil – Code: Veronica'' all using the VMU to show a mini version of the HUD, which displays the protagonists health and ammo. This feature was resurrected with the introduction of the
Nintendo Wii U The Wii U ( ) is a home video game console developed by Nintendo as the successor to the Wii. Released in late 2012, it is the first Eighth generation of video game consoles, eighth-generation video game console and competed with Microsoft's ...
, which uses the
Wii U GamePad The Wii U GamePad is the standard game controller A game controller, gaming controller, or simply controller, is an input device used with video games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game, typically to control an object o ...
for some games as a HUD including ''
Mario Kart 8 is a 2014 kart racing game A kart racing game, also known as cart racing game or go-kart racing game, is a subgenre of racing video games. Kart racing games have simplified driving mechanics while including unusual racetrack designs, obstac ...
'' and '' Super Smash Bros. for Wii U''.


See also

*
Menu (computing) In user interface design, a menu is a list of options or command (computing), commands presented to the User (computing), user of a computer or embedded system. A menu may either be a system's entire user interface, or only part of a more comp ...
*
Second screen A second screen involves the use of a computing device (commonly a mobile device, such as a smartphone or Tablet computer, tablet) to provide an enhanced viewing experience for content on another device, such as a television. In particular, the te ...


References

; General * ;Specific {{video game gameplay Video game design Graphical user interface elements Video game terminology