Question What do you consider a good HUD for a semi-realistic versus fully-realistic FPS?

Sep 24, 2022
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I've been working on a project as a solo-dev for a while, and I've been fairly conflicted as to how and what I should do with the player's heads-up display. For context on the double-ended question, the game's supposed to offer both semi-realism and full realism - the former in the easier difficulty and the latter in the harder difficulty. I want to know the community's take on this subject, because I take community lead very importantly.
 
I like dynamic HUDs that are minimalistic. I want everything I need to know right now to be on the screen, but not take up much room. If I don't need to know information during action, put it in a menu. But let that on-screen info be dynamic, so that it changes as my need to know information changes. But all of that just kind of depends on how complex the game is.

I'll say one thing, though. I always want my health to be visible. I hate it when games only show your health when they think you need to know it. In my opinion, that's one thing I always need to know, even if it's at 100%. I also always want a compass.
 
Compass

My initial recommendation is re compass. I'm currently replaying Far Cry 5 and also replaying my annoyance with the compass. It's displayed, along with many other icons, on a faint bar across the top of the screen. Things I have to do because of it:
Point to sky so I can see the center pointer—useful when looting a bunch of zapped baddies and wildlife;
Wonder which way I'm going, because the direction letter—NEWS—is covered by some other icon eg a truck, which is rarely of immediate interest.

I much prefer the compass as a small mini map rather than this bar—the bar is a neat idea, but probably too confusing to implement usefully.

I always want my health to be visible … even if it's at 100%
I disagree, I don't want "everything's fine" info cluttering screen, I only want info which needs my attention—aka management by exception.
That said, I don't mind useless info if it's well done. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the best FPS HUD I've seen in this regard, it's static with all the info but in a very compact and tasteful display—but I haven't played many FPS compared to others, so there may well be better out there.

Weapon Wheel

I really dislike this method of changing ammo type—between eg normal, incendiary, armor piercing, explosive. Far too many actions required to change both weapon and ammo type in a combat situation. Allow the mouse wheel to do this for the current weapon.

Key Binding

Please do not have the same key hard-bound to multiple HUD actions which can occur in the same game space—"E" key in Far Cry games being the worst offender I can think of. Allow all bindings to be changeable.
 
Often I don't really consider the HUD as having much to do with realism. It's just a gaming convention that I've come to expect in any game. That being said, I think it might be cool to get rid of it entirely, including the aiming reticle. The absence of a reticle would definitely add to the realism; however, if it's a PvP game, I'd just add my own in the form of a tiny piece of colored tape (I may or may not have done that before. I refuse to admit anything without an attorney present)

Of course, you wouldn't actually remove the reticle, just make it invisible. You could still add sway to it if you want to mimic shooting while moving or out of breath.
 
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I'd just add my own in the form of a tiny piece of colored tape
Don't do that, it'll leave sticky residue which will degrade… something or other.

No, what you want to do is etch a crosshair in the center of your monitor—diamond laser is perfect for 4K or 8K, a good chisel is fine for HD. This will save you all sorts of swaying in your chair too, trying to get the right angle for a shot—just swing the monitor around on its swivel.
 
Don't do that, it'll leave sticky residue which will degrade… something or other.

No, what you want to do is etch a crosshair in the center of your monitor—diamond laser is perfect for 4K or 8K, a good chisel is fine for HD. This will save you all sorts of swaying in your chair too, trying to get the right angle for a shot—just swing the monitor around on its swivel.
Thanks, but I'll stick with a tiny corner from a Post it Note
 
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Aug 3, 2022
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Anyway for huds, when it comes to more realistic, less is more for me. A trooper in a war is not going to know exactly how many rounds he has left after firing roughly 20 of 30 shots. Easyer to keep track of the amount of magazines one wear though since you notice when your pouches goes empty.

Health is a no no for me for realism, but that might have to do with me liking games like arma for realism where you take diferent dmg depending on where you are hit etc.
 
Sep 24, 2022
3
7
15
Anyway for huds, when it comes to more realistic, less is more for me. A trooper in a war is not going to know exactly how many rounds he has left after firing roughly 20 of 30 shots. Easyer to keep track of the amount of magazines one wear though since you notice when your pouches goes empty.

Health is a no no for me for realism, but that might have to do with me liking games like arma for realism where you take diferent dmg depending on where you are hit etc.
Yeah, I feel you. I was thinking of going with something minimal, even potentially gone, for the harder difficulty, meanwhile keeping some stats small on the outside edge for the easier.

It's in the design for the two to contrast against each other, to show that there really is a difference even in immersion. Beyond the HUD, even, I figured that when it comes to regaining health, the easier should have a general "you take meds and they patch you up, regenerating your health pool" vibe like Battlefield versus the hard's "you have to remove the bullet if it's lodged, then stitch the wound back up, and health is measured in physical and mental performance rather than a set pool" type of deal similar to Tarkov, but probably a bit more advanced (especially because Tarkov's still got health pools).

As for ammo count, I don't like being able to pull from a pool of bullets that magically fill a magazine that isn't there, so having mag count displayed on the easier difficulty's what I was thinking. As for both the easier and harder, though, you can always just look down/inspect your equipment to see how many mags or nades are left.

Any thoughts on that?
 
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Aug 3, 2022
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Yeah, I feel you. I was thinking of going with something minimal, even potentially gone, for the harder difficulty, meanwhile keeping some stats small on the outside edge for the easier.

It's in the design for the two to contrast against each other, to show that there really is a difference even in immersion. Beyond the HUD, even, I figured that when it comes to regaining health, the easier should have a general "you take meds and they patch you up, regenerating your health pool" vibe like Battlefield versus the hard's "you have to remove the bullet if it's lodged, then stitch the wound back up, and health is measured in physical and mental performance rather than a set pool" type of deal similar to Tarkov, but probably a bit more advanced (especially because Tarkov's still got health pools).

As for ammo count, I don't like being able to pull from a pool of bullets that magically fill a magazine that isn't there, so having mag count displayed on the easier difficulty's what I was thinking. As for both the easier and harder, though, you can always just look down/inspect your equipment to see how many mags or nades are left.

Any thoughts on that?
I don't know how advanced you want to or plan on going but there is a posibillity of using Magazines with windows for example (magpul etc) or clear mags (MPX, H&K G36 etc) so you can physically see roughly how much is left but that might be tricky to implement perhaps.
 
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