HUDS and User Interface

HUDs is the acronym for Heads Up Display

The HUD, in terms of video games, is the display given to the players while they’re playing, a HUD will usually consist of the characters health or other stats such as magic, power rating, speed or armour rating depending on the genre of game, a map, amount of ammo, etc.

There are three types of HUDs that are in games, these are:
The Permanent HUD: A HUD which is always on the screen, this is usually the map or players health.
The Pull Up Hud: A HUD which will only appear after its activated by pressing an area on the screen or a button on the controller/keyboard.
The Actional Hud: A HUD which will only appear when  playing the game and you perform an action, such as passing the finish line resulting in a new lap being started and the text saying “Lap 2/3”, for example.

The HUD is a necessary part of a vide game as it gives the player information on their status in the game, whether it be their position, health, etc.

This links into what is known in game theory as the information set, the information set is, generally, a set of nodes at which 1 the same player chooses, and 2 the player choosing does not know which particular node represents the actual choice node

The most important parts of the HUD is to A: Show the correct information to the user that’s necessary and B: Not cover the screen. Most games are able to keep a good balance between these two things, however the game genre MMO is infamous for having the worst user interface as a result of it’s excessive HUD which usually blocks the screen for the player.

Image reference: Screenshot of video game “Kinless Chronicles” from

As shown above MMO’s HUDs can be extremely overbearing to a player and result in confusion as the player tries to understand all the information on screen and play the game at the same time. Giving the user can be a good idea because it allows the user to know basics of what their status is, as said earlier, but when done excessively with information that should be kept in a pull up HUD rather than a permanent HUD it is irritating to the player.

A good games HUD would know how to show the correct information to the user that’s necessary and not cover the screen as seen in bigger, more popular games, such as Fallout 4.

Image result for fallout 4 hud
Image reference: Hilbert Hagedoorn, (2015), Fallout 4 – PC Ultra Screenshots [Image] Avaiable at: [Date Accessed 17 Feburary]
Bethesda, the company that created Fallout 4, knew how to create an effective HUD much more than the people that created Kinless Chronicles, they kept all permanent HUD to the sides of the screen as well as minimize the appearance of the HUD while still keeping it clear what on the screen is what by making the health, stamina and map small lines with transparent area around them rather than large coloured boxes. They also kept the colours of the HUD bright green and red to create a theme which would be related to Fallout 4 when thinking about HUDs with green and red colour schemes, unlike Kinless Chronicles, which had a lot of overlapping colours with no theme or pattern to keep a sense of identity to the colour scheme.

HUD is a part of the User Interface (UI) which stands for how the user and a console system interact, this is usually through input devices and software in the game, it’s possible to name four types of UI that games use, these are:

UI Map
Image reference: Anthony Stonehouse (2014) User interface design in video games [Image] Available: [Date Accessed: 2014]

Non diegetic – Non-diegetic interfaces are the most traditional form of a HUD as it keeps the HUD in a completely removed enviroment from the game as it’s playing, such as in the game World of Warcraft.


As seen above the map, user staus and chat box are kept as completely different entities from the gameplay

Diegetic – Diegetic user interface is merged within the games world in some way which means the character will interact with it in game through visual means so the player can also see the HUD, this is usually a Pull up HUD.

Meta – Sometimes UI elements don’t fit within the geometry of the game world. They can still maintain the game’s narrative but sit on the 2D hub plane — these are called Meta elements



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s