Op Ed

truepcgaming - Visual Noise: A Criticism of HUDs.
Having a player’s health, ammunition, inventory, and abilities always visible is a staple of the gaming medium, but one that we may be better off learning to deal without. I make this claim based solely on the experiences of noticing that virtually all games get better without an always-on interface. I’ve managed to nix 90% of the unnecessary HUD materials off New Vegas through two mods, and the result is a game that is unquestionably more immersive, balanced, difficult, and above all, beautiful.

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Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 12:22
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Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 12:22
Sep 17, 2011, 12:22
 
If that's what makes you happy, knock yourself out. The rest of us will happily keep our HUDs, kthnx.
"Van Gogh painted alone and in despair and in madness and sold one picture in his entire life. Millions struggled alone, unrecognized, and struggled as heroically as any famous hero. Was it worthless? I knew it wasn't."
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Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 12:30
2.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 12:30
Sep 17, 2011, 12:30
 
no Hud really only works with regenerating health anyway (at least in my opinion.)

If it's a "damaged until you heal" based system, you'll need some kind of indicator as to how badly damaged you are, otherwise you're walking around and a gnat would kill you.

And I personally find 'pop-up HUDs' to be more annoying than a continual HUD.

To each their own of course. That's the beauty of Bethesda's games. Don't like how they've done something? Change it. For that reason alone I could never fathom playing, say, Skyrim on a console.

Creston
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3.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 12:37
3.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 12:37
Sep 17, 2011, 12:37
 
Cutter wrote on Sep 17, 2011, 12:22:
If that's what makes you happy, knock yourself out. The rest of us will happily keep our HUDs, kthnx.
Yes, there are some people who think when they like something EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO LIKE IT OR ELSE ... or he is just desperate for visitors and thought that some trolling might do the trick.
4.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 14:01
4.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 14:01
Sep 17, 2011, 14:01
 
Kajetan wrote on Sep 17, 2011, 12:37:
Cutter wrote on Sep 17, 2011, 12:22:
If that's what makes you happy, knock yourself out. The rest of us will happily keep our HUDs, kthnx.
Yes, there are some people who think when they like something EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO LIKE IT OR ELSE ... or he is just desperate for visitors and thought that some trolling might do the trick.

I don't find the HUD in New Vegas intrusive at all....I am more putoff by games that have a weapon that takes up 30% of the screen.

We have come so far in gaming, it is odd that we have to use 3rd party utilities to adjust HUDs, when we used to be able to do it as a menu item....oh well. Churn and burn games for the masses without quality control and final touches. It is to bad.

Yay for indie gaming! They are getting the most of my money for some time now.
5.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 14:01
5.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 14:01
Sep 17, 2011, 14:01
 
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is one of the very few stupid articles I have seen on Blues.
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6.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 14:06
6.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 14:06
Sep 17, 2011, 14:06
 
[VG]Reagle wrote on Sep 17, 2011, 14:01:
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is one of the very few stupid articles I have seen on Blues.

I see you have your troll pants on today.
7.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 14:37
7.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 14:37
Sep 17, 2011, 14:37
 
All these games need is a bindable command for "drop hud", to have it slide out of view for immersion if need be.

This issue needed an online petition for this feature, not a ridiculously biased article stressing one viewpoint.

But we also live in the age of "consoles are the death of PC gaming" FUD...and therefore devs rarely take the time to finish the job right, not that it's the only reason things are missing/broken in games released.

Any more discussion of whether the idea is bad or good is little more than internet verbal fapping.
8.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 15:11
8.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 15:11
Sep 17, 2011, 15:11
 
Cutter wrote on Sep 17, 2011, 12:22:
If that's what makes you happy, knock yourself out. The rest of us will happily keep our HUDs, kthnx.

Agreed, there is some information you need to know. The goal shouldn't be no-hud, but a minimalist hud that conveys everything you need to know in the most efficient manner possible.
9.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 16:14
nin
9.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 16:14
Sep 17, 2011, 16:14
nin
 

All these games need is a bindable command for "drop hud", to have it slide out of view for immersion if need be.

I'd like that.
10.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 16:18
10.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 16:18
Sep 17, 2011, 16:18
 
I do enjoy his argument of "The Way it Was Meant to be Played," as he tells developers they're wrong.

HUDs can be designed very, very well, and tend to be improving more than going the other way. We've come far from Doom, and even farther from Invisible War.
11.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 17:07
PHJF
 
11.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 17:07
Sep 17, 2011, 17:07
 PHJF
 
I don't really like HUDs unless they fit within the rules of the world. A first-person view shouldn't have a HUD except in cases like Adam Jensen where the character is explicitly GIVEN one. In cases where a HUD is unavoidable, it needs to be as small and peripheral as possible.

The worst offense is every game's insistence on having compasses/maps strewn about the screen. If the player can't figure out where to go without a giant flashing arrow pointing the way, the game was not designed well enough. And in case of open-world games, exploration is to be encouraged.
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12.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 17:49
Dev
12.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 17:49
Sep 17, 2011, 17:49
Dev
 
How about a configurable HUD so games can satisfy those who want it, and those who don't, and those who want less of it, etc.

I've seen some games with HUDs that can come up when you hit a bindable key (as someone mentioned).
13.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 17:57
13.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 17:57
Sep 17, 2011, 17:57
 
I agree with a lot of the comments here. Sometimes HUD's are great, other times not.
One HUD system that I really like is that of Dead Space. You see your health on your character and ammo on your weapons. They did a good job of having a HUD while not having a standard HUD. Granted, something like that wouldn't work too well in other games, but for that it was perfect.
14.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 18:24
14.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 18:24
Sep 17, 2011, 18:24
 
And in case of open-world games, exploration is to be encouraged.

Sometimes you want to explore.
Sometimes you want to finish the damn mission so that you can get some kind of closure before you save and run off to whatever you're about to be late for.
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Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 18:54
15.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 18:54
Sep 17, 2011, 18:54
 
In a general sense, I agree with the author. I am not looking at the HUD to experience the story, to challenge myself, out of some sense of fun, to notice some character moment, or to explore the world - it is just there to show me basic game mechanics.

When you take out the intrusive elements, I have frequently thought that games, even ones with "bad" graphics, look quite good or, at the very least, look interesting.

I know I will go to hell for this example, but I think WoW is a good example. There are all these characters from different races, there might be a gigantic lava elemental, you could be in an ancient temple, there are fantastical spell effects going off...yet all I am really doing is starting at my cooldowns on a bar and making sure there is no fire at the center of my screen. Who cares what this game or other games have to offer visually when all my focus is spent on only 20% of the screen?

From a broad perspective, I have found that I received many, many inquiries from casual gamers or non-gamers when there is little/no UI present (either via options or during a cinematic.)
And yeah, does my gun have to talk up 1/3 of my screen?
Thinking more work could be put into streamlining them,
Ray
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16.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 20:13
J
16.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 20:13
Sep 17, 2011, 20:13
J
 
My only HUD-related issue is the fraking radar in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I want to get rid of it without disabling the whole HUD. Its very presence has a negative impact on both the gameplay directly and on the potency of the augmentations.
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17.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 20:48
17.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 20:48
Sep 17, 2011, 20:48
 
The author seems to be confusing "HUD" with "player assists." Things like hit direction indicators, radar, grenade proximity indicators, enemy highlighting, object highlighting, objective markers, etc, are overpowered because of what they do, not because they are typically conveyed through the HUD. HUDs are simply the most efficient way to show essential information (like health and ammo) to the player.

Ideally, all games would let you toggle elements of the HUD as you see fit. DX:HR let you turn off the reticule, objective markers, button prompts and item highlights but they didn't let you turn off the radar, which was easily the most overpowered thing in the game.
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18.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 22:35
18.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 22:35
Sep 17, 2011, 22:35
 
That's not on targe...it's like saying removing stimulus improves immersion. Take that to the limit and it's like he's saying we would be more immersed with text based games! When the target is immersion then more stimulus is required in order to compensate for the fact that it's not real thus our own senses are hampered. Two senses are all we really have in a video game...sight and hearing...and even that input is heavily simulated.

In computer games we depend on the visual stimulus to replace the normal sensations...in fact the more stimulus the more immersed we become. Now, if you cover up one of the stimuli with another one then it defeats the purpose of the first one...so if you clutter the screen with inventory data then yeah it may be distraction, but it also adds more stimulus as long as the screen shows enough of the visuals. Heck...I'd go for an electric shock if my character gets electrocuted...some realizm goes a long way.

I just remembered that we had this same discussion when idsoftware added the damage face in Wolfenstein 3D. Some people thought it was obstructing their view and other thought it was cool ie. the technical details. But, what we learned later was that the visual indication of damage really helped the immersion level. But, id added a switch to turn it off...I think it's the people with small screens that have the problem...with lots of indicators and such their viewport shrinks from 17" down to like 15" and that's just too small for anything these days.

This comment was edited on Sep 18, 2011, 01:23.
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19.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 17, 2011, 22:37
19.
Re: Op Ed Sep 17, 2011, 22:37
Sep 17, 2011, 22:37
 
Horses for courses really. Contextual HUD's (Gordon's HEV suit, DXHR's HUD etc) make sense, even the overpowered radar (which is part of your augment loadout, even has a talent to improve it) are fine and well, and I would suggest that HUD's in games like Serious Sam are also expected as the game is so over the top it bears no resemblance to reality.

But military shooters etc could stand to have the option to drop HUD. eg. playing BC2 in hardcore mode, you lose most of the assist options you get in standard and yet the game is still very playable.

Definitely don't support just all out no HUD and no choice to use it unless it's contextually needed by the game design, and I don't criticise people for wanting HUD's.
20.
 
Re: Op Ed
Sep 18, 2011, 00:06
20.
Re: Op Ed Sep 18, 2011, 00:06
Sep 18, 2011, 00:06
 
The bare HUD setup is a tool of immersion and only suits specific games and even then only to certain people's taste. Bethesda games are a good example, in Oblivion I much preferred removing some GUI elements (radar and map quest markers) as it made you focus more on your surroundings and your objective. If you need to find a person or object you need to think of where they're likely to be, it helps the flow of immersion if that's what you're looking for.

Other games also benefit from replacing direct HUD elements with more subtle or flavourful features, such as panting and exhaustion sounds rather than a fatigue bar, or "This clip feels half empty" instead of an ammo bar in a shooter like Red Orchestra. These go a long way too and are getting more common. One of the benefits of PCs is that some games allow for modding the interface.
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