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Mar 17, 2006

Are game designers discarding heads-up displays?

Via Wired

Some game designers are discarding "heads-up displays," trying to create a more immersive environment by providing game data such as a player's health and ammo levels using subtler hints that are truer to life. Big mistake, according to Clive Thompson:

I let fly with a flurry of jabs, then lean in and deliver a sneaky uppercut. It connects perfectly -- I can hear the moist thwack of my boxing glove on my opponent's cheek. When he staggers back to his corner of the boxing ring, I admire my handiwork: Swollen eyes, drooling crimson -- it's like something Picasso might have painted if he worked with blood. I can tell that one more barrage is gonna win me the round.

And the thing is, I don't need to look at a "health bar" floating over my opponent to see he's nearly vanquished. Indeed, in this Xbox 360 version of Fight Night Round 3 there is no "heads-up display," or HUD, at all. Most action games rely on such an omnipresent overlay, floating on screen and showing how much ammo or health you've got left. But with Fight Night, you just have to pay close attention to the acoustic and visual cues -- the increasingly sluggish attacks of your fighter, the fatigue written on his face...

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