Game Development Reference
FIG 6.6 An example HUD for an FPS.
The HUD displays the player status and other information but should also
draw the eye to any critical changes made to the interface. Color changes and
animations work best for attracting the player's attention. The interface in
Figure 6.6 uses global colors for danger, caution, and good to represent the
player's health and armor strength. In addition, red is used to display spent
ammunition cartridges. As the player's health becomes critical, the health
value or bar could blink on and off to further attract the attention of the player.
A blatant way to attract the player's attention is to present a pop-up window,
which stops him from playing. A well-known example of this is the Xbox's
“Saving. Do not turn off your console” warning.
It goes without saying that a game should present the user with help on
how to play. In her book The Art of Human Computer Interface Design , Brenda
Laurel lists five basic help needs an interface should be able to provide the
user: goal oriented, descriptive, procedural, interpretive, and navigational.