In order to create a HUD for a racing game, I must first look at other racing games to find what elements are included and how they are organised on screen.
A racing HUD should typically display:
Forza Horizon 4 – 2018
Forza has some of my favourite HUD designs in racing games. It’s simplicity its invaluable when trying to read information during fast races.
The lower left of the screen holds the minimap which works like a GPS shows the player the route they need to take during races or when driving to specified locations. The lower right displays a speedometer so players can see what speed they are doing and which gear they are in with a quick glance. The top left of the screen displays the player’s objective or their position in the race. The top right, when completing a lap or passing a checkpoint, will briefly show the player’s lap number and their current time, as well as their opponents.
All of this information is vital to the player and is very easily accessible during fast paced races while also not obstructing the players’ visibility of their surroundings. In my opinion, this layout works very well and is a great reference for my HUD.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – 2010
Much like Forza, the lower left of the screen holds the minimap to show the player their route. The lower right also displays a speedometer to show players their speed and gear number. The top left of the screen displays the player’s current bounty so they can keep an eye on their notoriety. The top right briefly shows the player’s lap number and current time.
I do not like this HUD as much as Forza’s. The important elements stand out relatively well, with the exception of the minimap in the lower left. I think that the lack of surrounding or background makes it difficult to read on an everchanging background of gameplay, especially against painted lines on the road. I will try to improve on this when creating my own HUD.
Grand Theft Auto V – 2013
This layout is, again, different to the previous examples. The lower left of the screen displays a minimap to show the player’s route and their surroundings The map also shows a green, blue and yellow bar to display the player’s health, stamina and vehicle health. The lower right shows the street name or area that the player is currently in.
I really like the simplicity and artstyle of this HUD. It shows the correct amount of information in a clear and concise way while also remaining unobtrusive to gameplay. However GTA is not only about driving so elements like the speedometer have been neglected. While this makes the layout much cleaner, it is not recommended for a racing game where information on speed is more important.