In order to create a HUD for an action adventure game, I must first look at other action adventure games to find what elements are included and how they are organised on screen.
An action adventure HUD should typically display:
– health bar
– weapon types
– current money
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – 2011
The lower screen holds bars to represent the player’s magic, health and stamina. These only appear if the player has less than 100% in any of the bars. The upper screen holds a map bar, this shows the players direction using compass points and also shows nearby landmarks – which are black if undiscovered, or white if found. The upper screen also temporarily displays the health bar and name of the enemy the player is facing, once the player leaves open combat, these disappear.
All of this information is vital to the player but only during specific gameplay moments. Personally I love how Skyrim’s HUD elements fade in and out at the correct times as it allows the player to really feel immersed in the vast beautiful world when simply exploring and appreciating the environment.
Assassin’s Creed II – 2009
The lower left of the screen shows the player’s equipped weapon and their current wealth, while the lower right displays the minimap, which will remain clouded until the player uses a viewpoint to survey the area. The top left shows the player’s health bar and notoriety with enemies. The bar will increase in size as the player progresses and upgrades through the game. The top right shows the player’s available options dependant on the player’s combat or movement states. These options are laid out to match the buttons on a controller so the player can intuitively select the correct option without distraction.
The layout of this HUD is very simple and it’s monochromacy blends beautifully with the vibrant colours of the world without distracting or clashing. It’s layout is very unobtrusive and it frames the play space nicely, especially as the camera and player character are always centred on-screen.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – 2006
The lower left of the screen displays a minimap, while the lower right displays the player’s wealth. The top left shows the player’s health bar and their menu and companion options. These, like in the previous example, are laid out to reflect the controller. The top right also reflects the controller with a weapon/item display. Items can be quickly accessed with these buttons.
Like the example above, this HUD layout frames the screen while the player character and camera. I like the bright, vibrant icons to symbolise weapons and options. They become instantly recognisable and mean that the player doesn’t have to read anything during gameplay.