SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance

Holy HUD

Development, like many things, is an iterative process.  Many areas of Blue Shield Alliance have gone through numerous iterations, both small and large, to improve how it functions.  It usually starts with an idea, gets put in the game in a rough form, then is cleaned up and refined a handful of other times until it’s just right.

Sometimes though the process takes a lot longer than expected and it can be for the simplest of things.  We recently had some trouble coming up with a heads up display for the player’s ship.  We’ve had a temporary graphic in there for a while, and while it was workable, it was missing some information that was crucial to the player – like weapon counters.  As we tried to solve this problem we created new problems in the process.  So here’s a bit of a look at the evolution of the player HUD.

This was our original player HUD.  It was simple, the ship sat in the middle, but we had problems drawing health info and other stuff.  So the next idea with it was to add weapon names on the bottom left and right with a simple counter.  Problem was, it looked like crap.  It was difficult to read the text and trying to use the engine to draw stuff along a circle wasn’t 100% perfect.  So we went to the drawing board.

                             

While these concepts looked ok, nothing quite grabbed me.  The problem is our HUD comes in and out when the player does an action.  It’s not always on the screen, but it is always around the player.  Some of these just felt like the player was trapped.  So again, back to the drawing board.

After these I thought we had our design.  We’d have blips on the inner ring to represent health and counters and all would be good.  Problem was, when we got it in the game it felt like the player was trapped in this behemoth of an object.

So then it was on to something else entirely.  We realized that we had a certain theme for the BSA ships so we wanted to stick with that.  So our next HUD looked like this:

Yeah…you can see the problem already.  It’s not lined up quite right and imbalanced.  So after a few more iterations we have what is close to our final HUD.

A few tweaks left but we’re pretty happy with the outcome!

One Comment

  1. Adam says:

    Nice! I like to see how this small element of a game goes through so much process! Keep up the good work!

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