By Seppli 26 Comments
Ever turned off a PC game's HUD via console command? The perceived increase in image quality is astounding. So much unneeded 'noise' disappears instantly.
Online multiplayer games are particularly guilty of cluttering up the centerscreen with lots of irrelevant information like nametags. Yes, nametags can be useful for communication, but aren't really. Imagine if a game automatically assigns you a color and a number for each match. Let's say in Battlefield 3, every squad gets assigned a color and the numbers 1 through 4. Instead of an obstructive nametag, all that remains in the HUD is a colored number. 'Red 4, tank coming up behind you.' So much cleaner than saying 'xxXButtMuncherXxx...', and just imagine how much cleaner the picture will show, being clear of blocky nametags. Watch the latest Medal of Honor Warfighter trailer, and tell me they shouldn't throw out their nametags for a more elegant solution, like the one I described. The game's HUD in general is an obstructive eyesore - it gets in the way of Frostbite 2's beauty.
There's an entire generation of online multiplayer FPS gamedesigners, who don't question nametags and other too obstructive HUD elements, like objective markers. Even if most HUDs in the history of online multiplayer HUDs are clearly broken. In Battlefield 3, for example, when you are pixelhunting for distant enemies on vast maps, and the centerscreen is cluttered with HUD elements, making the task nigh impossible - that's so obviously broken, it hurts.
The only non-obstructive type of HUD I can think of? Silhuetting. Otherwise? Lose as much HUD as possible. Reduction to the max, is where innovation is at, regarding online multiplayer HUD. Names are for killfeeds, killcams, kill breakdown screens, and scoreboards - and are not to clutter up and obstruct centerscreen. Centerscreen is the space where gameplay happens, so keep it as clean and clear as you possibly can.