Game Design Theory Level 4 – Advanced Game Mechanics and HUD / GUI Elements

Players Should be Able to Access and Process HUD Information Quickly


When discussing how fast players should be able to read and process HUD information, the faster the better. Light speed is preferred. You want to update this information nearly instantly, and know the limitations of the your game engine so that you don’t overload the game at a critical point. Because certain HUD elements like the time and score must be frequently updated they will be re-drawn on-screen which will use graphical power. Make sure your most graphically stressful scenes in the game are still compatible with constant HUD updates. Make sure there are no frame rate dips etc. due to the HUD before you release your game.

HUD borders


Keep HUD Elements Away From the Sides of the Screen and Closer to the Safe Frame


Notice the borders between the top of the screen, the edges and the HUD elements

Not all players have the same TV, screen or computer monitor to view you game. Players might be using a whole host of different devices to view your content. Naturally the screen size and borders of different platforms are handled in various ways that can cut off or expand the borders of your game to fit the platform’s screen resolution. This is why you want to put your game’s HUD elements within the “safe frame” which is a like a buffer between the very edge of the screen and the edge of the HUD element. So on a screen that’s 1080 pixels wide, you want to place your elements about 75 pixels away from the edge to ensure they will show up on-screen.