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Question Creative and new ways of displaying character stats in a survival game.

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by MikeyJY, Jan 28, 2023.

  1. MikeyJY


    Mar 2, 2018
    Do you know any clever ideas how to communicate character stats to the player?
    I have these stats:
    body temperature

    1) The classic UI:
    This is the classic way, add some UI bars and fill them(if hunger drops down from 100 to 65, fill 65% of the bar, etc.). This method is fine, but UI can distract the player from the game and I'm trying to develop a game with hyper-realism aesthetics, and I think a HUD would break the realism.

    2) Voice lines:
    I played a unity game some years ago from steam and to communicate the player the status, it added voice lines to the character. If hunger dropped down below a threshold, the character will say "Hmm, I'm starving", or if it was too cold it would say "I'm freezing. Better find a shelter or I'll die". This is a good idea, but the thematic of the game is about pirates and the models of the pirates and the galleons are made to imitate the medieval spanish/portugeese people and ships, and I think adding them english voice lines would ruin the atmosphere. And if I add them in spanish or portugeese, many people won't understand it. I can add subtitles, but then I will have a HUD.

    3) Post processing shaders:
    This is a good idea that would add to the realism of the game. If the character is hungry, I can add an effect, something similar to a dizziness, maybe a screen tremble, or a blur effect that indicates that the character can't see well because of low sugar level in blood, or something. If it is too cold, add an animation of the character rubbing his palms to heat, etc. And this effects to be milder or exagerated based on the level or hungriness, thirstiness, health, etc. But the player might miss them or not understand them

    Do you have any other ideas?
  2. pioj


    Nov 5, 2012
    You can relate sounds, and/or different color effects to you screen or any other game element you want to make the stats relatable.

    I recommend you to search for "Data Visualization" and learn other ways to show information on screen.
    MikeyJY likes this.
  3. CodeSmile


    Apr 10, 2014
    Since it‘s pirate game you can simply put „Arrrrrrrr“ at the start of each line. Done. :D

    It doesn‘t have to be voice over. You can have a stomach grumbling sound for hunger. And so on.
    Btw I know the game where you are freezing. Can‘t remember the name though. It also has these shivering noises when the character is freezing, and if I remember correctly even the screen or the UI turns „colder“ and there is ice forming.
    warthos3399 and MikeyJY like this.
  4. TonyLi


    Apr 10, 2012
    In Breath of the Wild, Link shivers when he's cold. It's more work, but animation can be a good "diagetic" way to indicate stats -- sweat and wipe brow when hot, hold stomach when hungry (with grumbling sound like CodeSmile suggests), limp when injured, etc.
    warthos3399 likes this.


    Jun 1, 2017
    the game with voice lines and screen effects may have been the long dark.

    It's a very immersive survival game. but they do also use hud elements. When important status changes, there is language agnostic icons that indicate new status. After a short while they dissappear. This works in conjunction with the voice overs and screen effects.

    I dont think there is any better way to do it that that. Being able to turn off HUD elements is a bonus. But a lot of people may prefer them for many reasons.
    angrypenguin and MikeyJY like this.
  6. kdgalla


    Mar 15, 2013
    I played Rime recently and noticed that when you swim, there's no oxygen meter, Instead the screen just slowly gets darker the more you're under water. The visual is very evocative and makes you aware of the time passing.
  7. Serinx


    Mar 31, 2014
    While having subtle effects to portray important game information is an interesting discussion, and yes, some HUD elements can be distracting, I think you need to remember that at the end of the day, the player will not really notice the HUD after a while if it's done well.

    As a player, I'd be quite frustrated if my character suddenly died because his stomach rumbled a few minutes ago and I didn't hear it, or I froze to death because I didn't notice the gradual "cooling" of the screen.

    This is something that annoys me in games like CoD where the screen gets little red edges and heavy breathing sounds when you're damaged. How damaged am I? should I run to the next cover or will 1 stray bullet kill me? should I wait here till my health refills?

    One thing you could do if you're really worried about showing a UI, is only have UI icons appear when the stats are "low" e.g. under half the maximum. This combined with some visual effects for a minor deficiet might also work nicely.

    For example, your stomach grumbles a little at 75% hunger, but no icon appears.
    your stomach grumbles a lot at 50% and a little half empty food icon appears.
    your stomach grumbles and you groan at 25% and the food icon turns red.
    your character starts eating himself at 0% xD
  8. vintage-retro-indie_78


    Mar 4, 2023
    not sure, maybe have some watch that keeps track of the various statitics, if the player is hungry then it shows on their watch, anyway click a button, and the player sees the watch, however normally the player doesn't look at the clock . . . .