Post feature RSS Because health-bars are too mainstream

Early beta-tests showed that players need some feedback about how much damage they do and how much hit point monsters have. Health-bars are the answer, but for some reason I dislike them - so we have health-rings.

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Why are health-bars needed?

There not, a common misconception, yet they seem to be everywhere these days. Diablo 1 didn't have them, Quake didn't have them, Avolition shouldn't have them, at least that was the idea, 'although practicality beats purity' (PEP20 - "The Zen of Python") .

So, why are health-bars needed:

  • they show how much damage you do
  • they show how much hit points monsters have
  • they show how strong monsters are

Everything speaks in their favor, and the only thing against is my personal dislike, and since I'm the only developer of this project - instead of health bars I bring You...

The Health Rings!


No! Not the green monster, not the chick in red! The green ring at the monsters feet!

After a few refreshing lightning bolts:


...and after a few more displays of raw magical power:


The color of the ring shows the monsters health status - green is undamaged, yellow is wounded, red is almost dead. You could say this is shown as a percentage, green =100%, red=0%.

The thickness of the ring shows how many hitpoints the monster has. You may ask if it's not the same as the color - it's not! Let's imagine two monsters, monster #1 spawns with 100 HP, monster #2 spawns with 50 HP. They both have green rings but the ring at monster#1s feet will be much thicker.

So how are health-rings better then health-bars? They aren't, I'm just using health-rings, because health-bars are too mainstream ;)

Borzi - - 196 comments

It's actually a cool idea :D

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Grim_Jester - - 8 comments

I say stick with your original concept. Is your dislike for the bar based on how it impacts immersion? There are other ways to show damage and health.

For Health: Dripping/spurting blood (easy solution), or a staggering animation could indicate how hurt the enemy is.

For Damage: A visual weapon slash effect of different sizes, or a sound effect.

I don't dislike the rings, and I do prefer them to a health bar, but I think an uncluttered interface is ideal.

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grzechotnik1984 Author
grzechotnik1984 - - 10 comments

Staggering animation or some visual FX could show that a monster is hurt, it's hard to show how much with something like that.
Also making animations and effects takes time. I don't have a team of dedicated artists and animators - it's just me.

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Grim_Jester - - 8 comments

I understand your difficulty, because I'm doing something similar with my aliens in my shoot'em up. My player's ship throws off sparks that get bigger and more frequent as it gets damaged.

The aliens throw off more smoke as they get hurt. I haven't put any effort into the graphics yet, but that's the idea I'm going with because I hate bars too.

Like I said, your health ring isn't bad, and there is something to be said for using thickness and color to express the enemy's life force.

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