Most games only have the typical single health bar (excluding the huge exception of Dwarf Fortress, and a couple of other ones, like the old Robinson's Requiem come to mind).
I'm obvious downside is that it increases complexity of the game - the health can't be represented in a nice red bar, or a few digits on the UI. There's also no easy way to tell if you'll die soon - depending on how 'death' is considered. It's possible that, for example, all your body is in perfect shape, but your head is down to almost no health, so one critical hit and you're dead.
On the upside, it's a nice separation of damage. I'm currently working on a 2d platformer, and right now have health as a single healthbar, and all I have right now is fall damage. But thinking ahead, I am going to have enemies that shoot at you - and it seems like it might be a good idea to have some separation of health so the player can take both projectile damage and fall damage without them stacking (projectiles hitting mostly the torso, with some chance for legs and a smaller chance for head, while fall damage being entirely on legs).
I was thinking of a simpler separation, just three areas - head, torso/arms and legs. My thoughts were that if your head or torso run out of health, you die and have to retry. But it doesn't make sense that you would die if your legs get broken by a high fall.
It would make sense that if your legs are low on health, i would force the player into a crawl mode, but this presents a problem, since it's a platformer game, and not having the ability to jump might essentially get the player stuck in some spot without a way out.
So, I'm wondering two things:
1) is it worth implementing a system beyond just a simple health bar
2) What do I do when the legs are damaged? How can I account for the possibility of the player being stuck in that case? A simple reset button?
Some input in general on healthbar vs detailed health, or input on my specific issue is appreciated.
Edited by Milcho, 26 January 2013 - 04:25 PM.