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Waverider

HUD methodology

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The space shootemup I wrote used a tracker that showed you exactly where you needed to fly in order to get your target in front of you. As such, it didn't really need a radar screen, and the action was frantic as it was. Blow up all the enemy craft, and the game is over. XWing and TIE Fighter used a circular radar screen in the upper corners to represent forward and rear sensors. In order to line up a craft in front of you, you had to look for the indicator in the radar, then maneuver the craft in front of you, then look for the craft in the main view. The games felt VERY tactical. You had to know what to protect and when or else the missions would be failed. Freespace used a central radar at the bottom of the screen that showed radar contacts in front and behind, AND gave you an indicator to show you where you needed to fly to get your target lined up, AND showed you its distance at a glance. The game was less tactical and more flashy graphics with a good sci-fi story. ... Of all of these, I still find XWing and TIE Fighter to be superior games - it seems the necessity to scan the radar then look for the actual craft makes for more interactivity and involvement than to let the HUD do the thinking for you. Lawrence Holland made other dogfighting style games for the PC prior to XWing, and I can see where his talents made for superior games. It makes me wonder about the placement of HUD indicators in today's modern jets, or even when they first started to place radars and HUDs in aircraft. The psychology of where to put the indicators and the best order to scan the readouts are important to understand, because they affect the pilot's performance, just as the right readouts in a game affect the player's involvement. Are there any other examples of games that make good use of readouts in piloted craft that you can think of? Any bad examples? [edited by - Waverider on August 18, 2003 11:12:21 PM]

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