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Good Gui for a survival/horror?

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The survival/horror genre is the whole reason I got into programming in the first place. I felt that the whole genre was clogged with bad voice acting and poor design. Whilst learning the various programming languages in preparation for putting the game I imagined into a PC environment, I began to work on character design and story, but I'm getting hung up on designing the GUI. I want to keep the slow-moving trippy feel of a suvival/horror going in the GUI and item systems, but don't want the ridiculously overused and poorly thought-out go-to-the-menu-and-click-the-item-in-the-right-spot-system. Any ideas? [Edited by - BASICisforsquares on January 1, 2006 3:58:46 PM]

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Before I make a comment, what type of survival horror are you wanting to make? Is it action based, or more adventure (get key, pull level etc.) Do you need an inventory?

I really enjoy the survival horror genre, and I really like designing interfaces, so I may be some help, even if it's just overly passionate ravings.

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A less intrusive heads-up display should be used in survival/horror games. An assertive interface takes away from the overall experience and jolts the player back to reality, destroying all of the built up immersion and suspense, while a more conservative one can be perfectly functional while leaving the player in your world.

However, being kept away from vital information is bad. Hit points, ammo, etc. should be available to the player at all times.

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I like the minimalistic gui. So for using objects I would have your character select the object you would need(ala Condemed) and use it. For a hud I would hide most displays. The health would be like cod2 or king kong, perhaps some more terrifying music with lower health.
I would display how many rounds/magazines you have left with an equal number of sprites/quads/images. Fade it out when it's not used and provide a button for checking (like cod2) and perhaps the player says something depending on how much rounds you have left like "running low" or "I can take out a few badies before I have to reload", simmilar to trespasser.

If the game is adventure-based, perhaps controls and gui like uru would be something to consider?

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If the game is an adventure type game and so needs an inventory, how about when you access your inventory its actually a bag you take off you back and open on the floor and then take the thing out and put the backpack away (and i mean you actually see this and hear it) and you can also leave the backpack on the ground. Alsp you could have the player with a belt that they can attach things too and you can look down and actually put/take things on/off the belt.

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How about making the inventory into a "real" backpack, as suggested, but instead of having a list/overview of items to chose from, have a number of layers, and make it so the player has to "push" the top items out of the way to get to the lower ones? Like you would rummage through a real backpack. See www.dontclick.it for what I mean by pushing.

This would be more realistic in that you can't quickly whip out something that is in the bottom of the pack (so if your last ammo-clip is at the bottom when you run out your in trouble).

As for using items, Grim Fandango and Monkey Island 4 did it pretty good: When you have selected something in the inventory the PC has it in his hand, and you have to move him near to where you would like to use it.

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Some good ideas here, I especially like the backback one.


As an aside, isn't UrU the one where the character lifts up her shirt and appears to place various items in her... bra area?

And it is mostly story-driven, so it's going to lean towards the adventure side of the spectrum.

Of course, I cant expect to actually have the know-how to put this thing out for two years, at the least.

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Quote:
Original post by oscinis
However, being kept away from vital information is bad. Hit points, ammo, etc. should be available to the player at all times.


I do not completely agree with you. Hit points (or 'health bar', without a precise numeric value) are indeed a good thing to have visible at all times, as well as a description of the current weapon.

However, I believe other information, such as ammo or inventory, should be made available to the player through a menu that does not pause the game, which does not block the player's view too much, and which disappears after a given time. If you have enough keys available to summon this behavior. Also, information should appear when it is altered (you pick up ammo: display new ammo; you use a hotkey to bring out a healthpack: show healthpacks).

The absence of information (and the necessity to spend time looking at the inventory to find that information) increases tension IMHO.

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Maybe informations like health and stamina can be reflected by the appearance of your character, this should bring your interface one step closer to simplicity.

Like for health can be displayed by adding blood stains, wounds on your character, like in Silent Hill 4, the character Eileen gets more and more wounded as she suffers injuries.

For stamina, displayed by how hard your character breathe, tired, and other gestures. Like in Haunting Ground, Fiona raises her arm to her chest level and slightly bents when she's very tired, her arm lowers as she recovers stamina and finally she stands straight when her stamina's full.

You can figure out your own appearance for those, like when almost dead, your char starts bleeding all over the place.

Maybe you can do that for ammo amount as well, have the char examine his/her weapon and reports vocally to him/her self "Hmm, 5 bullets left in my gun, and I have 5 clips, this should be enough to get me out of here..." "I overused the cutter, it's too blunt, I need to sharpen it!" "The torchlight's almost out of battery." The player will need to memorize their bullet count during the battle, this will make the game more exciting for certain people.

Just a suggestion.

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Something I really would like to see is some game, (really want to see it in an FPS) is weapons that work the way they do in real life. Say you have a rifle and a hand gun, rifle slung over your back, you're holding the hand gun. Hotkey for handgun is 1, rifle 2. Pressing 1 and youre guy will pull out/put away your handgun, pressing 2 will pull out/put away your rifle. If you have one of them out, and press the key for the other, you put the first away and pull the second out. If you press the key twice, you DROP what you're holding in favor of getting the other weapon as fast as possible.

Want to check your ammo? press the check hotkey, and you pull the clip out of your gun. and look, press the key again and you put the clip back in. Holding a P90 or something else with a clear clip? you hold the gun up and going back to shooting takes almost no time.

Pick up a box of 9mm ammo for your handgun? Opps, thats a BOX of ammo, not a clip, rememeber to put those in your clip, or you're shooting VERY slowly as you load them in one at a time.

Want to check how many clips you have for that weapon, you can go like Shift+1 and you look down into where you have your full clips for that gun, and you get to do the math in your head.


Your game not an FPS? Could have all this done by sort of like, zooming the view into where it needs to be.

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