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Percentage Health (100%) vs. Numbered Health (100/100)? Which ones better?

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Hey there,

Just wondered what everyone's preference would be for a health bar. I am making a RPG game for android and apple phones and Im trying to get as much feedback as possible.... even on the tiny things like this! See images below!
10540571_339967662847448_85520019605866110644307_334164003427814_519744778393164

We need all the feedback we can get. RPGs are one of the hardest games to get right, but we want to revive the good old gameboy days!
http://epocu.com/campaigns/azmara/
http://www.facebook.com/rollplaygamesltd
 

[attachment=24255:rpglogotransparent.png]

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You already have a percentage showing - the visual bar is your percentage (if the bar is half light-red and half-darkred, then you know you are roughly 50%). Showing a textual percentage (such as "53%") is somewhat redundant. 

 

This is the exact conclusion I came to when tackling the same question for my own game. I'd definitely go with something like "234/500" and let the visual bar represent the percentages. 

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I'd recommend showing the x/y value but making it an options toggle for advanced players only because the less hardcore the game, the more numbers appear to be aesthetically off-putting.

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Thanks for the reponses -- I prefer the numbered health myself (45/100) compared to the percentages -- the picture displayed with the HP bar + % is what we had implemented to begin with -- we can change it over to a number value at any time. Thought id get some feedback from you guys.

The way the game is played it makes more sense to go with numbered health based off the type of combat.

Thanks for the feedback!

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I too would most likely display the bar(percentage) and the numbers(50/100) as well.  You mention the part about it making sense during combat to show numbers as well, so it is pretty much decided.  The only reason I might not do the numbers is if your game really doesn't use them, rather percentages.  Example,I've seen in at least one game(Legend of Dragoon) many things are percentage based.  If you use the defend command, you gain 10% of your health.  Some games also base damages from certain special attacks, and the also some recovery items recover based on percentages.  If your game was like this to an extreme, then maybe you could simply have "levels" of hp and constantly show percentages.  But I don't think that is the case in this game.

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I am considering removing the number / % displayed on the HP bar entirely --- I wouldn't want to copy Zelda however I do like their heart HP system -- I could always replace the hearts with azurite crystals (main element of our game) and tweek the amount of 'heart' taken each hit.

Any thoughts on this?

FYI -- we are actually going to promote the game on Kickstarter starting November 1st! Keep your eyes and ears open if you're interested!

- Drew

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I'm inclined to think that a "hearts"-style system works best with relatively low health values.

 

Such a system can work with higher health values, but can result in a rather more cluttered interface (as the number of hearts to display increases), and I feel that the benefit of a "hearts" system (clear, discrete depiction of current health) decreases as the number of hearts to read increases.

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I agree with Thaumaturge. If you have alot of hearts (say, more than 8), put them on multiple rows. If you have more than two rows, you've probably chosen the wrong way to display your health; it becomes too cluttered and hard to see at a glance.

 

If you do go the heart-based way, make sure the hearts don't disappear from sight when your health goes down, but leave a shadowed heart there, so players can see their health relative to their full health.

 

Heart_display.png

 

This is less necessary when displaying enemy health. The player doesn't really need to know the enemy's max health, only it's current health, unless the enemy has so much health (for example, bosses) that the player needs some indication that damage is actually being made.

 

Another problem with the heart-based system is that damage has to occur in large increments. One damage = 1 heart, or one damage = 1/2 heart. In zelda, you can upgrade your defense towards the end of the game (visiting one of the secret fairy fountains, iirc), and suddenly, in an instant, you get the equivalent of double your health. Your game has to be balanced around that from the beginning. Breaking hearts up into 1/8ths or or 1/16ths rather defeats the purpose of displaying each unit of health as a seperate unit. Even in zelda, when there is 1/4th of heart left, it's easy to at a glance mistake it for 1/2th of a heart.

 

A better way to perhaps do it would be to have multiple bar 'segments', where each segment can display a fractional amount (like a normal healthbar), and where the player can gain new health bar segments. This way you can have the player take damage in whatever increment you want.

 

Segmented_health_bar.png

 

Or take the Metroid route, and let the player collect complete additional health bars. Display the current bar like normal, and how many 'additional' bars you have available in a more compact form.

 

Metroid_prime_display.png

 

Other games use this, though often reserved for enemy health bars during boss battles, and more frequently displayed as multiple health bars stacked on one another (because the boss has so much health, but players still need to be able to visually see they are doing damage to the boss and making progress), changing the color of the health bar once each bar is empty (from green health bar, to yellow health bar, to orange health bar, to red emptiness, for example).

 

One you choose should reflect how the mechanics of your game work. Does the player gradually get health a few points at a time (e.g. 25 health -> 29 health)?

You probably want a solid health bar. Possibly segmented visually, for at-a-glance fractions.

 

Does your player find/unlock sudden discrete uniform increments in health? The metroid or zelda method might suit it better.

 

Does the player find/unlock sudden increments in health, and will he ultimately have alot of them? Perhaps some hybrid method, where you find health bar "segments", but for every 10 segments, it is displayed as a metroid-style separate health bar compacted into a single icon above the current healthbar.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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