Display Options

  • Context-sensitive information – Shown in the HUD only as it becomes important, such as tutorial messages, special one-off abilities, and speech subtitles. A common example is that a boss life gauge usually only appears when a boss also appears. Other example is that the "ammo" gauge from Mega Man games only appear when a weapon is equipped.
  • Add/Remove/Zoom - Increases or decreases HUD content, or removes the HUD to make more content visible, examples being Duke Nukem and Jedi Knight.
  • Display Mode
    • Gauge - For Status info like HP and MP/Ammo.
    • Text - Shown as text or numbers, common for timers and scores.
    • Other - For custom displays.

HUD Types


A few tiles can make big images. Some details can also use tiles instead of layers, like the Mega Man gauge and scroll bar

Note: Some text was taken from the HUD article in Wikipedia.

HUD (head-up display) is the method by which information is visually relayed to the player as part of a game's user interface. The HUD is frequently used to simultaneously display several pieces of information.

  • Status - Commonly HP and MP/Ammo, and sometimes Stamina/Fuel.
  • Lives – For games with extra lives and continues, like the Mega Man and Kirby series.
  • Time – This may be a timer counting down the time limit or the time left until a specific event (i.e. the start of a race). It may also be a timer counting up to records such as lap times in racing games, or the length of time a player can last in games based on survival. Many HUDS also use time displays to show the in-game time, such as the current time of day or year within the game. Some games may also display the real time.
  • Screen/Menu – Screens with menus to exit, change options, delete files, change settings, etc. See Screens and Modes below.
  • Cursor - Reticle, cursor, crosshair, ... an indication of where the character is aiming or where the mouse pointer is. Pressing a key while pointing at an object or character with the cursor can issue actions like shooting, talking, picking up objects, manipulating switches, using computers, etc. Has two by default, one for menus and one for weapons.
  • Game Progression – The player's current score, money, lap, or level (as in stage or as in experience points). This might also include the character's current task or quest.
  • Capabilities – Gameplay options that are often accessible by the player during gameplay, such as available weapons, items, or abilities. This can include when the ability will become usable again, such as equipping a weapon, ammunition, or some other type of "charge up" timer. Icons and/or text may appear in the HUD to indicate other actions that are only available at certain times or in certain places, to show they are available to perform and which button performs it; for example the text "A – open door" may be displayed, but only when the character is near a door. May also display equipped items or abilities, like Kirby Super Star, Metal Gear Solid, and Minecraft.
  • Mini-Map - A small map of the area is displayed by pressing a button (i.e. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Duke Nukem, Little Big Adventure 2, ...) or is always visible (i.e. the MSX Metal Gear 2, Sword of Vermillion, ...). May also act like a radar, showing the position of the player(s), enemies, and items, and information on notable locations such as towns and shops.
  • Level/Map Info - In case the maker wants to show some type of info on the current map, like the area name or stage #, either always visible like Pac-Man and Sector Z, by entering the area like Pokémon games from the 3rd generation onward, or under specific conditions. Some games also inform these in the save data, like Xenogears and Metal Gear Solid.
  • Compass / Quest Arrow - Sometimes found in RPGs, first person shooters and driving games, they help guide the player toward his or her objective. An example is in the first-person shooter BioShock, which displays an arrow pointing the direction of the next objective on the top of the player's HUD. Sometimes the compass itself might not be a real compass (like Xenogears), rather one that points toward the next location or goal (like addexamplehere).
  • Speedometer/Tachometer – used in most games which feature drivable vehicles. Usually shown only when driving one of these.
  • Stealthometer – displays the awareness level of enemies to the player's presence (used in stealth games and some first person shooters).
  • Custom - A display that can be customized. Has one by default, but like all types, more can be added and renamed. How about do something with temperatures and the weather?

Default HUD 1

The main default HUD (this sample being for 352x264 pixels or higher, 287x248 if ignoring the bleeding and mugshots) options:



  • Bleeding / Clipping - At the very least one tile to avoid problems with different screen settings, from an old black and white TV to a modern HD screen. Increase or add a border for wide screens, otherwise it will only show a black border.

Top center:

  • Timer - Mainly for fighting games, but can be removed, modified, or switched for other options. This central display separates the left and right sides of the HUD.

Top left:

  • Mugshot - Optional. This shows the face of the player's character.
  • Points - For games with a score system. (default 15 numbers)
  • Name - Displays the player's or the character's name. (default 15 characters)
    • HP Gauge - Max. and current HP.
    • MP Gauge - Max. and current MP. (here at full size)
  • Text - Off by default. A small (default 2 lines, each with 15 characters) text display like the Japanese version of World Heroes 2 Jet to be used outside cutscenes and in multiplayer dialogues. Only in case the game doesn't use voices or displays text in the bottom center of the screen, from texts (or captions) only to a detailed text box with pictures like Azure Striker Gunvolt. Can be moved to any part of the screen, being better in the bottom center if the Obj options are used.
  • Obj Mugshot - For Beat'em Ups like Final Fight and Captain Commando. Displays a small picture or the last object (enemy/boss/item/...) interacted by the player. As text is off by default, this moves one tile up in the sample HUD image.
    • Obj Name - The name of the last object interacted. (10 characters)
    • Obj HP Gauge - The HP of the last object.
    • Obj MP Gauge - Off by default. Displays the MP of the last object.

Top right: Boss side / 2P side - Same graphics (but different data) as 1P side, but inverted, except of course of texts. (stxet detrevni wohs ot doog eb ton dluow)

Bottom left (and right):

  • Custom - Off by default. For custom options like a Speedometer, that contact icon from Mega Man X6 that is often ignored, and an item menu a la Metal Gear Solid.

Bottom center:

  • Custom - Off by default. Mainly to be used for text boxes (bigger than the sample). Can also be used for other purposes, i.e. a boss gauge can be placed here if it doesn't use either the 2P side or the Obj options, like Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters.

Default HUD 2

Other default HUD option, this one being more simple:


Name, HP, and MP are displayed above each character's head, and the player can remove them if he prefers. The two gauges have a size of three tiles. For multiplayer, they also have an extra detail to show the team's color or a mark, or both if the maker prefers.

Score (off by default) is in the top center of the screen.

Text is displayed in the bottom left.

Screens and Modes

  • Title Screen - The first screen seen by the player (excluding openings and logos).
  • Main Game Screen - The main gameplay screen, where the player controls his character.
  • Pause Screen - Pause screen.
  • Password / Save Screen - Screen to save the game's progress.
  • Status Screen - A screen showing the player's status. Common in RPGs, but also seen in games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
  • Special Screen / Mode - For custom screens, like the Radio in the Metal Gear series.
  • Wide Screen Settings - Wide Screen options. Text all stages and screens to see if they appear without issues in wide screens, or add one or more borders to the game, like Mega Man Legacy Collection. The border can also include a few extra options, like moving the HUD to the border and show more details like play time or the current time from the platform's setting.
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