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Health Bars

Today I implemented health bars, which seems like an easy thing to do, but in a game like this health bars need to display quite a lot of information without becoming overwhelming.

I'm not quite happy with them yet, but I'm getting there:

There are 5 elements to look at here:

  1. The first is the health bar, a simple green bar with a black background. I'm not sure I like the shad of green though. Also there may be multiple health bars for vehicles to show engine damage, crew casualties etc... or I may leave that up to the info-icons.
  2. The second bar is the red one, this is the shock bar. As a unit comes under fire they will suffer shock. If the shock bar is too high the unit will become pinned. Enemy units might run away too. The bar will drop down naturally depending on the experience of the troops. Some other actions can clear the bar too.
  3. The third element is the group number. Using control and number keys you can set selection groups, and then select units by pressing a number key. If the agent is part of a group it will be shown here. The group badge can change shape (and maybe color) to show which stance the unit is in, aggressive, sentry, defending or flanking.
  4. The fourth element is the rank badge. Agents can level up and get access to more special abilities as they gain experience. You can get experience from beating enemy units but also from achieving objectives and just staying alive. Higher ranked units have better aim, resist shock better and for vehicles get a handling and reliability bonus so they can drive better and break down less often. 
  5. The last element is the info icons. Some effects and conditions need to be shown directly on the unit. Such as running out of ammo, being immobilized or carrying infantry on board. You need to see these on screen because otherwise it becomes too difficult to remember which units are in danger or ready for action.
I'm going to experiment with different visual styles for the health bars, I want them to be clear, but not too gaudy and I don't want them to take up too much space.


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