‘Split/Second”s Simple HUD [GDC 2009]

This morning I saw a demo of a very early build for “Split/Second,” the new racing title by Black Rock Studio, the developers behind last year’s “Pure.” Global brand manager Mitch Powers showed me the game, and called it an “action-arcade street racing game set in the world of a primetime reality TV show.” While that description sounds unwieldy, the HUD for the game was simple: all the information the player needed (rank, score, number of laps) was displayed on the bumper of the player’s vehicle.

“We’re investigating different ways of showcasing the HUD without putting to much on screen, really keeping it minimal,” Powers said, adding that this was far from the final product. When I asked if he thought other racing games’ HUDs were too cluttered, he said, “I think games in general can have too much stuff in their HUD. We’re always looking at innovative ways to incorporate important information into the HUD, or at least give gamers the option [to see what they want]. If I want to see it, I’ll see it. But I don’t want it to be persistent if i don’t want to see it. In ’Split/Second,’ we really want to showcase the blockbuster action that’s happening within the race; we don’t want to cover it up with HUD elements.”

How much do you want in your HUD? Do you think less is more?

“Split/Second” is slated for release on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 early next year.