We present four experiments comparing player performance between several information displays used in first-person shooter (FPS) games. Broadly, these information displays included heads-up displays (HUDs), and alternatives such as spatial representations, and diegetic (in-game) indicators. Each experiment isolated a specific task common to FPS games: (1) monitoring ammunition, (2) monitoring health, (3) matching the weapon to the situation, and (4) navigating the environment. Correspondingly, each experiment studied a different information type, specifically ammunition (ammo) levels, health levels, current weapon, and navigation aids, while comparing HUDs to alternatives. The goal was to expose player performance differences between different classes of displays, and types of information displays (e.g., numeric, iconic, etc.). Results suggest that no one display type – HUDs or alternatives – are universally best; each performed well, depending on the type of information. For ammo, player performance was best with diegetic/spatial displays; for health information, players performed significantly better with a HUD. For weapon displays, results were best when showing a redundant HUD icon and a diegetic/spatial display (the actual weapon). Finally, for navigation, a spatial “navigation line” (showing the path) was best, but HUD-based mini-maps offered competitive player performance. We discuss implications for the design of first-person shooter games.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Diegetic, First-person shooter, Head-up displays, Information displays, User interfaces, Video games
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.entcom.2018.01.003
Journal Entertainment Computing
Peacocke, M. (Margaree), Teather, R, Carette, J. (Jacques), MacKenzie, I.S. (I. Scott), & McArthur, V. (Victoria). (2018). An empirical comparison of first-person shooter information displays: HUDs, diegetic displays, and spatial representations. Entertainment Computing, 26, 41–58. doi:10.1016/j.entcom.2018.01.003