It looks like BioWare liked the adaptive HUD in Visceral Games’s Dead Space 2, because they’re looking into implementing that in Mass Effect 3 – according to Brenon Holmes, a programmer at BioWare.
On BioWare forums, Brenon wrote: “We’re still really interested in trying to move information into the world. That’s one of the things that I love about Dead Space 2; the interface… it feels really immersive. I just want to touch the hell out of those buttons. So we are still investigating ways of putting some of our HUD elements into the environment… we’ll see what we end up with.”
Apparently, BioWare worked on integrating health and shield indicators into Commander Shephard’s armour during the early prototypes of Mass Effect 2. “It was ok when Shepard was out of cover, like in the image you linked. The issues started to crop up once you popped into cover, with the way that the camera was positioned and with Shepard’s orientation changing we had to do some fairly crazy stuff to get the health indicator to display in a reasonable position. Even then it ended up being rather confusing to reference when you were in the middle of a fight. I think if we’d simplified our health system so we only had one meter or bar it might have been easier to represent it on the armour (like on Isaac’s back in DS).”
Meanwhile, some other players complained about how they couldn’t identify enemy species just by their silhouettes. Well, BioWare is looking to improve on that. “At the start of Mass Effect 3 we put together a Mass Effect 2 silhouette chart… some interesting stuff came out of that. Basically, it’s very difficult to make out which enemy is which base purely on a lineup… some stand out a bit more (like Vorcha, Geth, Collectors, and the Oculus), but for the most part it’s difficult to tell who’s who.”
“Even if you were able to easily recognise a given enemy, what are they going to do in a fight? What sort of strategy should you be using when engaging them? Sooo… one of the things we’re trying for ME3 is to make it a lot easier to identify the various types of enemies. Silhouette of the character is a huge component of that, and our character art/animator guys have done a pretty awesome job. I’m pretty excited for when we get to start showing off some of the really cool creatures we’ve been working on.” Even “Sovereign was kind of hard to pick out of a lineup.”
Finally, he said: “If someone’s going to look different, it’s because their gameplay is different (or should be), and there is an actual reason for them to look different. This should also be supported by their AI behaviours and general ‘feel’. I’d really like to go into specifics, but I don’t think it’s really appropriate just yet.”