Flame Feedback pt. 2
On my team project, I am in charge of all the feedback. We have a flame spirit that the player needs to keep care of and not let die. The flame spirit has 3 states that aren't dying. They love for the player when they get Kindling, they want Kindling, and they're scared/don't like the rain. First I wanted to make it so the player could see all of the flame spirit's feedback even when the flame is small or off the screen. It's important to know what's happening to them at all times, since if they die the player has to restart, so I added the flame to the HUD. The HUD flame doesn't shrink like the actual flame spirit, so I need to make sure it's health is clear. I currently am trying to design the HUD flame without an actual health bar, because I don't want the player to focus on the bar instead of the flame spirit. The flame spirit is a key element of the game and if it had a health bar the player may only think about it in regards to its health rather than it as a being.
Both the flame spirit and the HUD version have changes to their face depending on their health and what is happening. When the flame spirit's health is above 65% the face is happy with the mouth smiling. Once it's below 65% its eyes look sad, and it frowns. This feedback is very apparent on the HUD, but because the actual flame is shrinking it can be harder to see. That is why I also have it shown in the HUD. One current issue is that because the HUD flame isn't shrinking players may be confused about exactly how low the health is when the flame spirit is off-screen. Currently, the "light" behind the HUD flame changes colors, but that doesn't seem to be enough. I'm attempting to also change the color of the flame part on the HUD. If that addition isn't clear enough, I will likely go back to shrinking the HUD flame, but I will have to make sure all of its facial features are still readable. Another facial change that happens to the flame spirit is its eyes turn to hearts when they see kindling. I wanted to make it extremely clear to the player that the flame spirit likes the kindling, so I thought heart eyes were a good way to do it. I am worried that heart eyes may be hard to read depending on the flame's health, so I will need to test this to see what players think.
Only having facial reactions occur for the flame spirit's feedback could be difficult to follow. Players need to understand a lot more than just the flame's health which would be hard to show on facial reactions alone. Because of that, I decided to add thought bubbles to the flame spirit. There are currently 5 different thought bubbles that can appear. When the flame wants food, likes something, is scared of the bird, wants to burn something, and gets hit by water are all things that cause the thought bubbles. The thought bubbles show in both the HUD and world space, so even if the player isn't near the flame they can know what's happening. The appear animation still needs to be slightly adjusted to look like its appearing instead of just showing up.