Talk:Health (gaming)

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Health without HUD[edit]

I really think that Uncharted: drake's fortune's health mechanism, when the screen gradually loses its saturation and Nate's heartbeats are heard, should be mentioned. Desdendelle (talk) 18:46, 24 November 2009 (UTC)


I have been redirected here after searching for "Damage over time", yet the article does nowhere mention this kind of damage system. --sys2074 (talk) 16:51, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Maybe it did at one point, but was subsequently removed. (talk) 17:21, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
It is unfortunate that there is no useful content about this concept, because based on a quick Google search, it seems to be a well-known term in RPGs such as World of Warcraft and Everquest. Hopefully some info can be added back in so that the redirect works as intended. Otherwise... delete redirect? I don't know where else this concept would be described. Elizium23 (talk) 19:26, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I would go for removing the link. Health/HP is a very broadly defined aspect of gaming, and DOT is a very specific health/HP damage method. If we were to give DOT damage its own topic on this page, then we must do so for direct damage, indirect damage, environmental damage, types of damage, etc. I feel that it is outside the scope of this page. Perhaps a page titled health damage in gaming would be appropriate. Japhasca (talk) 08:48, 17 April 2013 (UTC)


The article has a fair amount of information in it, but I don't like the structure. I don't like the way the article is split and separates the information under the sections titled: HP, Life bar, Icon based, Other variations...

(1) Health can be displayed differently as numbers, a bar, icons or something else. The article suggests that this effects more than just the display but it behaves initially exactly the same as far as gameplay is conserned; some games even have health visually displayed in more than one way at the same time. The article's lead is very short then it splits into the first 3 sections of HP, Life bar and Icon based health treats them like completely different things. The article explains separately within 3 sections, in 3 different ways, that attacks/injuries to a player lowers their health and when health runs out or reaches 0 (or sometimes -50 etc) they die or are knocked out.

(2) Sonic's rings are in other variations because it is different system from HP, life bar and Icon based health. But then recharching health is covered under other variations too so it makes it appear like it is a different system, separate from HP, Life bar and Icon based health and that those 3 do not recharge, which is not the case.

There are things which affect gameplay, and things that don't. There are different ways of displaying health that alone does not effect gameplay.

Health can be displayed in different ways, but that alone does not effect gameplay at all, and the different displays are really the same thing. a character with 5 out 10 hearts left is the same as a character with 5/10 HP; and a character with 250/500 HP is the same as a character who has a life bar exactly half full/empty which is exactly 500 pixels across. It's all numbers to the game it's just displayed differently to the player. Some games use more than one kind at the same time (The game in the image has a bar and numbers. Landstalker has Heart icons and numbers)

Off the top of my head, things that effect gameplay are, things that make a character lose health either immediately like attacks, hazards, falls etc, plus a little bit constantly over time like spells, poison, etc. Some things take all health at once, or kill instantly, like, certain attacks/traps like headshots or stealth kills, drowning, crushing, fall from height. Ways of recharging a character's health when it is depleted. Some games restore full health when you complete a level. Things that effect health loss like armour, defense/experience points, strength/type of attack. Different effects lower or higher health has on characters abilities. Some games a character performs exactly the same at 1/100hp as they do at 100/100hp. Others, lower health means lower movement speed or lower attacking power. Some actions can only be performed at full health. Some actions take away a character's own health. What happens at zero do they die game over, or unconcious and they can be revived, or do they lose a life and carry on. What effects a characters full/maximum health limit. Some games have health for objects like vehicles, sheilds, and some for different parts of the body. Most of these aspects could and do appear in games with all 3 mentioned displays, numbers, icons and bars.

I think the article should be restructured a bit and reflect what I am babbling on about a bit. Carlwev (talk) 17:52, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

@Carlwev I'm having the exact same problem with it. I'd suggest trimming a lot of content out of it (because most of it is original research and examples anyway) and simply deviding the article in physical RPGs and video games. Explaining the difference between a health bar, an icon-based health system and a numerical health system shouldn't be this hard (or even important!), and there are way more ways to display health that actually affects gameplay (One of the sources is even a top 10 most original Health systems).
But I don't really feel comfortable to make such big changes right away, I'd rather hear some opinions on how to structure this page first. In the end, health is a really simple concept, so let's not focus on the display of health. Maplestrip (talk) 14:36, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
NEW: I've started a draft here and am still working on it. I think I could make something good with what we have here, but It'll take some time. Feel free to help, anyone Maplestrip (talk) 16:56, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Ideally I would like input from many users, but I wrote that passage over 2 years ago and you're the first person to reply in any form. I would suggest something like, you and I, and anyone else interested write an alternative article on your sub-talk page then save it to the main article page when we think it's pretty much finished. I'd explain what we're doing here and see if there's any opposition, but there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of activity here, especially for answering queries, so I can't see loads of people opposing it; anyway there's always the page history, so anything can be reverted if our changes are disliked, so I'd just go ahead with it.
I still behind what I said, explain what it is how it's used, what it's purpose is, explain different ways of displaying it, different methods of having it how it's lost, how it's regained, how the limit is increased, other thing that effect it like armour, poison etc. And different effect/uses it sometimes has like attack strength, movement speed and some special moves/techniques can only be done at full health for example, some moves use your own health in streets of rage 2 and 3 for example.
I can see you don't like listing loads of examples I agree we don't to over do it, but think a few examples of each different method being explained may be needed otherwise it may seem like we're not describing actual games just Original Research not referring to any real game.  Carlwev  19:24, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Game mechanics aren't popular, so I think we basically have free reign. Then again, this is one of the biggest of the bunch in terms of importance. I think we'd primarily need references that actually cover the mechanic itself, rather than quick mentions in reviews, but the latter can definitely be used. Examples are fine, really, but they must always serve a purpose. I tend to evade them simply because they end up in these articles enough as it is, but I wouldn't remove an example if it's sourced and has use :)
So you've seen my draft. I'm mainly having trouble finding good references. That's why I kept it as basic as possible so far. I'm not really sure what to add to it if I can't find anything, so I'll look a bit more tomorrow, but I can't promise anything... Maplestrip (talk) 20:44, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Still a lot of original research going, but I think it looks pretty good now, especially compared to the actual article. I'll need some input from others, though. It's not for me to decide if replacing an article with my 100% my own work is a good idea, haha. User:Maplestrip/Health ~ Maplestrip (talk) 10:29, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Hit points as not health.[edit]

It has long been my understanding that the concept of hit points, especially as the original Chainmail/D&D concept, does not mean health. It is a very vague statistical measure for the characters ability to do battle, incorporating factors such as the ability to withstand minor wounds, stamina, morale, sanity, discipline, skill, and luck, among other things. And that vagueness is a good thing for the purposes of simplification. If the character really does take a lot of damage, then that's no longer a hit point issue, but rather reduces the character's endurance (or whatever such statistics may apply in the game in question), or in a more streamlined game, could kill the character right away.

That's also why it makes sense to go from very small hit point values to very large hit point values during character development. A character with a four hit point maximum might be able to endure just as much physical punishment than a character with a hundred hit point maximum, but in comparison to the former the latter is much more skilled in evading the attacks, doesn't get out of breath as easily, doesn't suffer from the emotional distress caused by the combat, etc. and this is represented by the simple, yet vague statistical concept.

This is also the reason why a character who has lost all his hit points is not dead (as he is simply incapable of fighting), or why "healing" items work as they do (they do not necessarily heal the character from any actual wounds, they simply boost his stamina and morale, for instance).

The confusion between "health" and "hit points" is an unfortunate simplification of the concept that usually leads to questions such as "why can you still fight with your full resolve when you are close to death". A character with one out of a hundred hit points isn't anywhere close to death, just to the point in the battle where he will not be able to defend himself and as such could be easily killed.

I am highly reluctant to add this to the article, as it is something of a perfervid issue among gamers. But I do think this issue should be noted in the article. Hope this helps, have a nice day. (talk) 09:45, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Do you know any reliable secondary sources that explain this? Elizium23 (talk) 13:39, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
From Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Player's Handbook, Gary Gygax, 1978, ISBN 0-935696-01-6, page 34, under heading Character hit points: "Each character has a varying number of hit points, just as monsters do. These hit points represent how much damage (actual or potential) the character can withstand before being killed. A certain amount of these hit points represent the actual physical punishment which can be sustained. The remainder, a significant portion of hit points at higher levels, stands for skill, luck, and/or magical factors. A typical man-at-arms can take about 5 hit points of damage before being killed. Let us suppose that a 10th level fighter has 55 hit points, plus a bonus of 30 hit points for his constitution, for a total of 85 hit points. This is the equivalent of about 18 hit dice for creatures, about what it would take to kill four huge warhorses. It is ridiculous to assume that even a fantastic fighter can take that much punishment. The same holds true to a lesser extent for clerics, thieves, and the other classes. Thus, the majority of hit points are symbolic of combat skill, luck (bestowed by supernatural powers), and magical forces."
There is also an online document freely available on the Wizards' site, the System Reference Document (SRD). In particular, the part about basic combat describes hit points under heading Injury and death, subsection Loss of hit points as "Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one."
Finally, an article at the Wizards' site gives a detailed description of the concept at Hit Points, Our Old Friend.
I would say the official AD&D manual is about as reliable as it can get, the two other sources I gave mainly due to the reason that they are freely available, whereas the manual is not. The definitions in the manuals of other editions of D&D probably vary, but to my understanding the basic concept is the same. (talk) 11:21, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Re: Health without HUD[edit]

In Super Mario Bros/World, Small Mario has 1 HP. Big (with mushroom) has 2 HP. With a cape or fire flower, it's 3 HP. Yoshi is invulnerable to enemies, only being lost in pits, but riding one is the 4th HP of 4 possible (with up to 2 extra carried as a powerup in SMW). Of course, this survivability scale is quite rough - but it's the only example I know of a HP scale being displayed as character's state. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yura87 (talkcontribs) 19:06, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Differences between To-Hit, Hit Points and Hit Recovery?[edit]

How healthy and accurate can this RPG character be with it? Just answer later. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:39, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Terminology varies from game to game, but here's how it generally works:
  • Hit points geneally measure the amount of damage points a character can take.
  • To-hit is used in lot of games which use some form of random number generation (such as dice rolls in tabletop games, or simulated dice rools in video games) to determine whether attacks hit or miss. Sometimes, in these games, to-hit refers to some numerical value or bonus representing the attacker's accuracy, such as an attacker's THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class Zero) number in some early editions of D&D, other games, to-hit refers to some numerical value representing the difficulty of hitting a target.
  • Hit recovery mostly seems to appear in ARPGs with stun or stagger mechanics, such as Diablo II, a higher. This stat seems to be pretty rare compared to the others.
-- Gordon Ecker, WikiSloth (talk) 08:39, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Heaing potions and health powerups[edit]

IMO this article should have a separate section for stuff like healing potions (such as the ones in Zelda, D&D and Final Fantasy) and health recovery powerups (food, medkits, hearts, shield energy refills), so that other video game articles have something to directly link to while describing HP recovry mechanics. (Right now, it's squeezed into the section on recharging health.) -- Gordon Ecker, WikiSloth (talk) 09:16, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Sounds good! 2601:D:9400:3CD:A8D9:A2BF:72A:4032 (talk) 12:53, 31 January 2014 (UTC)


I have a hard time finding sources dedicated to health or health points. Regardless, I decided to clean this thing up, completely restructure it, remove most original research and fill up the gaps. I personally believe that this draft allows people to add varied content to it, while the current article is completely stuck and doesn't focus on what is actually important when talking about health.

Feel free to add things to it. I suggest the current article to be replaced with my draft, but it needs a lot more before it's actually worth something. Please help out and give your opinion :)

User:Maplestrip/Health ~ Maplestrip (talk) 19:03, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

Replaced entire content. If someone has issues with the changes, please say so in the Talk page. Feel free to revert my change, but please tell me how to improve on it. Maplestrip (talk) 09:33, 24 November 2014 (UTC)


I'd love to create a subsection specific to tabletop role-playing games within the "Usage" section. I'd need to get some sources for that, though, particularly ones that are not limited to Dungeons & Dragons. I found this one] thus far and am looking for more. If someone happens to find anything, please post it here. It would be nice if the article could cover non-videogame related content better. I don't know too much about role-playing games mechanics, so my knowledge on this topic will be limited. All I know is that it seems to be hard to describe the abstractions and various mechanics of hit points in RPGs clearly and simply... ~Mable (chat) 11:40, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

I do find a lot of specific examples using this Google search, but those are only limitedly usable without commiting WP:SYNTH... ~Mable (chat) 11:45, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

  • This one seems game-neutral: link

Difference between lives and health, and other things[edit]

The article has been rewritten a lot, there is still some information I think the article would benefit from having. The main thing on my mind is explaining the difference between lives and health. The biggest difference here is that with loss of health the player character usually if not always stays where they are doing what they were doing, although they may or may not be momentarily stunned. They don't lose their location or progress made in game. Loss of health doesn't stop gameplay but loss of a life is different. The character dies as such, disappears or falls down as a corpse etc. If the character has more lives the character will usually not continue where they were standing but from a previous location, such as beginning of current stage, last in game check point or save point etc. Often progress made just before losing a life, but after the last check point/save point is lost, a level may reset as such, this doesn't happen with loss of health, although not true with all games especially multiplayer ones, with other player characters on screen.

Another thing I think could be mentioned is the limit of maximum health limit. It's vaguely touched on or can be inferred, but it's not explained clearly like it could be. It is well known there may be a current maximum health, if health is lost, consuming items or doing something else may increase health but only to the maximum limit, no more. However, other items/spells/tasks/events leveling up etc can increase the maximum health limit to a higher amount that regular health packs or items don't do.

I'd like to mention some games or game types it is the norm that recharging health is never possible like in vast majority of fighting games although not all, increasing health simply doesn't happen at all, other than being beaten and starting a round again.

I wouldn't call this original research, just themes common to many games, like health itself is. Although finding sources, be they first or third party may be difficult. Although is noticing something yourself no matter how obvious the very definition of OR, if it's unsourced?  Carlwev  04:17, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

During the last rewrite, which I did about a year ago, I put most of my effort into describing health through reliable sources with a minimal amount of original research. It was difficult to find good sources at times, though, so some aspects may be a bit vaguely described. The way health works can also vary from game to game, making it a bit more difficult to speak universal truths. To go by them one by one anyway:
  • Looking at the first paragraph of the lead section, health is described as a value: an attribute is a "piece of data" according to its article. This article states that "When the HP of a player character reaches zero, the player may lose a life ..." as the main reason to keep track of health. It isn't until the "usage" section that the way in which health "depletes" is really discussed. Honestly, I personally feel like the article never suggests that losing HP affects gameplay. Let the articles on lives deal with what happens to a player when they lose one. "Something bad happens if a player loses all its HP" is probably the best thing we can see about this... Or so I feel.
  • Maximum HP could probably be defined better, yes. I might not have made the functional difference between "current HP" and "maximum HP" perfectly explicit in the lead section, though I think it is clear enough for any person who plays games. More complex aspects of this, such as how one could raise one's maximum HP, would need some sources, I suppose.
  • Not being able to regenerate health in every game is probably something that should be stated in the "Regenerating health" section, I agree. If only I had a source for it...
I know these are all somewhat tame examples of original research. I'm usually particularly strict when it comes to OR and if I had written this article today, I would have removed the two "citation needed" segments. But I won't stop you if you want to add that not all video games feature regenerating health mechanics or if you want to make the difference between maximum and current HP more clear. It isn't "original thought" or synthesis to say these things, though it is "new analysis" of video games in some sense. I'm not making any sense anymore ^_^; The problem is that these things are "too obvious" to be described by gaming news outlets. Perhaps they're also too obvious to be described in detail on Wikipedia? ~Mable (chat) 10:10, 5 March 2016 (UTC)