Poll Question 035 – Which type of health system do you prefer?

15th June 2007

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3

There are a few types of health systems available and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. I don’t believe that one particular system is clearly better than the others and the context is very important. However, as with all the polls you have to make one choice!

Which type of health system do you prefer?

A while ago I wrote a post entitled You are what you eat. Its purpose was to explore some of the various health system available and perhaps offer a few ideas of mine own.

The key to a good system is balance between keeping the player alive and fitting it into the setting. Personally I thought they did a great job with Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

The Poll!


  1. Hoosteen

    Call of Duty 2’s and TimeShift’s recharging health was a very nice feature. It prevented the player from having to scramble around for health in case they ran out.

  2. COD2…there is no health pack or reacharge I suppose it’s consider as auto recharge…so you just rush and when you a little too hit you hide a while and return to the battle so that an entire game like COD2 took me only 8 hours to finish and most of experience mp player finish it in arround 5 hours…

    I defenetly prefer a system where you have to look and save often especially when you finally find one of those system I prefer health pack or food in oposition with wall health station where when you recharge you back to the enemy…

  3. Well… I think that the recharging system like in Halo and the aforementioned games requires less micromanagement and allows the player not to concentrate on numbers or bars too much. Not to say the other systems are bad, but I find the auto-recharge easier to use.

  4. I went for regenerating health. Namely for how the concept could be expanded in the future. There are all manner of potential ways it could be used; for instance, since it results in less trial-and-error you could have far more complex enemy behavior as not every mistake can screw you over. That’s what I hope for anyway; it’s pretty underutilised right now considering the possibilities it has.

  5. To expand on that last comment. If the only reason regenerating health is being used is so “you don’t have to look for health packs”, I couldn’t care less; I want to see it being use to take the genre in different directions, not just to fix some (IMO completely negligible) flaw.

  6. cubedude89

    I like health packs.

  7. Hoosteen


    When Halo was first introduced, it was praised for having rechargeable shields. Similar health systems leaked into other games (CoD2 and TimeShift), and it prevented the player from becoming “cannon fodder” once he ran low on health. This also added a tactical element to the game; the player was forced to decide when to rush attacks and when to retreat in such a way that no consequences are inflicted.

  8. I think different health systems work well in different games. Far Cry on the Xbox had a slowly improving health system that fit in with the idea of the “evolution’. Games like Splinter Cell 1 allowed you to carry out health packs which was useful if you got into a spot of trouble but didn’t have any med points around (not very realistic, but useful).

    The most recent game I’ve played, Chronicles of Riddick, had a very unique health system, kind of half recharge, half health points which you can increase using the larger medical machines. As I said before, each game suits a different type of health system, I think firba1 had a good point, by just having a simple health system not based on numbers you can concentrate more on the game.

  9. @Hoosteen

    I’m talking about games like Halo, while it does add depth, it’s still mostly just fighting gun/melee toting grunts who’s attack patterns tend to be pretty simple overall (even if they do have some of the best AI around); I’m talking about something like having enemies who can pull off completely unexpected tactics, or just some totally different approach to an FPS. Such as you being very agile compared to your enemies and having to use completely different tactics to capitalise on your strengths and make up for whatever weaknesses you have as balance (as opposed to just being “average”), with the regenerating health allowing you to be able take a lot more risks than you would in a game with that style that didn’t use it; I support regeneration because I think it is an extremely interesting angle to look at for ways to innovate FPSs without completely changing them into something else.

  10. shungokusatsu

    Healthpacks are cool because you can grab them on the run and dont have to stop to recharge. I don’t like auto-recharge systems as I prefer the retro style of knowing exactly how much health you have and how desperately you are in need of it, like in classic Doom.

  11. Matt Glanville

    Personally I don’t mind which one a game uses, but I think both have their strengths. I was impressed with COD2’s system. It heightened the tension in battles because you knew that it could take just a few shots to kill you. You get shot a couple of times and you panic a bit. It forces the player to think about what they’re doing, use their surroundings more tactically, and make sure that every shot counts.

    Combining this with a lack of quick saves (only using autosave checkpoints) makes for a very tense game indeed, which is exactly what COD2 achieved.

  12. zeroth404

    I voted health packs.

    though the health things on the walls in Half-Life is a classic….

    I really miss that game. HL2 wasn’t nearly as exciting. I’m lookin way forward to Black Mesa Source….

  13. Anonymous

    I like regenerating health as well as health packs, so I came up with a sort of compromise.

    Your health/shields/whatever regenerate when you’re out of combat, but the amount you can regenerate decreases with each hit you take. Health packs heal you to full and allow you to regenerate to 100% again. This protects the player in case of a few mistakes, but encourages them to keep moving rather than relying on their regen too much.

  14. I don’t like self regeneration systems. I’ll always just find a spot to hunker down until I’m at full health. Maybe a combination of self regeneration and healing. Like Self regeneration will only get you back up to 10-25% of your total health, but getting the other 3/4s of your health has to be done through health packs and such.

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