A HUD Mod That Let Me Rediscover The Witcher 3

I've played a lot of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Like, a LOT. My Steam counter just cracked 200 hours, and that's not counting the first time I played the game on PS4. I figured I'd seen everything there was to see, but a mod I recently installed has proved me wrong.

That mod is Wasteland Ghost's Friendly HUD, which makes a number of small but significant changes to The Witcher 3's on-screen display. When Luke posted about that expansive snowfall mod last month, I realised that I'd never really gotten into Witcher 3 modding. I've never thought the game had as lively a modding scene as something like, say, Skyrim. I started looking around for good Witcher 3 mods and found a few people recommending Friendly HUD. I installed it, and am loving it.

You can watch a demo here:

The mod makes a bunch of changes to the game; too many to list here. Most notably, it removes the game's often intrusive HUD entirely, though it's possible to toggle it on and off with a click of the left thumbstick. (It also adds a bunch of customisable keyboard shortcuts, but I play with a controller.)

Friendly HUD simplifies some of the prompts that turn up in the game world as well, removing the large button representations above interaction prompts. It also has a grab-bag of quality of life improvements, like the ability to access the main menu during cutscenes, a toggle that turns the cat potion off when you exit a cave, and a way to keep Geralt from automatically sheathing his sword after combat.

I like pausing the game in the middle of dialogue, since you can get some neat looking stills like this:

The biggest change, however, is here:

When you activate Geralt's witcher senses, you will now see your quest objective superimposed onto the game world. It's "stuck" to your objective and by default indicates distance and relative elevation. At first I found the text jarring (you can change it to be a simple dot or even make it appear within an Oblivion-style compass at the edge of the screen) but I quickly got used to it and found that it changed how I play and enjoy The Witcher 3.

I'm pretty strongly anti-minimap — I've written about it at length in the past. The short version is that I think minimaps in games are distracting, and draw your eyes away from what they should be looking at, namely the game itself. It's like walking around a beautiful city with your nose buried in your phone's map. Every so often you look up and realise how gorgeous your surroundings are, but if you want to actually get anywhere, you have to look at the map.

More and more games are coming up with good minimap substitutes, but The Witcher 3 has unfortunately always more or less required its map. By moving objective markers onto the world itself with this mod, I can finally get around with the map turned off.

I know my way around this game pretty well at this point (I should hope so, right?), but getting my eyes away from the corner of the screen lets me take in the sights in a new way, particularly as I'm riding around on horseback. If you're a fellow Witcher 3 junkie, I highly recommend installing Friendly HUD and giving it a whirl.

I know there are some other good Witcher 3 mods out there — if you regularly mod this game, which other ones do you recommend?


Comments

    I got tired of my installations breaking when the game went through its major updates, but from memory:

    No-weight mod
    Auto-collect drops
    Fast-travel from anywhere

    I'm probably forgetting a few, but this is one I'll get onto right away. I left the game having finished the Novigrad leg, and holding off on Skellige. I have unfortunately encountered an issue which prevented me from completing a major side-quest (that feeds into the main story) and while I understand bugs happen it was still galling.

      Bug wasn't from using Fast Travel Anywhere at the end of Get Junior, was it?

        That multi-faceted mob war (with the fight club and dwarf crews?) side-quest that starts out in the bath-house was the quest I was referring to, but I am pretty sure Fast-Travel Anywhere was uninstalled at the time. This was months ago, I forget the details but visiting Cleaver wouldn't trigger a dialog scene. I think all that I am missing out on is one of the witcher school armour or weapons. Was pretty peeved.

    I bought the GOTY edition of this on X1, and I like it, but still think it is one of the most over-rated games ever. The story, artwork, and voice-over work (for the main characters) are excellent, but in many technical areas, like controls and menu design, it is awful - awful enough that it deserves to lose points off all those 9's and 10's. People gave Fallout 4 a hard time about its HUD and menu design but compared to Witcher 3, FO4 is a miracle of clever design and user-friendly implementation. I agree very much about spending a lot of the game with your face buried in the damn minimap. I would gladly try out this kind of mod - general quality of life enhancements - were it available on consoles.

      Huh? The controls and menu are both fine.

      FO4 is atrocious.

      Over rated games, what??? No, you know what's an over rated game? Skyrim, but for years it continues to be one of the most played games on steam. This game is better in every way imaginable, better story, acting, graphics, combat by miles, just the general feel of realism it brings to the table, the ONLY flaw I can find in the game is the movement, having to do a 5 foot circle just to turn around is horrible.

        I mentioned below, but in patch 1.07 they added an alternate movement mode that removes Geralt's momentum and makes him more "videogame like" in his ability to stop and turn on a dime.

      IMO, the controls are fine. Drastically better than Witcher 2. I think where a lot of the problems come from is Geralt doesn't have the kind of instantaneous "stop and turn on the spot" movement like a lot of other games. He has momentum, so if you're running forward and want to do a 180, it takes time. You can't just instaneously reverse direction.

      FWIW, there's actually an option to turn this off and use more game-like instantaneous controls.

      I also think the combat is pretty decent, as far as relatively mainstream RPGs go.

      Agreed on the menus - they're better than they were at launch, but still not great. I have to admit I haven't looked into it, but I hope someone makes or has made a SkyUI-esque mod for it. Unfortunately not a solution on console.

      TL;DR: I realise preference is personal, and there's a lot of overrated games out there, but The Witcher 3 and CD Projekt Red deserves all the accolades they've received. It's the best RPG I've played bar none.

        Was Geralts footwork ever complained about?
        That was one of the few things good things about the combat.

        I thought the problem was the impractical combat.
        There is obviously some distance mechanic in place that designates Geralts attack movements depending on how close the enemy is.
        For some reason, Geralt attempts to use the distance closing attacks while standing in front of enemies.
        It would drive me insane when I would be nose to nose with a target, but then charge in to a spinning jump attack.
        Most of the time the enemy would swat you well before you finished your hugely telegraphed helicopter dance.

        I had hoped the combat update fixed that (got the expansions to play)
        But if it's stripped the neat stand and turn feel from the mix, I'd rather stick to the original.

        It is a pretty amazing game, I actually get some other comments about being too big, but I think they managed to build a world worth the trek.
        Best weather system I've seen in a while, not just singular effects, but intertwined and dynamic.
        The story and side missions were deep.

        I also have all 4 physical decks of the cards and I'm going to make an awesome table to play on.

          I remember it being a pretty common thread on the subreddit and in a few reviews at release, I'll see if I can find some examples. Mostly it was brought up in the context of navigating interiors.

          I agree that an issue with the combat is/was the unpredictability in terms of what actual kind of attack Geralt would perform based on the same button press. I may have been spoiled in that regard, as The Witcher 2 was so much worse.

          If CD Projekt Red did one thing right, it's the world and atmosphere. Between the design, NPCs, environment and weather, I've never played a game world that felt so real and alive.

          Seriously though, how awesome are the physical Gwent decks?

    I got witcher 3 at launch on ps4 and only put a few hours into it before it started to wear on me. I just recently re bought it for PC after an upgrade and same thing happened just can't seem to get into it. It looks amazing and the gamplay/story/characters are great but it just feels way to big.

    200 hours really isn't that much time for a single game. Ask any souls fan :)
    Hell, I've put 1000 hours into re4 alone.
    But I'm one of those folks that picks 2 games a year and plays the shit out of them.
    For anyone chasing the latest games all the time and engaging in FOMO type behaviour like so many do, I guess it's substantial.

      I guess it depends on how you game. I used to do a 'dollar per hour of gameplay' evaluation on any game I bought, mostly because I was in a low paying job and had lots of free time. Now that I have a pretty well paying job which can sometimes (ok, often) require a fair bit of overtime, I'm actually more inclined to pick up games with a tighter single player experience...

      .. I mean, I've spent a fair few hours in Witcher 3, but it's harder to keep interested in a game when you only play here and there over 6-12 months.

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