Heads up! (Part 2: The Lightweights)

The lightweight HUD addons generally have the focus on getting basic information in front of your eyeballs without overloading you with a lot of fluff. They are prized by the true minimalist.  In almost every case, these addons were so small that I had to guess at the memory footprint.  The smallest I could see was around 33K, so that’s where they would end up.

This sort of addon is ideal if you have other addons covering the parts that these do not. In many cases, you get much better use of your memory without putting up with things you have no use for.

For purposes of this discussion, I am terming anything under 100K in size a “lightweight”. I present them to you know in alphabetical order.

Ascii: HUD

Ascii: HUD This addon is an unusual take on the concept. It does what it says on the tin – it provides an ASCII representation of player health and power, opponent health and power, pet health, and one other bar which I will come back to.

I really wasn’t able to get into it. All the text used really confuses my eye and makes me think I should be able to read it, instead of seeing an image.  No color is used to highlight things, either, making for a HUD that is more novelty that useful. It’s the kind of HUD you’d put up when your friends come by so they’d see how nerdcore you are, and then swap it out with, say, IceHUD after they left.  I don’t mean this to be mean, but, really. Add color and the display will be 1000% more useful.  And if that happens and somebody pokes me, I’ll go have a look and revise things here.

One innovation that I like is that other bar I was referring to. It shows the balance of the fight.

  • In the center, you’re not winning but you’re not losing.
  • To the left, and you’re losing. Heal, or … kill harder!
  • To the right, you’re winning, so keep it up!

This feature seems ideal for dedicated soloers or PvPers.

There is no configuration option, nor is there a file like config.lua to edit. What you see is what you get.

My final word is ont he subject of memory consumption. For such a spare addon, it consumes a huge amount of memory. I’m sure there’s some debug stuff in there that is causing this, but be wary if your memory space is tight. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Yo Grimm, didn’t you say this was a lightweight?”  I did, indeed. In this case, I’m putting it down here with the lightweights because it should not be a middleweight. Not for the level of function that it provides.  Hey, it either fails as a middleweight due to lack of features, or it fails as a lightweight due to memory consumption. I chose the latter. Leave a comment if you disagree.


CircleHUD This one has me the most excited as to design, as it takes a very different approach to getting the data where you need it. It is extremely lightweight (less than 35K!). It’s so different I almost excluded it, but then decided, what the heck, I should have an open mind on the subject.

CircleHUD eschews arcs or rings in favor of two small pie-chart-ish things to either side of your toon. It is very easy to get used to, no matter how unusual it is. Kudos to the author  for thinking outside the box, and getting away from the Fighter Jet paradigm.

An extremely nice feature is that the target pie chart will have a little wedge in it that represents the targets last “x” percent of health, which will vary on your class. For example, Kill Shot becomes usable by a Hunter when the target is below 25%, so there is a wedge that represents the last 25% of the target’s health. Nobody does something like this, outside of IceHUD, and even it requires that you configure it yourself.

The only reason this has not become my immediate favorite are the things that are missing. Surprisingly few things are deal breakers, but among those are:

  • No means to move the elements in any way, not even a LUA file to hack (well, you can, but you’ll have to dig!).
  • Only player and target. No focus, no pet. Pet is a deal-breaker for me, obviously.
  • No class abilities. Combo points, Shards, none of that. These are not frills, they are vital to playing your class properly.

This is one I intend to keep an eye on, keep installed but disabled, and re-enable it when I see an update come down. If it ever attains the level of usability I need, I’ll be a very happy guy.


sHUD sHUD advertises itself as “same as IceHUD but without all the features.”  Cheeky. And yet, that’s exactly what’s in the box. It does health and power bars, and configuration is done by hacking the LUA file.

I cannot recommend this addon for the average user because of its hackish behavior and some amazing assumptions on the author’s part.  I can overlook the lack of config options in favor of the LUA approach – that’s an honest design decision. Forcing global changes to the UI, however, I cannot, and that’s exactly what this addon does. If you start it up with the assumption that it will do no such thing – a valid assumption – you will be unpleasantly surprised.

Honestly, I initially disabled this addon  as soon as it changed my UI scaling because I thought it was a bug. Upon more reading, It became apparent that this was intended behavior – not good.

Configuration of the app was done via direct manipulation of config.lua. Most of the settings were self-evident, kudos for that.  This part was tricky:

bars     = {

{‘power’,  ‘player’},              — inner left

{‘power’,  ‘target’},              — inner right

{‘health’, ‘player’},    — outer left

{‘health’, ‘target’}    — outer right

— {…}, you can add more bars for instance for focus


That is to say, the configuration setting keys were not clear once they were disassociated with their default values. Hey – live by the .lua, die by the .lua. If you wanna make an associative array your main config mechanism, that’s all right by me – but at least assign clear meaning to the default values.

Performance-wise, it worked OK. If you are not comfortable with the vertical-bar idiom, you will not like it. If you don’t mind that, then aesthetically, it won’t be a bother.  In many ways I like it. It gets the point across, clearly.

TuttiHUD TuttiHUD

The first thing to point out about this addon is that it is self-described as a work in progress, thus any criticisms should take that into account.

The second thing to point out about this addon is that it hasn’t been updated since 3.3.5. I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume the author is hard at work on getting this addon updated.

Still, for what is defined as the goal of the project, the app is in pretty good shape.

What you get by default is a horizontal bar representing the player’s health/power, and a vertical bar that represents the target’s health and power. If you have pets, you also get pet bars, and if you select a focus target, you get a bar for that.  For Soul Shards, Runes, and Holy Power you also get some fairly attractive bars for them, as well.

Additional bars can be added for *any* quality you wish to monitor. Unfortunately, you need to know an underlying pair of functions to call in order to get the current and max value for that bar. i.e. if you want to monitor Threat, you would need to call a function such as GetThreatValue() and GetThreatMaxValue().  Obviously, you need to know which functions to call for what values.  The author intends to smooth this out in the future, I believe, but in the interim this is a fairly clever approach to extending the software.

Thus, while the software is missing things like (de)buffs, casting bar, and pet target health, you can just add them in if you need them, and have some idea of how to do it.


That’s it for this installment. Join me on the next installment when I’ll discuss the middleweight candidates.


Posted on March 25, 2011, in Addons. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. You are too right, that CircleHUD concept is perfect. Low-profile, but not visually unappealing, and all the essential data right where its needed. I’ve always used the all-in-one HUDs, but frequently I’m frustrated with the sheer amount of useless crap I have to turn off on em nowadays! IceHUD is much more stable than the DHUDs and MetaHUDs, and is updated way more frequently, so that’s what I’m stuck with now. I’d much prefer to take a few smaller addons like CircleHUD, auraframes, tellmewhen, and quartz, and build a much more streamlined setup without being subjected to a myriad of options I don’t need. I hope someone picks the circlehud concept up and runs with it.

    Great stuff here!


    • Since posting this series I’ve been using CircleHUD fairly consistently. It still doesn’t help if I’m in a vehicle or need to watch my pet, but sooooo many raid bosses make it imperative at all times to know one’s own health, and having that down close to where all my status indicators are has turned out right handy.


  1. Pingback: The Daily Quest: Addons and accessories

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