There are many custom HUDs available for Quake Live; most make all numbers larger because, hey, everything is important right?
Obviously, this can't be the case. Something has to give.
I believe that damage to death is more important information than health and armor counts. Maybe the health and armour count would be handy to have around to know what item should pick up first, but I believe a far more common scenario is questions like "can I be oneshotted by a railgun this very moment"?
All of the points made in this quickly closed question do not apply to Quake 3 — damage is distributed between armor and health independently from the source¹. There are no side effects to having low health.
In my opinion, this would also help understand what these numbers really mean. Say, for example, you have 25 health and 0 armour, then picked a red armour. Now you have 25 health and 100 armour. Quick: will a railgun (110 damage) oneshot you?
[Answer: yes. Indeed, 75 damage are enough to kill you (-25 to health, -50 to armour). Good luck calculating that during the game…]
The only real downside would be not knowing what I should be looking for: health or armor. However, I believe this is a question separate armour and health bars would answer more than adequately. (more on this below)
Is there something I'm missing from the big picture? Why is there no mod that tries to do this? Is keeping different counters this important in Quake Live?
¹The only difference would be for the lightning gun, which due to rounding deals 5 armor damage and only 2 health damage.
To make myself crystal clear here, I'll post a picture of what I had in mind:
Separate bars would answer the "what I should be looking for: health or armor" question, but the actual numbers (the "count") wouldn't be displayed. Why would you want it? This is my whole question.
Hope this helps.