It just occurred to me that I've never heard a name for the damage numbers that pop up over characters, typically in RPGs. After some searching I found one person call them "poppers", but no other names.

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Is there a name, perhaps used inside the gaming industry, for these numbers?

  • 4
    Damage? Does there need to be a term for everything? – Frank Apr 15 '16 at 0:56
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    WoW uses "Floating Combat Text" in its settings panes. – Jeremy Avalon Apr 15 '16 at 0:56
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    @DCShannon Not sure what one has to do with the other. Not everything does have a term beyond the obvious, nor does it need it. – Ash Apr 15 '16 at 1:13
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    @Frank When you're programming a game, yes, there needs to be a term for everything. – mwcz Apr 15 '16 at 1:15
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    @Frank Who said there needed to be a need? You don't have to justify curiosity. – DCShannon Apr 15 '16 at 1:18

Two different names I have commonly heard used are Combat text or damage text. Both are used fairly frequently and are interchangeable, though in my personal experience, I have heard damage text used more frequently. See links for examples of use in games. Combat text generally also includes things like status effects as well. Damage text is just "damage numbers", which as @badp mentioned is another phrase that can be used.

  • Would "combat text" include status effects and the like? – DCShannon Apr 15 '16 at 0:57
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    also "damage numbers" – badp Apr 15 '16 at 1:01
  • @DCShannon most of the time I've seen it used, it refers to status effect text as well. – Dragonrage Apr 15 '16 at 1:04
  • @badp Damage numbers sounds right. I would definitely know what you meant. Not just the damage, but the numbers. – DCShannon Apr 15 '16 at 1:07
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    Sometimes damage indicators – ModDL Apr 15 '16 at 3:45

Generalized, the term I see and hear the most for these kinds of things is "floating" text. It can be more specific: Dragonrage's answer mentions combat text or damage text, but it isn't restricted to a combat scenario. Floating text is often used to contextualize numbers or short phrases by causing it to float near whatever it's meant to represent - damage floats off of or pops off of the damaged creature or character (or their hp bar); gained resources appear as +1's near your stock of that resource, the places you collected or delivered it, or both; a reminder on which button digs for treasure could rise from the earth as your character nears the big X on the ground.

Sometimes I think the floating text that "pops" up and then falls away should be called something else, since it doesn't exactly "float", but typically I still hear it called floating text, or it's replaced with a more specialized term like "damage indicator" or "pop-up reminder".

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