Follow TV Tropes


Color-Coded Armies

Go To

Sarge: They must be trying to coax the bomb into rearming!
Grif: Wait, why would they do that?
Sarge: Because they're blue!

In Strategy Games, when a player gazes at the map, it's convenient to know exactly which of the units are yours, which are the enemy's, and which may be unaligned. In order to make this easy for the player, units will be color-coded so that the player can tell at a glance.

Although this can be Justified by military uniforms, this can often apply even to units that are not members of a military force or haven't joined your (or the enemy's) side yet. In fact, an astute player may be able to tell a future ally or enemy by the color of their clothing, before they utter a single line or take any actions.

In single-player games, the side controlled by the player will be a "good" or "heroic" color, while the enemy side will be an "evil" color. Most commonly, these colors will be blue and red, respectively. (Green and red is usually avoided as it's the most common form of color blindness.) Although if there are more than two factions, green and yellow are usually the next colors to show up. This tradition goes back to the early 19th century when members of the newly founded Prussian Military Academy developed Kriegsspiel, the first tabletop wargame and predecessor of all modern RTS and turn based strategy video games. And since the Prussian Army had just adopted the new uniforms in Prussian Blue, blue became the default color for allied troops and red the color of enemy troops, which may even have established the modern Good Colors, Evil Colors.

This effect may be accomplished by a Palette Swap in two-dimensional games, but not always. It's also just as common in three-dimensional games. The colored units can be shown on an Enemy-Detecting Radar.

There are generally 4 versions of this:

  • Full Color Coding: All sprites or models are color coded, regardless of whether it makes sense for them all to be wearing the same color. In some games, this can even include the unit's hair color.
  • Color Coded Mooks: Player Mooks are color-coded, but named characters with unique sprites are not.
  • Color Coding on Overview: Sprites, models, or markers on the overall map or mini-map are color-coded. Individual units are not when seen close up.
  • Color Coded Indicators: The sprite or model has a colored ring, HP bar, or other colored means of identifying it as friendly or not. Individual units can be any color or colors. Historical games usually use this style, as they tend to depict uniforms realistically.

Subtrope of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. See also Color-Coded Multiplayer.


    open/close all folders 

    Full Color Coding 
  • Almost by necessity, boardgames and classic wargames, with cardboard chits or plastic pieces, are color coded by nationality. Examples include classic games like Diplomacy, Axis & Allies, and Chess.
  • Truth in Television: APP-6A, a widely used NATO standard, uses color as the primary way to denote affiliation.
  • Achron justifies this by having it be overlays projected by the visualization, which can even be turned off during a game.
  • Age of Empires has this in spades.
    • Age of Mythology: One mission takes place in Arkantos' dreams. His first hint that something's not right is that he's dressed in red — normally the enemy color.
    • Age of Empires: Castle Siege has a variant: the invading troops are colored (and each unit on its own color), the defending ones are gray.
  • Aztec Wars: Every unit has some kind of a bright-colored feature which changes color depending on the nation that controls it: for example, the swordsmen have colorful capes, the ninjas' entire uniforms change colors, and the yogins have differently-colored turbans. The silliest example is perhaps the Yeti; depending on which side it's fighting for, they give it a different, brightly painted club.
  • Battle for Wesnoth has highlights on all units that vary by color. However, the protagonists are usually red in single player, while enemy forces may be green, brown, orange, purple, or, rarely, blue.
  • Battle Isle and its Fan Remake Advanced Strategic Command are mostly colored. Specifically, pixels of unit or building sprites' paint (red-only color) turn into the player's color, but retain saturation and brightness, while pixels of details like tracks or wheels, weapons, parachute, and so on are untouched, so everything is still easy to discern.
  • BattleTech has standardized color palettes for almost every single mercenary group and military unit, ranging from realistic camouflage to the "My entire battlemech is PURPLE" of the 1st Marik Militia. Players don't need to paint their lances with unified colors but are recommended to do so for the sake of easy identification of who owns which units.
  • Battle Realms: The default colors for the campaign are orange for the Dragon Clan and red for Serpent, befitting them being "lighter" and "darker" versions of the same kingdom. The dark and sinister Lotus Clan uses purple, while the nature-loving Wolf Clan uses green.
  • Battlezone II: Combat Commander applies a tint to units in multiplayer so players don't end up fragging their commander's units; Team 1 is red, and Team 2 is blue. The free-for-all commanders mode with four different armies commanded by four different players adds green and yellow to the mix. Radar contacts, however, are always green (under your command), blue (under ally's command), and red (enemy).
  • Command & Conquer: A staple of the series:
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn has gold for GDI (to suggest Desert Camoflague ala Operation Desert Storm), while the Brotherhood of Nod in the campaigns has red-colored buildings and white/grey-colored units (a combination not possible in Multiplayer). Subsequent games make them red all the way (and mixed in black), while GDI remains gold.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: The two additional (non-playable) factions, CABAL and the Forgotten, are blue-colored and green-colored respectively.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars changes GDI's color to blue (in the HUD etc, their actual tech remain gold) and introduces a third faction, Scrin, which is colored purple. Nod remains Red and Black and Evil All Over, although, in the latest part of the "Kane's Wrath" expansion campaign, they're suddenly purple instead.
    • The Red Alert branch has blue for the Allies and red for the Soviets (of course, having communists as red isn't much of a stretch).
      • The Expansion Pack Yuri's Revenge has the purple-colored "Yuri" faction — who uses a combination of both Allied and Soviet inspired designs, as well as controlled their units, if against said unit's will. His structures were decidedly ambitious about incorporating gold, however.
      • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: The Imperial Japanese are orange (since red, one of the two traditional Japanese colours, was already given out to the Soviets and so was the other, white, handed to civilians, Yellow was out for obvious reasons and possibly to separate the Imperials from the Tiberian timeline's GDI); it is also a probable allusion to War Plan Orange during World War II, in which Japan was identified by the United States with the color orange. Further, your co-commanders in missions are green regardless of which campaign you're playing. Supplementary/enemy armies were colored purple, while Futuretech in the Uprising expansion used yellow.
    • Command & Conquer: Generals: USA uses blue with grayish-white, GLA is trademarked as green (due to vague Islam connections) on yellownote  and China abuses red (again, Communists) over olive-green, while neutral units (empty vehicles and non-captured resources structures like oil derricks, for example) are white. Civilians and their buildings have no identification marks (unless garrisoned by infantry) and can be of any color, but they appear white in the minimap. Additionally, units of all factions had specific skins: American vehicles are light grey, Chinese vehicles are dull green and GLA vehicles are khaki. Structures are similar; American installations are bright metallic grey, Chinese buildings are inspired by fancy pagoda architecture and mostly with reddish roofs, while GLA buildings look distinctly Arabian and seem to be made of sand stone.
      • One of the most popular Game Mods, Rise of the Reds, adds two new factions, namely the Russians and the ECA (Europe, though it's not the EU). Russia's faction colour is maroon, while its units tend to have brown-green cameo and its structures are dark brown, with red bricks and dark grey steel for a very industrial theme. The ECA on the other hand uses yellow, while its buildings are blue-white and its vehicles use two-tone-blue cameo.
  • Cracked: One of the 31 Life Lessons You Can Only Learn From Video Games is that "somebody being the wrong color is a perfectly okay reason to attack them."
  • Drone Tactics: The player is red and their computer-controlled allies blue, enemies are grey if they belong to the Evil Army and green if they're on a different team. And then there's the Badlands, where you can find the whole spectrum. Even pink.
  • Dune: The various video games have Atreides in blue, Harkonnen in red and Ordos in green. This is in contrast to the novels, which clearly state that Atreides' colours are red, green and black, and Harkonnen's white and blue, but since good guys wear blue and bad guys red the devs felt they couldn't confuse players that way.
  • Dynasty Warriors: The armies of the games are each associated with a particular color. Wei is blue, Shu is green, Wu is red, Jin is cyan, Yellow Turbans are yellow, the Han is purple, the Nanman are orange, Yuan Shao is gold, and Lu Bu's forces are silver or black depending on installment. This overlaps with Color-Coded Characters as the playable officers of each faction dress in the corresponding colors, bar extra costumes and a few betrayers.
  • Everybody Edits Universe: An old background features red and blue castles with cannons shooting their own color of projectile at each other.
  • Fire Emblem: In the early games, playable characters are always blue, enemies red, and allied NPCs green. Some games have yellow in cases it needed another (usually initially neutral) NPC army or enemy team. In Fire Emblem Fates, The Invaders/Vallite Army are colored purple. In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the armies of the titular three houses wear colors related to their house and country: Red for the Black Eagles of the Adrestian Empire, Blue for the Blue Lions of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and Yellow for the Golden Deer of the Leicester Alliance.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light: Player-controlled humans wear blue uniforms while enemy humans wear white (all non-humans being Exposed Extraterrestrials).
  • Genjuu Ryodan: Player's units and captured mana crystals are blue/purple while the opponents are red.
  • Globulation: Units and buildings are player-colored. Then again, they are nearly shapeless — just enough to tell workers from warriors.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Street gangs in Los Santos are marked by what color they show off the most: Grove Street Families are green, Ballas are purple, Varrios Los Aztecas are aqua, and Vagos are yellow-orange. Ballas and Vagos will shoot at CJ on sight. When fighting turf wars, the map of Los Santos is divided into sections, shaded according to who controls it (barring the Aztecas, with whom GSF have an effective alliance thanks to Cesar being Kendal's boyfriend and later forging a friendship with CJ).
  • King of the Castle: A character's faction can be immediately deduced by the color of their outfit. Barons from the March wear red, Chiefs from the North wear blue, Counts from the East wear purple, Grandees from the South wear yellow, Patricians from the Coast wear green, and the King's personal inner circle wear a mixture of colors with gold accents.
  • League of Legends: The team at the west side or southwest corner of the map uses cyan for its spawn point, minions and defenses, while the team at the east side or northeast corner is purple.
  • Machines: Wired For War has this. All sides are exactly identical but for color. Slight subversion in that, during the campaign, the player controls the red team against the blue instead of vice-versa.
  • MAG: SVER are orange/red, Raven are blue, and Valor are green.
  • Nectaris: The Union Forces' units and buildings are all green, while The Empire's are all blue. Unclaimed factories are yellow, and units that have already moved become gray until the present turn ends.
  • Nintendo Wars uses this in every game, with the colors changing depending on which game you're in. In the GBA games and Dual Strike, the individual countries all have their own colors (Orange/Red Star, Blue Moon, Yellow Comet, Green Earth, and Black Hole); in Days of Ruin, Brenner's Wolves (the player in the single player campaign) is Red, Lazuria's army is Blue, the New Rubinelle Army is Yellow, and Intelligent Defense Systems and The Beast's raiders are Black.
  • Path of Exile: During special Legion encounters two armies will appear frozen in time, mid battle, with each unit colored to indicate faction a unit belongs to. Frozen units turn blue when the player has "unfrozen" them with damage and will turn into regular units when the timer expires.
  • Planetary Annihilation has various color coded factions with blue, red, purple and orange.
  • Planetside: The three factions are associated with different colors: the Terran Republic (red), the New Conglomerate (blue), and the Vanu Sovereignty (purple). 2 makes it red/black for the Terrans, yellow/blue for the NC, purple/teal for the Vanu and black/green for Black Ops. Taking a vehicle from another faction will cause the vehicle to change colour to reflect the new owners; a necessity in a game with Friendly Fire, and possibly justified with Vanu nanotechnology.
  • Ratatan: As seen in the trailer, the player units have the white color theme while the enemy units are Red and Black and Evil All Over.
  • Red vs. Blue has this. Non-main characters are, as the name might suggest, colored red and blue depending on their loyalties. The main characters are still color-coded, although not actually as simply as red and blue. The red team usually uses warm colors and the blue team usually uses cold colors, with the exception of Grif's sister. Most of the freelancers have armor colors that are neither.
  • Most tabletop strategy games that the players don't paint their own pieces for use this trope, such as Risk.
  • Saints Row color-codes its gangs. The 3rd Street Saints (the only gang to be present in all four games) wear purple, the Vice Kings (1) and Ronin (2) wear yellow, the Westside Rollers (1) and Deckers (The Third) wear blue, and the Sons of Samedi (2) and Luchadores (The Third) wear green. The only consistent color through the series (other than Saints purple) is red, worn by Los Carnales (1), The Brotherhood (2), Morningstar (The Third), and the Zin (IV).
  • Samurai Warriors: Oda is purple (symbolizing evilness), Toyotomi is gold (symbolizing wealth), Tokugawa is blue (symbolizing calmness), Takeda is red, and Uesugi is white (preference of their leaders in real history).
  • StarCraft: Units are color-coded by the player. This makes sense with the Terrans and maybe the Protoss who have armor to wear their colors on, but the Zerg don't have that excuse. Units also automatically change color if they change alliance under some conditions (which, again, makes no sense for the Zerg).
    • Hero units, particularly in the sequel, sometimes have unique models that don't change coloration based on the player (for instance, Raynor always has the matte-black armor he's shown using in cutscenes). In the first game, hero units would only be distinguished by using a teal-green coloration.
    • Colors are assigned to different factions/broods/tribes within each race. For the Terrans, the Mar Sara militia the player commands is blue, who would later become Raynor's Raiders. The Sons of Korhal who would become the Terran Dominion is red (the player commands the Sons of Korhal in the middle of the base game's Terran campaign before moving back to blue for the last mission after Mengsk betrays Kerrigan and Raynor defects. The Alpha, Delta, and Omega squadrons of the Terran Confederacy use white, orange, and brown, respectively while the Cronus and Atlas wings of the United Earth Directorate use white and brown (the player commands the Cronus wing for all but one of the UED missions). For the Zerg, the Jormungand Brood is purple (this is the brood the player commands for both Zerg campaigns), Daggoth's Tiamat Brood is red, and Zasz's Garm Brood is orange. For the Protoss, the Khalai Protoss are yellow, the Nerazim and Tassadar's armies are blue, the higher ranks in the Protoss caste are red and orange, and the Protoss migrants fleeing from the Zerg on Aiur are brown. The player commands the Khalai Protoss for almost the entirety of the base game's Protoss campaign before switching to blue and brown.
    • Come Starcraft II, Orlan's mercenaries are orange, Mira's Marauders are pink, the Agrian refugees are white, Brakk's and Slivan's packs are teal, Yagdra's pack are red, Kraith's pack are orange, the Protoss Daelaam are blue, the Tal'Darim are initially teal, then red, the Nerazim are purple, the Purifiers are orange, and Amon's various armies are red.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Units and buildings have certain parts with set colours but other parts done in your player colour — for example, Jedi have brown robes but a trim on the bottom of the cloak in their controller's hue. Units will even repaint these elements in a split second when converted by a tech level 3 or 4 Jedi or put under your control by a scenario trigger. This can be averted if you turn on the option for diplomatic colours, however — in that one, the player's chosen colours will be replaced with set hues based on your relationship with them, with grey for neutral, red for enemy and so on.
  • Super Robot Wars: Your units are blue, enemy units are red, and then there are "neutral" yellow units that may either be your enemies, your allies, or opponents to both you and your enemies. Green is reserved for Shuu, just to prove he sides with no one. The Berserk EVA-01 in Super Robot Wars L is green too.
  • Team Fortress 2: The models (before the Devs introduced player hats) are identical except for the colours of their uniform. Also, the two teams are called RED (Reliable Excavation and Demolition), owned by Redmond Mann and BLU (Builders League United), owned by Blutarch Mann.
    • Also color coded are some weapons like boxing gloves, many of the cosmetic items, the sentry guns, the grenades, the critical hit rockets, the player bases, the light that comes from the healing gun, the laser pointers, the briefcases of the capture the flag mode, the energy projectiles from energy guns, the glow when a weapon is crit-boosted,
    • Fire and blood averts this and both are always red, however, when players are on fire, they will glow in the color of the team, and the fire from flare guns is color coded, the fire axe is red on both teams.
    • This game has the function of painting your items with paint can items, however, the red and blue colors come together in one single item, the color changes depending of the team.
  • Total War, especially Rome, tends to do this quite heavily for a game based on reality. The Roman families especially get this, with the Julii being bright red, the Brutii being green, and the Scipii being blue, and the Senate being purple. However, it isn't just regulated to the Romans, as all factions have representative colors to easily identify them.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: The Gallian units wear blue uniforms and are represented by blue circles on the map, while enemy units wear black and red uniforms and are represented by red circles on the map.
  • Warcraft:
    • Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness has several colors, with each color assigned to a specific faction with the Alliance or Horde. The standard Alliance Blue (survivors of Azeroth/Stormwind) and Horde Red (Blackrock Clan) would actually be switched in the campaigns as needed. For example, an arc in the Horde campaign where you assaulted the Alliance nation of Stormgarde (Red) switched your forces from the Blackrock Clan (also Red) to the Black Tooth Grin Clan (Black).
    • Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos has several colours to pick from (12 at first, and a later patch increased it to 24, along with black for Neutral Hostile), but in the campaigns and official art, the Alliance and Night Elves are both blue (the official website for the game depicts the Night Elves as cyan, however), the Horde is red, and the Scourge is purple. While, to this day, blue is associated with the Alliance and red with the Horde, it lacks this connotation in World of Warcraft.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • 40K is one of the tabletop games where players do paint their pieces that uses this trope. While players can technically paint their army whatever colors they want, near universally armies will be painted fairly uniformly. In fact, all Space Marine armies (largely considered to be the "default" or "starter" army for the game and the one almost everyone has played) explicitly rely on this trope, with all members having their armor entirely painted in their chapter specific color scheme to differentiate them from other space marines.
    • The different Chaos factions have their own colors as well, which naturally predominates among their troops: Khorne is red, Tzeentch is blue, Nurgle is green, Slaanesh is purple, and Malice is black and white. There are a handful of warbands that go against this trend, however; for example, the Pallid Hand (a Nurglite Death Guard splinter) wears pale ivory yellow.
    • Virtually enforced by the Tau, which (aside from the faces of their cheapest infantry, and Kroot) are entirely battle armor painted in the same color scheme. On the other hand, averted by the Eldar; their elite Aspect Warriors are traditionally painted in lurid color schemes based on their Aspect (combat specialization), and not their affiliation.
    • The Tyranids also enforce the trope in that each Hive Fleet's 'Nids all share a unique color scheme. For instance, Behemoth's 'Nids have red flesh and blue carapaces, Kraken's have dark yellow skin and reddish-brown carapaces, and Leviathan's have off-white skin and purple carapaces.
  • Warzone 2100: All units and structures are color-coded by player. In multiplayer, 8 colours are available (10 in the open-source project), while, in the campaign, the player's faction (the Project) is green by default, the New Paradigm gets yellow, the Collective gets gray, and NEXUS gets black. The menu also allows the player to set the Project's colour to red, blue, cyan, or pink.
  • Wrath Unleashed: Colors are based on the different armies the player can use; Light Order is Blue, Light Chaos is Red, Dark Order is Green, and Dark Chaos is Purple.
  • Yggdra Union, Blaze Union, Gloria Union, and Yggdra Unison have the player's units in blue, enemy units red, computer-controlled allies green, and non-combat NPC characters in yellow.
  • Z and its sequel Steel Soldiers see red robots fighting blue robots. Everything you own is coloured red and anything neutral is grey.

    Color Coded Mooks 
  • Final Fantasy Tactics is a partial example. The units weren't uniformly color coded, but allied units tended to have blue accents while enemy units tended to have those same accents colored red - but not always.
    • Specifically, ally White Mages have red highlights (as the traditional FF White Mage), while the enemy had blue or green highlights. Enemies in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and its sequel are all palette swapped, leading to the extremely confusing situation of enemy Red Mages being blue, Blue Mages being red, and Green Mages being purple.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2: You face a bunch of mages all named after the color of the class they are, but because of this, they're NOT their color. So Rouge is blue, for example. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Tactics also has variations for the color coding depending on which specific enemy faction (of which there are many) the player is fighting against in a given battle.
  • Ogre Battle 64 has blue bits on the characters on the player's side that are red on the enemies.
  • Starcraft: Because the Hero Units didn't have unique sprites (being stronger versions of a regular unit), they started the mission belonging to another player (teal for the usually blue Terrans and Protoss) and immediately given to the player while keeping their color.
  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator pits red mooks and blue mooks against one another.
  • Before the advent of rapid fire rifles and smokeless powder, it was more important for each side in a war to know what side every one else was on than staying hidden. Therefore every one wore brightly colored uniforms all the way up till World War I. Colors were specific to each country, e.g. in The Napoleonic Wars, British and Hanoverian soldiers wore red (conveniently as they were allies and ruled by the same king), French, Prussians, and Sardinians wore different shades of dark blue, Austrians and Neapolitans wore white, Portuguese wore brown, Russians wore dark green, and the Spanish wore white and later dark blue. This is only true for line infantry, however, and there were countless variations for different arms of service and special units. For instance, as seen in Sharpe, British sharpshooters wore dark green.

    Averted during the American Civil War, especially early on, when persistent supply problems led to some battalions wearing whatever colors they could get their hands on. Most battalions also started out as state militias that were mobilized into the Army once the war started, and those militias didn't all wear the same colors. As well as the fact that since the Confederate Army was made up of former United States Army soldiers, meaning that their original uniforms were Union uniforms. It wasn't unheard of for a unit of Union troops, say, who had picked up gray-colored coats somewhere (or to have already been wearing gray coats as a state militia before the start of the war), to be mistaken as an enemy and fired on by another Union force. While Union forces did eventually settle on dark blue for most of its soldiers, it remained a problem for the Confederates throughout the war as they lacked the industrial capacity to produce enough uniforms. And depending on where a Confederate uniform was made, the gray dye might also be of lower quality and quickly fade to brown or tan, adding yet another color to the mix.

    Color Coded on Overview Map 


  • The Truce at Bakura: It's mentioned that sensor maps of both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire identify their own units and allies with green and enemy units with red. When the Rebels arrive at Bakura, all non-Rebel units in the area are marked red on sensors until the Imperials accept their help against the invading Ssi-Ruuk, bringing their units to green, and once the Ssi-Ruuk are forced to retreat Imperial units are returned to red as soon as they turn on the Rebels.

Video Games

  • Dune II The Battle For Arrakis: Soldiers from the three house armies wear sensible greenish-brown fatigues and matching armor when seen up close and most vehicles sport a tan paint job, but on the main map, units from the three houses are all either blue (Atreides), green (Ordos), or red (Harkonnen). This color scheme annoys purists who read the book, as the Atreides are canonically green, the Harkonnens are canonically blue — and have a griffin, not a ram, as their emblem — and the Ordos canonically don't exist; red, or more accurately scarlet, is the color of the Imperial House Corrino(while Imperial Sardaukar forces are colored purple in the game).
  • Call of Duty: The various games use colored markers on the mini-map to show which side is which, usually green and red (but with an option to switch it to yellow and purple for color blind players).
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive makes the counter-terrorists blue and the terrorists orange on overlays.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: In the DS remake, unit icons on the mini-map are colored blue for allies, red for enemies, and yellow for "neutral" (specialists and summoned cannons), but units on the map were only distinguishable by the color of their HP bar, as in Type IV.
  • Empire at War:
    • Vanilla game: The player faction is green, the enemy faction is red, and pirates are yellow on the galactic map.
    • Forces of Corruption: The Rebels are red, the Empire is blue, the Zann Consortium is yellow, and the hutts/pirates are orange on the galactic map.
  • Fire Emblem: Starting with the sixth game, there was some of this and some Color Coded Mooks. In battle animations, player-controlled characters had different individual colors, but enemies and NPCs were always red and green, respectively. After the sixth game, unique enemies (such as bosses) could also have individual colors. Up through the latest Fire Emblem game on the 3DS, however, all overview map sprites have been color coded except in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.
  • Republic at War: The Republic is red, the Confederacy is blue, pirates are orange, and Hostilesnote  are purple on the galactic map.
  • Samurai Warriors/Dynasty Warriors uses the blue-ally/red-enemy/yellow-other scheme for the HP bar and mini-map, and the clans themselves were further color coded. (For example, in Dynasty Warriors: Wei = Blue, Shu = Green, Wu = Red, Yellow Turbans = Yellow.)

Web Video

  • Doug Doug AI Invasion: Doug is Orange (the color of his bell pepper mascot) and Twitch is purple (the color of Twitch.)

    Color Coded Indicators 
  • Nippon Ichi games use color-coded life bars: green (or blue) for allies, red for enemies, and yellow for neutral parties (which are not necessary to defeat).
  • Airfix Dogfighter: Friendly planes leave a green trail behind their wings, while enemy planes leave a red one.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: Colored "carpets" under sprites are of player's color, while health and XP bars and movement orb are color-coded with their own meanings.
  • City of Heroes: When you target an NPC, if the box that appears around the NPC is red, it's a villain and you can fight it; if the box is blue, its an ally; if the box is gray, it is neither; if the box is yellow, it is neither but you can fight it anyway (which turns the box red).
  • Civilization:
    • The original has units on a colored background (type IV).
    • Civilization II used a type IV, a colored shield with the lifebar on top.
    • Civilization III had colored patches on their uniforms or vehicle bodies. (Limited type I.)
    • Civilization IV had flags with the civilization's emblem rather than a solid color. The emblems were colored; e.g. England with white and red St. George's Cross, Egypt with a purple Eye of Horus on yellow, etc.
    • Civilization V replaced the flags with floating buttons (round for non-fortified combat units, shield-shaped for fortified combat units, and triangular for non-combat units), with the design on the button representing the type of unit (e.g. a rifle for a Rifleman, a shovel for a Worker, a tank for a Tank) and the color scheme of the button of the civilization to which the unit belongs (e.g. yellow on green for the Arabs, white on dark blue for America, red on white for Japan...).
    • Civilization: Beyond Earth keeps the fifth game's method, being built on the same engine. Perhaps confusingly, each Affinity a color can pursue genuinely color-codes its specialized and unique units — Supremacy units, for instance, share orange-and-black color schemes, whereas Harmony has a blue-and-green that it shares with the alien life, and Purity is more red and gray. (The confusion comes into play when two factions with the same Affinity, or no Affinity, duke it out; their units are identical.)
    • In each incarnation of the game since at least III, each city has a tag below it in its civilization's color(s), indicating its size and other vital information. Civilization borders show up as color-coded lines.
  • Company of Heroes uses icons and circles not just to tell which side a unit's on, but which equipment each is carrying.
    • Well, apart from that, anyone with at least minimal knowledge of WW2 could tell apart German, American, and British soldiers on the battlefield. German soldiers generally wear dark-grey-pine-green and white uniforms, Americans wear light-green and green-brown ones, and the British wear Khaki (as well as colour-coded headwear).
    • As well, large units (tanks, armored cars and buildings) all have color-coded trim: Blue for your units, yellow for units belonging to your allies, and red for Hostiles.
  • Day of Defeat has little circular sprites over the heads of soldiers in the game: green with a white star for Allies, red with a black Iron Cross for the Axis. These conveniently match the capture flags. In earlier versions, the player had to recognize the helmet shape, uniforms' tone — frequently amid the rubble and half a street away through fog — or the tactical situation before shooting, while bots knew everyone's allegiance instantly.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Path of Radiance use colored rings to indicate the alignment of units - friendlies have a blue ring, enemies have a red ring, AI-controlled allies have a yellow ring, and neutrals a green ring. In Radiant Dawn, color-coded HP bars were also used.
  • Impossible Creatures uses coloured spots on the back of creatures to show ownership.
  • Jeanne d'Arc, with HP bars. Ally units' bars are blue, enemy unit bars are yellow.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: The different factions are indicated by different colored triangles: Palutena's Army uses yellow, the Underworld Army uses purple, the Forces of Nature use green, the Aurum use blue, and unaffiliated characters use gray.
  • Rondo of Swords uses health bars to determine who's on what side; blue for the player, red for enemies, yellow for non-player allies, and green for everything else, from panicking civilians to what both sides call an enemy.
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: A shield (albeit a fairly futuristic-looking one) indicates the unit's affiliation, experience/morale (with weird addons to the "shield") and health (in a vertical bar on the shield's right). Some unit designs also have spots for additional faction-coloring (e.g. the tops of a Chopper's landing skids are in the faction's color). A base's affiliation is indicated by the color of the info text below it; the shape of the base isn't a perfect indicator, since although each faction has its own style, captured bases remain in the style of their previous owner for several turns until the conquered citizens "assimilate" to their new faction (at which point the base changes shape).
  • Slay since your units can only be on your territory, which is already Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
  • In Smite, Order structures have aqua icons on the map and Chaos structures have orange icons.
  • Super Robot Wars: Later games in the series turned away from the colored head icons for more accurately-colored models of the units on all sides. So units are instead distinguished by Life-bar color on the map.
  • Ten Minute Space Strategy: Each empire is assigned a colour that is used on their names, ships and other interface elements.
  • World of Tanks uses small icons above tanks as well as outlines when targeted. Red for enemies, green for allies. This is important because tanks of different nationalities (usually color coded as a Type I: grey for Germany, olive drab for USA, red-brown for Russia, blue for France) can be on the same team.


Fan Works:

  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Dungeon Keepers have perfered colors in decorating their dungeons, which is unique enough in the case of Red and Yellow, to be referred to as such, at least in "Skirmishing":
    Albrecht was the one who had suggested referring to the unknown Keepers by the colour of the tiling they used for their dungeon.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Colour Coded Armies


Well, it's about time!

Colonial Indian troops arrive too late to deal with the main villain, but at least they can mop up the remaining henchmen

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCavalryArrivesLate

Media sources: