An Open Mind

August 28, 2006

The Magic of Halo 2 Super Bounces

Filed under: Games, Magic — generalist @ 11:06 pm

One day, I was engaged in a one-to-one sniper duel on Beaver Creek with my friend SniperEye. The match had been quite intense and nerve-wrecking. I was standing on the centre arc of the map and suddenly spotted SniperEye on one of the bases. He jumped and all of a sudden bounced into the air as if some super-natural force had lifted him up. I was stunned. After a split-second I had recollected myself and shot him down with two shots, somewhat helped by his smooth trajectory.

Have you every experienced magic in the real world? Most people would be sceptical. But if it existed, would it not be plausible that it is really a glitch in the system, an oversight by the maker of the world?

For thousands of gamers the world of Halo has become a second home. So many hours wasted in a struggle for kills, flags and survival, some might argue. Whatever the motivation, many of us know the virtual world of Halo better than our everyday real-world environments. And why not? After all, knowing the maps of Halo is crucial to success and survival in the game and in some sense more useful than knowing every corner of your office building, school or whereever you happen to spend your real life.

And then you discover that this perfectly simulated world has the capacity for magic! While everything seemed predictable, following the laws of the game world, suddenly there are people who defy gravity, who ridicule the laws of physics and who shoot you from places that you cannot reach. Of course, the phenomenon SniperEye and I had discovered by pure chance had been unveiled earlier by others as well. Given the processing power of thousands of determined gamers networked via forums and online chatting, it took only a few days until magical places that allowed super bounces were known for virtually every map in Halo 2 (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii6LFG05_b8 for some videos of these supernatural events).

You may be wondering why I refer to these super bounces as magic. Consider the procedure that must be followed in order to do a super jump. You need to crouch-walk into particular spots which have the property that if you release the crouch they block the upward movement of the body. After this initial loading procedure you need to jump and land from sufficient height on specific spots of the maps which then catapult you up into the air, higher than the Halo 2 physics would ever allow you to go. Sounds like magic to me. But honest, it works.

So how did people find those magical spots that allow super jumping? It turns out that in a multiplayer game, if you press START and then Y to look at your friends list, and then return to the game with B, the graphics will be poor for a second and only show an outline of the map without much detail. It is in this view that you can detect the lines that enable super bounces.

So, how do super bounces work? Disregarding the theory of magic for now, it seems that an extraordinary upward force must be exerted upon the super bouncer’s body. In a physics simulation this can happen if the discretisation of space necessary for simulation or simply forced by the finite granularity of numerics leads to a situation where two objects, whose mutually repulsive forces are inversely proportional to the distance, get too close to each other, thus leading to an explosive repulsion. However, several questions remain. Why does the impact of the force not kill the super bouncer as is the case in collisions with other objects in the Halo world such as warthogs? Why does the glitch occur at those magical lines that almost appear as tears in the fabric of the map? And how does the crouch walking procedure fit in, which some people claim is not even necessary but greatly enhances the probability of success? 

Also, the question remains, if super bounces have been put into the game on purpose or if they are glitches of the physics simulation as speculated above. The conspiracy theory that Bungie introduced the super bounces on purpose is supported by an argument to be found at http://www.halo2boards.com/showthread.phtml?s=984080a0a23c77449000159bb2f503e2&t=3156 showing a promotional image of a Halo 2 scene where a masterchief is located at a spot in Zanzibar, which is claimed to be reachable only by super bounce. However, on the same page someone claims that the spot can in fact be reached by other means as well. Also, would it not be possible that the Bungie folks discovered super bounces by chance just like SniperEye and I as well as many other Halo 2 fans did? It remains astonishing that the regular mechanism that allows you to control your trajectory during normal jumps in mid-air also works for super bounces and often takes you to very interesting spots on the map that can be very useful, e.g., for hiding or for sniping.

The phenomenon of super bounces points to a more general question. Unquestionably, more and more people spend more and more time in virtual worlds and the trend is clearly towards ever more realistic environments both in terms of graphics as well as physics. Some of these worlds, e.g., the massive multiplayer online game World of Warcraft, contain magic as a built in element of the game. However, could it be the case that with the increasing complexity of these simulated worlds, exploitable glitches, i.e., magic, become almost inevitable? Who knows, maybe the complex system we call “real world” has a few unsuspected glitches as well and those we call loonies just found them first. And then again, maybe not.

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33 Comments »

  1. you are dumb and you dont know anything about superjumps, I know every sigle one of them and you guys are making a bigger deal out of them than they really are! Yes, you canget out of every single level by superjumps

    Comment by freak — September 9, 2006 @ 2:30 am

  2. you dont know anything about superjumps, I know every sigle one of them and you guys are making a bigger deal out of them than they really are! Yes, you can get out of every single level by superjumps

    Comment by freak — September 9, 2006 @ 2:31 am

  3. For someone who quick to call someone ELSE dumb, you sure made quite a few spelling and grammar errors. I believe you, Mr. Hypocrite, are the idiot of this page. Kudos to you for being a failure at life.
    -=Mahtthue=-

    Comment by Xx UltiMatt xX — September 11, 2006 @ 9:54 am

  4. Interesting, you make a valid point. In my adventures in dealing with game physics I have found that they atempt to mimic the physics of the real world. We perceive the world by only what our sences tell us. Who is to say that there isn’t some “programing” for reality. Nothing is perfect, and glitches in reality might be very plausible (please excuse the spelling… I’m a Physics major, not an english)

    Comment by Jason — September 27, 2006 @ 3:41 pm

  5. macaronie and cheeeeeeeese

    Comment by hayden — October 1, 2006 @ 9:02 pm

  6. [...] All the Hot News Directly from Microsoft Research Cambridge Welcome to our blog! We are the Applied Games group at Microsoft Research Ltd, Cambridge, UK, and this place will be used by all our team members to post about our day-to-day work. Posts will range from machine learning, video gaming to software development, including news about our favourite programming language F#. Some of us already have individual blogs (for example, here and here) but we never get enough time individually to post a sufficient amount of content – hence the idea to bundle our time and effort and provide a vivid stream of posts on this one blog. Let’s hope it works. Ralf Herbrich & Thore Graepel Posted: Tuesday, October 24, 2006 2:01 PM by apg Filed under: General [...]

    Pingback by The Applied Games Group Blog : All the Hot News Directly from Microsoft Research Cambridge — October 24, 2006 @ 11:44 am

  7. it sounds like you are popping wood over a simple super jump that erveryone can execute. Congrats for be the resident super jumping moron, and get a life you hopeless nerd

    Comment by beeb — November 7, 2006 @ 8:04 pm

  8. superjumps are sweet. In the middle of a game go to ur friends list and exit out and any dark line you see you can jump to it for a superjump. There are prob like 50 diff ones. Just remember crouch, jump, hold foreward, and rapidly tap A if it makes u feel better. Peace Niggas.

    P.S. Tupac LIVES!!!!!!

    Comment by poopstain jeenkins — November 13, 2006 @ 1:58 am

  9. I never considered them “magic”, but super jumps are da bomb!!! Its amazing to get out of maps. Its cool to explore a world that the designers didn’t want us to see. And for the guy who commented first, nobody cares if you can do all of them or only a couple, he probably knows more super jumps than you.Can’t we all live in peace?

    Comment by wormy2 — November 14, 2006 @ 1:19 am

  10. I never considered them “magic”, but super jumps are da bomb!!! Its amazing to get out of maps. Its cool to explore a world that the designers didn’t want us to see. And for the guy who commented first, nobody cares if you can do all of them or only a couple, he probably knows more super jumps than you. People like you just come to flame other people. Can’t we all live in peace? P.S. I agree with UltiMatt.

    Comment by wormy2 — November 14, 2006 @ 1:43 am

  11. I never considered them “magic”, but super jumps are da bomb!!! Its amazing to get out of maps. Its cool to explore a world that the designers didn’t want us to see. And for the guy who commented first, nobody cares if you can do all of them or only a couple, he probably knows more super jumps than you. People like you just come to flame other people. Can’t we all live in peace?

    Comment by wormy2 — November 16, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

  12. Personally, I never use more than one life on this if I understand this correclty. I just wonder why so many do not understand how this is. I guess that is the beauty of it all. Good post though!!

    Comment by gamerz paradise — December 18, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

  13. ‘MAGIC’ well i would use that to describe the first time i did a super bounce…..but definatley excitment Super bounces are great but i’m sceptical if there will be any on halo 3…what do you think???????

    Comment by Donnie — January 18, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  14. only nerds belive this crap. there is no “supernatural forces” in halo, it’s just part of the game. halo added it as a “bonus” part

    Comment by Mark — January 19, 2007 @ 1:24 am

  15. i understand where you are coming from on the whole superbounce supernatural thing and i have to say that it is cool that this shit happens and who is to say that there there by sheer accident…. look i dont care if they truley are accidental glitches or if they are figments to give one an edge on another…..but i do have one thing to say…..this whole conspiracy thing on the preview poster where red guys and blue guys are battleing it out at zanzibar is reasonable but saying that the rocket guy on the roof is there by none other than the use of the superbounce is nothing more than the use of stereotyping (if spelled correctly)

    i can get on the roof simply by jumping on one of the metal shutters (the things that the blue guy with the needler is standing behind) of course when it is still up and then simply grenade jump up to the roof magic i think not

    but you did make a solid point

    p.s. first guy you really are a moron

    Comment by Six-T-Nyne — January 21, 2007 @ 1:24 am

  16. and yes sometimes the force of the bounce does kill you……but very rarely

    Comment by Six-T-Nyne — January 21, 2007 @ 1:26 am

  17. superjups to no existe buder tost ho mes gs ni thing magic dupid writeing but you make a good point my wise professor said one day on a friday in the middle of junish july

    Comment by jj — February 11, 2007 @ 8:23 am

  18. JJ, you just really suck at ritting thats all i have to say. the end.

    Comment by rj — February 11, 2007 @ 8:26 am

  19. JJ, yoiu really suck at riting. thats all i have to say. the end.

    Comment by rj — February 11, 2007 @ 8:28 am

  20. all u guys are idiots. there are three elements to superbouncing: a crouch spot, somewhere from which to jump (preferably higher than masterchief’s head) and a line in the map (which can be found by pausing the game, pressing Y to enter ur friends list and then exiting the paused menu. this causes the game to temporarily lose the map texture, allowing u to see the lines. the theory behind superjumping is that when u land on a line, the game engine recognizes u as falling thru the map and in an attempt to counter, it launches u back into the map, hence “superjumping” no phenomena just glitches. and glitches are always gonna be a part of a game. it just takes som1 to figure them out

    Comment by dee$ey — February 25, 2007 @ 5:57 am

  21. hey you are all stupid and super bouncing is a glitch and you cannot say that you know them all thier is to many 100s of thousands you faggot

    afro man colt 40 fiva

    Comment by halo 2 pro — March 2, 2007 @ 5:39 am

  22. The Number 20 comment hit it dead on that was the answer we were all looking for. So just leave it at that.

    Ps:Xbox live gamer tag is: “purnall” go add me.

    Comment by pernell — May 8, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  23. hey guys do you know the one at headlong where you git on the crane cus i cant git it i can git the first jump but cant git the 2 you guys know how to do it

    Comment by killthekilla — May 21, 2007 @ 3:22 am

  24. alright guys.. if you want me to teach you any super jump and i mean any, my gamertag is pillowchub3026… and i will discuss the so call physics with you once you figured it out.. “game programer and designer” lol

    Comment by steven — May 29, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

  25. can any one tell me secrets on the super jump i want to learn and if so contact me at ww.myspace.com\wonderboy23nightmare

    Comment by Santos — June 14, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

  26. What I dont get is why certain “super jump guides” require you to keep moving after you crouch, or hold forward while jumping, etc. Why isnt it a straight forward cookie cutter consistant procedure if it is the same glitch in every instance?

    Comment by Edwin — June 18, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

  27. Okay everyone. People have said it before. Post number 20 answered the science of the jump but the crouching and the holding foward and all the other stuff is just directing your momentum to thrust you far enough into the map for it to counter your movement in the superjump fashion. If you want me to show you some I know some major ones, my gamertag is Blackblade13, hurry because I only have a few spots on my friends list. Really, I probably only have ten free spaces left. Have fun for those who want to debate the all the facts have been said, and no one has found them all, no one will, and those who want to argue will die trying to win it, thank you, and if you want me to show you some major superjumps, again, my gamertag is Blackblade13.

    P.S.: Enjoy this poetry while you ponder.

    Forged from evil fire’s wrath,
    It takes us down this foresaken path.
    And soon we will break free our bonds,
    And take them with us forever long.

    When Night slays Day,
    Dusk over Dawn,
    The Twilight will stay
    to bring darkness over all.

    P.S.S: Remember, gamertag is Blackblade13, only 10 spots left!! :)

    Comment by Blackblade — July 23, 2007 @ 1:28 am

  28. Personally, I know all of the super jumps, but refuse to use them even if they are being employed against me. I do this in the hope that people will choose to use skill, aim, and the other legal factors that the game was designed for playing. So, go ahead and bounce, you might win, but a level is a level, and I already know I could pawn you 1v1.

    Comment by mlg Knightmare — August 6, 2007 @ 9:35 pm

  29. super jumps r a glitch OK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by 32abc — August 28, 2007 @ 6:38 am

  30. i would just like to say ur all debatting about nothing halo 2 is a brilliant game and is meant to be enjoyed so what if there is a few glitches just enjoy halo 2 before everyone stops playing it and starts playing halo 3 instead

    Comment by matty — September 17, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

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    Comment by PisiulikoCredt — November 3, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  32. thanks

    Comment by josh — February 25, 2008 @ 1:25 am

  33. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Sebaceous.

    Comment by Sebaceous — June 19, 2008 @ 7:47 am


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