Hillside scenery glitch

Posted September 15th 2018

Associated movies

  • BCM309 - Heroic; Hillside scenery glitch (6:32)
Hey, where'd the scenery go?

This article concerns an interesting scenery glitch described by FrogBlast in 2002 in the hillside survivor area. There are a couple of rocks you can potentially perch on to see elements of the scenery vanish as you pan around (plus I found a new place). It seems like you need to be within a very narrow height range to see it though. Also, mostly you need an unzoomed view, and if you zoom in, glitchiness evaporates.

When scenery vanishes you're able to see things that were previously hidden. Covies are one obvious example, and they're liable to have no visible ground underfoot. But look carefully and you can see the distant waterfall at the bottom of the valley, and also the closer one at the other end if you're suitably positioned. They're both flowing. You can also see horizontal planes associated with coastal views. And strangely, when the blue beam goes off you can potentially see part of it below ground, if looking at the right angle. Basically, it's fun to look around and see what you can see. Check out my movie treatment in BCM309.

Best version of the back rock

Using the back rock

Let's get into specifics now, regarding the rocks. Approaching the survivors from the left along the top of the hill, you'll see a tree on the left with a big rock adjacent. I'll refer to this as the 'back rock' since it's nestling against the back of the area. It can be any of five versions, having been randomized when you last crossed a loading point (namely in the underground tunnel). Two are good for seeing the glitch, two are a bit awkward but still usable, and one is unsuitable. They're shown in a short sequence in BCM309, best to worst.

My movie uses the best version (see pic). You can jump up from various angles and the glitch can then be seen from multiple rock faces. Another good version is easily ascended at the back right and the glitch can be seen from a few faces.

View from the front rock

The lowest version requires you to drive a Warthog up on top to stand on for sufficient height (aside from the option of jumping to catch glimpses of the glitch, which is really no good). This is the version FrogBlast had in the first of two short video clips listed on his page, and I also show brief use in my movie.

The other two versions are huge. One can be ascended with an awkward grenade jump at the back left and the glitch can then be seen from a small area if you crouch. The other I couldn't ascend.

Using the front rock

The glitch can also be seen from another rock, if it's a suitable version. Namely the big rock at the front left of the survivor area, as viewed from their perspective. I'll call it the 'front rock'. An advantage of using this rock is that you'll be able to shoot plenty of covies, and it's better for grenading too. You can trigger the covie dropship if you kill enough (you need to drop the enemy count to six or less).

Best version of the front rock

Once again there are five possible versions, and they're shown in BCM309 in order of preference. Only the first three are suitable.

The best version (see pic) is featured early in the movie (I was using a save which had the best versions for the back and front rock). You can get up with a jump and the glitch is then easily seen.

The second best is featured in FrogBlast's second video clip. It's rather high and he scaled it by clambering up a hog propped against it, but you can also get up using a fairly easy grenade jump off the hog.

There's also a low version which needs a hog on top, to stand on. In my movie I had to stand on the chain-gun, which was awkward.

Up in a tree!

Other places

Towards the end of making BCM309, I realised that you can also use the tree next to the back rock, and I included some footage. You can easily get into the tree with a grenade jump (or possibly jump into it from the back rock). You get a better view of the distant waterfall from here.

There are a few other rocks on which you can get brief glimpses of the glitch by jumping if they're high enough, but that's hardly satisfactory. If you can manage to get a hog on top you might be able to see the glitch properly, but I haven't fully checked that. Maybe later.

Further remarks

Something you can do with grenades is cause nearby blasts so you experience shudder, causing things to flicker in and out. Notice also that blast marks remain visible even if the ground itself has vanished. The same goes for blood.

In BCM309 you'll see an example where a Warthog is vanishing, along with Johnson on the chain-gun! I think hog vanishing may be pretty unusual. That was the first time I'd seen it. This is also currently the only case I've seen where personnel vanished.