Underwater bubbles

Posted June 8th 2020

Associated movies

  • BCM434 - Easy; Underwater bubbles and more (7:58)
This is gonna rust my pistol

Back when I was doing my work on the yeti Flood at the start of the level, I led 'cliff guy' down into the swamp and was playing about with him. When I crouched in the water to submerge, and shot at his legs with a pistol, I saw an effect I'm not sure I knew of before. Each time you fire, you get bubbles! An impressive and surprising detail.

More specifically, a cluster of bubbles forms near the nozzle, and the bubbles rise at varying speeds according to size. It looks like the bubble count is slightly randomized. Counting by inspecting video footage, I got numbers ranging from 20 to 23.

Later on, I found that you also get bubbles with an assault rifle. In fact you get two streams of bubbles; one from the nozzle and one from where the shells eject (or so I assume, though I can't see it directly). There's no muzzle flash, yet the illuminating effect of muzzle flash remains present, brightening nearby scenery. As such, you're getting a sort of phantom muzzle flash. At the nozzle, it looks like you get 6 or 7 bubbles from a single shot.

Patented UNSC bubble gun!

With either weapon, these bubbles are fun to create and watch, and quite beautiful. See my movie BCM434 for examples.

One other source of bubbles is from plasma grenades. Submerge and drop a plasma on the swamp floor and you'll see a neat stream of bubbles rise from it. Again, quite surprising!

Just weapon submerged

In further regard to bubbles from a pistol or AR, bear in mind that actually you don't have to be submerged. You'll still get bubbles if only the weapon is submerged - although the AR will be reduced to only the nozzle stream of bubbles.

However, in the case of the AR it can be hazardous shooting when your head is just above water like that. There's a glitch whereby shooting can cause your death. I haven't fully explored that yet, but it seems to me that the water surface is acting as a solid layer and the bullets are bouncing back at you. That reflective effect also applies with shotgun rounds and, more entertainingly, with needles and grenades.

Just before the bang

Places you can submerge

There are various areas where the water is deep enough for you to submerge by crouching. By far the biggest is an area near the crashed Pelican, used extensively at the start of my movie. It stretches quite a way, as you can explore for yourself.

There's another deep area quite nearby, likewise featured in the movie, and in that spot you can also have fun creating bark fragments from a couple of trees. From underwater the bark actually rises up then floats on the surface, which can be very nice to view (especially if the camera is level with the water surface). In a very narrow area here, the water is actually deep enough that you can submerge without crouching, but that's the only such place I know of in the whole swamp.

There are at least two more deep places in the swamp, but I'll leave you to go searching for those.

Murky bubbles in the sea

Later swamp, and other levels

At the end of the level there's more swamp, but although you can get bubbles there, it's not a good area for that. You can't actually submerge (or at least, I couldn't find anywhere), you keep getting attacked by Flood, and at any time the final cutscene may start up.

You can get bubbles in the sea of The Silent Cartographer, but they can only be seen near the surface, and they're also not seen as well as in the swamp, because the water is very murky. But it's still worth checking out, and on the plus side, the water gets deep enough that you don't have to crouch.

At the start of level 2 there's a pool where you can submerge, but sadly you can't get any bubbles. In fact the water programming there seems to be a bit lacking, as if Bungie ran out of time to fully flesh things out in regard to underwater aspects.