Body merging

Posted June 12th 2020

Associated movies

  • BCM192 - Level 5, Legendary; Harlequin Grunt (8:04)
  • BCM193 - Level 5, Legendary; Harlequin Grunt, red state and being super-merged (5:41)
  • BCM194 - Level 5, Legendary; Harlequin Grunt, orange state via needling (5:53)
  • BCM281 - Level 5, Normal; Freaky graveyard! Three-minute teaser (3:23)
  • BCM282 - Level 5, Normal; Body merging trick (7:54)
  • BCM283 - Level 5, Heroic; Body merging, more corner examples (7:48)
  • BCM284 - Level 5, Heroic; Body merging, Elite combinations (6:38)
  • BCM285 - Level 5, Heroic; Body merging, harlequin Elites (7:30)
  • BCM286 - Level 5, Easy; Body merging, camo Elite plus gold Elite (6:33)
  • BCM287 - Level 5, Easy; Body merging, camo & gold set-up (5:00)
  • BCM288 - Level 1, Heroic; Body merging, crewmen on the Autumn (6:22)
  • BCM289 - Level 1, Heroic; Body merging, Marines and crewmen on the Autumn (6:43)
  • BCM290 - Level 2, Heroic; Body merging, crewmen at the first structure (7:32)
The original harlequin Grunt

Back in July 2016 I released BCM192 showing what I called a 'harlequin Grunt'. Lying dead beside a Shade in level 5's underground cavern, his curly backpack was a jazzy riot of flickering red and orange patches as I moved around or panned the camera. An impressive fellow!

What we actually had there was two curly-backed Grunts, each of which had been manning the Shade, and each of which had been sniped out of it. The second guy fell in practically the exact same way as the first, thus the bodies ended up merged, looking geometrically like a single Grunt, except for the weird flickering which betrayed the true situation.

How easy is it to get a harlequin Grunt by sniping successive gunners out of a Shade? Actually that's something I never got around to pursuing, because I soon found an entirely different way to get bodies merged. A more general way, which can allow you to merge multiple bodies of similar type. This was introduced in BCM282 (after a teaser movie).

Harlequin obtained by blasting

What you do is get the bodies into a corner - preferably a fairly tight one - and repeatedly blast them against it. A Banshee is good for that, but you could also use a rocket launcher (potentially using drop reloading so you never run out of ammo), or grenades. This has a gradual converging effect, making the bodies become merged (closely aligned).

You might like to use the prefix 'multi' in referring to the resulting merged collective, e.g. talking of a 'multi-Grunt', a 'multi-Jackal' and so on. That's what I started doing, feeling a need for some such term.

Super-merging, and harlequins

Taken far enough, the bodies can become what I call 'super-merged', a state in which the bodies have got so closely aligned (perhaps even exactly aligned?) that the collective exhibits resilience against blasting. Which is basically to say, you can blast it around and it still holds together. Fun stuff!

Super-merged Elites

In the case of two super-merged Grunts of different colours, you don't have the aforementioned jazzy harlequin effect. One Grunt will dominate the appearance. If you stop short of super-merging though, you can get a harlequin Grunt. You can likewise get a 'harlequin Elite' by using Elites of different colour, as seen in BCM285.

The attractive flickering effect for harlequins is actually called 'z-fighting' and relates to something called the z-buffer. It's a shortcoming of the 3D rendering method, and it's something you might see in other games too.

Separating merged bodies

Even in the case of super-merged bodies, you can get the bodies separated back out if you want to. One way is to use tagging. Each tag will separate out one of the bodies involved. It imparts a randomized shunt to the particular body which got tagged, and meanwhile the other bodies all experience another shunt, different from that tag shunt.

Strikingly large in-flight separation of merged Marines

Another way to get bodies separated is to blast the collective when it's in the air. When in the air, the bodies become separated a bit, and thus when you blast them, the bodies experience different shunts. You can see such in-flight separation starting around 2;56 in BCM282, for a couple of Grunts.

Further details elsewhere

There are quite a few more details you can learn of in my movies and in their written commentaries. In particular, you can learn of good corners to use for merging, in various levels.

Normally I would've had all such information in an article, but in this case I'm writing the article a full two years after I was last working on the topic. Alas, it drifted away from my attention and I forgot that I still hadn't done an article. At this point I don't really have time to get back into the detail and do a full write-up, so this is really just a summary, serving as a starting point.