Water surface glitch

Posted June 24th 2020

Suicide by needler

When working on the business of underwater bubbles in the swamp at the start of 343 Guilty Spark, I noticed an interesting phenomenon, which I later observed to work in other places too, including the Silent Cartographer sea. I don't know if it's been noticed before (wouldn't surprise me), but I'll call it the 'water surface glitch'.

Firstly, when you shoot certain weapons near the surface of the water, the ordnance can get reflected back at you as if the surface is a solid layer. This received passing mention in BCM434 around 2:25, where I showed myself getting killed by my own shotgun fire, and then also with AR fire.

More spectacularly though, it also works with a needler (something I didn't show). You can get a whole clip of needles reflecting back into yourself, causing an explosive death that sets off your dropped grenades and sends you flying. That's really the best fun you can have with the glitch, and it's well worth playing about with. The glitch also works with a rocket launcher. Doesn't seem to work with a pistol, a chain-gun, or plasma weapons.

Nice view, just before the bang

Secondly, if you throw a grenade at around the height of the surface, it can likewise behave as if the surface is solid. In particular, (1) a plasma thrown upwards from just under the surface can end up tagging you, and (2) a frag throw downwards from just above the surface can instantly stop there, giving you a close-up view of it (see pic), before it explodes in your face.

The glitch works with the two swamps of level 6 (the second isn't so convenient though), the sea in level 4, and the coolant pools in level 9. Those seem to be the only places. It doesn't work at the waterfall pool near the start of level 2. As I mentioned at the end of my bubbles article, the water programming there seems to be a bit lacking.

Setting up for fun

To have fun playing about with the glitch, obviously you should set things up so you've got a handy checkpoint to keep reverting to. In level 4 there are checkpoints triggered at various points around the island's periphery, and it's easy to get one when you're in the water - with a full needler at the ready, or whatever. As for the first swamp in level 6, you can get a needler from Grunts at the entrance to the facility, and then return, keeping a checkpoint delayed until in position (there's a checkpoint triggered along with those covies, for example).