BCM23 - Elite fireworks

(4:32) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Heroic. This shows some Elite firework action comprising two full plays of a fairly typical basic save featuring ejected Elites with flickering shields. In the first play I launch each Elite separately, and in the second they go up together.

Released December 7th 2010, gameplay recorded November 30th - December 1st 2010.


00:02 The footage begins right at the start of my save, and I'm already in position to get working on a first Elite, in this case a red a few feet off the ground. I open with some rocketing, aiming to send him vertical. The first blast kills him, which gets rid of the unwelcome anti-aim effect and sends his plasma rifle flying. After two more I move in for some needling; in this case 7 clips. Often I'd be using more, but I didn't want the movie to start boring anyone. Besides, it also means that when I subsequently add 3 plasmas (in playful locations), the next needle bang will be on the brink of exploding because 143 is just short of 29 + 5 x 23, and therefore I'll get it on launch. See my section on timing for explanation about such things.

When I get a new needler from my stash of full ones, I'm a bit slower than usual with the changeover. Actually I didn't need a new one at all, as I was only going to use another 40 needles. I could've saved time by just walking over a needler, but I'm used to getting a new one by briefly involving the sniper rifle (deliberately positioned for it), so I was kind of on autopilot here.

With clip 6 I'm able to stand unusually close to the Elite because I know there's not a needle bang due. When I start clip 7 I just fire a single needle first, to make sure it causes a bang. That confirms that none of my earlier needles missed, so I can be confident that I'm getting the full 140 into him. During the needling you can see blood spurts and dust puffs shooting off under the cumulative influence of the rocket blasts, and also a blood cloud each time there's a needle bang. The streamers from the subsequent grenades are under the influence of the blasting too, and from the way they're going straight up, it looks like my rocketing was good.

With the work all done, I pick up the sniper rifle and back off across the release line, and up he goes with a nice satisfying scream, sending blood clouds everywhere as the needle bangs go off. His trajectory gets diverted by the grenades when they go off a little later, and he bounces off the cliff face, momentarily clipping into the cliff from head to waist! The needles run out before he's down, but never mind.

01:27 Now for the blue, who's somewhat nearer the ground. I pick up the one remaining full needler, and also a few handy plasmas dropped by an Elite after I'd got him into rage mode to get him heading into the launch zone (he was the guy from the back entrance to the tower). This time I'm doing the needling first; I wanted to show various ways of doing things. I can't aim at him directly until he's dead and the anti-aim effect disappears, but the needles home in quite strongly and result in some amusingly exaggerated blood spurts from his chest. After that I move in closer. He sheds a few plasmas and I pick them up to make sure they don't get detonated by a needle bang.

After 5 clips and 4 plasma grenades, I do some rocketing, using the streamers as a guide to help me get him going close to vertical. Streamers are handy for aim assistance like that, and you'll also notice them getting longer and longer as the cumulative blast grows. On the fifth rocket things are looking pretty good so I grab the sniper rifle and release him. This time there's no needle bang on launch - I didn't try to arrange that - and the next needle bang takes quite a while to arrive, so it feels quite different to the last launch. He goes way up high as you'd expect, and my 5 needle clips expire well before he's down. Just as he's about to go out of sight - landing on the tower by the looks of it - I take a shot at him, but I'm not sure if I hit.

03:09 My second play of the save demonstrates a double launch. I start by giving each Elite 49 needles (29 which cause the first bang, then a clip) then 2 plasmas, stopping just short of causing the next needle bang, so they'll launch with that needle bang. Yep, I do like to launch with a bang! The red wasn't particularly easy to needle at first; I had to be careful that my needles didn't get diverted to the blue behind him, and I couldn't aim at the red directly because of the anti-aim effect. They also get 3 rockets apiece. I wasn't trying to aim my fireworks very carefully here - it was only meant as a quick example - but the idea was for them to go up fairly steeply. As it turns out, they sail up and almost meet, at which point the grenades go off and shoot them apart. A nice effect, and something you might like to arrange on purpose. While the red continues on upwards having bounced off the cliff face, the blue actually ends up settling on the lower ledge, which you can see.

Closing remarks Although I now favour using pre-frozen Elites, partly because you can easily avoid getting the anti-aim effect, I wanted to use ejected Elites for this first firework movie because those were what I was originally using in 2005, and they do look quite striking, frozen in mid-air with flickering shields. However, the launching in this movie isn't entirely the sort of thing I was doing back then, because I didn't realize you could make a needle bang go off on launch - a small but satisfying enhancement which I only cottoned onto when revisiting the topic with movies in mind, and which I wanted to demonstrate here.

One way in which these launches are similar to what I was originally doing is that I leave the tagging until late. Actually I suspect I generally left it until last, judging from the original article (which had no mention of using streamers as an aid to aiming your Elite when rocketing). The relative order in which you do your needling and tagging can make a big difference, as you'll appreciate if you've read about tag launching. You can see that new finding illustrated in BCM24.