BCM268 - Yeti Flood, swamp guy animation surprise

(6:54) Level 6 ('Guilty Spark 343') on Easy. This may seem unlikely, but have I discovered a new Flood animation here? Swamp guy did something I've never seen before - or not that I remember anyway. Investigation followed, as I tried to understand the workings. Mystery remains, but I'm wondering if it's actually something you can only see with a friendly yeti Flood who's been saved from his scripted death. In which case, it wouldn't be so surprising if this is the first time anyone saw it. See what you think!

Released January 6th 2018, gameplay recorded December 29th 2017 - January 5th 2018.


00:02 (Animation surprise) This all started when I was testing something with swamp guy. I was checking into questions such as, what's the chance of him being droppable when he reanimates? That involved shooting him over and over, and the first clip shows some such play. Then one time, I shot him after reanimation and he waved his arms - an example of which is shown in the second clip (it's not the actual first time I saw it; I wasn't recording at that point). I was like "Whoa! What was that?"

00:20 (More examples, and findings) I began trying to see him do it some more, and investigating the workings. A bunch of clips illustrate some my conclusions.

00:32 Another example. He looks angry, perhaps.

00:42 Seems like you have to attack after he rises, at just the right time. The window of opportunity is small, and also seems variable (which I realized later from experience with different primed set-ups). But in any event, he has to be hit during his turning animation (he turns after rising), or on the frame right after that. That conclusion is based on a lot of video frame examination.

00:53 Also you have to attack from 'behind', relative to the direction he faces as he rises. In this context, 'behind' means anywhere in his rear 180 I think.

01:07 In view of that, I wondered if his animation represents surprise. Like, he's getting shocked by an attack coming from behind. However, one fact that counts against this is that shooting wide doesn't cause the reaction.

01:19 Getting the animation seems random and rare. When I say 'random', I'm specifically alluding to randomness given that your shot timing is good and that he doesn't drop.

In a test I did, getting the animation ten times, the average number of shots it took, not including those which initially drop him, was about 29, amounting to about 2.6 minutes work. All my successes were when hitting him on the first or second frame of turning, which I believe was my typical shot timing throughout (based on inspecting a few minutes of footage), apart from also hitting him on frame 0 quite a bit, which was too early.

01:30 As seen in two clips, you don't need to be close to get the animation.

01:45 Eventually I checked melee, and that works too! It's a bit harder to time, because there's more of a delay between your button press and his being hit, but it doesn't feel all that much harder.

02:00 Tagging works too, but is hard to time, and there's extra randomness to contend with because the length of time for which he stays down is a bit random. In both cases shown here, I think the blast went off 'behind' him, in line with my understanding of how things work. But it's hard to tell.

02:16 Ground blasts work too but I had to really persevere to get an example, shown in the first of these two clips. Later I tried some more because I wanted an example with a closer view - and eventually I got one.

02:49 You can get the animation even if he has no arms. Also he can do it without a head (there was already a shotty clip of that earlier at 0:53), but seemingly not if his head was already gone before rising (I tested that a lot, and could never get it). Curious.

03:14 (Pre-teleport failure) Can he do the animation before teleporting? I tried a lot and never got it. I suspect the answer is no - which may be due to his scripting dominating, i.e. being given priority.

03:51 (Flipped failure) I also tried to get the animation after flipping him, but again I had no luck. Here you see two plays from a checkpoint I'd got, after flipping him and getting him down from the top of the level. I suspect he needs to be friendly, to do the animation.

04:16 (Priming) I tried something and got an interesting result. If you get a delayed checkpoint after dropping him (here I'm using a checkpoint associated with the lift settling at the top), he might be primed for arm waving, so that you can see it repeatedly and easily. Here's an example. You just need to get your attack timing right. This indicates that before he rises, the game has already settled the issue of whether or not he can arm wave. The randomness is gone.

Getting a primed set-up can take many set-up tries though; you've only got a slim chance each time. This took me a good few tries, but it was worth it. Actually this wasn't my first such set-up, but it was the first one I took care over, with movie footage in mind. In this set-up the attack window was very small, comprising only frames 1 and 2 of his turn; a window of 2/25 of a second.

05:54 (Another primed set-up) Earlier I suggested that if his head is already gone before he rises, he seems unable to do the animation. I decided to try and get further evidence for that, by creating a primed set-up in which I was ready to quickly shoot his lifeless head off before he rises. It was quite a pain and took over twenty tries, but eventually I was rewarded with this excellent set-up, which had a much bigger attack window than the last; namely comprising frames 1 to 6 of his turn. That made attack timing very easy.

With pre-removed head, he indeed never did the arm waving when suitably attacked, and for a while I thought this was good evidence. But then I realized something. Any early shot - even a wide one - seemed to cause the loss of arm waving potential. Could it be that the shot is alerting him, so that the element of surprise is lost, preventing the necessary trigger?

06:21 (Comedy ending) In this comedy ending I jump on top of him as I shoot, getting a novel view of the arm waving from above. And eventually I take my leave, rather explosively.

Closing remarks Bearing in mind how the attack seems to need to come from behind, one interpretation of the animation is that it represents shock. However, unlike the situation of shocking a covie, the reaction doesn't get caused by a wide shot, nor do you need to be close. And in any case the animation looks more like anger to me, being a prolonged waving of the arms rather than a brief involuntary response. So instead, I currently suspect the animation indicates anger in reaction to friendly fire/attack - though another idea I've been mulling over is that it's something analogous to the arm waving an Elite does at the start of rage mode.

Whatever the animation represents, it's strange that there's no accompanying cry (though there is an accompanying sound of arm raising, which you may've noticed). Conceivably, that might be because Bungie eventually decided the animation wasn't going to get used after all, so they didn't bother adding that finishing touch. Obviously there's still mystery here.

One thing not reported happened while doing takes for the comedy ending. On one take involving a tag plus needle bangs, I caught a glimpse of him doing the arm waving as I flew off. Contrary to what I'd thought then, attacking him after he reanimates isn't the only way to get the animation.

That late finding was kind of annoying because it opened up the need for new investigation, plus re-evaluation of what's going on. But my movie was already just about ready and I didn't want to get into a whole new angle, so I decided to go with what I had, for the time being. Later I might pick up the investigation though, and perhaps I can reach a fuller understanding of what's going on. Or perhaps someone will have something pertinent to say when I release this first movie? We'll see.

UPDATE, 11/1/18: A friend was able to furnish me with sound files extracted from the game, and I found the file for the sound of the Flood's arms raising. It's named 'stand_pistol_surprise_front', which obviously suggests that the animation represents surprise. I think the reaction may be latent in all Elite combat Flood, but normally never triggered because aggression related behaviour dominates (possibly a design oversight, or maybe Bungie knew but weren't fussed to address it). In regard to the term 'pistol' in the file name, I think that's just a code word relating to the armed status of the subject. It indicates something like "armed with typical weapon or none at all". The point being, his armed status causes no additional sound in regard to movement (unlike say, the case of a Grunt with a fuel rod gun).

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've now posted an article about the animation.