Rear escape from the Scarab battlefield

Posted October 23rd 2011

When you emerge into the vast area in which a Scarab soon passes overhead, one way of escaping normal bounds is to immediately hitch a lift on the Scarab as described in Two legged Scarab and more. It takes you through an invisible barrier to a vast rocky area from which you have access to the cartographer building's roof and more, giving you opportunities for novel fun and exploration. However, you can also escape to that rocky wilderness another way as I'll describe here. This escape was found very soon after the game was released in 2007; see this forum post from Chaos and DoubtfulOwl advertising their Owning The Ark video. For my own part, I saw one of the methods in a video recently and then did some exploration for myself. I've got some clarification to add in regard to a key aspect not explained in the aforementioned sources, and that's what I'll cover first.

Removing the back ceiling

To do the escape, you first need to get an invisible ceiling removed from the back of the area, otherwise it blocks you from continuing past a certain point. I did some investigation into this, and basically you just need to reach a certain line (a finding which builds on an observation by Sliding Ghost about going to a particular spot). I call it the render change line because various things become rendered slightly differently when you reach it. Rock surfaces change for example, and building structure takes on a slightly hazier bluer look. Evidently the game is adjusting more than just textures though, as the troublesome ceiling gets removed too.

I said 'line', but to be more precise, what we're really talking about is reaching a vertical plane. You could be low down or high up - it doesn't seem to matter. On the left of the battlefield there's a small raised area featuring a mast and a fuel rod gun. The most advanced point of its sandy surface is what I'll call 'point A'. Over on the right of the battlefield is the cartographer building, and it starts with a long thin spine sloping up towards the pinnacle area. Several metres back from where the spine starts is a place I'll call 'point B'. To a close approximation, the plane passes through these two points. To clarify the situation at the ends, on the left the plane extends across the wall. As such, it's possible to go along the wall to reach the plane. On the right the plane stops at point B, about which I'll be more exact. Near the start of the spine are three small trees. Consider the one nearest the spine. If you take a step through it in the direction of the building, that's what I meant by point B.

Incidentally, a few metres past the render change line is another significant line which I call the Chopper retreat line. Once you've triggered the Marine advance, reaching that line sufficiently low down causes Choppers and foot soldiers to retreat to the bottom of the battlefield. So if you want to get the ceiling removed without causing that retreat, you can.

Escape via Chopper

Once you've removed the back ceiling the escape can be done a couple of ways, but I'll focus on the Chopper method first (which I found for myself after seeing the wall method, but which I subsequently saw variations of in videos).

Get a Chopper to the sandy roof of the room in which the Marine convoy waited for battle. It was just below your entry point. Looking away from the battlefield, you need to reach the high corner up to the right. Boost the Chopper up the reddish striated rock towards the corner. When you get close you'll start to notice an invisible ceiling which is extending out from near where the rock ends and the building's roof begins. Get the Chopper close to the wall and force your way forward. You can use boost if you like, but you don't need to. The Chopper quite easily breaks through (the front may rise up for a moment) and is then able to go a touch further. It's quickly blocked by an invisible wall but that doesn't matter. Turn left and you can drive along the line of four trees. The invisible wall ends and you can now turn right to head up the roof. Dismount and you can hop over the ridge or go through the passage at the back, thanks to having removed the back ceiling. You can now continue along the roof to the rocky wilderness.

The Chopper seems to be the only vehicle able to break through the invisible ceiling in that high corner. To get one to the sandy roof, either drop in from above or drive up the striated rock at the side of the convoy exit area (on the right as you face the exit). There was a hidden Chopper beyond the gauss hog if you care to use that one, but there are others too of course, and you could even have brought one with you through the building. You don't have to start from the sandy roof though. If you've gone up the rock at the side of the convoy exit, you can continue close to the wall such as seen in Chaos and DoubtfulOwl's video, bypassing the sandy roof. Whatever you prefer.

Taking a Chopper further

I mentioned a ridge past the four trees, and there are two more further on. You can get a Chopper past all three if you fancy driving about in the vast area beyond. The first ridge is no trouble as you can simply drive through the passage at the back. As for the final two, one method is fairly obvious. If you've got a grav lift from the bottom of the battlefield, you can drop it in a good position and boost forth to sail over the pair of them. Easy! If you've got Cowbell on, there's an alternative method which I saw in a video by wafflejack. Send the Chopper heading over the ridge with a plasma grenade then quickly hit it with weapon fire - e.g. from a plasma rifle - to help get it over. Thanks to Cowbell, the shots can impart significant force. You may be able to get it over the final ridge by flipping it and firing some more; but if not, you can make use of another grenade.

Escape via the wall

Instead of driving a Chopper up to the high back corner, it's possible to drop down from the wall, which is easy to get onto at a place further down the battlefield where its height above the rock is minimal. You can get up with a crouch jump, jump up off a vehicle, or boost yourself up with an explosion. As you head for the back corner an invisible wall keeps you to the left but that's no trouble. Jump or drop down when you've reached the line of four trees, and you should find that you're past the invisible ceiling you would've had to break through in the Chopper method; hence you can progress as before.

Ascent to the cross-beam

Once you get to the first ridge on the roof, it's possible to do a very nifty rapid ascent as seen around 1:00 in Chaos and DoubtfulOwl's video (though the footage is unfortunately speeded up, making it harder to follow). At the back of the ridge there's a narrow passage along which are two massive slopes you can jump onto (easier off a Chopper if you've driven one up). Get to the top right of the second then jump across to continue up a third slope. At the top right, hold your nerve and walk through the gap to end up on an invisible beam surface. Look in the direction of the battlefield and you'll see part of the far end of the beam. Head towards it and you'll soon be on a visible surface again (phew!), which slopes down to join the massive cross-beam I mentioned in my two-legged Scarab article. Nice!