BCM146 - Grunt-Jackal spawning trick

(6:03) Level 3 ('The Truth and Reconciliation') on Easy. Hot on the heels of my tutorial for the Grunt-Jackal spawning trick, this movie lets you actually watch covies spawning and building up into a 50-strong stack - with most of the waiting edited out in near seamless fashion to speed things along. At the start I've already had five Grunt waves (no Jackals yet). The spawning of another 37 waves took about 24 minutes with spawnings every 38 seconds or so, but is condensed to less than four and a half. Along the way, five Grunts can be heard falling to their deaths outside the level, due to the crowding. I believe the final stack comprises 29 Grunts and 21 Jackals. I deliberately use Easy and have an orange Grunt as the main attacker so I can take fire with minimal bother, though I still have to re-zoom a lot.

Released June 21st 2015, gameplay recorded June 16th-17th 2015.


00:02 To get ready I move close to the edge of the spawn trigger zone, to try and get the closest view of the spawning area. I stand on the left to try and minimize any bother from covies in the side-passage. There are currently 7 Grunts there, as briefly shown in an insert clip. A Grunt from the fourth wave dawdled and remains in the passage, his presence keeping the door open. He's soon starting to fire on me, but an orange Grunt was exactly what I wanted for minimal bother.

00:37 (First observed spawning) Having only had Grunt waves so far, I was beginning to think the Jackals hadn't got the memo. But no, apparently they're turning up after all. Jackal number one pops into view in front of the previous Grunt wave. If you pause the movie at the relevant frame, you'll see that at the moment of spawning, he's in some kind of default posture with arms out.

00:46 The third Jackal settles on top of the second, and in subsequent spawnings you see Jackal columns grow. In particular, you can see older Jackals get bumped up to the top by new.

01:28 A Grunt in the side-passage has been firing at me. Mostly he was hitting the corner but he's still annoying me with the noise, so I pause to put an end to it.

01:36 A Jackal takes a step forward from the bottom of the column on the right, causing it to drop. The left column experiences a little drop too when the second guy up advances very slightly. His advance is probably the reason why he doesn't get bumped up when another Jackal spawns.

01:46 (Faller 1) A Grunt wave spawns and you can hear the cry of "Not again!" as a Grunt falls to his death outside the level. I believe he was one of the two who spawned. At the moment of spawning, a Grunt on the left gets slightly displaced, and I think his original location caused the new guy to get bumped out.

01:56 (Faller 2) Another Grunt wave spawns, and one of the spawnees falls on the left. He appears to've spawned there; his paw can be seen sticking through the wall at the moment of spawning. Poor fella. He'll never have a chance for grunty glory in battle now.

02:02 Another Grunt is pestering me from the side-passage. Time for another sniper round! That seems to cause my main attacker to hop over to the right.

02:15 Friendly fire incident in the side-passage, heh heh. That makes only four Grunts left there now.

02:19 A Jackal at top left does some flickering, causing a flickering light effect in the spawning area. And then when a new Jackal spawns, the area takes on some quite strong green lighting.

02:38 (Faller 3) A Grunt wave spawns, and I assume that's one of the spawnees who drops from above, to the front of the stack. Another Grunt is heard falling to his death; the other spawnee I expect.

03:15 (Faller 4) When this Grunt wave spawns, one of the Grunts appears to spawn outside the wall on the right. An arm can briefly be seen sticking through.

03:25 (Faller 5) The final faller. Again this seems to be a case of a Grunt spawning outside the wall on the right, and again you can see an arm sticking through.

04:20 A spawning occurs as I re-zoom, so it's not easily noticed, but it seems to be the addition of a Jackal at top left, and he briefly looks around. There wasn't a Jackal there before.

04:29 Again there's a spawning which occurs as I re-zoom, making it hard to notice. Indeed, this one was the hardest to notice, but I believe it was another Jackal up at the top left. After this spawning, the green illumination occasionally flickers off. I suspect that's due to a Jackal 'flickering' (instantaneously altering direction back and forth), but I can't see a culprit clearly.

04:33 (Final spawning) The final spawning is a Grunt wave, and you can see one of the new Grunts falling into the top middle. According to my careful tally, that makes 29 Grunts and 21 Jackals in the stack.

04:45 (Shield shooting) With the spawning area now pretty crowded, it's getting hard to see spawnings clearly so I decide to finish things. I hadn't planned what to do but I have an urge to shoot a few Jackal shields to see what'll happen. On the positive side, the results include an amusing ricochet kill and the even more amusing death of my grunty attacker. On the negative side I fail to dodge two plasma balls. With the first, I thought it might miss me; it was hard to be sure with my zoomed view. With the second I paid more attention and thought I was going to clear it, but I misjudged it.

05:11 (Visit to the stack) Ok, time to go and visit I think. As I head for the door I'm hoping to get a prolonged look at the stack, but when I go through, I see a whole load of plasma pistols ready to fire plasma balls my way, and my shield isn't even recharged yet! Things get a bit fierce and I feel obliged to use a grenade after only a few seconds, before I end up dead. By the time I've taken care of two Jackals, who looked kind of amusing when standing close together both shieldless, I'm down to two health bars. And then I have a bit of fun with the Jackal in the ceiling of course. He fails to jump in surprise when I fire a shot (I should've expected that, because I'd already been doing lots of shooting in his vicinity), so I aim at one of his feet instead, and that brings him down.

Closing remarks Watching the spawning has typically been a bit of a pain when I've tried it before, so I was a bit anxious about how much work it was going to take to make a movie about it. I wasn't even sure how I'd structure it. But for starters I thought I'd try to engineer a good situation in which I could crouch behind a dead Grunt's pointy backpack for cover, to try and minimize the number of times my zoom got disrupted by enemy fire. However, that wasn't turning out as well as I'd hoped, and also it's a pain trying to maintain a crouch (it's hard on the left thumb), so I decided to just try standing instead, using the same save I'd prepared. I thought I was probably going to have to do a lot of playing to get sufficiently good footage. This play was quickly obtained, and I'd been thinking of it as just a trial run. But when I experimented with editing out the waiting, it was turning out surprisingly well and the post-spawning phase was quite entertaining too (I especially liked how the Grunt got a plasma ball in the back), so I decided to stick with it. So I didn't need to do that much play after all - a welcome relief.

I used a save in which I'd got a delayed checkpoint (the door release checkpoint - see my article) after four Grunt waves had spawned, with seven of the Grunts reaching the side-passage and one of them dawdling (my main attacker in the movie). By that time I'd also grenaded a Grunt body down from the rise, to join another at the bottom and thus provide me with two pointy backpacks to potentially use as cover if I crouched (an approach I later decided against, as already mentioned). The reason I'm short of a plasma grenade in the movie is that I'd just used one to blast the two Grunt bodies away to clear any visual distractions - though in retrospect there really wasn't much point to that. You can see the blast mark on the left at about 0:05. The two Grunts you then see in the spawning area spawned at about 0:03, i.e. pretty much right after the start of the movie's footage.

In regard to the clip showing the side-passage Grunts, that was recorded later using the same save. I thought it was good to briefly show what was there.

In doing the editing, I aimed for an interlude of about 2.6 seconds between spawnings where viable, but often the interlude is longer, e.g. when pausing to pan around or to include significant enemy movements, or when I get delayed by having my zoom disrupted. Also, sometimes an interlude was stretched in the interest of minimizing perceptible discontinuity, both visual and aural. For example I didn't want bursts of fire getting cut off in a jarring manner. The editing eventually involved 44 transitions during the spawning phase, each one carefully honed to try and make things as seamless as possible. Hopefully you didn't notice many of the joins.

By the end of the spawning, the spawn period had lengthened from the initial 38.48 seconds to something close to 40 seconds, but I can't tell exactly because the time of the penultimate spawning was unclear.