BCM62 - Spore herding
(6:26) Level 7 ('The Library') on Legendary. Relating to my Spore herding article, this shows how to build up a massive early herd of spores (more properly called infection forms), culminating with a checkpoint at the first door, after which you can have fun with them (see BCM63). I end up with about 150 spores here.
Released January 12th 2013, gameplay recorded January 7th 2013.
00:02 (Start area) The footage begins at the start of the level, and right away I turn my flashlight on. To aid visibility in the movie it'll be on in almost all the footage. In order to achieve that, there were times when I paused to recharge it before key segments of play, but I don't show that as it's not really relevant.
Just around the corner there's a carrier with some spores, and I carefully get the attention of the spores without the carrier seeing me. They give chase and so do the ones from the right. Once I've drawn them back a bit, I circle around to pop the carrier safely (i.e. away from spores so I don't lose any), then get another four carriers popped. Then I draw all the spores back to try and keep them out of danger.
00:55 (Second area) When Flood appear in the left outlet I deliberately pop a carrier, which also takes care of some combat Flood. That may not have been a good tactic to use though. There was another carrier in there, and when it went off, it may have popped some of the spores released from the first carrier. For the most careful play it's actually best to try and leave carriers intact until any nearby combat Flood are dead, so their spores are protected until you perform a controlled release. But I don't fully follow that principle in this movie, as I was a bit rusty and had forgotten about it. I wasn't trying to get every last spore anyway.
Pistol work takes care of the remaining combat Flood and I try to avoid accidentally popping spores, but at one point I hit one when a combat Flood leaps at me. There's another carrier to pop near the end, and it's just about distant enough from spores for me to pop safely after circling around. By now the earlier spores have caught up with me. Together with the newcomers, I draw them all back again.
01:47 (Third area, near the Index chamber) I'm careful to get a consolidating checkpoint as I near this next area, so that if I foul up by losing health or losing too many spores, I can always try again. A shot draws the combat Flood my way and I do some pistol work to try and take care of them. Things get a little rushed towards the end when I need to pop some carriers, and that results in a few spore casualties, but I still end up with a good number from the six carriers the area contained. I lead them back to join the others before running off again.
02:53 I've got some unfinished business in that last area: combat Flood from the outlets. Happily I've picked up a shotgun along the way, so they're quite easily handled. I show just a brief excerpt of the action here. Earlier I deliberately avoided advancing into the area, to avoid triggering them. That minimized the pressure on me and kept spores safer.
03:07 (Index chamber) I get a new consolidating checkpoint in the short tunnel then take care of combat Flood and build up some spores from the Index chamber. I subsequently draw those guys back through the tunnel to try and leave them safely behind, but actually I think the majority ended up catching up with me in the next area and being exposed to some unnecessary danger; so I should've drawn them back further if I wanted to be more careful.
03:34 (Fifth area) After another checkpoint, this next area gets a bit hectic and I'm pretty gung-ho about handling things. I probably lost quite a lot of spores here (e.g. the final combat Flood to jump down pops a bunch of spores with plasma pistol fire), but you can be as careful as you like and keep reverting to the conveniently preceding checkpoint until you're happy with the job done. I was at least trying to avoid hitting spores with my shotty blasts. And hey, did you notice my second blast at 3:42? I really peppered that wall good eh? Note to self: acquire target before firing.
04:15 (Door area) In the door area after another consolidating checkpoint, I'm again rather gung-ho. After shooting the guys on the ground it would've made sense to back off and take down the high one with pistol fire, but instead I advance and things get a bit chaotic, losing me quite a few spores I think. The majority of the spores you see at the end are just the ones from the previous area (I didn't bother drawing them back through the Index chamber for safety). Quite bad play from a harvesting perspective.
04:49 (Spare weapons) Now things are safe, I spend a while moving some alternative weapons into position near the door, to potentially use on the spores later. You don't see much of this work in the movie; just an early snippet, during which the door opening gets triggered. I subsequently moved them against a side wall to leave the door area clear for my later fun. One defect here is that my needler wasn't full. I wasn't too fussed about that at the time, but in retrospect it would've been worth making sure I had a full one, which wouldn't have been hard.
05:02 (Herd formation) Next I fetch all the earlier spores. It takes a while and needs a bit of care to ensure none get left behind, and I just show a few clips here. In a lot of the footage I'm facing the spores and backing off, but that's mainly to let you enjoy watching spores flocking about the place. You don't need to be going backwards like that. Back near the door, the spores join up to make the final herd.
06:01 (Finishing) I switch my flashlight off long enough to let it fully recharge, then run clear of the spores to trigger a checkpoint just past the door after switching the flashlight back on. The checkpoint is granted because I'm sufficiently far from the spore threat (you don't have to be very far away).
Closing remarks I later did some spore counting and found that I've got about 150 in that herd. If I'd been more careful I think I could've got quite a few more, perhaps approaching 200, but I became a bit casual when I reached the Index chamber.
Later on when playing around, I thought I'd messed up my set-up work a bit. After wiping out my herd, I found that there were another 18 spores back in the Index chamber, down the shaft and heading up out of it. Initially I thought they must've somehow got left behind when I was leading the main herd out of that area, but actually I didn't lose anyone. What happens is, those extra guys spawn once your spore count gets sufficiently low. The game is sending more enemies your way; and actually they can home in on you even if your remain near the door.
Let me reiterate that it's actually best to try and leave carriers intact until nearby combat Flood are dead. That way their spores stay protected until you release them in a careful and controlled manner. Here I was a bit gung-ho in places and somewhat neglected that basic principle. But that was ok as I wasn't trying to get every last spore, just plenty.