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In first-person shooter games, rocket jumping is the technique of using the explosion of a rocket launcher combined with a jump. The aim of this technique is to reach new heights and distances. Although the origin of rocket jumping is unclear, its use dates back at least to play in Quake. The biggest downside of rocket jumping is that it usually injures the player, either from the blast damage or fall damage. This effect makes the technique less useful in games where the damage from the blast, fall, or both is high. The technique is used especially in advanced/competitive play where it is used in order to gain quick bursts of speed, reach normally unobtainable heights, secure positional advantages, or in speedrunning.
In the Quake series
While using explosives to propel oneself was first seen in Doom, the modern technique became a core mechanic in Quake, taking the technique to literal new heights. By exploiting the various quirks of the Quake engine, many advanced movement techniques were spawned: such as circle jumping, strafing, bunny hopping, and of course explosive jumping. The community quickly became accustomed to using these various methods of gaining speed, and so was born the first speedrunning community. Rocket jumping was kept as an intentional mechanic for the leading games in the Quake series. In Quake III: Arena some of the computer-controlled opponents use rocket jumps.
Team Fortress 2
In the game, Team Fortress 2 (2007), players could use the explosive knockback of a Soldier's rockets to rocket jump. Rocket jumping usually costs players around 40 health (1/5th of Soldier's total hp), as the Soldier class has a 40% resistance to his own rockets that do not damage other players. In addition, damage boosters, such as critical hits or mini-critical hits do not give extra self knockback or self damage to the Soldier, so they will not propel him further. Items such as the Rocket Jumper, Liberty Launcher, or Gunboats can reduce self damage from rocket jumping.
Rocket jumping in Team Fortress 2 is a crucial skill required for players playing the Soldier class in high level play such as Highlander and 6v6, especially to perform quick and efficient rollouts, or the route a player takes to get from a spawn point to the main fight. Jurfing, a more modern form of Speedruning in Team Fortress 2, is the use of Bunny hopping, surfing, and Rocket Jumping to reach the end of the map. Jurfing is only possible on games with physics like Team Fortress 2's, such as those from the Source (game engine).
Basic rocket jumps
Basic rocket jumps, consist of three basic components: jumping, crouching, and firing (at or near the ground). Crouching is used for rocket jumps because it increases the distance of the player's jumps. To execute a basic rocket jump, the player must jump, crouch, and fire their rocket launcher towards the ground simultaneously.
Instead of jumping from the ground, a wall jump consists of the player rocket jumping from the wall. This can be done in the air or on the ground to gain more mobility for the player. Because it enables the player to gain greater distances and heights, it is regarded as one of the most important rocket jumps in Team Fortress 2 for every level of game play, from jump maps to competitive play.
Crouch tap rocket jump
A crouch tap rocket jump, usually abbreviated as "c-tapping", is when the player jumps rocket jumps and crouch taps, instead of crouch jumping. This means that the player crouches a split second before jumping and shooting. Because the player becomes closer to the rocket's knockback from a crouch tap than a crouch jump, the player will gain the maximum velocity and distance possible from a jump. Crouch tap jumps are used to reach places that require the player to achieve great heights, such as Badlands spire from grey bridge, as seen in Muselk's c-tapping video.
In regular play, pogo jumps are useful to increase both speed and airborne time. In order to perform a pogo jump, the player rocket jumps before touching the ground and repeats. Pogo jumps are rocket jumps that are done consecutively to enable the player from making contact with the ground. The player must always be crouching in between pogo jumps.
Sync jumps, also known as double or triple jumps, require two or more rockets to explode as the player rocket jumps. Typically, the player shoots two to three rockets as the player falls down from a high platform. However, the player may shoot as many rockets as possible as long as it has enough height and health to withstand the explosions and fall damage from the sync jump. The player reaches rocket jumps when it reaches the ground, as their rockets strikes the ground. The combined explosions sends the player at a greater distance and height than a basic rocket jump. Double rocket jumps can only be performed in specific places and maps.
Rocket jumping has appeared in several games in a variety of forms, sometimes as a form of emergent gameplay.
A horizontal form of rocket jumping appears in Doom (1993), where it is used to reach the secret exit in E3M6 (it is possible to reach the exit without rocket jumping, but this technique was the intended method according to John Romero).
The first games to feature vertical rocket jumping were Bungie Software's Marathon and 3D Realms' Rise of the Triad (coincidentally, the two games launched on the same day, although the full version of Rise of the Triad came later). Rocket jumping became very popular in the original Quake (1996), and was used as an advanced technique for deathmatch play as well as for the Quake done Quick series. In Half-Life's (1998) multiplayer mode, the tau cannon can be used to launch the player into the air. In the Halo game franchise, players often use guns such as the Concussion rifle or Frag grenades to launch the player faster or higher for speedrunning purposes, or to reach normally unreachable areas or easter eggs. Rocket jumping also appears in Unreal (1998) and Unreal Tournament, where the player can fire Eightball rockets beneath their feet and gain altitude. In that game it is also possible to perform a similar move, the "hammer jump" with the Impact Hammer. Also, in Overwatch (2016), using hero Pharah, you can fire rockets beneath your feet to jump to high places without using fuel to fly around, and Soldier 76 can use his helix rocket ability to shoot helix rockets at his feet which also allows him to rocket jump.
- Rocket jumping has appeared in other media as well. In the live-action film Transformers, the character Ironhide performs a rocket jump over a screaming woman after transforming from his truck mode.
- In the film Planet Terror, lead character Cherry Darling uses her false leg, a machine gun with underslung grenade launcher, to rocket jump over a tall wall.
- In the film Tokyo Gore Police, lead character Ruka uses a bazooka to rocket jump to a building's rooftop.
- Grenade jumping is the same action, except throwing a grenade underneath the player while jumping to achieve the same effect.
- In League of Legends, the character Tristana uses an ability of the same name.
- In Freddie Wong's and Brandon Laatsch's video "The Rocket Jump", the rocket jump is featured as the main part of the YouTube short. This later influenced their channel and studio into being renamed "RocketJump".
- In the episode "The Librarians and the Point of Salvation" of the TV series The Librarians, rocket jumping is specifically referred to but done using grenades.
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