Rocket jumping

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In shooter games, rocket jumping is the technique of using the knockback of an explosive weapon, most often a rocket launcher, to launch the shooter into the air.[1] The aim of this technique is to reach heights and distances that standard character movement cannot achieve. Although the origin of rocket jumping is unclear,[2] its usage was popularized by Quake.

Rocket jumping is used often in competitive play, where it can allow the player to gain quick bursts of speed, reach normally unobtainable heights, secure positional advantages, or in speedrunning.[3] However, a potential consequence of rocket jumping is that it can injure the player, either from the blast or from fall damage.[4] This effect makes the technique less useful in games where the damage from the blast and/or fall is high, or where health is difficult to replenish. Rocket jumping from standing is impractical in real life, and would be certainly fatal if attempted. However, ejection seats from an aircraft are, in effect, a combination of a seated rocket jump and a parachute.

In the Quake series[edit]

While using explosives to propel oneself was first seen in Doom, the modern technique became a core mechanic in Quake. By exploiting the physics of the Quake engine, many advanced movement techniques were spawned such as circle jumping, strafing, bunny hopping, and explosive jumping. 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.[5]


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.[6]


The first games to feature vertical rocket jumping were Bungie's Marathon and 3D Realms' Rise of the Triad, which were both released on the same day. It was featured the same year on The Outfoxies. Rocket jumping became very popular in the original Quake (1996), and was used as an advanced technique for deathmatch play[7] as well as for the Quake done Quick series.

In the game Team Fortress 2 (2007), the Soldier class can use his rockets to rocket jump. This is an intentional feature with several mechanics associated with it. The game features numerous unlockable weapons with attributes that only affect rocket jumping or only apply while rocket jumping. The Demoman class can achieve a similar effect using his own assortment of explosive weapons. It is also possible to use knockback provided by enemy explosives to perform a similarly boosted jump as any class.[8]

In Overwatch (2016), multiple characters have explosive projectiles that can be used to rocket jump.

In Minecraft (2011), the player can activate TNT in order to propel themselves more quickly. While it is usually fatal when attempted, equipping armour can render most damage useless. It can also be attempted with creepers, in-game entities that explode upon close contact.

Other variations[edit]

  • A similar technique can often be performed with other explosives, such as grenades, remotely detonated bombs or explosive objects in the level; depending on the game, these might be more, equally or less viable alternatives to rocket jumps.
  • Some games offer weapons that knock the user back with their recoil. In the Unreal series of games, in addition to traditional rocket jumps, the weapons can be charged up for a powerful melee attack that can be aimed at the ground to boost the player. In Half-Life (1998), the tau cannon can be charged for a stronger attack that pushes the user back; in the multiplayer mode of the game, the weapon charges up faster, and the knockback is increased to a point where it can also be directed vertically, allowing players to use this as a form of mobility.[9][10] 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.[11][12]
  • In Fortnite Battle Royale it is possible to ride launched missiles to reach other places that are time-consuming, difficult or impossible to access on foot, provided that the rider safely disembarks at a nearby platform before the missile explodes.[13] This technique, called rocket riding,[14] does not follow the typical definition of rocket jumping (in that it does not leverage the force of a rocket explosion), but can be seen to be related to it in that it inherits its risks.

Outside video games[edit]

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.[15]
  • 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.
  • 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".[16]
  • In the episode "The Librarians and the Point of Salvation" of the second season of the TV series The Librarians, rocket jumping is specifically referred to but done using grenades.


  1. ^ Victor Godinez (August 2, 2007). "With sponsors and big prizes, gaming is serious business". Dallas Morning News.
  2. ^ "From whence came that rocket?". Quake Speed Demos Archive. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  3. ^ Turner, B. (2005). "Smashing the Clock". Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  4. ^ Josh Blodwell (9 October 2007). "The complete guide to Team Fortress 2". Custom PC. Archived from the original on 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  5. ^ "The Quake III Arena Guide - Bots". PlanetQuake. GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  6. ^ Lee Killough. "Doom Level History". Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  7. ^ Dennis Fong. "Thresh's Quake Bible".
  8. ^ "Jumping - Official TF2 Wiki".
  9. ^ Valve (2002). "Half-Life SDK v2.3". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) gauss.cpp line 350: "In deathmatch, gauss can pop you up into the air. Not in single play."
  10. ^ "Gauss jumping - SourceRuns Wiki".
  11. ^ "Tyrant's Halo 4 Mythic Walkthrough (LASO) - Composer". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Halo 3 "Floodgate" Speedrun (Legendary Zero Shot)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  13. ^ Hall, Charlie (9 April 2018). "Fortnite's enhanced 'rocket riding' could be a game changer". Polygon. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Guided Missile - Teaser Trailer". YouTube. Fortnite. 28 March 2018. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 1 September 2018. Description: "Everything you need for your rocket riding taxi service."
  15. ^ Cameron Solnordal (October 13, 2007). "Guest gamer". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 15.
  16. ^ "RocketJump - Original Web Content, TV Shows, Movies & Games". RocketJump.