A dumb thing to do if you are playing in an arena with self-damage turned on. The best tactic if you have a normal mouse is to flick the mouse so you are pointed at the ground and slightly behind you, jump, almost immediately fire the rocket launcher, then flick the mouse back up and bring your enemy or your chosen destination into sight. I've heard that the flick/fire method is impossible with those kewl optical mice; perhaps someone with practice on those can post their tactics later.

Some pointers:

  • Don't overuse rjs: When a player gets around a map solely by using rocket jumps, something's wrong. This is railbait. While in the rocket jump, it is difficult to move yourself quickly; that nice parabola you make is just right for someone to whip out their railgun and give you a hot depleted uranium injection.
  • Keep yourself oriented: If you are rjing a whole lot, you can easily forget where your enemy is, or (in the space or lava maps in Quake 3: Arena) where the ground is. Rocket jumping into a lava pool ruins your day. Try to avoid it.
  • Keep in mind that falling damage may be turned on: This is very common in Rocket Arena 3; the arena may have self-damage turned off, only to surprise an unsuspecting deathmatchers with a large deduction in health when they rocket jump off the equivalent of a eight-story building. You should practice the rocket landing; just before you hit the ground, fire a rocket. The explosion will cushion your fall, and if done correctly can propel you at high speeds. Fun stuff.
  • Get good at the rj/rail combo: This is a great combination of weapons. Rocket jump, and while your opponent is searching the sky for you, switch to the railgun and give them a taste.
Defenses: So you're dm'ing, and some schmuck is using his leet rj script to make your job (that is, turning him into gumbo) harder. Here's some ways to stop his hopping:
  • Railgun: A bad rocket jumper will just let him/herself fly through the air with grace. This pretty parabola is pretty slow, and more importantly very easily predictable. Get out the rail, put the crosshairs where the apex of their jump is going to be, and point and click. Best case you get a rain of gibs, worst case you knock them way off course.
  • Rocket Launcher: If you're not so good with the rail, try estimating when & where he's going to land. Apply rocket. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Advanced Topics:
  • Getting around the map with a quickness: Flick the mouse, but angle the rocket at more of a 45 degree angle to the ground and opposite of the direction you want to go. Timing this like a slow bunnyhop, you can cover a lot of distance really quickly.
  • RJ/wall combo: If you've got a platform you can't quite get up to, but it has a wall with some protuberances coming out, rj up to those, then rj at an angle, towards your intended destination, off of the wall. This is pretty difficult, but you can also use this to go in random directions off a tall wall in a firefight.
Quake: Maneuvres

Abbreviation: RJ.

A set of the most fundamental maneuvres in Quake, which involves such a massive degree of flexibility and diversity it has become an art unto itself.

In its most general form, a rocket jump involves using the blast radius from a rocket combined with a jump to gain an arbitrary velocity at the sacrifice of health or armor (see splash damage).

The applications involve using it to get to inaccessible portions of a map, quickly accelerate to high yet controllable speeds, (which can subsequently be used to pursue or escape from enemies, or maneuvre into a better position), and to take time-saving shortcuts. This extra mobility leads to a massive advantage in all forms of Quake.

A simple rocket jump is performed by wielding a rocket launcher, pointing straight down at the floor, and simultaneously jumping and firing, which causes one to be launched into the air. More complex methods include pointing to the side and moving in the opposite direction to launch the player upwards and sideways, as well as utlising map architecture and geography.

Historically the rocket jump originates from the original Quake (Well it's not like you're going to rocket jump in oldschool non-Z-Doom now). Generally it was first seen in DM2 as a shortcut to get the Quad Damage (rocket jumping up to another platform as opposed to traditionally having to make a 20 second run to get to the upper tiers of the level) When John Carmack saw it he was reputed to say "That move is going to be particularly effective". How very very right.

From there, the technique of rocket jumping has gradually evolved into a very fine art. Gone are the old days of simply looking down, firing and jumping. Now, as pointed out by flamingweasel, people can shoot a rocket behind or sideways in order to gain horizontal velocity (although this does not necessarily require flick aim).

The Form Nowadays, with good handling, timing and skill, one has complete control over the direction and magnitude of velocity of a rocket jump. This is especially important due to the fact that a rocket jump costs health and armor. With up to 50 damage per hit, the price of a rocket jump is not cheap

Essentially there are 3 broad forms of rocket jumping: height, length and speed. Height and length involve attempting to bypass an obstacle that is too high, too long, or both, for conventional movement. Although they occur, it is very rarely optimal to perform a rocket jump that is purely for height, or purely for length. A rocket jump almost always involves movement in both height and length, and as the magnitudes are tradeoffs between one another, a good rocket jump is a mix and match.

The other form of jumping is for speed, where the objective is to very quickly gain a high horizontal velocity, usually to perform bunnyhopping. This is different from the former rocket jump as one wants high speed but a very low height, so these are often performed by firing into walls and other player-height architectures.

Oh yeah won't this part be fun. I'll update as soon as I find my quake source :)

Part of the Quake metanode

It's unlikely Jeremy f's script will work in Quake3 as there is no longer an alias command. Substituting with seta might work however.

Rocket jumping with optical mice brings up an important issue with their use in general. True, you can compensate for their annoying anti-spin by simply lowering your sensitivity, but this in itself is a critically limiting factor in gameplay, especially for those of us who like to flick aim - you're essentially turning slower, so you're response rate is hampered. This, and the fact that the optical mouse's vaunted 69 billion samples per second is probably some incredibly shoddy up version of m_filter, is the main reason I'm keeping my balls. For the puritannical of you, note that a ball mouse can exhibit the same characteristics, however the max spin threshold is simply higher.

By no means necessarily a "dumb thing to do" just because friendly-fire damage is on. I've totally forgotten that it's possible to rocket jump and NOT take a hit. I don't care because:

a. it is incredibly useful, for both navigation and escape (especially with flags, hehe).
b. there are healthpacks all over the place to get back that freshly-showered feeling.

Lots of maps tease you with a goodie like quad or blue health that you have to take a circuitous and perhaps dangerous path to get. Just RJ it! For the blue health you always come out ahead even with the rocket damage...

Note to Drac: rocket jumps with quad on will squash you flat against the ceiling. Do NOT do those unless friendly fire damage is OFF.

Advanced topic:
It is possible to steer in the air. Control is minimal, so if you are dealing with a railgunner, RJ with a very small angle of deflection between yourselves, ie. almost directly at or away from them. This maximizes the disruption your air-steering does to their aim. It also puts you on a great path to either lambaste the railgunner or GTFOOD.

Regarding optical mice: they suck for Quake and other shooters. 1500 samples per second is wonderful for Photoshop but wholly insufficient for the rapid motion of mice in an FPS. When whipped hard from one side to another the cursor does not follow the expected path but describes some weird cardioid and never gets to where you intended it. Strange but true.
Regarding optical mice: it is NOT impossible to rocket jump with an optical mouse. In fact, now that I've mastered it, I find it laughable that I had a problem with the mouse's movements before. Yes, if you move the mouse too quickly, the optical sensor is unable to cope. However, this problem is remedied quite simply: slow down your mouse speed.

It's best to get some practice outside of FPS games. Try practicing on your desktop: from the center of the screen, move the mouse pointer down as quickly as you can to the 6:00 position. It takes a little bit of practice to get a feel for how fast you have to move the mouse in order to get the desired movement. Too quickly, and you'll get the jerky movement described above.

Once you have mastered the timing of going down and staying at the 6:00 position, try the return. Rocket Jumping is useless if you're looking at your feet throughout the span of the jump.

Rocket jumping is useful in all gameplay types, not just Rocket Arena. A successfully timed rocket jump does between 40-45 points of splash damage to your character. With armor, the armor will absorb 30 points, and 15 are taken from health. For game types such as CTF, the Rocket Jump is a valuable tool, even with self-damage on. In Rocket Arena's default mode, where only Armor is damaged by one's own weaponry, expect to lose between 28-33 armor per rocket jump.

When you rocket jump with any types of self damage turned on, you MUST take into consideration how much health you will have left. In modes like Rocket Arena, where players by default cannot damage their health, if you Rocket Jump until you have no armor left, you'll die to one rail fire, or one direct rocket hit. Don't rocket jump, unless absolutely necessary, when your combined armor + health total is 100 or less! Once all your armor is gone, rocket jump across the entire map, but beware, in games where armor self-damage is on, players will know that you're low on health/armor, and they'll try to finish you off using the lightning gun or the plasma rifle.

There is a script that allows players to rocket jump by pressing one button. This script is certified to work with Quake 2, but may not work in Quake 3. Place the following lines in your autoexec.cfg file in the baseq2/baseq3 directory. You may wish to take out the echo statement, but make sure to replace (key)!

alias +rj "rj1;rj2"
alias rj1 "set cl_pitchspeed- $cl_pitchspeed;cl_pitchspeed 100000;wait;+lookdown;wait;-lookdown;set cl_pitchspeed $cl_pitchspeed-"
alias rj2 "set hand- $hand;hand 2;+moveup;+attack;echo Rocket Jump"
alias -rj "-attack;-moveup;set hand $hand-;centerview"

bind (key) "+rj"

This script is supposed to work in Quake 3, but your mileage may vary. I find it has the annoying side-effect of switching the view to look at the ceiling if the fov isn't parallel to the horizon.

cl_pitchspeed 5000
set rjump "+lookdown;wait;wait;+attack;+moveup;wait;wait;-
bind (key) vstr rjump

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