Things That Make You Go Boom?

Courtesy of BeyondUnreal, splendid use of Unreal Tournament 2004, many explosives barrels and the 1812 Overture follows. Also, how the creator did it…

The creator turns up in the beyond unreal comments thread, saying plenty of stuff. Including…

There is a limit to how many emitters the emitter system in UE2.5 can handle. It’s however many emitters come out of about ~28,000 exploding barrels. You know those clips at the end of the video where ALL the barrels blow up at the same time? I tried to do that to Dria. The Dria lakebed has almost 300,000 barrels. UT2004 couldn’t even GPF. The UT2004.log said something about a critical in the emitter system… I figured I’d hit a hard limit.

As for making the maps, there wasn’t any secret, it just took time. Place a few barrels, duplicate, place those, select all, duplicate, repeat repeat repeat until the map is full.

I did not shoot this in realtime. Nothing you see in the video was rendered at 30 fps… except maybe the opening fly-throughs, I didn’t check. With barrels, it was anywhere between 20 frames per second to 10 seconds per frame.

More there. He also links to the full Dria lake bed explosion…

Cut and paste is an artform. We should all understand this.


  1. Darkelp says:

    There is something so powerful about a sea of explosive barrels.
    Mainly the power of the explosion.
    Haha, excellent video, had meself a big grin over this I did!

  2. Sobric says:

    love the v for vendetta tribute half-way through! I was literally thinking about that film when it appeared.

    • teo says:

      You were -literally- thinking about it? lol come on dude

    • Sobric says:

      what an odd reply

    • skizelo says:

      Joke being that you can’t metaphorically think something, I guess. The sentence still works though, as it just means that he wasn’t exagerating for effect and that he was thinking of it while the reference was dropped.
      Also, I’m not sure what you mean by “film” though: it was a comic AND ONLY A COMIC.
      Hey, if it worked for Stalin.
      Also: KABOOM!

    • Clovis says:

      Before harassing people about their use of “literally”, you should try reading this. Actually, anyone should read that; it is pretty interesting.

    • Carra says:

      I was thinking about V when I saw Kieron mention the Ouverture. Noticing the V in the clip made me giggle :)

    • Earl_of_Josh says:


      Great article! I er, literally enjoyed it ;-)

  3. lumpi says:

    Michael Bay: Take Notes!

  4. subedii says:

    Reminds me how awesome the mapmaking community was for UT2004. Wonder if mapmaking / modding took of for UT3 to the same extent, I never really checked.

  5. Paradukes says:


    Ya gotta love how the 1812 is pretty much only ever used for blowing stuff up these days :)

  6. Uglycat says:

    There is something incredibly menacing about that last clip.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Almost like some sort of real-life disaster, yeah. I know what you mean.

  7. Jae Armstrong says:

    That song always reminds me of Caddyshack.

    Dammit, now I want to watch Caddyshack.

    The lakebed video was surreal, though. I saw those black bits flying up into the air and thought “Oh, shrapnel.” Then the wavefront came closer and I realised that those were barrels, and the explosion was just really huge.

  8. nabeel says:

    Awesome. Every time now that a new game comes out with an editor (most recently Crysis Warhead and Far Cry 2) the first thing I do when messing around in it is set up ridiculous explosions.

  9. Tei says:

    Old engines are made with 32 bits integers, so theres often hard litims on the range 32000. But most newer games are made with 64 bits integers, … thats 9223372036854775807.

    Theres one Quake1 engine that made the conversion from 32 to 64 bits (Darkplaces,… this is Nexuiz for you), and now is possible to make maps the size the orbit of the moon.

    • Gutter says:

      It’s a wonder that you get the limit of 64 bits int right, but you screwed up 32 bits value so much…

      32 bits : −2,147,483,648 to +2,147,483,647, 0 to 4,294,967,295 when unsigned.

      You are confused with 16 bits int.

    • cubed2D says:

      think your maths is a bit off. a 32 bit ints range would be 2^32, which is −2,147,483,648 to +2,147,483,647 or if its unsigned 0 to +4,294,967,295. also, your quote for the range of a 64 bit in its just the positive bound… its a lot bigger than that :P

      i dont think 32 bit object ids are a bottleneck for anyone, and most games store object world locations as floating point numbers….

  10. FatRat says:

    That was mind-blowingly awesome.

  11. The_B says:

    Everything should use the 1812 Overture. Even RPS in-fights.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      But then we’d never get to use the William Tell Overture! Or O Fortuna!


      What is it about openings that makes them so bloody epic?

  12. Rob says:


  13. EyeMessiah says:

    That was stunning. This is what PC gaming is all about. And yes it may be a cliched use of ‘the 1812’ (as street kidz like us refer to it) but it truly is an incredible piece of music.

    Horray for exploding barrels!

  14. Daniel Klein says:

    Reminds me of the glorious days of mapmaking for Duke3D. Once I’d figured out how to rig explosions (like the condemned building in the second level) that was all I did, to the extent that my friends came to me with almost finished maps saying stuff like “and there in the end when you escape from the compound on the high speed train, I want EVERYTHING TO BLOW UP behind you”.

    I think the biggest thing I built was something like 700 gas canisters. Now in Build, you had to place these entities one by one. You needed to shrink them horizontally as far as they would let you, and that would make them invisible, and then you had to rig up two variables attached to the sprite, one to say what explosion they’re part of (technically, which other item/zone triggered them) and the delay between the main trigger and this particular sub-explosion. That was it was possible the build these extremely elaborate tendrils of explosions slowly rising into the air.

    I went a little crazy with those.

  15. EGTF says:

    Obscure 90’s song reference title win/fail. I can’t decide which it is.

  16. Michael Leung says:

    The 1812 Overture may be wonderful, but it’s nothing compared to explosions with the Ride of the Valkyries in the background.

  17. Frenz0rz says:

    Oh wow I used to play with the Omnipotents lads all the time, nice to see they’re still playing some classic UT2k4 Assault mode. Damn, makes me want to go back and play it all over again, I wonder if the communitys still going strong.

  18. gobion says:

    Awesome :)

  19. theleif says:

    Oh. That song always make me think of the lovely Project X for amiga. That was the high score tune.

  20. Bobsy says:

    Brought a tear to my eye. I salute the victor in the eternal war against explosive barrels.

  21. midijunky says:

    A fitting tribute to the exploding barrel, which has been a staple in FPS games since Doom.

    Which makes me wonder, can anyone provide an example of barrels exploding in a FPS before Doom?

  22. Davee says:

    Ah yes, good old UT2k4. And now with seas of exploding barrels; even better!

    Let me quote the Heavy Weapons Guy: “Ratatatata, ratatatata, kaboom! KABOOM!”.

    I.e; EPIC!

  23. SleepyMatt says:

    And who says games can’t also be art? Genious.

    Now I merely await an equally awesome and fitting tribute to that other FPS staple – the collapsible crate.