Frogblast Interview - 07-14-2006 , 10:00 PM
Halo trickster interviews: FrogBlast
Next in our series of interviews with Halo trick gurus, we bring you the Queso Grande: FrogBlast. If you've been around the Halo tricking community for more than five minutes, you've heard of this fellow, and I am extremely glad to have had the chance to meet up with him in the HIH virtual lounge for some coffee, Skittles, and hard hitting questions. Well...sorta. Anyhow, let's do it.
HIH: Give us some details about yourself. Who exactly is FrogBlast?
FrogBlast: My name is Rob Thibadeau (pronounced Ti-ba-do.) I am a 23 year old student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA.
HIH: You were Metafire at first right? How did 'FrogBlast' come about?
FrogBlast: Yes, Metafire had been my name for a long time. The name comes from the free-to-read online book Metafire (Metafire.com). The name 'FrogBlast' is based on a quote from an old Bungie game- Marathon 2. The Simulacrums in Marathon 2 would yell strange things, including "Frog Blast the Vent Core," as they would run towards you and explode. When I picked the name, it had nothing to do with the potential trickster meaning (where frogblast=grenade jumping). I just liked the name. You can read about the quote more at the ''Sounds in Marathon'' section.
HIH: Did you start playing Halo as soon as it was released, or did it take you awhile to find out about it?
FrogBlast: I had my copy of Halo in-hand before the Xbox was released. I had been a lurker at Bungie.org for a long time thanks to the Marathon trilogy and had been keeping track of Halo.
HIH: Was Halo tricking a result of having beaten the game on every difficulty, and having nothing else left to do (boredom, for lack of a better word)?
FrogBlast: I''m not sure boredom is the right word. The right word would probably be freedom. I know that sounds cheesy. If I were bored with a game, I would just stop playing. Halo gives the players freedom to do a great many unique things, but it is so well built that it isn''t breaking every two seconds. Other games restrict players from going anywhere off the beaten path, or they are so full of bugs that any particular bug is boring because you are constantly bombarded by them.
HIH: Can you list a couple of things about Halo that 'pulled you in' and kept you playing it as time went on?
FrogBlast: Well, I've mentioned that Halo players have the freedom to do many things in the game. This certainly kept me playing. As for being pulled in, I think it was due to a wonderful balance between a lighthearted and a serious atmosphere. The seriousness comes naturally from things like saving the universe and defeating the overwhelming alien forces (hey, it would be serious if it happened). But the entire game is laced with lighthearted things like silly grunt chatter, marines on ghosts and "This cave is not a natural formation." The balanced atmosphere also lends itself well to tricking. If the game is too wacky, then blasting a warthog 200ft in the air probably doesn't seem so crazy. If the game is too somber, the warthog jumps might be refreshing, but playing for hours on end might leave a player feeling MORE depressed than he already does for spending several hours in front of the TV.
HIH: What was it that got you started with Halo stunts and tricks? Was there a certain event that got your attention?
FrogBlast: Absolutely. The key event for me was visiting the Gameplay Tricks section at HBO and reading the Ben Kane/Greg Mouland 'Halo Exploration' (click here). Some of the tricks were explained, but some weren't; I followed the directions provided and had to work out the rest for myself. After that experience, I was hooked and wanted to keep exploring the maps.
HIH: What was it that kept you interested in Halo tricks? In other words, what would drive someone like you to spend countless hours messing around with the physics engine of a video game? Is it a mental challenge, or something else? =)
FrogBlast: The mental challenge is a big part of what has driven me to do the things I do. I love to have a goal in mind (a place I want to go) and then I try to think of a way to get there. The mental event of figuring something out is just as rewarding for me as actually pulling something off. What keeps me interested is that things work out in Halo. The physics allow for a great diversity of results. For example, no two grenade jumps ever seem quite the same, but I feel like I can control the results with careful adjustments. The end result is accomplishment rather than failure, and that keeps me coming back for more.
HIH: I know that in those early days (like now), you were very active in the HBO forums. What part did the Halo community play in your desire to keep finding and doing things in Halo?
FrogBlast: The Halo community (namely HBO and now HIH) plays a huge role in so many ways. The community is an audience for tricks, it is a place where I can cultivate ideas, and it is simply a place where I can talk to like-minded people. I usually get carried away talking about how great the community is. It is just filled with so many cool people, and being involved enhances the game experience tremendously.
HIH: Out of all the things you've done in the first Halo game, what would you say was the most difficult/ most time-consuming? Was it reaching the bottom of the Halo map?
FrogBlast: It is hard to recall, but I would have to say that the most difficult and time-consuming thing that I did in Halo: Combat Evolved was trying to push a Shade to the end of the 343 Guilty Spark map. This is something that I have never gotten around to finishing. The goal was to shade-jump to the top of the tower at the end of the map. Reaching the bottom of the Halo map was definitely the most memorable and complicated thing I've done. The trick involved 30 steps, careful grenade counting and checkpointing, multiple warthog launches, and ended with "removing" a banshee's AI and riding it to the bottom. After all that work, finding out that I could simply drive to the bottom in a Warthog was the icing on the cake.
HIH: Speaking of that trick in particular, I think that there were a few people that contributed ideas to it. My question is, did you ever team up with guys to do some tricking (co-op), or did you always do these things on your own?
FrogBlast: I have teamed up with local friends in the past, but the vast majority of what have done in Halo has been on my own. I actually don't often enjoy trying to do Halo tricks with other people. The reason being I am absurdly patient and like to take my time with things, and I usually feel like the people who play with me are about to fall asleep from boredom. I do like to play in co-op because it offers advantages over solo. For example, building a grenade pile in co-op is much easier than building one in solo.
HIH: Is there any certain thing that caused you to drop out of the Halo scene for a year or so?
FrogBlast: I hate to destroy whatever mystery exists here. I really just needed to take a break from many things, not just the Halo community.
HIH: Are you a 'gamer', or just a Halo fanatic?
FrogBlast: I''ve been playing video and PC games all my life. My first game system was the original Nintendo, and I have owned nearly all of the popular game systems since Nintendo''s debut. The only other game that I have played nearly as much as Halo is GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64. I loved that game, and spent lots of time in it searching for glitches and tricks. If you would like to see my youthful GoldenEye chicanery, you can check it out right here.
HIH: Speaking generally here, what are some of your thoughts on Halo 2 (gameplay, quality, tricking, ect.)?
FrogBlast: I think Halo 2 is great. I hold firm to the opinion that continuing a series in games, movies, or any other form of entertainment does NOT mean you should copy and paste the original. Halo 2 did not come into my house and destroy my copy of Halo: Combat Evolved; I can still play Halo:CE whenever I want. Halo 2 is a different game in terms of gameplay and tricking, but I like the variety. The sword makes Halo 2 a very different and new tricking experience. The sword gets you through glass and to the bottom and top of levels when combined with a variety of enemies, vehicles and weapons. Going through walls is another story. Bungie has apparently made it very difficult to survive a trip through a wall or into the ceiling (at least in single player, which is not where it seems most important.)
HIH: Lastly, what is 'utfoo'?
FrogBlast: Utfoo is another name borrowed from Marathon 2. It is taken from a Juggernaut terminal picture reading "Dreaded Utfoo Heavy Assault Craft." The picture also contains a more amusing name for the Juggernauts: "Big Floaty Thing What Kicks Our Asses." There is no special meaning; it is just another reminder of my favorite game trilogy. :)
HIH: Any additional thoughts?
FrogBlast: I just want to send extra special thanks to Ducain for all that is High Impact Halo. The site, and all the people there are wonderful. "Halo tricks have a home" indeed.
* So there- you can't say you've never talked to FrogBlast. =) Also, you can check out [See note below regarding his website] to see all of his Halo 1 and Halo 2 tricks. Thanks very much Rob.
Note from Ducain 7/14/06 - For many of us, Frogblast embodies what Halo tricking is all about. This guy, in the early days of Halo 1 and Halo 2, seemed to explore everywhere and find everything, and did it all with a great attitude, and just enough drama to be entertaining. His website went down sometime back, and with the help of LouisWu (of halo.bungie.org) and Mythica, we were able to assemble a complete mirror of Utfoo, exactly as it was, with every image and video intact.
You can visit his mirrored site here: http://ducain.org/utfoo
Enjoy it as much as we have. :)
Last edited by Ducain; 12-28-2010 at 09:07 PM. .