Valheim players are competing in a “Viking space race” to fly across the map

Thinking of travelling on foot, or taking a portal? According to Valheim players, that’s so last century, as the community has become obsessed with flying across the map using harpoons and ramps. Frankly it reminds me of the failed flying attempts in Chicken Run.

Over the past week, players have begun to post videos of their efforts to compete in a “Viking space race” to see how far they can launch their buddies through the cold 10th world air. The main method has largely remained the same, and requires two willing test subjects – one of whom must be impaled by an abyssal harpoon, and then flung up a ramp using the stored elastic energy. It’s basically slingshot physics.

Early pioneers quickly realised that their harpooned player needed a way to be pinned down before release, and opted for a chair in the middle of a field. Not a bad start, but could this be refined further?

Others have since experimented with the technique, swapping the chair for doors which can be opened after a countdown. Some of the space agencies have added ramps to improve the angle of their flight paths, with harpooned players told to run in the opposite direction to maximise their draw force.

Those wanting more reliable results have since created runways to keep their buddies on-target, launching them at such speed that the game struggles to load textures. And if you’re looking for height, one way around the problem is to find your map’s highest peak and create a runway there. The ocean launch site seems a bit kinder on the astronauts, however, as it guarantees a safe water landing.

But what’s a space launch without a dramatic and fiery start? One group of players asked this question, and answered it by catapulting their astronaut through an open flame to transform them into a human fireball. Or they could have just, you know, asked their astronaut to hold a torch.

Beyond the space race, the abyssal harpoon does seem to have some slightly funky physics – players have found it can be used to fly in circles above their camps, and some have even used it to speed up sailing. Personally, I hope Iron Gate chooses to keep the harpoon’s wacky launch capabilities so we can see just how far a Viking can fly – could one eventually reach the world tree? Maybe with some perseverance.