Glory Be! Söldner Is Free!

By John Walker on August 10th, 2011 at 1:38 pm.

Oh, what a happy day it is!

EDIT: Oops – we broke their website. We’ll update when it’s alive again. It’s back!

UPDATE: You can download the game, for free, from here.

Oh my goodness, I have no idea how this news has taken five days to reach me, but by golly thank goodness it finally has. Söldner, one of the most buggy and hilarious games of all time, is now completely free! Get it. Get it NOW.

Known as the Söldner (Marine Corps) Community Edition, the multiplayer game has been overhauled by the people, and released a genuinely free (as in, not “free-to-play”) edition. Which might be great. But that’s not the bit I’m interested in.

Obviously I have it downloading right now, but I think the reality is if all the bugs are gone, I’m not sure I can imagine wanting to play it. The original Söldner is a game that delivers every single time you play. Everyone I know who gave it a go has a story that’s guaranteed to generate belly laughs by all who hear. I gave it another go recently for Eurogamer, and it didn’t let me down. But what if this version does? What if they’ve turned it into just a multiplayer shooter with crappy graphics? The bugfix list threatens much. I reproduce it here in full:

Source
– !fps and !tell commands work again
– fixed error that allowed to join the portal with any nickname ignoring registered multiplayer account
– removed inactive “Clan” button from multiplayer menu
– server list is now sorted by number of players by default
– fixed defective Sniper Kit laser when the kit was bought in the pre-spawn terminal
– zooming the scope while the soldier is playing an animation will no longer make the soldier switch weapons
– removed restriction for Addon weapons / vehicles (affects Training mode)
– suicide money penalty no longer affects the team account
– fixed error that caused the weapon accuracy not to increase again when the pulse calmed down
– the respawn time is no longer multiplied when a player is killed while parachuting
– the soldier zoom keys will now switch through weapon slots while the player is not in a scope view (default: mouse wheel)
– fixed weapon invisibility when throwing a weapon away in scope mode
– fixed weapon invisibility when being killed a) in scope view b) in first person view
– added timestamp to screenshot name. Screenshot name format is now: Pic000-yyyymmdd_hhmm-gametime.tga
– it is no longer possible to shoot faster than the autofire firerate in singleshot mode
– in capture gamemodes the spawn goal selection is reset to the team hq (from mobile respawn) when the player spawns
– reworked shuffle weather system to increase performance and make the system less error-prone
– V-C-G AGS is working again
– fixed error that made the player unable to move when an AGS gesture was sent shortly after the respawn
– Entire code for vehicle axle settings and vehicle propulsion overhauled
– tank wheels without contact to the ground are now animated
– when a team has no respawn bases left, other players of the team can only use player tracking spectator mode
– it’s now possible to airtransport amphibious vehicles with the helicopter hook
– vehicles don’t explode anymore when they are driven into water, they’ll sink and become uncontrollable
– heavy vehicle weapons will shake the vehicle when fired (tank main cannons, Anti-Air guns)
– implemented shell casing effects for vehicle based weapons
– added new shot type with special tank penetrating effects
– drowning is now counted as a death in the statistics
– added submarines as a new vehicle class
– fixed an error that caused the character idle animations not to be played
– most ship propellers are now animated
– added a new submarine HUD
– your current weapon is now automatically sold when buying a new weapon for the same slot in the pre-spawn terminal
– adjusted settings for the maximum level of detail video option
– removed render grass option, grass is now forced on for every player
– added video option to enable/disable gunshell effects for vehicles
– left click with knife equipped now always causes an attack, the logo carving function is now the alternate fire function
– the ‘-mods’ command line parameter now works for servers as well
– deactivated old network debug function that created overall_network.csv files and serverstats
– moved game settings files and screenshot folder to the MyDocuments folder
– tweaked the code for the server browser, the server list updates faster now
– added a new admin function to load random maps from the mapcycle
– added new routines to be able to adjust the direction boats are leaning in when steering
– added support for under water decoys
– added new xml switch to make rockets usable in water
– deactivated nick changing when connected to a LAN server
– fixed an error that caused expired rockets to deal no damage
– added function to adjust the live time of vehicle mounted rockets using the mouse wheel (used for waterbombs)
– submerged units will no longer be displayed on the radar
– players can enter submarines when diving
– the mini-map no longer centers back on the start position when changing seats in a vehicle
– radar targets are now rendered with an alternate system as a workaround for the NVIDIA driver incompatibilities (temporary, until we solve the issue)
– added new XML value to influence the acceleration of ships
– changed physics calculations for vehicle surfaces to make them less prone to getting stuck in the terrain
– changed code for jet camera ball calculation
– blocked old webinterface for certified servers
– added a confirmation box before a training-mission is started
– removed notice regarding the abuse board for successfull kick votes
– changed URL in the ranking welcome message (join message)
– the editor now indicates the orientation of spawning objects
– the sound notifications for commander targets are now played in English when no localized soundfile was found
– the rcon map command now checks for an exact match to the mapname first
– fixed an error that could cause the up and down buttons in the UCS screen to disappear
– players killed by exploding vehicles will now be counted as a kill for the player who destroyed the vehicle
– fixed a crash that occured when pressing a key in the terminal screen
– TSE presets can now be bought by pressing keys 0 – 9
– fixed minor issue with the TSE presets window
– Commander Mode playerlist no longer shows multiple players selected when they are not
– Commander Mode playerlist design completely reworked so the commander gets more (usefull) information
– increased number of players in Commander Mode playerlist (without scrolling) from 8 to 17
– the commander now gets score for completed game mode goals (capture flag/vehicle; conquer flag (CQ))
– Commander vehicle targets now show an icon to indicate the vehicle type of the target
– Commander infantry target markers now have a limited lifetime of 30 seconds
– the commander can no longer mark enemy soldiers inside a vehicle
– added delay to the Commander Mode mouse over text for enemy soldiers to make it harder to find players in closed buildings
– when the commander leaves the commander view all targets are deleted (not just hidden)
– fixed an error that caused the commander beeing stuck after leaving the commander mode
– the commander mode will no longer be closed when the same commander is voted commander again

XML
– decreased maximum zoom level in commander mode
– reconfigured grass render settings and grass types per ground texture
– restricted maximum player name length to a maximum of 22 characters
– changed weapon sound of the A-10 MG
– updated heartbeat settings; the heartbeat will decrease more slowly now
– the weather setting “rainy” is now accesible for the shuffle weather feature
– changed tank transmission settings so they are slower but more powerfull on challenging terrain
– Tracer effect is better and longer visible now
– Gepard and Tunguska now have a much higher firerate
– reconfigured driving behaviour of wheeled and tracked vehicles
– removed tracer effect for all launchers (e.g. vehicle smoke grenades)
– Panzerfaust 3 scope redesigned to make the scope markers more helpful when aiming
– fixed game freeze when using Stinger or TOW stands in a water filled crater
– removed xml files that are no longer necessary
– fixed awkward steering behavior of boat ‘RIB’
– added new scope for RPG29, PF89 and all FHJ versions
– increased maneuverability of helicopters
– removed infrared target indicator that caused graphics glitches
– sounds for bullet hits on metal are louder now

Models/Textures/Effects
– reworked flare effect; colors are more realistic now and in addition to the flare the aircrafts throw a couple of chaffs
– minor cosmetic change on tank muzzle smoke effect
– added spark effect for impacts of shells with a caliber of 20mm and greater
– redesigned rainy weather mode, precipitation was removed and color settings changed
– added sound for weapon shell casings
– changed several vehicle models to be able to render the gunshell effects properly
– added several new shell casing effects
– bubble effects for sinking ships and vehicles added
– commander mode icons completely reworked
– added submarine “ASDS”
– the ship “Mark V” has been fitted with water bombs to hunt submarines
– created new explosion effect for water bombs
– model for helicopter AH-1F Super Cobra reworked
– implemented new rocket model for Comanche Anti Air sidewinders
– added shell casing effects for almost every ground based vehicle and helicopters
– added new boat “CB90″ in two versions (1) armed with Waterbombs and MG (2) armed with Anti Air Rockets
– added new civil aircraft Cessna Skymaster
– chinook rotors now rotate in the correct direction and at the same speed
– fixed a glitch in the model of a wooden barn

Maps
– fixed a bug with misplaced objects on map ‘CounTainer’
– fixed an issue with deathmatch spawnpoints on map Kamchatka
– added new map: CounTainer_2
– added new map: Vassholmen
– added spawn vehicle Snowmobile to maps: First Strike, Aspenovich, Death City
– replaced spawning transport aircraft on map Countryside by civil aircraft Cessna Skymaster
– adjusted position of the initial spectator camera on map Countryside

Fortunately this is all focused on multiplayer, so doesn’t appear to have changed NPC AI. So perhaps they’ll still help out by setting their own buildings on fire, and blowing themselves up, as should always be the case in Söldner. It’s finished downloading! I can find out!

YES!

The uninterested announcement of “SÖLDNER” is back! They removed that in the Gold update of the game, which was one of the most devastating things I’ve ever faced in my life. I know many people who are incapable of hearing or reading Söldner being discussed without dead-panning “SÖLDNER” in response. For instance, from the RPS IRC room today:

[12:09] botherer: Posting about Soldner for free!
[12:09] ento: SOLDNER

Or indeed Kieron just now:

[13:38] botherer: Soldner is now free!
[13:39] Kieron: SOLDNER

Oh hallelujah!

When going into the so-called “Training” mode for the single-player game I’m met with the following message:

Which is to say, the full joy of the original Söldner is present and correct, and now yours for completely free. I implore everyone to get hold of this and check out the “Training” missions. I feel safe in guaranteeing that you will come away with a story worth sharing.

Meanwhile, it looks as though this community team has fought hard to create a working multiplayer game from it too, and while I cannot fathom for a moment why they thought Söldner worth the extraordinary effort, clearly this will please many. You can get the full game from here…

…Oh come on, like I wasn’t going to play a mission.

My task: to destroy a fuel tank in China. This is the district of China that has been studiously cultivated to look like a snowy woodland in Maine, USA. The local vehicle spawning box lets me teleport in a fun tank-thing (actually, this isn’t the original 2004 version after all – in that one you could spawn multiple vehicles into the same space, causing them to fuse together and then blow up – here it won’t let you do that), which I use to drive the kilometre through the woods to the target base.

Here I’m met by an enemy tank that rocks back and forth like an abandoned child, its gun turret resolutely aimed away from me. Inside the compound about seven soldiers run in frantic circles, panicking about my arrival but unable to see the twenty foot gap through which they’d need to run to find me. Then another soldier runs past me ten feet in the air.

I drive around to the compound entrance, and take my time rolling over each soldier in turn, while the rest continue their frenzied circles with their weapons (such as rocket launchers) carefully stowed on their backs. My tank-thing can target and fire at the enemy tank (although do it no damage at all, despite enormous explosions), and indeed a couple of what look like 1970s British cars, but absolutely will not recognise the existence of the fuel container I’m here to destroy. So I hop out of the tank, at which point the two 1970s cars spring spookily into life, new drivers having appeared at their wheels who are trying to clip me with the bonnets. Dodging them, I try to draw my weapon and discover it’s not working this time and I can’t have it. At which point our flying friend runs over at about 20 feet in the air and shoots at me. Distracted, one of the bonnets taps my knee, and I drop down dead.

Söldner never, ever fails to deliver.

__________________

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72 Comments »

  1. MessyPenguin says:

    Downloading NOW!

  2. Gundato says:

    I suspect work will be crap today, so downloading this when I get home to brighten my day.

  3. N'Al says:

    Glöry Be!

  4. Greg Wild says:

    My initial reaction: lol’d.

    Second reaction: lol’d again.

    Good show chaps.

  5. Omroth says:

    What? I paid £30 for this ten years ago! And now it’s free?!?!?!?!? I’ll never buy from them again.

    Btw: SOLDNER.

  6. Real Horrorshow says:

    I remember playing the demo of this a long long long LONG time ago and thinking it was really awesome to customize the look of my soldier.

    Sad that in all the time thats passed, the only online shooter that’s delivered something close to it is the clunky R6: Vegas series.

  7. Anthile says:

    Needs an official RPS server.

  8. Gunrun says:

    “For instance, from the RPS IRC room today:”
    Please tell me the loctation of this RPS IRC room.

  9. Flameberge says:

    SOLDNER.

    First time I ever played it, I took out my assault rifle, pressed fire, and promptly exploded. As you say, it never, ever fails to deliver.

    Next time PC Gamer do a top 100, we should try and hijack it to get soldner into the top 10.

  10. Teddy Leach says:

    I… I think the link has been RPS’d. This is terrible!

  11. Skeletor68 says:

    Know absolutely nothing about this game but sounds hilarious. Anyone know a link to any particularly funny videos of bugs?

  12. bit_crusherrr says:

    https://rapidshare.com/#!download|238tg2
    |3464952963|SSW_CE_33900_Installer.exe|505290|
    R~3EF53B5B5C1AC0744A564B94BF3828B4

    Rapidshare mirror taken from their site so you chaps wont have to wait till its back up. Had to add extra lines to it so it would display properly.

  13. Conor says:

    Oh, hell yes.
    SOLDNER.

    • Conor says:

      I have now played the first training mission. I skidded my Land Rover across some snow, then found a rock with which to assault the fuel tank. About 7 enemy infantrymen charged valiantly through a wall, leaving one man with a broken spine to aim mournfully at the sky. After I had massacred the physics-breaking assault force, I noticed an enemy tank mating with a tree. I entered the compound, and noted that the fuel tank was invisible. The remaining enemy soldier then proceeded to open fire upon the heavens, killing me.
      This game is amazing.

  14. Dana says:

    Oh god please, I still have nightmares.

  15. ceilingcat says:

    I recall the original game waaay back was quite unstable.

  16. JohnnyK says:

    I’m not proud to say it, but I helped organize large parts of the beta test for Soldner. We pointed out all the bugs, but the publisher (JoWood) basically forced the release at some point…

    We visited the devs before the release, and they were good guys, but probably a little in over their heads (and a little before their time concerning destructible environments)

  17. Robin says:

    (Being demonstrated milestone build of SÖLDNER, circa 2002)
    “The skybox is really nice.”
    “Yeah, err, it’s from Morrowind actually.”

    SÖLDNER.

  18. ChainsawCharlie says:

    Just Windows version I take…?

  19. magnus says:

    Well I just crashed my Tractor into a tree, flipping out spectacularly. I guess it was my pink hat and backpack with Trenchcoat, Oakley’s and flippers combo that saved me.

  20. Hodge says:

    It does seem appropriate that the website’s not working properly.

  21. acidtestportfolio says:

    boner

    i mean soldner

  22. Dreamhacker says:

    Wow, I love how the tutorial missions are preceeded by a “bug warning, proceed at your own risk” :)

    SOLDNER. (dun-dun-dun, dun-de-dun-de-dun)

  23. Davee says:

    YES! Downloading this moment! So long have I gone without “SÖLDNER”. But no more!

  24. BeamSplashX says:

    SÖLDNER?! Öh my göd! Thanks, Röck, Paper, SÖLDNER!

    …ThropaSÖLDNER?

  25. AdamK117 says:

    We will release a new gun each week

    SOLDNER

  26. Terics says:

    Someone please explain what is this? I have never even heard of this.

  27. killerkerara says:

    I tried the first training mission. I drove my rover toward the fuel tank. About halfway there, my rover randomly caught fire. Thinking fast, I jumped out and got away from it, I would have to complete my journey on foot. Upon reaching the camp, I tried to pull out my assault rifle, only to find that none of the keys except 1 did anything. I would be taking on 7 guys, 2 cars and a tank with nothing but a knife. I walked up to the back wall of the camp and swung my knife, instantly destroying a large section of the wall. Upon seeing this, some of the men began running in circles, 1 of the cars quickly backed up, running over 2 of the men. 3 other men ran through the adjacent wall, aiming at the sky, toward a tree several feet away from me. Upon reaching the tree, one of them died, and the other promptly fell through the world. At this point, one of the remaining men ran up to me, ran inside of me, and spazzed out until one of the cars ran over both of us.

    I don’t care when it was released, this is game of the year.

  28. peetabix says:

    So how recent is recent?

  29. lowprices says:

    Oh man, it’s everything you promised it would be. I don’t what my favourite bit is so far. Maybe it’s the way enemy soldiers run around in circles not firing at you when you’re in a vehicle. Possibly it’s the way the ai tanks will sometimes shoot wildly at houses in the opposite direction. Or maybe it’s the time I shot a guy and he responded by crawling. UPWARDS. INTO THE AIR.

    SOLDNER

  30. Kent says:

    It just crashes for no apparent reason on my system.

  31. Baggypants says:

    Amazing. I did the china mission, I got to the fuel tank and lobbed a grenade over the wall. When the grenade went off the tank flew into the air and came to rest, on end, next to a house, I pumped in 8 bullets from my Desert Eagle and it caught fire. On my second go I sniped someone standing in the air above the wall. When I drove back to my base in my Land Rover it fell onto its roof and caught fire, I got out and it exploded.

  32. Fernaske says:

    You can still glitch the vehicle spawn. When it says “Spawn point is blocked” just move the spawned vehicle a bit and it should let you spawn another one. Depending on the choice, you can initiate all sorts of physics breaking vehicles, like tractors that spawn five meters away from you that go hurtling through your base in a fiery rage, exploding upon any unlucky bastard it lands upon. Sometimes I have armored vehicles that zoom and fling ten meters away into a wall, eventually piling up after the sixth one got spawned. Sometimes they don’t even bother flinging themselves anymore, they just disappear and generate explosive sounds.

  33. Spacewalk says:

    Missions? I’m having too much fun at base camp driving Ladas over ramps to care about missions.

  34. fuggles says:

    Cruelly the game works perfectly with not a bug in sight or one mention of the word Soldner- It’s like God ran out of cuddles.

  35. UK_John says:

    Multi-player? I seem to remember it had a single player component!

  36. Mitchk says:

    I can’t tell you how much I laughed when I put a pair of shorts on my Caucasian soldier and revealed a pair of black mans legs

  37. dehimos says:

    I create a video for this game with A-team theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef539-uf_4E

  38. Tom OBedlam says:

    Oh there is a God! John’s Soldner retro is my favourite piece of journalism, games or otherwise, I’ve read it over so many times AND NOW THERE’S A SECOND PART!

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