last update: 18. August 2008
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we played Söldner!

our day at the Games Convention 2003, Sat. 2003 / 08 / 24



This will be a helluvalong review of our impressions about playing some 20 minutes of Söldner live at the Games Convention 2003. It is really damn long. I wrote it all down because I think some people will actually read it. If you are not one of them feel free to skip it. But in any case you should scroll down and read what I say in the chapter "conclusion". Please. You can even click here to get there instantly.

At the very end of this website are some very short comments about some other games we saw at the convention.



It all started between Thursday evening and Friday morning when we spontaneously decided to go to the Games Convention 2003 in Leipzig, Germany. The main reason for this had been the announcement at the webside of the game Söldner - Secret Wars that the developers will be present and that it will be possible to play Söldner. Reason enough to go there, in our eyes. "we" in this case are [cd]hexe and T.T.H., maybe known by the Battlefield and Neverwinter Nights players of the WOLFgaming community.

Our trip started at Saturday morning and after 3,5 hours driving from Nürnberg to Leipzig we finally got there at 14:00. Our main target had been clear, the booth of "big ben Interactive". What was there? All the games we are looking for this year. Well, this is not Half-Life 2, nor Doom 3, no no, the games we can't await to play are Söldner, Spellforce and Sacred. I'm pretty happy that they all are from German developers and at the fair I was astonished that they all had been at one single booth alltogether. So let's start with our review about it all...

The first thing you notice when you enter the Games Convention are the masses of people: hordes of them, crawling like endless waves through the aisles between the fair booths. That many male teenagers produce quite a heat, this is the second thing you notice. As third comes the noise: the fair was loud. All the games are running, with all their Bang and Boom, next to it is the music running at the booth covering the booth itself and its next seven neighbors, but even louder than that are all those promotions at the booths and even louder than that are the T-shirt and mousepad wanting hordes of heatproducing, always screaming convention attendants and gamers. And in this all you try to talk to someone. Hardy Harr Harr.

After this first impressions while entering the bigger on of the two fair halls we tried to find our way to big ben. We knew the booth number but had no plan and so no clue where to start searching. Nevertheless we got there. I nearly exploded for excitement when I saw the big "Söldner" logo: I was there at the (possible) fullfillment of my dreams! We entered the booth and seconds later I saw three faces, all of them from Wings Simulations, the makers of Söldner: Plex, Teut and Sven. At Friday evening I surfed the Söldner forums and found a photo of them (notice the USB stick: on this precious piece is the Söldner demo) right before leaving their company so I was able to recognize them. Well, maybe their Khaki colored T-Shirts stating "SÖLDNER" helped a little...

The picture shows a part of the big ben booth and the back of the lady on the picture belongs to [cd]hexe. Right behind her are the computers Söldner was running on and I spent only fragments of seconds to get there. It had been four computers running Söldner (plus a secret server somewhere, I guess) while two of them each had been in one of the many "mini boothes" on the big ben booth. The intention for doing so was good, while playing in such an "rough terrain" you had not been always pushed from behind and even loudness was reduced a little bit. Well, didn't matter much, even in the mini boothes you had to scream right into the others ear so he could here you. Did I already mention that it was loud there?! Unfortunately we arrived there right at the time when big ben had some promotion running for their "Dancematte UK" being something like Karaoke but with stepping on the right spots of the matte than singing. But of course it included some kind of music - next to the music they played in the background (usually some techno or hiphop) and the music of the games and the music of the promotion of the neighboring booth and the background music of the neighboring booth and the music of the games of the neighboring booth and the music of the XBox Live promotion next door and the music of the Playstation 2 promotion several booth blocks away. But the hard core gamers we are we got into the entrance of one of the Söldner mini boothes and watched some guys play. Around ten minutes of drooling later we got our chance to get our wet hands to the keyboards of the game of our desire.

The mini boothes with two computers running Söldner each.
On the left picture the right person is Sven - at least his back and his T-shirt.

first contact - do I look good?         


First things first: at the convention an Alpha version was running. It had its quirks and bugs but that didn't matter. The client had to be restarted several times but that didn't matter, too. For the presention of an Alpha version of a game at a fair with that hard circumstances it was awesome that it ran at all. You got the concepts of the game and you had a lot of fun doing so. Although it had been some Debug version since it was possible to completely change your gear and equiment with just some magical keycombos and some commands entered in the ingame chat.

Both of us got at the computers and shortly afterwards Plex, the community manager from Wings Simulations, came to us to help a little - or a lot, since we had no real clue of the game. Just to get no wrong impression: he came to every new player and helped them out, a very kind act you couldn't expect that often at all those other fair boothes! After some "hello"s he started to talk to hexe showing her where to go and what to do and what to type. I think I did not have enough sex appeal to win the "can I get your attention" contest, hihi, but of course understandable. So I was standing next to them trying to catch some of the advices and things he showed her.

They started with customizing her ingame character, the feature called "UCS": there seemed to be a huge range of possibilities but with deadly precision hexe immediately put the finger in the wound: she did ask whether there are female skins. Plex said, no there aren't. He did not seem happy with that fact and he said that there won't we any in the initial release (quote something like: "not enough time so it was skipped"), that their first tests with female skins had not been that convincing ("looked like Russian Olga when moving") and that -of course- the developers themselves would be happy with chicks in their game. Oooookey, hexe disappointed. Big smile of her, eyes blinky-blinky, trying to raise his (Plex) personal priority to get female skins in the game somewhen later and, ZIPP, to the next topic: where are the tanks? Yes, that was clear, hexe did want a tank, that is what makes her happy in Battlefield and so she did ask for it in Söldner. Of course he showed her (the tank was a little bit away so you had to know where to go), next to some other things in the game. I really tried to follow their conversion, but despite their distance from me for about 50 cm I was not able to understand at least half of the words spoken. Did I mention it was loud at the convention?!

gameplay - the look and feel         


I won't give any comment about the sounds of the game since I did not hear one of them. hexe's PC had loudspeakers, a pair of those Creative mini thingies, I guess they simply produced some noise interference with that couple of Zillion Watt sound machines right outside, so no Söldner sounds from there. At my PC had been a headset which I didn't use since I neither wanted to produce a shortcut in them due to extraordenary sweat production of myself nor wanted I to abandon all my hopes of getting some words from Plex.

So I was on my own with the game, a four player deathmatch. With all that harsh surroundings (did I say it was loud here yet?!), the keyboard being at the height of my breast (yes, I am 1.65m only) and some unknown key bindings I started my adventure. Following the basic instinct of a computer geek I tried all the Alphabet and afterwards I had figured out that everything was around the good ol' WSAD - definitely not my style, I am curser-keyer. But I was able to move my game character around, well, moving him around basically. The mysteries of duck, prone and zoom I found out later.

So how does it look like? Hell, Söldner looks awesome! It was played at some "I don't notice pixels" resolution at some nice monitors. The map was specially made for the convention and consisted of a small military camp, including some houses, a basket ball field, some parking lots for a jeep and a truck, some guard towers and everything surrounded by a metal fence and some trees outside. There was a big grassland around it all with some mountains and Plex told us that it was nearly endless (everyone who surfed the website already knows about this), but in this demo only the small camp had been sculpted in detail. Gosh, it looked good. It has everything you always wanted in Battlefield: knee high grass, waving in the wind, birch trees everywhere, small and large houses with beautiful textures, oil barrels standing around, boxes, road signs, litter, military training facilities (all those wooden "climb over/around/under it" thingies), rocks, roads, etc. It looked so vivid, it felt just like a modern environment. There had been so many details that you didn't notice them since they all had been so "normal" and "expectable" in there. It looks cool. As the vehicles do: they are very detailed, too. All those gear of destruction you want to have.

The player models are nice, too , you can see a lot of details. I did not play around with customizing my figure so I can not say what exactly changes but there is potential. In the demo you always had completely different clothes after you respawned so I did see some stuff even without doing it myself. In this topic although fits the perspective: you could choose between 3rd person and 1st person view at a keystroke. The 3rd person view does look better than I expected, the character model does not cover important things, and you can move around pretty smooth in this mode. The guy walks and runs "realistic", not some funky floating and sliding around with the feet doing some animation completely unconnected to the ground. In the 3rd person view you although have this very, very, very nice hit indication: imagine a horizontal, invisible disc centered in the waist of the soldier. Whenever you get hit the quarter of the disc from which the shot came from flashes red, so you get a clue where the enemy might be. Not precisely, but you get a clue. Makes it possible to flee or to take countermeasures. Another thing concerning red: yes, there is blood. Not that much but it is there, at your own model as on the enemy. A little bit different is 1st person view: this is good 'ol and I don't have to say much about it except two things: sometimes your movement isn't that smooth and sometimes you don't see some special effects while in 1st person view. But this is due the fact that originally Söldner was planned as 3rd person only and 1st person just came after many fans requested it. But it still needs some tweaking I guess. The the vehicles have both perspectives, too. When in 1st there is not much interior (cockpit) but in the jeep there is a little tacho (speedo?) and an abstract steering wheel floating in the left upper corner of the screen in the Söldner typical transparent-green. That did remind me of Testdrive 2 at my beloved C64, hihi. When in 3rd person you see the vehicle from outside and can steer with the keyboard and look around with the mouse. It's like in Neverwinter Nights, so we both adopted instantly, hehe. The helicopters have the little difference that the heli itself slowly turns in the direction you "look" with the free-mouse-look. But the vehicle's steering will be tweaked before release according to Plex. Nevertheless it wasn't that difficult even with "unfamiliar" keybinds and that harsh surroundings (loud?! did I mention?!).

So what brings the HUD? Not that much. Most of the screen is real gaming screen, a fact I like. Prominent is the yellow crosshair, 95% comparable to Rainbow 6: Ravenshield. Left lower corner some infos about weapons, labeled with F1 to F4. With that F-keys you could hide/show the HUD elements. Right lower corner something which I can not remember (*sigh*) and between it the kill messages. They are written in red and yellow and more Unreal style than Battlefield, like "Max pumped some bullets into John". Not my personal taste, I prefer Battlefield's "Max [Stg44] John" but in the demo had it had not that many frags anyway. The lowest line in the center is for entering chat. It was although the place where Plex entered some commands like "!weather 23 4", whatever that meant but it was night and rained afterwards. On the top of the screen is the compass and on the top right the minimap which did not work in the demo. My conclusion: free field of view, informations as small and precise as possible and usually in some modern scifi military font in green. And I wish I could remember where my hitpoints had been indicated....

I did run around a little bit ingame, searching for the other two guys from the other Söldner mini booth and finally got them. "Got" is the right term since we had some shootouts. Pretty n00bish I have to admit, something like "oh, there is someone moving, GOSH, where is the duck key, WTF, where is the zoom, ARGH, I didn't hit him even after four bursts, HELP, he is shooting at me, CONCENTRATE, I just have to calm down and aim and shoot and, DANG, he got me first". Load your favourite ego shooter, set the keyboard on Chinese, use the keybinds of your little brother, max our your mouse sensitivity, put two different headsets on your head, one with Prodigy and the otherone with your local TV station's game show and when you play this way you will act somewhat like me in my very first round of Söldner. Luckily my opponents acted the same...

What worked was the thing about shooting, I guess it is international standart that shooting is bound to left mouse button - a familiar feeling arose in me. So what about shooting? When you're prone and zoomed, it is possible to kill your enemy with a single burst. When unzoomed, you need two to three, when only ducked you need more than four, when standing you empty a magazine in his direction and when you run and shot at your enemy at the same time then this is just a complete waste of ammo. In the latest case your crosshair touches the upper and lower screen border anyways. So calm down, get down and shot precise bursts. On the other hand it is possible to catch some bullets before dying. Not a full burst in the head but at least some random single bullet hits. Otherwise the hit indication would have no purpose. I guess I like it like this, not that realistic, so you can handle some bullets before being killed. Otherwise it is a "first see first kill" game like in Ravenshield and I find that pretty boring (very personal opinion). I have no clue whether it was a special demo setting but it felt quite ok as it was: a precise burst is a kill, some random covering fire just hurts him.

Concerning vision: next to the normal view you had two nice other modes: night vision and thermal vision. I don't know whether it is only possible with the commanders binoculars but the night vision looks as usual and the thermal vision looks like "pink on dark blue" showing only vehicles and their engines and persons. Definitely an awesome idea. Needs some reworking (client had to be restarted after switching to thermal view since no key was able to switch it back...) but it's in the right direction.

big toys - the need for speed         


I had been running around a little bit, doing some sightseing and getting fragged while doing so. Then I got a glimpse at hexe's screen, she being still instructed by Plex, and I noticed her driving a vehicle. I prayed for an F2-F1 ("request pickup!") and started to run around searching for her. I found her in some form of jeep and I immediately entered it - which was a little bit irritating that it was possible since it was a deathmatch and I was the enemy. Nevertheless I was in there. Plex noticed and told me to hit backspace: I got at the roof mounted machine gun. Yeah boys, this was what I wanted! Let's spread some havoc! In our best Halo style we raced around, hexe at the steering wheel with that whicked smile in her face and me shoting till the barrels smoked. We drove some open Halo buggy style vehicle, only the firing arc of the gun was smaller, around 90 degrees towards front. Nevertheless I always screamed "over there! enemy! there! left! left! right!" and fired my unhearable gattling gun. I think we mowed down two of the other guys, probably based more on bullets per second ratio of the gun than on skill - hexe doesn't like WSAD steering even less than me, so we hit more walls than enemies. The third one of them came right into our view and hexe did some precision driveover as she always did with that big guys in Halo. But unfortunately the other person appeared again right when we drove away from his body. The question from us both "can't I drive over people?!?" was cut down halfway by Plex stating that it is not possible - yet.

After some pacing around I got shot in my gunners position and some time later hexe was shot, too. In that time Plex got to me and offered me to show some things, since I asked some (for me) very important question about Conquest gametypes ala Battlefield and the command mode. Ha, of course I wanted to see! He started with some changes to the weather: after seing a dark night raining cats and dogs I prefered the mild summer sunset (insider: like Senap's map Roros). Did look very, very pretty everything. Then he started some single player mission and did some one man destruction show, basically all the things you can see in the videos: shooting some walls, blowing things up with the bazooka, running around, a grenade here and there and suddenly, BOOM, Plex did blew himself. I smiled. He dropped a grenade right next to his feet and didn't notice. Too loud in the booth?!? Didn't hear the infamous "click"? Didn't matter. The magical "oh, yeah, please respawn me once again in this demo version since I know all the tricky console commands" worked and he walked over to some vehicle: the buggy, an Abrahams tank, two UH60 helicopters and a Sowjet looking fighter plane. It stood right in the center of the vehicles, next to some trees, on the potato acre of some poor farmer. I guess he noticed my disbelieving look and told me this is a vertical take off plane. Yes, so he did, right into the air, no problem since none of the obstactles was right above. When airborne he flew outside of the base, over some trees which looked like a plantage since being pretty well ordered. Out of a sudden he (the person Plex) turned over to answer some request of Sven and put the hands away from the keyboard. This showed me that there is no autohover for jets since it was nearing the surface and it showed me that I was quite "connected" to the game since I pulled my head in, started shivering and mumbling something like "eeh, Plex, eeh, you, there...". Not that he even could here me with all that noise around. But he came back right before the plane touched the trees and went on as if nothing had happened. After that flying around over some not-that-much-sculpted regions of the map (only grass) he wanted to show me the physics engine: he did a vertical landing at some slope of a hill and as soon as the engine was off the vehicle started to roll down the slope. He exited and we watched it going down. Boys and their toys. Two adult men starring at some airplane rolling down a hill. Cheerio! Life can be so simple. Death although: a short "!kill" put him back to the respawn point and then he showed me the command mode I had been asking for some minutes ago and I was most excited about. Okeydokey, there had been some bots running around, friendly as hostile ones and the first try ended with Plex being headshot by some evil goon. I tried to hide my chuckle. His second try was better since his AI comrades already had been hunting down the poor guy who brought death to the master. So he had the time to get to command mode - right after doing some magical key strokes changing his kit several times until his character had the right one. The command mode view is right from above, probably the same graphic output than in "normal" mode but from straight above. It was close to the ground and I hope there is a way to zoom out more since if it stays like this you have to scroll around incredibly long to navigate around all those huge parts of that global map. Nevertheless it looks ok: if you select a person you see an "linewired" cube around it (in green, of course) and when you move the mouse afterwards you can see a line from the unit you selected to the current position of the mouse coursor. Plex told me that if you click on the ground somewhere the selected unit "sees" another "linewired" cube in the landscape and knows by this where to go. If you hover over a vehicle with the cursor while having a unit selected the cursor changes and there appears a little text "enter vehicle". So I guess you can give specific commands like "go there" or "take the jeep" or "enter the helicopter". Unfortunately the command mode wasn't implemented completely yet, neither for the commander nor for his soldiers, and unfortunately he didn't play around very long with it. But it has potential. I guess the role of the commander in Sölder will be very, very important and I am really looking forward to it since it brings a completely new level of gameplay to "massive online ego shooters" like Battlefield. And I can not wait to play it with my Battlefield friends from the WOLFgaming community...

I was allowed to play some more multiplayer afterwards. I did found a troup transport looking like a big, modern truck (you know the Charlie's Angles 2 trailer? Exactly like this "we drive it off the bridge" thing) and drove some rounds around the little camp. Went like "fence? DANG, BLANG, RUMBLE - where?!". Gosh, I love this: I drove right through it and it left some flattened parts of the steel fence. No more "why is my tank stuck at this damn little pebble?!?" known from Battlefield. Two other anecdotes about fences: 1) still you can look through them but not shoot through them and all those bullet holes on them look somewhat absurd and 2) it is possible to climb over the fence and I have to admit that this action looks 100% correct: the guy puts the gun on the back, grapples the fence, does a nice swing ofter it partly lying on top of the fence, leg after leg, slides down the other side and gets back his weapon. OMG! Some developer felt in love with some details programming this. But back to the truck: it was a troup transport capable of holding nine people, Plex told me. I stated that troup transports must be pretty important on such huge maps and he simply nodded several times.

Then I noticed hexe flying around with a helicopter, an UH60 I presume, while I was driving around with my truck outside of the base. Unfortunately her client crashed at this point and I wondered why the helicopter still floated in the air while I was trying to get away in panic with my truck. Plex stated that the server still assumed hexe to be inside of it and as long as someone is inside of a helicopter it has the autohover capability switched on. As I figured out myself later this makes it very, very simple even for beginners to fly. Of course only when outside a firefight where time and hectic is no matter. Anyway. The server noticed hexe's absense somewhen and the heli came down. I was far away at this moment, having found another UH60. So into the helicopter. Another guy noticed that and -praise- did not shot me but entered, too. We both flew around a little bit looking at the scenery and testing steering: forward and backwards is clear, strafing is possible for a helicopter, too. The mouse let me look around, only that the helicopter tilted to the front when I looked down and turned to the left when I looked left (only with a short delay, can't describe this exactly). There had been two other keys for up and down dealing with the flying height. When I did not press them the heli simply stayed at its current height. Very easy to fly. The HUD for the heli had been a little bit more complex of course, so I didn't care not too much about it in the short time and just did some circles over the base. Suddenly my passenger jumped out of my heli, probably because he got bored since I didn't find a target for him. According to Plex the pilot of a UH60 has no weapons but there are two machine guns mounted at the side usable by passengers. After some whining around by me being unable to fire some rockets I found the solution myself: I noticed an Apache on the ground. I flew there, had some logical brainstorms, canceled them, asked Plex and finally was able to lower my height due to the newly found keybind. Out of heli one, right into heli two. Guns, I had guns! MUAHAHA! I noticed them some to work several seconds later since the graphical effect for the rockets (like the bazookas in Battlefield just better) was only visible when being in 3rd person view. Since I didn't get it myself I had to go through some instructions like "you can not shoot while the text says 'reloading'" (D'OH!) but then I was armed and dangerous. As if it was destiny hexe appeared somewhere in the base and look what she had: a tank! I had some emotional conflict then: let my girl finally drive around in the newly discovered tank or try out my missiles and blow her away? Gosh, difficult. While I was still hesitating Plex showed me how to look-on the missiles which had been of the heatseaking type. That little square on the tank with the word "Locked" below it is that comforting. Then I made my decision: shoot only one and see what happens. ZOOOSH, off it went, circling down towards her, KABOOM, but she still there. So I had all what I wanted: missile fired, all effects seen, hexe still in a tank. I wanted to remove the lock-on then but Plex told me that is not possible yet. Ooookey. So I just flew away. But I thought to myself "man, Plex showed only us both where the vehicles are, it is improbable that the other two guys are sitting in some nice, phat targets for me, too". So I wanted to test another thing: getting height, somewhat above 200 meters, then pressing 'E' for Enter/Exit and outside I was. Player model in standing position first, then the server noticed this being somewhat stupid and so my character switched to skydive mode, gun still righthanded. I could feel the breeze! Being used from Battlefield I hammered the 'E' key several times in the hope the parachute would open - what a silly action. No clue whether it was a reaction to my action or just the auto-open-due-to-height but the parachute opened and I sailed to earth again (at this time I already had forgotten about my helicopter falling down somewhere). The landing was 50/50: player model looked very nice while landing, but the parachute looked like some textured triangle strip reducing its Z axis over time till it was completely sunken in the ground. Well, not perfect but at least more than Battlefield's "ZIPP, there" and "ZAPP, gone". So much about my experiences with vehicles.

details - some more eye candy         


Now follows a little collection of details I didn't mention yet but which are worth to mention. Please be aware that all of this things have a little "maybe" in front of them because we had seen all those stuff just for seconds in a very loud (you remember?! GC was loud...) environment. Anyway, 'ere we go:

HUD - I started a paint program and made up a little fake screenshot with all the elements of the HUD you can not see at the screenshots on the official website. Additionally there is a closeup of the HUD from a photo I made at the fair. Have a look, don't wonder too much, everything might change till release, of course.

Camouflage - when Plex switched through all the kits (a "kit" is the stuff in the slot 5, like medkit, wrench, commanders' laptop, bazooka or other big weapons) to get the commander even the sniper kit showed up. I noticed all that plants on his helmet and his shoulders. Those are not just some additional textures on the playermodel but some independent 3D models of leaves and branches attached to the soldiers body. Looked cool. I fear with all that high grass everywhere and the many trees and bushes of the map it will be damn hard to spot such an camouflaged sniper...

Shopping - so where to get all those handy gear of destruction? In the warehouse! That is a little concrete, cube-like building, with a metal door in the front and some signs like "no open fire" and that stuff *giggle*. Concerning size it's somewhere between a car garage and a dog's house (a very evil dog's house...). When you stand in front of that box you can buy stuff, I guess, but since it was a Debug version Plex could change gear on the fly anyway.

Looting - after playing myself I watched some guy playing and then ge got fragged. His body fell to the ground (which had been still a little bit buggy since dead bodies didn't fall all way to the ground but sometimes stopped at a 45 degree angle - as if they were lying on some comfortable carribean palm tree). About 4 seconds later out of a sudden, PLOPP, and the guys rifle came out of his body flying through the air. I had to laugh out loud and since Plex was standing right next to me although watching I said "hehe, this looks funny, it's like in Diablo" and he just answered "it's a homage". Yup, those devs are gamer geeks as we are.

Night and Day - from what I have seen at the GC it is possible to alter the weather quite fluently. Plex entered in the console the command "!weather 23 4". Afterwards it was night and rained cats and dogs. Then with "!weather 19 0" he switched it to some cloudless sky with a warm sunset, casting quite huge shadows from the side. So I guess it is possible to smoothly choose the brightness/darkness (first number might be hour of the day) and the weather (0 = cloudless, 4 = heavy rain).

During this "23-night" it wasn't completely black, more a dark gray, like on a full moon night with heavy clouds, where the light gets very diffuse. It was still possible to recognize the grass and some trees in the vicinity, so no bumbing into objects. The rain has been displayed as transparent, white drops being visible only sometimes on their way down. Honestly I would find it ridiculous to have an 100% dark night in a computer game, where it gets some game of luck who hits whom - since you have a flat monitor, a stero speaker and no other of the human senses supplied with input.

Night vision was "as usual": constricted field of view, everything in green. Still all contrasts had been very sharp and you could recognize even smaller objects. Interestingly at the borders of the field of view it got distorded with some pixel noise and interlace style lines. This seemed to be intended and looked somewhat cool. When there'll be an electrical humming if you have the googles on it would feel awesome.

Thermal vision is really new: it's some very "blocky" view (huge pixels) with purple on pink on light blue on a dark blue background showing all heat producing objects. This included persons and vehicles, especially their engines. At this demo it did no matter whether the vehicle was used (people inside) or not, it showed up on thermal view. But I suppose the devs are so skilled that this might change still. As fas as I remember Plex said that it would even work somewhat with objects/builings blocking your line of sight to your target. Due to the "blockiness" (I guess this should resemble the current state of the art of thermal view) it wasn't possible to recognize details but you could distinguish whether it was a jeep, a tank or a helicopter. Unfortunately I didn't see any persons through thermal view.

frag till you drop         


Lalala, after my little helicopter sightseeing tour I was on foot again, walking around somewhere: I guess I entered the base again and getting fragged immediately, but I am not sure anymore because at this time my brain had been flooded with endorphines and I just had that very happy smile on my face. I watched hexe driving around in her tank a little bit, then it was over: some other guy made his 10th frag and so the round stopped and showed some score screen. The demo was set at this 10-frag-limit to ensure some player rotation at the computers over time. Luckily when we had been playing the server crashed once (so the score was reseted) and additionally it was difficult to make some frags since 50% of all the players (hexe and me) had not been in the base but playing around with some serious toys and definitely being not on the quest for frags which would only shorten our game time. Later hexe told me that after the gaming some teenager walked into our mini booth and said to her someting like "good, but not good enough". It took us some hours to notice the possibilty that it might have been the "I have 10 frags" guy from the other booth... Hell, we didn't care for frags, we did see a lot of this Alpha demo and we had our fun. Finally hexe was "entertained" (except the no female skins thingie) and I was simply "in heaven, autohovering". I played Söldner! Cowabunga!

Before we left a final photo was taken showing hexe and Plex. Yes, this is the lady you're playing Battlefield with...




There are two final resumees to tell. The first is about the game: Söldner looks awesome. In my very personal opinion it has the potential to be the successor of Battlefield, my favourite game at the moment. It features some very, very cool stuff Battlefield does not have and it still has more potential in it. Let's see what it will bring.

The second is about the developers: they have my respect. I am a professional software developer myself (just not about gaming) and I know what hard work it is to make a program as complex as this. But they had been at this convention showing their "baby", a quite good running Alpha version. They can be proud of themselves and indeed they had been, I think. You could have seen it in their eyes. And on that sign Sven was carrying on a chain around his neck which stated something like "GC - best online game". They deserve it.

But there is a thing I want to express even more: to the three Sölder developers at the convention, especially Plex, thank you very, very, very much for showing us both the game. It must have been that stressful for them (it just was visible in their eyes), with all the convention and the people and the noise around, but nevertheless they had been very, very kind all the time and they had been very, very dedicated to show us the capabilities of their game and to let us play their game. For this kindness under this circumstances (did I mention it was horribly loud there?!) our greatest respect and our most humble thanks. You rock!


other games         


After this mamut review over a short time of our lives I can tell you that we spent some more hours in this "sensoric overflow hell" and had some looks at some other games. For all those still being interested I'll make this short:

Halo 2 - on an incredibly huge plasma screen there was running an ingame demo of Halo 2. OMG! If this is the first map of the game I want to see the second. The Masterchief is dropped in some scifi urban environment taken over by the aliens. In this very small "secured" area he starts his mission while wounded soldiers are under surgery in emergency tents and other are carried or guided in the dropship which just brought fresh troops in here. The action is going on, the soldiers tell him what to do and all persons take a look at him if they can (even the doctors working around up to the elbows in the guts of the wounded soldiers). Then right into action shooting some aliens at long range with some improved rifle including zoom. Afterwards some serious assault with whole squads of soldiers and the Masterchief with a double-Uzi-combo. Rocks! After some shootouts and grenade throws right into a buggy and rolling down the streets, the gattling AND the wheels pointed at the alien creatures. Splatter everywhere. They even jump on the vehicle and try to knock you out of it. Gosh! Amazing! While watching this movie you'll start to drool and counting the bucks on your bank account if you don't own a XBox yet.

Breed - yeah, it was there, I didn't play, just watched. Yet another 24+ inch TFT the game was on, good PR I say. Someone driving around in a tank but all the action was way too fast and uncoordinated to understand it all. Looks nice but a little bit too colorful (flowerpower) in my eyes.

Fire Warrior - set in the Warhammer 40.000 universe. Since I got a soft spot for Marines in any form I had to take a look at it. But here you shot marines while running around as a Tau. I watched someone play, looks pretty like Halo but from alien point of view. Nevertheless it seems to be just yet another ego shooter. No clue about multiplayer.

Chrome - a game from Steel Silver. Looks pretty much like Halo, too, but it is "darker" and more "serious". I saw some scifi vehicle like the thing from the movie Alien 2, looked absolutely awesome (the vehicle). We watched just for some minutes since the Playstation 2 booth next to it had it's "this bass makes your stomach move" promotion running at that time.

Dungeons & Dragons - XBox game, classic Hack & Slay. Very nice graphics, four player multilplayer capable, extentable to eight players with two boxes. Four character classes for all your stereotype needs: warrior, sorceress, cleric, female half-elf thief. I guess this is a decent "play it with yor friends" game when you don't have neither PC-LAN nor enough focus in your brain to play more complex games.

UFO Aftermath - yeah, good ol' UFO is back. Looks nice, everything looks pretty much handpainted, is still somewhat roundbased, but time is in slowmotion but you can hit pause whenever you want. I guess the gameplay is the same but the graphic is better. If you liked the first ones you will like this one, too.

Spellforce - since strategy games are a little bit more complex I didn't try to play this one. But it looks veeeeery nice, all those persons and creatures running around are that lovely. We watched the trailer and it simply blasts you away. If it wouldn't be the "you are the only hero to gather the army against the hordes of darkness for the final and deciding battle" *sigh*

Sacred - a lone, poor but very kind guy at the big ben booth, only distinguishable by his Ascaron T-shirt. Told me that they had just one promotion of 1 hour that Saturday for Sacred and no computers and no demo at the booth. So not that much more infos about it except "nothing is final, it looks good, maybe it will look better and there might even be a release date this year".

At all other games my glimpse was too short to give a better comment than any gaming website could give you.

back home         


After a dinner and some hours of driving we arrived home from our trip: exhausted but happy. The little thing in my hands is a temporary tattoo we both got as a little present, a leftover from the E3, just if you're wondering why it's written backwards. hexe dropped to bed immediately but I got on my PC to write down all this you are reading right now. Otherwise my head would had exploded due to all this impressions...

Thanks for reading until here! Really :)

[cd]hexe and T.T.H.