Soldat (meaning "soldier" in several languages) is a polish 2D multiplayer game for Windows. It is a side-scroller inspired by Liero and Scorched Earth, combined with elements from Counter-Strike and Worms. The game is shareware. Registration unlocks extra aesthetic options, such as colored jet flames and custom interfaces. The latest version, 1.4.2, also includes a minimap and changeable screen resolution for registered users. It can also be played on Linux using Wine.
Since then, the game has gone through many changes and additions. Weapon balance is often a main focus of new releases. The significant release changes were "startup" modifications in the M82A1 Barret, M72 LAW, and Combat Knife, as well as minor bugs with flags and maps.
1.4.2 is the current version of Soldat, the second follow-up release since 1.4.0, which added many major features. These include a completely new lobby system to replace the aged and unreliable original system (see the forums for problems), an option (registered only) to scale the resolution interface for a cleaner view, a minimap (registered only), BattlEye - an anti-cheat system, and many bugfixes. 1.4.0 was originally intended only as a bugfix version 1.3.2, but was bumped-up to 1.4.0 due to the addition of the many new features. The newest version was released worldwide on August 11, 2007.
For all game modes, the basic objective is to kill enemy players. Upon spawning, the player is presented with a large arsenal of weapons to choose from. A few frag grenades are also supplied by default and more can picked up from boxes found on the ground ("GrenadeKits," respectively). Jet boots are used to move around the map, which typically consists of 2-3 levels/floors, or disorganized, floating boulders. Some servers enable temporary-lasting power-ups that grant multiplied damage (Berserker), invisibility (Predator), a flamethrower along with temporary invincibility (FlameGod), or Cluster Grenades (which temporarily replace regular grenades with three of more powerful, modified versions) or even a Bulletproof Vest (effectiveness of the vest depends on the distance from the firer of the bullet, and the vest slowly decreases as it soaks up damage, disappearing after absorbing a certain amount of damage, though there is no time limit). Health crates (known in the game as "Medikits") are available in many locations for healing injury back to 100% no matter how much a player is injured. Upon death and after waiting for a server-specified amount of time (on average 5 seconds), players respawn and may choose another weapon—this cycle repeats for the duration of the map, unless Survival Mode is enabled (in which case a spawning system similar to Counter-Strike is used). After a certain allotted time (on average 15 or 20 minutes), the map changes and scores are reset as players continue in another round. Players can chat with each other throughout matches (and to their own teams, for cooperative team-based game modes).
Most games are fast-paced and chaotic. Bodies often explode in a spectacle of blood and body parts, sometimes being hurled clear across the map. Besides its ragdoll physics, the game's engine, written in the Borland Delphi programming language, employs realistic concepts such as momentum and gravity. Fall damage and recoil are also taken into account when Realistic Mode is enabled, and supply crates, dropped weapons, and grenades realistically tumble down steep hills; another effect is the flag's realistic waving as a player runs with it.
Unlike other games, Soldat aims to balance every weapon so no one is better than the rest while each maintains individuality. The choice is largely dependent on the type of map, preferred tactics and weapons choice of the other side.
Much tweaking has been done to try to achieve this but there is often disagreement within the community. In the past, the Barrett M82A1 sniper rifle has been a notorious source of complaint from players for its ability to kill in a single bullet, along with its 10-shot magazine and scope ability (even though these portray real-life characteristics of the actual weapon). Recent versions have included measures to curb overuse of the Barrett, including "bink" (a Counter-Strike term which lowers accuracy when hit by gunfire), an increased power of other weapons, and, recently in 1.3.1, a startup time similar to the one present on the M72 LAW. The XM214 Minigun has also been criticized for supposedly lowering Frame rate on slower computers and its ability to let Minigunners unfairly "surf" across the map, given its tremendous recoil. With more recent releases, other weapons are being challenged as well. Contention over balance is so great that an entire section of the official community message board is devoted to discussion about the weapons' game balance.
All the weapons (including grenades and even fists) are modifiable in the weapons.ini file. To mod a weapons characteristics, open the weapons.ini file and look for the weapon name of the weapon you want to modify. Change the numbers next to the command to edit the characteristics. Attributes like the damage, speed and even the type of bullet the gun fires are changeable. However, some weapons will still keep characteristics which are not removable (such as the Spas-12's single bullet reload or the M72 LAW's requirement to be crouched/prone when firing).
Every map consists of numerous textured polygons carefully positioned in relation to one another. Unlike Liero, a major inspiration of Soldat, landscape is non-deformable, though it can be interacted with in other ways. Scenery, such as bushes and sandbags, may conceal players and aid in camping and sniping. Polygons can be given special attributes to simulate lethal death pits, icy terrain, health-regenerative platforms, and more. Weather effects (snow, rain, and sandstorm) are used on some maps. Some servers enable the powerful stationary M2 turret specified by particular maps (usually CTF and INF) which players can man.
Because the landscape is composed of polygons, players can slip between vertices and get stuck in terrain. This phenomenon, known as a polybug, is more prevalent on poorly constructed maps. Entering most polybugs is unintentional and irreproducible, but well-known polybugs can be abused to gain unfair advantages. Often, if a player gets stuck in a polybug, they can escape by simply moving around (running, crouching, flying), exiting and re-entering the server, throwing grenades at close quarters in a suicidal attempt to propel themselves out of the jammed terrain, typing the command "/kill" to commit suicide, or (if friendly fire is off) getting pushed out of the terrain by a teammate.
There are several known programs for mapping. The original map editor program is MapMaker 1.2, by Michal Marcinkowski himself. It has a unique control scheme that includes using the right mouse button to navigate the map and the control, shift, and alt keys combined with the left or right mouse button to perform functions. Another popular Soldat mapping program is Soldat PolyWorks, which has a different control scheme and a much more complex interface.
Around the time of Soldat v1.3.1, most R/S matches developed a certain "gentlemen's rule" that a player should not "Capture the Flag' unless the opposing team is defeated. Because this is an unwritten rule, it is confusing to most people new to R/S servers. "Capping" or "Running" in an R/S server is usually considered bad etiquette, because it effectively defeats the other team without having to kill them. In more popular servers ran by R/S clans, capturing the flag is a legitimate tactic, as the game mode is still "Capture the Flag", not "Team Deathmatch", which only involves eradicating the enemy team. On the other hand, killing the other team and capping the flag in the few seconds remaining before the round ends, is called a doublecap, earns the team 2 points instead of the normal single point and is accepted in most servers, although many have implemented anti-doublecap scripts to prevent it.
Advance mode may be combined with the other game modes, e.g. for R/S/A mode, or it can be active by itself. In Advance mode players start the match armed only with secondary weapons. Primary guns are progressively unlocked as a reward for frags. With its forced low-tech phase and limited weapon choices, advance mode is the most tactical Soldat mode.