Tag Archives: gaming

The real life battlefields that inspired Call of Duty: WWII

How close are Call of Duty: WWII‘s maps to the real life battlefields on which they were based? See for yourself in this gallery of screenshot-to-photograph comparisons.

These photos were taken in Normandy, France at Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, at the Longues-sur-Mer battery (La Chaos) and one (the circular, overgrown bunker ceiling opening) at Blue Beach, Puys, Dieppe. The screenshots were taken from Call of Duty: WWII on an Xbox One.

 
Late last year I embarked on a tour of significant WWI and WWII battlefields in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. As it happens a number of the sites I had the honor to visit and photograph are also represented as maps in the new Activision title, including Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc. Activision has a blog post with some detail around the historical significance behind these real locations where fierce engagements took place during World War II.

My Grandfather landed on Juno Beach on D-Day with the No. 22 Canadian Field Ambulance Unit of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. He spent the month of June 1944 in, and around, Beny-sur-Mer, in late June 1944 he was injured and evacuated. I set out on this battlefield tour with my father and one of my brothers so that we could consider the experience of my Grandfather.

Pages from my Grandfather's WWII Service Book. Note "Disembarked France 6 Jun 44," also known as D-Day, about 3/4 of the way down on right-hand page.

The tour began on November 4th, 2017, when I realized Call of Duty: WWII was to be released on November 3rd, just one day before our scheduled departure, I decided that I would bring my Xbox in the hope that my brother and I could visit historical battlefield sites during the days and play through the campaign in the evenings at the hotels. We completed the campaign on our last evening in Nijmegen, Belgium after visiting the John Frost Bridge (A Bridge Too Far), the Holten Canadian Military Cemetery and the Canadian Legion 005 earlier that day.

Over the course of the 10 day tour I took over 3,000 photos from which I was able to draw these comparison shots. Additional photos of these sites, and of the many others we visited, can be viewed here. Please contact me if you wish to inquire regarding usage rights.

The hero image is a screenshot from the Call of Duty: WWII Pointe du Hoc map split with a photograph taken at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France.

Special thanks to The Battlefield Tours for providing a top-notch tour experience.

All photographic images Copyright © 2017-2018 Phil Tucker. ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, and CALL OF DUTY WWII are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc.

MAME Arcade Cabinet

I went and made a Mame cabinet. I had a whack of old PC stuff sitting around,
a P2-266 with a motherboard, CDRom and ATI All in Wonder Rage Pro. I managed to pan handled
an ISA SB16 off a friend and resurrect an old PCI NIC.

After cruising some sites of doods who’ve done this, I began thinking of my cabinet.
I decided that it’d be better for me to buy an old one rather than make one. My reasoning being
that my homemade one would probably not turn out as hoped, and for $150 or so I can get an old
one with art and everything. So I checked ebay, ebay’s no good. Prices are usually too high and
shipping is craziness. Living in Toronto I found two distributers, Starburst, who holds auctions and New Way Sales. Starburst, although very friendly and helpful, did not have any stock of old cabinets on hand ( they later alerted me when they recieved some ). Starburst was going to charge me ~$100 Canadian for a bottom of the line used cabinet ( probably without art ). So I found New Way Sales. After a little email back and forth, I showed up to find they had tons of old cabinets. I picked up an old 4 player cabinet with Ninja Turtle artwork on the side and X-Men on the Marqee. Complete with quarter slots. They offered to throw in the old controls, which in retrospect I should’ve taken, but I had already ordered mine ( see below ). Anyhow, I got a cabinet, with working quarter slots, screen bevel, marqee with light, speaker, and some leftover innards for ~$200 Canadian.

For the controls, after surfing some sites with info, I decided to use a hacked up keyboard interface since I had an old keyboard laying around. The keyboard interface ( show below ) was a series of ~30 leads. Connecting different leads produced different keystrokes. So I plugged it into the normal PS2 keyboard port and spent an hour or so with my favourite girl mapping out which lead combinations produced which keystrokes, being careful not to touch any of the leads connected to the LEDs ( could royally mess your motherboard ). Ending up with something like this. Most if not all keyboards have their own unique matrix so you’ll have to do this for yourself. There is a program available from Arcade Controls Download Section which will display keystokes on the screen which came in handy. I then soldered wires to the leads I mapped out and attached them to a row of terminals ( little screws that you can put wires under ) to make control connections a little easier.



I then ordered my controls from Happs which ended up costing me way too much ( ~$100 Canadian ) for 2 joysticks and 14 buttons. But I’m very happy with them so I guess it’s worth it. All of them are horizontal microswitches, although I noticed that Starburst had some leaf switches on display ( some say they’re not made anymore ). I then just attached said controls to the terminals which I had attached the keyboard interface, having the buttons and joystick directions produce the keystrokes I desired ( “O”, “K”, “ENTER”, etc. ). I also hooked up the quarter slot switches to the terminals so I’ve got to feed the monster quarters to play.




I went to a pawn shop and nabbed some no name 21″ TV for ~$100 Canadian, took the back cover off for better fit ( being careful not to touch anything in the TV for fear of instant death by electrocution ) then braced it with a 2×4. I then tossed the PC together and threw it in the bottom of the cabinet, connected the SB16 to the speaker in the cabinet, plugged in my hacked keyboard interface and connected the TV to the AV OUT of the ATI All in Wonder.




I bought some plexi glass ( actually clear acrylic sheets ) and cut / drilled a sheet to fit the control panel ( which I had made from some extra ply wood and spray painted black ) I also cut a sheet to fit the screen and cut some presentation board to frame the screen perfectly. I ducked into a home stuff store and found some nice shiny black cabinet liner which I tossed under the plexi glass of the control panel. With all that done, I plugged it in and went to town!




Some further notes, 14 buttons weren’t enough. I had to buy some el cheapo buttons for the side so I could have “ESC”, “TAB” and “~” for Mame control. A TV with SVideo IN would’ve been nice ( but expensive ) for better clarity. All in all, cost me ~$500 ( keep in mind I already had the CPU and PC components ). But I now have 1000+ games in my living room!