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Researching Canada's involvement in WWII for my game Radio General

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Foolish Mortals, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Foolish Mortals

    Foolish Mortals New Member

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    Howdy. My name's Michael, and I ended up doing a ton of research into Canada's often-overlooked involvement in WWII for my upcoming RTS game Radio General.

    Brief description of my game: It's WWII. You're a general sitting in a tent. All you have is a map, and a radio. Can you win the battle? Radio General is a unique strategy game where you interact with your units over the radio using speech recognition. Test your mettle and relive famous battles as a WWII general.

    Live-action trailer featuring real 1939 radio used in tanks.

    First off, a little background. I've always been an avid wargamer, but asides from a university history course I don't have any background in WWII history. Since I'm Canadian, and there's relatively few games that focus (or even mention) Canada during the war, I wanted to focus on Canada's involvement. So to start off with, I read some excellent history textbooks on the subject:

    Canadians in the Second World War 1939-1943. Volume 1, The necessary war - Tim Cook Canadians in the Second World War 1944-1945. Volume 2, Fight to the finish - Tim Cook
    Both books are excellent, and give detailed descriptions of operations in chronological order, and were excellent material for planning missions for my game. They also included some very good interviews with solders.

    Canadians under fire: infantry effectiveness in the Second World War - Robert Charles
    A drier and more technical read than the rest, this focuses less on specific battles, and instead on studies and interviews with infantrymen. It goes the effectiveness of different weapons, casualty statistics, and patrol and movement doctrines. A surprising tidbit I found was that having tank support was often unappreciated as an infantryman - they're big targets, are very hard to communicate with, and almost always refused to advance until the infantry gauranteed there were no AT-guns nearby (so much for the cinematic scenes of infantry hiding behind advancing tanks).

    Ten decisions: Canada's best, worst, and most far-reaching decisions of the Second World War - Larry Rose
    This book provides a broader context, and doesn't just focus on the battles. It covers the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, where Canada trained 131,500 air personnel (with pilots from all over the commonwealth), and the enormous scope of producing massive numbers of corvettes to escort necessary naval convoys across the Atlantic. One of the worst decisions it covers in detail is the Dieppe Raid (which is in fact the first mission in Radio General).

    To help us choose which missions were included in the game, we referenced the excellent website canadiansoldiers.com which summarizes basically every single combat mission Canada's been in.

    We wanted our game to educational, and had the idea of presenting the player with real historical photos, videos and documents. Before and after each mission you're presented with relevant documents about the mission you just played.

    The best source for these documents was the government, specifically Library and Archives Canada. This is a great resource, as they often include sources and context (and since it's the government, everything more than 50 years old is public domain). You can search specifically for locations. Here's some photo examples from the same location in Italy:

    Private M.D. White of The Loyal Edmonton Regiment observing from a defensive position, Colle d'Anchise, Italy, 26 October 1943.

    Private J.A. Robb of The Loyal Edmonton Regiment looking through a shell hole in the foundation of a building, Colle d'Anchise, Italy, 27 October 1943.

    A Sherman tank of "A" Squadron, Ontario Regiment, crossing a stream near Colle d'Anchise, Italy, 26 October 1943.

    Library and archives canada also has a youtube channel, containing Canadian army newsreels: The Great Crusader - Canadian Army Newsreel, No. 33 1944

    We actually used some of this archive footage in our live-action trailer.

    Anyways, those are the sources we used. I'd be happy to answer any other questions.

    Radio General will be available April 9, and you can check it out on Steam.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Punched above their weight in both World Wars...Foes to be reckoned with. Still waters run deep...
     
  4. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    It has been a breath of fresh air to actually read in print the involvement and sacrifice of Canada"s brave sons during D-Day and the battles that follow. I am in the middle of James Hollands Normandy '44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France and he goes into detail what has sorely been overlooked for many years.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  6. Foolish Mortals

    Foolish Mortals New Member

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    Dang, I'm not sure how I didn't notice that site before - definitely a treasure trove of info. Will be useful if I do a sequel game, haha.

    Absolutely - for our population, we contributed a lot. Of course it helps when fighting isn't happening in your own yard, and with almost no risk of invasion.

    I'll have to check those books out. I have to say it can be pretty harrowing reading interviews from soldiers, and how casual they sound when describing how close they come brushing with death (being hit a few inches from vital organs).
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    O
    On the contrary, it’s easy to take it easy when you are fighting on someone elses soil...little pressure from failure...the Canadians fought like tigers...very quiet and quite deadly.
     
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  8. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Hopefully your games will be successful. The Canadian soldier fought to stop the spread of evil and tyranny just like every other soldier did from every other country. They should be recognized and be honored just the same.
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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  10. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Well I am not a big gamer but I do plan on giving it a try. Hope you don't mind a Baby Boomer kicking the tires?
     
  11. Foolish Mortals

    Foolish Mortals New Member

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    Thanks for the links! Yes, the government did some good work chronicling all of this.

    Go for it! The game can be paused at any time, and you can give orders while paused - we value thinking over reflexes.
     
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