A few months ago, I released my first singleplayer map for Company of Heroes. I had a lot of fun scripting the scenario, which is done entirely in LUA, so I was eager for another map to work on. And it didn’t take long until inspiration hit me in the form of re-watching Band of Brothers. The prominent engagement in the second episode is the assault on the guns at Brecourt Manor. The episode must have inspired others as well, since several video game recreations already exist; most notably in the first Call of Duty.
However, all the existing Brecourt Manor assault recreations have major accuracy flaws. The CoD one has fairly accurate trenches (where the guns were located), but the context is very flawed (e.g. Easy Company did not subsequently attack the manor itself). There is also another Brecourt map made for CoH, but being that it was made for multiplayer, balance concerns forced them to change almost all the geography other than the trenches.
So to distinguish my attempt from all the others, I decided to make what I hope is the most accurate portrayal of the battle. To achieve this, I first gathered up as many maps as I could showing the fields and hedgerows where the battle occurred—present day Google maps, 1947 aerial map, D-Day recon map, and a map apparently provided by Maj. Winters. I then layered and lined up the maps in an image editor to create a composite image of the most accurate map I could make. That image appears below.
You can see on the above image that I’ve already established the playable area (red rectangle) and the map boundaries (green rectangle) for the CoH map, with the gun trenches located in the center. But the next step is where the real magic happens in making this map as accurate as possible. In a process I first used in my Ogledow map, I took a greyscale version of the composite image above, saved it to a bitmap, and then copied its raw bytes into a data format called a “stamp”. The CoH WorldBuilder uses these stamps to let you copy map data between maps, but using this technique, one can also copy data from images into maps. The result can be seen in the below images.
The result being an extremely accurate template by which to “draw” the actual map content. This is about as far as I got when I first started working on the map since Serpent 3 was nearing the end of its life at the time. But I just recently got back into it and I’ve made some pretty good progress, although I’m nowhere near done. I’d say I’m to a point where it’s playable, though. (Props to the guys at Relic that actually make these maps from scratch. It takes forever to get them to look realistic.)