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Real life gaming: how the British Army modelled tank controls on a gamepad

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The firing controls inside the British Army’s Challenger 2 tank will be familiar to gamers everywhere – they're modelled on video game controllers from the 1990s.

The tank, which came into service in 1998, was designed to have an easy-to-use controller for those who had grown up playing video games. 

The controls are also used in the simulators used to train tank crews, and TechRadar visited the Army's Combined Arms Tactical Trainer facility in Wiltshire to see the simulators in action.

Major Charles Bagshaw of the Royal Tank Regiment says of the simulators: “In the essence of serious gaming, it’s probably very close. 

“Some of the large simulators you can get commercially in the world of VBS2 [Virtual Battlespace 2, battlefield simulation software] and some of the other systems that are out there, it’s very close.

"What it isn’t is Call of Duty.”

Check out the video to see how tech is changing battlefield training.

James Peckham
James Peckham

James is Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He's currently most excited about the Samsung Galaxy S22, God of War: Ragnarok and the rumored foldable iPhone.