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>“Any truth in that Rod? I can image it already, two SWAT fanatics living together, SWAT stuff everywhere and a whole armoury in the basement :p” < That’s a funny question…Tammy and I have been married for the past 13 years. I guess I just take it for granted that most people knew about that. Though Tammy created and produced the first SWAT game and designed the third one, I have to admit that I’m the only enthusiast in this household. >“”BTW- Ken is on the cover of the SWAT 3 boxes (guy in the center).” < Yes, Ken Thatcher, LAPD SWAT is the one in the middle. The other guys are LAPD as well; the one on the right one of the element leaders of 70-David, and the other is Kenny Thatcher Jr. (Ken Thatcher’s Sr. son who is a member of C-team at Metro Division. > “Lots of stories to tell about the SWAT days as I could go on and on….” < Here is a good one….not sure what year it was, or even what PQ/SWAT game we were working on, but we were given the opportunity to go for a “tour” (that’s what they call a shift) with LAPD Air Support. LAPD has the largest police helicopter fleet in the nation and it’s stationed on top of the Piper Technology Building in Downtown LA. We arrived in the late afternoon, meet the various members of Air Support and then were given a tour of the facilities. It’s pretty cool facility that resembles a military type airbase. There is also a somber reminder in their lobby dedicated to those Air Support police officers who died in the line of duty with. Air Support is considered a hazardous mission as choppers do crash and it’s usually fatal when they do. After a run-down of the emergency drills if we crash, we took off around 5:00pm. There are two officers in each chopper; one pilot and one observer. They gave us a fantastic tour over the city, buzzing the beaches, the Hollywood sign, and all the major attractions in the area. They also showed off some of the capabilities of the helicopter as we touched down on a couple of the downtown LA high rises for us including the Bank of America building. As far as excitement, we “orbited” a number of ‘situations’ including casing down girl gang members who robbed a gas station. We actually chased them down and watched as they tossed their gun under a car. Watching from above it’s amazing how much you can see. The patrol cars coming from all around and the girls trying the evade them. After a few hours in the air we landed back at Piper Tech. I was fine (as far as not getting airsick) until I got in my car….every time I tried to drive the car, I felt horrible. I think we ended up spending about a half hour in the car just sitting there. Since that time I’ve been back to Piper Tech twice; one time to shoot the cover of SWAT 1, and then about a year and a half ago when Cyrus Kanga (Art Director), Cade Myers (Associate Producer) and I did some urban climbing with LAPD SWAT, climbing and repelling off the top of the building (this is another good story).
>“How many people left in total and how many are still at Sierra from the SWAT (3/UJ) team? I know about some of them but not all. So many people left or got laid off at Sierra from different departments there is hardly anyone left anymore it seems…( many of my Sierra dev. team members went on to make SOCOM 2 at Zipper interactive)”< Well, most of the key people left in the few months after I left including all of my leads. I believe that there are only about 3 key members of the SWAT dev. team left at Sierra. Two of which were also on my original SWAT 3 team of 26. Cyrus, Mark, Travis and Craig went over to Zipper Interactive to make SOCOM 2, Charles, Jim, and John, and I ended up at Microsoft (I’m at Xbox, Charles is at Windows, John and Jim are at Microsoft Games Studios). After 11 years in games, Tammy retired from software and she is now writing screenplays. >“What did the police departments/ SWAT think of those space helmets in SWAT 3 btw Rod?” < They were fine with it. The idea was inspired from a conversation I had with one of the founding members of LAPD SWAT (the character “Hondo” from the recent SWAT Movie and original TV show is based upon him). His name is Ron McCarthy and he is a real legend within SWAT circles. >“As I said before SWAT 3 seems to be a true Sierra game to me for the reasons mentioned above somewhere but also because in the beginning they offered a lot of support and great FREE downloads to upgrade the first single player version, Close Quarters Battle, with Multiplayer, a lot of free maps, mods and editing tools. The website had a lot of info and was kept up to date. Probably also because in the beginning it was a new game of course but still… now it is pretty much dead.”< Giving away the updates and maps was a good strategy for us. It ended up working well and the SWAT 3 series ended up being one of Sierra’s best titles. It’s really the only successful action title that has ever been developed internally. >“Also some time ago the company did not want to make the 2.2 patch to fix some (serious) bugs, it was the company not the developers. The developers were great and did their best to help and fix it. They looked up some old code where they already fixed some bugs, called old ex developers to see if they knew some more stuff, and interacted nicely with the fans to try and fix it, bugged management to release a patch/fix etc. Of course the game was old and a small patch for a small community (as SWAT was) was not very profitable and would cost (a lot) of money, we knew that. But reading some of Ken’s posts on this website I would believe the old Sierra might have released it. What do you think Ken / Rod?”< Perhaps. The question really wasn’t about development time, it was QA testing time. We would have had to test all versions of the game (including the international versions). This would have ended up costing quite a bit of money. >“They also never shipped the TGOTY version to Europe even though you can still buy SWAT, SWAT 2 and SWAT CQB/ Elite Edition here. I just saw an advertisement paper of a toy store which is offering “SWAT Generations” now, which include the SWAT 1/2/3 EE version but not the TGOTY. The SWAT series must still sell.”< Interesting…I didn’t know that was coming out. I wish they would send me a copy! >“Rod, since you are not working for Sierra anymore could you tell us some more about the reasons why you left and how things were going with SWAT:UJ that you didn’t like? What do you think of the Sierra before (VUG) and the Sierra now, since you experienced both? “< That’s a tough one for me to expound on. I think I have pretty much said everything I have to say on that topic. >“I still have not found my perfect game but SWAT 3 got pretty close, a lot of games seem to lack something or a lot, including good gameplay and have something irritating, not only bugs. Most