PQ and real police training

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    • #27625 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Hi, I would like to know a bit more about real police departments that used Police Quest for real procedures training.

      I could only find this on an archived SWAT 3 (Sierra) site:
      “Praised for its authenticity to real life police procedures, several law enforcement departments in the United States began using Police Quest for procedures training.”

      URL: http://web.archive.org/web/20001215160100/sierrastudios.com/games/swat3/catalog-intro.html 

      Any more info (Ken maybe? 🙂 would be appreciated.

      Micha

    • #27626 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: PQ and real police training) Micha:
      I do remember that there WERE police departments around the country that used our SWAT product as part of their training, but have no recollection as to which ones.
      We worked hard to ensure that everything in the product was accurate. Daryl Gates primary contribution was his contacts inside LAPD. His name opened doors everywhere. Tammy Dargan, who lead the project, spent a considerable amount of time working with real SWAT officers from the LAPD.
      There’s a careful balance you need to walk between making a game accurate, and making it fun. Tammy did an excellent job of knowing where to draw this line.
      After Sierra was sold, one of the stranger moves that the new owners made was to drop Daryl Gates’ name, and association with the SWAT product. My understanding, which I haven’t confirmed, is that he doesn’t appear on the third SWAT game. I have no idea why… His background was controversial to some people, but no one can argue that he doesn’t know his stuff. I doubt that there will ever again be a law enforcement simulation produced which has the direct involvement of someone of Daryl Gates stature. Love him, or hate him, it cannot be denied that he ran one of the largest police departments in the country, and is a historic individual.
      -Ken W
      PS Here’s a bit of Daryl Gates trivia… I’ve forgotten the details of this story, so I’ll just tell it as I remember it, and hope I get it right. During the OJ Simpson trial, we were preparing one of the SWAT games. We wanted a SWAT officer for an interview on the CD, and the Chief recommended we hire an officer who at the time was unknown: Mark Fuhrman. My memory is that Mark did record some video that appears, or was going to appear, on the SWAT CD. When suddenly Mark’s name turned up in connection with the OJ trial, I remember calling the Chief to ask whether or not we had to worry that any skeletons might surface in Mark Fuhrman’s closet. The Chief assured me that Fuhrman was a stand-up guy, and that OJ was the bad guy, not Mark Fuhrman. Later, as we now know, Mark Fuhrman was not able to escape negative publicity, and I remember feeling somewhat betrayed. Now that the trial is over, it seems that Mark Fuhrman has gone on to a successful writing career, and Mr. Simpson, has not fared as well.

    • #27627 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: PQ and real police training)

      Thanks for the (fast) reply Ken.

      I knew I read about PQ (1) being used for training, didn’t really know the SWAT series were used for that. Of course it’s a nice training tool. This is what I found on the back cover of a PQ 1 box on Moby Games:

      “So real it’s used as a police training tool!
      Police Quest is a serious training tool… Luck does not play a part in successfully completing the program. The simulation is based on skill and knowledge… The dept of training is enormous. – Law and Order Magazine”
      See: http://www.mobygames.com/game/covers/gameCoverId,5397/gameId,2031/ 

      So can you remember any police department using PQ 1 –4 or so being used for training. Like how they used it, for what purpose etc.? What did/ do you think of that anyways, cops using the games you guys made for training?

      > “After Sierra was sold, one of the stranger moves that the new owners made was to drop Daryl Gates’ name, and association with the SWAT product. My understanding, which I haven’t confirmed, is that he doesn’t appear on the third SWAT game.”

      Well his name still appears in the credits of all 3 SWAT 3 games, CQB, Elite Edition and TGOTY. As can be seen on the Moby Games site: http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,26457/  and I have checked the manual of the game I have to be sure 😛

      I also saw that Al Lowe worked on PQ 1, nice 🙂

      The so called next SWAT game SWAT 4/ Urban Justice has dropped the LAPD SWAT license and has been postponed, delayed and all other horrible things like; most developers have left, engine change etc. etc. I guess the line I liked from the PQ series: “Proper police procedures have to be followed.” is not going to apply to this one since they want to reach a larger more “killing orientated” audience to sell more. Sierra made the PQ series, VUG might have ended it.

      I enjoy reading about (the old) Sierra and how it all got started etc., nice site Ken.

      Micha

    • #27628 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: PQ and real police training) “…his name still appears in the credits of all 3 SWAT 3 games, CQB, Elite Edition and TGOTY. “
      Does Gates’ name appear on the front of the box? I left the company before the third installment came out, but remember that the one time I visited Sierra (after my departure), I ran into Tammy Dargan and she gave me a quick demo of the third SWAT game, and showed me a mockup of the box. I never saw the final version, but on the version I saw, they had dropped Gates.
      On a different topic: One of the early Police Quest games had a poker game in it. I wrote the game, and I think it was the last code I wrote that was published by Sierra. As the company grew, I had less and less time to write code. Someday I’ll have to replay the game, just to see how good (or bad) the poker game is.
      -Ken W

    • #27629 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: PQ and real police training)

      Ken,

      I’ll have you know that I spent many, many hours as a kid playing that poker minigame. It’s been a while so I can’t tell you how good it was, but I can tell you I definitely got my dime’s worth of entertainment out of it.

      Man, I loved those freaking games….

      Michael

    • #27630 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: PQ and real police training)

      No, Gates’ name does not appear on the box its self, only in the credits as the Consultant. Kenneth A. Thatcher is the LAPD SWAT Advisor for SWAT 3 (also as Advisor and Consultant for SWAT: Global Strike Team for the console).

      SWAT 3 was and is the best tactical FPS game I would say and there is not a game like it as of yet. It was also awarded Tactical Game Of The Year ones. Raven Shield of Ubisoft comes close but not close enough. It’s the live saving part that really is good, very few if none other games have that. A true Sierra game, original, only Ubisoft got a bit close to making the same type of game (but again not close enough), realistic, great AI, life saving, real police procedure orientated etc. etc. It also had a great development team of people who really had their heart in the right place. Rod Fung (Producer) really was into SWAT and really knew what he was talking about.

      SWAT: Urban Justice dropped the LAPD SWAT license as I said before. Probably upper management wanted to reach a wider audience and sell more, it’s always about the money. Things really did not work out for that game and Rod was the first to leave after 12 years at Sierra. He went to Microsoft to work within the Xbox division in their “Advanced Technologies Group”, supporting and assisting all the Xbox developers. More developers have also left and most of them have found a new job within the industry. It was a great development team who really cared about the game and it’s fans. There are only a few (if none) of them left, Sierra/ VUG has been silent about the game for years now and never made any public statement or announcement about what was going on with the game, they just seem to want to keep quite and hope everyone forgets. PR is not a word which goes together with that game. It’s a real shame. Also SWAT: Global Strike Team for the Xbox and Playstation 2 was not a true SWAT game, it did have some SWAT features but you can get medals for shooting 10 people in the head and some more other “Dark medals”. Killing sells better then live saving these days I guess.

      I also mailed Rod to see if he knew more about the police departments and PQ/SWAT. He also could not remember about PQ itself but for SWAT 1 he knew the Honolulu PD SWAT had looked at it as he did a presentation to them (and the FBI) of the product. A number of individual police dept. swat teams had looked at the SWAT 3 product as well. There was a much larger following from individuals who were on SWAT teams including a number of people on LAPD D-platoon.

      Rod worked on a lot of Sierra’s franchises (King’s Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Police Quest, etc.) and started as a Studio Director filming actors on Sierra’s blue screen stage. Police Quest 4 was his first experience as a full-time developer assigned to a team. So I assume you knew him Ken. Can you remember what kind of guy he was? Any funny stories let me know 🙂

      Micha

    • #27631 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: re: PQ and real police training) “…Rod worked on a lot of Sierra’s franchises (King’s Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Police Quest, etc.) and started as a Studio Director filming actors on Sierra’s blue screen stage. Police Quest 4 was his first experience as a full-time developer assigned to a team. So I assume you knew him Ken. Can you remember what kind of guy he was? Any funny stories let me know 🙂 …”
      You are right that Rod worked at Sierra for a many years, and on a lot of projects. I met him hundreds of times, but didn’t really know him. He was a quiet guy, and serious about his work – not someone who would spend hours telling you his life story. I remember having tremendous respect for him.
      Hopefully, I’m not wrong on this: but I belive Rod was married to, or living with, or both, Tammy Dargan – who ran the SWAT project. I realize that I should know more, especially about someone I saw as often as Rod and Tammy, but it really wasn’t my style to do a lot of small talk with people at the office. Even my assistant would frequently point out that it had been months since I had said hello to her. I always thought that if people had time to chat around the coffee machine, they didn’t understand the problem (that there was work to be done!) I met regularly with Tammy and Rod to review their projects, but we didn’t really hang out.
      I think I recall that Rod was the Art Director on one of the Leisure-Suit Larry projects. If so, Al Lowe would be able to tell you tons of stories about him.
      Reading your message confirms what I suspected, Sierra, after I left, was embarrassed to have associated with Daryl Gates.
      It’s really sad how they screwed up Sierra. I remember thinking that it was OK for Roberta and I to sell, because Sierra was strong enough to withstand just about anything. One expression I used to use was that “I wanted to build a company that our grandkids could be proud of”. I always wanted to focus Sierra on a 100 year game plan, and do the little things right that would keep us “in the game” for many generations, even when it might mean temporary pain in return for long-term gain. I thought we could weather out periods of time when there might be poor management. Now I know I was wrong. Bad management can bring down a good company with amazing speed.
      -Ken W

    • #27632 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: PQ and real police training)

      I LOVED that poker game. I used to restore back to that point just so I could replay it. I actually learned to play poker with that game… I was in 5th grade (11 years old?) I was recently at a casino in Tahoe playing on a poker machine, and I realized all my habits (i.e., making decisions when to hold, when to draw, etc.) were based on what I’d learned from PQ1. I only won a dollar… but it wasn’t for lack of enthusiasm! (Actually my boyfriend dragged me out of the casino after only a few minutes because he could tell we were going to be there all day otherwise!)

      Incidientally, I learned to play blackjack from LSL1. I was even younger then. I played the game alongside my dad (mom was just thrilled…)

      -emily

    • #27633 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: re: re: PQ and real police training)

      I wish I could recall which police departments used (or looked at) the PQ games. Of the Police Quest series (including SWAT) I believe that SWAT 3 ended up having the largest following with police agencies and SWAT teams. One of the aspects that they found most intriguing was the firearms that we used in the game and the tactics. I think what also attracted them to the game was the genuine level of authenticity that we applied throughout the game. Tam and I spent a lot of time with LAPD SWAT and we learned pretty much everything there is to know about their work (as it would apply to a game). Even my dev. team spent time with LAPD SWAT. I recall on numerous occasions that we took them done to LA for tactics training, urban climbing, etc… We became friends with a number of the senior staff members at LAPD and I still correspond with them frequently.

      Chief Gates was involved with SWAT 3, but as Ken mentioned his biggest contribution was to mostly open doors for us. Ken Thatcher (LAPD SWAT aka “the bullfrog’) was the chief consultant and he is the one that really showed me the ropes when it came to LAPD SWAT. BTW- Ken is on the cover of the SWAT 3 boxes (guy in the center).

      Lots of stories to tell about the SWAT days as I could go on and on…. I had a great dev. team at Sierra and it’s sad to think it’s all gone now. I’m really happy with the accomplishments that my team and I made for Sierra, and I thank Ken Williams for letting us do our thing. I’m over here at Xbox making some cool stuff and having fun, many of my Sierra dev. team members went on to make SOCOM 2 at Zipper interactive.

      -R

    • #27634 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: re: re: re: PQ and real police training) > “Hopefully, I’m not wrong on this: but I belive Rod was married to, or living with, or both, Tammy Dargan – who ran the SWAT project.” 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 > “It’s really sad how they screwed up Sierra. I remember thinking that it was OK for Roberta and I to sell, because Sierra was strong enough to withstand just about anything. One expression I used to use was that “I wanted to build a company that our grandkids could be proud of”. I always wanted to focus Sierra on a 100 year game plan, and do the little things right that would keep us “in the game” for many generations, even when it might mean temporary pain in return for long-term gain. I thought we could weather out periods of time when there might be poor management. Now I know I was wrong. Bad management can bring down a good company with amazing speed.” Did you ever consider to keep the company and have someone else run the day to day operations while you and Roberta took it a bit more easy and maybe just advise? I guess you probably did think of it but I just like to know what made you sell in stead of keeping it. > “BTW- Ken is on the cover of the SWAT 3 boxes (guy in the center).” Ken(neth) Thatcher you mean right? > “Lots of stories to tell about the SWAT days as I could go on and on….” Please share some with us 🙂 > “many of my Sierra dev. team members went on to make SOCOM 2 at Zipper interactive.” 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… What did the police departments/ SWAT think of those space helmets in SWAT 3 btw Rod? 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. 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? 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. 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? Ken, if you ever decide to make a new game or start a new game company there are a lot of (ex) developers from Sierra who were laid off or left (hope most found a job though) so there is plenty of talent out there to recruit. I think the old Sierra way will definitely sell games. It also seems to be a trend that ex developers of large companies start their own game company and make great games, like Infinity Ward with Call of Duty for instance. Also Sierra seems to use more and more external development teams to developer their games. So there is still a large market for good original/ innovating games made by dedicated (small) companies Ken 🙂 Most companies do however follow (the current) trends/themes like the WWII theme and now it’s the Vietnam theme I think. When you have played one of those games and see an other one from an other company you usually think “been there done that already”. 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 games also seem to be released with several, sometimes very irritating, bugs and that spoils a lot of game fun. They might offer patches later on but then some players might already have put the game away. Making a perfect or good game which is not full of bugs is very rare. It’s the money again, sell it fast then fix it to a normal level. Micha

    • #27635 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: PQ and real police training)

      >“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
      ***CONTINUED***

    • #27636 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      games also seem to be released with several, sometimes very irritating, bugs and that spoils a lot of game fun. They might offer patches later on but then some players might already have put the game away. Making a perfect or good game which is not full of bugs is very rare. It’s the money again, sell it fast then fix it to a normal level.”< Thanks for the nice compliment on SWAT 3. It’s a pretty good game and I am happy I was involved with it. -Rod

    • #27637 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: re: PQ and real police training) Rod, I never knew you were married to Tammy. Of course I never asked about it and it’s not on the net anywhere. You two always used different names so there is no logical connection for non (ex)Sierra/VUG people. Anyways congrats, better late then never. :p And also thanks Tammy for (writing) the great SWAT 3 game 🙂 Kenny Thatcher Jr. in SWAT too, never knew that either, cool. Cool Sierra story, developing games sounds like fun, maybe one day I’ll try it out too. I saw the SWAT movie too, I really liked the beginning, nice and realistic but then planes started to land on bridges and stuff… argh Hollywood… The movie could have been so cool, well at least the beginning was. > “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. What was the conversation about then, if it can be made public of course? I always found it weird and it would have been cool if you guys would have also added the regular helmets to choose from. But if the idea was inspired from a conversation with a legend, who am I to argue 🙂 Rod, if you want I can have a look for the “SWAT Generations” pack and send it to you. Just send me a mail. Do you have all the other ones too, like SWAT Career Pack, Police Quest: SWAT Force etc.? – Micha

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