May 16, 2003 at 10:05 am #25234
I have a few questions about the old Sierra HQ’s:
The first building specifically built for Sierra in Oakhurst was the Redwood Building, also known as the Sierra Professional Center. If I remember it correctly, Sierra moved in there in 1985. Is that correct?
Also, when Sierra grew out of that building the company was moved to a nearby facility which is currently the HQ of Codemasters’ U.S. department. But when did Sierra move to that building? And was it also built by the company for its specific needs?
May 16, 2003 at 11:48 am #25235
(re: The Sierra HQ’s) Here’s my remembrance:
The “redwood building” was built for Sierra. I don’t remember it being as late as 1985, but it may have been. My guess would have been closer to 1982.
Soon after we moved in the company hit hard times, and almost bankrupted. The building was part of the problem. We had huge payments, and couldn’t afford the building. It’s a long story, but we had shifted to doing video game cartridges, and got caught with extra inventory when the market crashed. I even offered the owner of the building 10% (and more) of Sierra if he would give us temporary forgiveness on the rent, which he refused. He made the wrong choice. Anyway — within a couple of years, we turned it around and outgrew the building.
We then bought 5 acres nearby and built our own building. It looked like an aircraft hangar. 40,000 square feet of metal building – half for manufacturing and half for offices. This is the building that CodeMasters took over when the Oakhurst location was shut down.
Here’s an amazing conclusion to the story: !!!! I just heard that the building was sold to the local phone company, Sierra Telephone. For some reason the phone company decided to enter the online games business and rehired several ex-Sierra people. In the rumor I heard, developers like Chris Iden and Bob Heitman are back in their old offices, with several other ex-Sierra developers, working for a company called Sierra, building online games.
May 16, 2003 at 12:39 pm #25236
(re: The Sierra HQ’s) Wow! Very interesting! You must be right that the move to the Redwood Building was made around 1982. If you worked there during the cartridge crash times it cannot have been in 1985. I don’t remeber where that year was mentioned… I doubt it was the year you moved to the other building either, as the Redwood Building/Sierra Professional Center is seen in Space Quest 3, which was released in 1989.
Anyway, I’ve discussed this with Jess Morisette of the website “The Virtual Broomcloset” (
) who recently visited Oakhurst during his honeymoon. He claims the Redwood Building is used as a medical clinic today. He also visited the other building down the street, which he claims is still used by Codemasters.
The info about Sierra Telephone is very interesting, and something I’ve never heard before. If this is true I have no idea what has happened to Codemasters. Interestingly, I found this website a few months ago:
Since the website apparently hasn’t been updated since 2000 this company may no longer exist in this form, but as you can see Chris Iden worked there, as well as (I assume) his wife Marie and former Sierra employees David Mace and the legendary John Harris, working on several projects, including a couple of GameBoy Color games!
Checking the SierraTel website also provides some interesting information. No mention of any game services that I could find, but apparently they are hiring game designers, programmers and artists, as can clearly be seen at this page:
So there’s definately something going on there…
May 16, 2003 at 1:36 pm #25237
May 16, 2003 at 1:38 pm #25238
(re: The Sierra HQ’s) Hi, there! Jess Morrissette of the aforementioned Virtual Broomcloset here. I did indeed make the trek to Oakhurst while visiting Yosemite National Park on my honeymoon in mid-March. As Petter mentioned, the “redwood building” (now called the Sierra Professional Center) is presently a medical clinic. As an interesting side note, I went into the building and asked a receptionist if it was indeed the old Sierra On-Line building–just in case I was crazy. Her response? “I’ve never heard of Sierra On-Line. Is that like a telephone company or something?”
Anyway, I also dropped by the “warehouse” building while I was in town. As of March 20, it was still Codemasters. The place was fairly deserted when I stopped by, but their name was still on the door. For what it’s worth, though, I did notice a promotional box in their lobby for a Gameboy Color (or Gameboy Advance) title.
Want to see some photos? Here I am at the “redwood building.”
And here I am meeting the World Famous Talking Bear!
I have one of me at Codemasters, but it’s fairly boring. After all, as Ken mentioned, it really does look like an aircraft hanger. 🙂 Best wishes!