Date: January 2, 2004
Your Website Staff has asked me to explain some of the background
of the "Spearhead" battle simulation software and the
company that produced it during 1996-98.
First, an answer to an obvious question. Why did we pick the
3rd Armored Division as the namesake and "star" of
the game? You folks know enough about your history to know the
reason for that. Was there a better Armored Division? We did
have a former Army tanker (M1A1 gunner), Mitch Caves, who was
our artist, but he was not in the 3AD. Mitch was in full agreement
with our choice of Spearhead.
Our company, Zombie, Inc., is located in Seattle, WA. The
city has the second highest concentration of game development
studios outside of the LA area. Doesn't hurt to have Microsoft
and Nintendo here. I'm currently President of Zombie, though
when working on Spearhead, I was Producer & Designer. I also
wrote the manual, made many of the 3D models and textures and
created all the missions. One of the other artists on the project
stayed with us and worked on the Spec Ops series, Disney's Atlantis,
then went to California for a while and worked on Buffy and Indiana
Jones games, and is back with us working on our current game.
We had a lot of fun making Spearhead, and we tried hard to
make it as realistic as we could and still have it be fun. All
the audio in the game is from either U.S. Army SIMNET or live-fire
exercises we went to. There were a good number of conceits we
had to make to make Spearhead a game, but we are proud of what
we were able to include. Especially the multiplayer. Using the
IVIS in multiplayer was always something I enjoyed. The multiplayer
part was built on SIMNET using the guys from MAK. Based out of
Boston, Mass, MAK did all the programming, Paul Cummings in particular.
Zombie was responsible for all of Spearhead's art, audio, music,
gameplay, and design. The texture maps for the vehicles in the
game were based on HO scale models that my brother built.
Some other trivia on the game: We made a demo of a WWII submarine
game using the same graphics engine for Spearhead. Complete with
battleships, waves, subs and strafing airplanes. We also used
it for a demo of near future warfare, called PACWAR 2025, using
tank designs projected to be on the battlefield in the year 2025.
Sadly the market had fallen on simulation games and neither was
picked up. But we have had a good deal of success doing military
first-person shooters: Spec Ops (several millions copies sold),
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, Delta Force and our current game: Red
I'd love to do another real, hard core tank sim, but the market
has changed and more accessible games for the casual gamer are
all the rage. There are some 3rd person tank games, but they
are very much arcade games and not sims. Even the long successful
Jane's Flight sim line from EA is gone. We thought we had the
timing down perfect, when we made Spearhead. There hadn't been
a good tank sim since the old M1 Abrams game from Microprose
(back before texture maps). But in the same year we came out,
there were two other tanks sims released. Armored Fist from Nova
Logic and iM1A2 from Interactive Magic (who later published our
game). All three had some very good points.
I'd love to hear any feedback or comments you folks have.
I wish I could find a place that still had an inventory of Spearhead
so I can send a few copies your way, but no luck. It's simply
not available anywhere that I know of.
Best regards, and keep the legacy alive!
John E. Williamson
114 1/2 First Ave. South
Seattle, WA 98104