Thunderhawk Box Art

My Role

Atari ST
Commodore Amiga

My involvement in Thunderhawk came about when the astonishingly talented duo of Mark 'Mac' Avory and Sean 'Gilbert the Goat' Dunlevy arrived at Core with vast amounts of 3D knowledge, code and a desire to do something amazing. Mac had always wanted to create a helicopter sim and was in the process of doing just that when I was assigned to the project. It was clear that Mac's engine was revolutionary for its time and my role in the design was to assist in capitalising on that.

Thunderhawk screenshot:

Multiple incoming targets

At the time that Thunderhawk was being developed there were two types of helicopter game. Firstly there were the 3D simulations that were highly technical, had some 30 odd controls to master and saw the player tracking small dots along a wobbly horizon for hours and then there were sprite-based arcade games that were good fun but lacking in depth. Where Thunderhawk sat was right in the middle - utilising Mac's 3D engine to depict a realistic world of SAM sites, tanks and planes in surprising detail for the time but featuring missions that began right in the thick of the action, eliminating those hours of fiddling around trying to find a target.

What resulted was a neat, short project to work on that resulted in one of Core's early successes as a publisher. In addition to campaign and mission design it was my first taste of script writing - all sixty mission briefings, which in the days before decent word processors felt like fifty-nine mission briefings too many...

Additional Credits

Mark 'Mac' Avory Atari ST and Amiga Programming and Design
Sean 'Gilbert' Dunlevy PC Programming and Design
Jason Gee Graphics and Design
Mark Price 3D Object Design
Bob 'Goth' Churchill Level Design


Simon Phipps

My name is Simon Phipps. I'm a UK-based artist, designer, programmer and web designer and I've been making videogames professionally since 1984.
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