From what little i know of Tunnel Hunt..Owen tried again and again whilst at Atari to turn the game into the game he wanted it to be, but it never quite came together.
Years later it inspired Stun Runner so things came good in the end
Re:The Tie Fighters, from the interview with Owen at Atari museum. Com
How did the concept of Tunnel Hunt evolve?
Tunnel Hunt was actually my first vector game, although it did not end up as a vector game. I really liked the opening sequence of the movie Alien (the part where they landed) and thought it might be fun. Using the vector system from Asteroids and some software from Night Driver, I created a early version where you could fly down tunnels. But because the system did not do hidden line removal, the tunnels could not move much, It just did not work. A hardware engineer at Atari came up with an expensive hardware that drew ellipses. I re-wrote the game to use that. It looked great. Multiple tunnels with splits and rotates. But it was too expensive. Then the hardware was changed to circles, but still too expensive. Then it was changed to rectangles. That was what finally shipped. But marketing felt just flying was not fun enough, so we added Star Wars like objects that flew down the tube at you and you had to shoot them. It was a good game, but they kept wanting changes. It did a solid #2 and #3 for 12 weeks in tests, but Atari could not decide to ship it.
Edited by Lost Dragon, Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:31 PM.