Foundation of Revolution Software
"Above a fruit shop, in a freezing half-office ..."
Cecil worked two days a week his day-job at Activison, while the other three were spent setting up the new company.
13 He was armed with a £ 10,000 loan from his mother. 14 At that time Sean Brennan was deputy managing director at Mirrorsoft, and he was one of the key people in convincing Cecil to set up Revolution. Brennan had phoned Cecil as they desperately needed a great product, and assured him that they'd support them if they set up a studio. 15
Warriner was approached by Cecil to join the new company. He had been working on various games after Obsidan (e.g. Ultima Ratio, Death Stalker,
19 Part 1: Boot Camp). 17 At the time Revolution was founded though, he was working at Bytron, where he wrote aviation software with a fellow programmer, David Sykes. 18
David Sykes ca 1992
David Sykes ca 2007
Unlike the description of the creation of the company in interviews, 19 the origin was described in a different way on a former version of Revolution's website. The historical meeting (a complete different description is given in the manual of Lure of the Temptress) 20 is mysteriously described:
"In Autumn 1989 Charles Cecil, Tony Warriner and David Sykes met in darkest north Wales to discuss a new and exciting venture. They conspired to form a company to write graphic adventures. Via telephone 'Miss X' approved the deal. Suspecting that they were being followed, even here, they ate all documents relating to the meeting and drove off in seperate cars.
Tony and Dave returned the following summer to write the menu systems for Lure of the Temptress. A few months later, on 1st March 1990, Tony Warriner moved into a tiny, freezing, half-office one desk on Chanterlands avenue in Hull.
On 1st April Tony was joined by Dave Sykes. Together they half froze to death between bouts of a strange dizzyness brought on by the fumes from an ineffective portable gas heater.
After 6 months of strange dreams they coined the term 'mega-character' and work began in earnest on Lure of the Temptress.
Revolution moved into Dave's flat (No. 30) at Warehouse 13 on Hull marina for two days. Tony worked in the living room and Dave in his bedroom. As is clearly illustrated in the picture,
Warehouse 13 began to sink into the ground under the weight of the rubbish accumulated in Dave's flat during this period. To counter balance the subsidence,
the team quickly moved from Dave's flat to that of a friend, Alan Clifford, (no. 26, in green on the other side of Warehouse 13. At this point Charles and Miss X',
aka Noirin Carmody, joined full time and lived, temporarily, in the flat! When this got too small (i.e. straight away) the fledgling company moved back up the stairs into flat 31,
across the corridor from Dave's flat - this meant Dave had even less distance to commute." 21
Location of the former fruitshop at Chanterlands avenue (80c, "to let" poster)
Tony Warriner at the warehouse
Part of the team at the warehouse
One of the Turnvale references in Lure of the Temptress
A defunct company, Turnvale, Ltd was bought and renamed, because that was cheaper than forming a new one. 22 It took long time to find a proper name, according to Tony Warriner. Jagged Software was high on the list for a while, but the new name became Revolution Software, and the company was registered on March 23, 1990. 23 The original name of the company survived in Revolution's first game, as it is located in a town that bears the name of Turnvale. Work on Lure
of the Temptress had started on March 1, in cold premisses above a fruit shop in Hull. 24
Locked up in their Turnvale dungeon, they had a gas heater that spat out terrible fumes. In the middle of winter they either closed the window and turned the gas off, or closed the window and turned the gas on. Their coders wore fingerless gloves to type. But according to Cecil, it provided the kind of environment in which start-ups flourish. "I think that too much money can be a dangerous thing for a start-up developer. You look at the companies that start with a bang and they normally go with a bang." 25
- Pictures of the workplaces courtesy of Tony Warriner -
Game Nostalgia on Facebook: