-- How UHR-Warlords came to be

4 February 2014
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4 February 2014

How UHR-Warlords came to be

AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Introductions Comments Off

The back story

Hi! My name is Fredrik, and I am the CEO here at Turbo Tape Games. Much more importantly, though, I am one of the game designers and producers for UHR-Warlords.

These are exciting times for us. As I write this, my colleagues have just submitted UHR-Warlords to Apple. Come to think of it, this may be the pinnacle of my professional career. I once worked as a hammock model on the beaches of North Australia (dream job), and I have also been involved in mapping out tourist routes along the Silk Road (tough, but fun). All in all I have been fortunate with my prior work engagements; they have been varied and quite extraordinary. Nothing, however, comes close to the feeling of closing in on our first worldwide game launch as an independent game developer.

And we are confident, because UHR-Warlords really is a stellar game experience. I could not have been happier. I have been playing the release candidate through this weekend, and can honestly say that, even if there had been time, I would not change a rule, a phrase, a note or a pixel.  It is hands down the best project I have worked on, ever, with the most dedicated team, ever – Big shouts out to all of them. What we have created is the stuff of legends, and I know you players will enjoy the epic intricacies of the multiplayer for years to come!

UHR-Warlords in glorious action

UHR-Warlords in glorious action – Wanhirs hasted Assassin rushing to strike at Krieghs Ranger on his home turf of Taakheim

 

Though the game has been in the works for about 18 months now, we must go back about five years to find its origin and inspiration. It started one day early in the Naval War: Arctic Circle production, when we were looking for a fitting music score for our first concept trailer. We are a bunch of guys deeply into music here at Turbo Tape Games, and we wanted to use local talent for our game. Bergen is, of course, the world capital for Black Metal music, and pairing that with modern naval vessels, what we tagged ‘The Great Machines of War’ in our game… Well, it seemed to work well, to put it mildly.

So we went straight for the top, and contacted Demonaz, composer and lyrics writer of the pioneering band IMMORTAL, founded in 1990 during the very first wave of hugely successful bands from our city. A phone call later, revolving around massive aircraft carriers, Russian steel battle cruisers, dark seas, the northern lights and the third world war in the Arctic, we were sitting around the table discussing the details.

And by the time NWAC shipped in early 2012, it had turned into a trailer tune license, a remixed instrumental version of Demonaz title track ‘March of the Norse’ redubbed ‘The Great Machines of War’, as well as some 40 minutes of ambient music soundscape heard in the final product, composed originally by Demonaz for the game. Not only that, we had all become good friends and saw quite a bit of each other outside of work as well.

You see, as it soon became obvious, making games and making Black Metal is not all that different, much less so than what you would assume. Many of our sources of inspiration turned out to be the same, the nature, the mythology, fantasy literature. And many of the challenges, turning out something unique and appealing in our respective media genres, were very similar as well. It is like our computers are Demonaz’ instruments, and vice versa. So we had a lot to talk about, and we talked about that, and other things, like music. A fun fact is that Demonaz and my own favorite bands are very similar, from the 1980s post-punk / Goth scene. For most people indistinguishable, but for the followers true nemesis. In our culture you love the one and hate the other, there are no two ways about it; it is the politics of rock ‘n roll. And the bands, of course, at the ebb of their careers now, will never admit to being inspired by each other. That would be more than a mortal sin.

Seriously, everyone can see that these two bands are worlds apart, right? Not even from the same planet, to be sure. In the left corner: Carl McCoy of Fields of the Nephilim, in the right corner: Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy.

Seriously, everyone can see that these two bands are worlds apart, right? Not even from the same planet, to be sure.
In the left corner: Carl McCoy of Fields of the Nephilim, in the right corner: Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy.

 

So there we were one evening, having listened to music at Demonaz’ attic retreat, and later having moved onto a local bar called Biblioteket (The Library). We were sitting under a huge candelabra, exhausted from our who-is-the-king-of-Goth discussion, having turned to games and music and, in particular, the huge crossover of fans, that meet in literature, comics, movies, TV-series, Tolkien, Game of Thrones, Sandman, Dungeons and Dragons, as well as music and games like Magic and HOMM, and so much more. And Demonaz revealed his own fantasy universe that had taken form over the last three decades. Aside from inspiring all his music to date, this universe was mainly confined to his mind, as well as a cabinet full of unsorted hand written notes and sketches. He told me about Hornar and Kriegh, the Uhrgods, Helmerah, Taakheim, Volcaniir, the ongoing struggle for domination between the endless Warlords through the ages, and I was completely blown away.

I asked him if he had never thought about bringing it all to another media, I said that it was all too good to remain stashed away. Seriously, me as a gamer and fan of all things fantasy for my entire life was so intrigued I just wanted to dive into it right then and there, and that had to count for something. It turned out he had thought those thoughts many times already. But you see, in the busy schedule of a rock star, touring and composing, and with no one to really thrust with a brain child like this, it was a thing hard to realize.

And that, of course, is where Turbo Tape Games came in. And the rest has been an unforgettable ride. We have fleshed it out together, gameplay has been influential in maturing the universe, that in its turn has been instrumental in creating the game experience, and the music has come together with the whole along the way, taking heed to the colors, the phasing and the mood of the game.

Planning and designing UHR-Warlords. From left to right: Fredrik, Demonaz and Øyvind

Planning and designing UHR-Warlords. From left to right: Fredrik, Demonaz and Øyvind

 

We are now left with a fantastic game in an awesome setting that has tons of backdata to build on. I have always been a firm believer in the fact that the best of narratives leaves so much unsaid. It is in all that is left out that the truthfulness lays, in where you find the essence of a good story. And UHR is one on pair with anything you have ever seen. Ask us anything about the world of UHR, and we will answer with consistence and no hesitation. I believe that the kind words we just got at a Russian game site speaks for itself in that matter:

 

“We are waiting for an unforgettable journey to the dark ages of Middle-earth and gameplay that will satisfy all fans of turn-based battle games. [..] We will spend many unforgettable hours in the game.”

 

Apparently, the depth of the setting shines through even in our early material. I will leave it with those words of which we are very proud. I’m anxiously looking forward to showing you the finished game. It will be out soon now, and rest assured, this is by far the last you have heard about the world of UHR.

 

Sincerely,

Fredrik

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