The Disciple




The Disciple disk interface was an alternative to the Sinclair Microdrive. It had fast access and saved you having to use tapes.




















Tony also did an introduction, where the players ship flew out of the mothership.














Psygnosis HQ
Psygnosis used to have offices in the prestigious Liver Building on Liverpool's waterfront. While developing Menace, Dave agreed a 6 game deal with Psygnosis. This was only fufiled after the release of Lemmings 3.


The Complete History of
DMA Design
Mike Dailly

Chapter 1
Part 4


Meanwhile, Mike had started the "Game With No Name 3", a small two player game for the C64, complete with the new Acme logo.

Click to download the C64 file
"Game with no Name 3"

Not unusually, this didn't get very far. Russell was still struggling with the re-titled Zone Trooper and was getting very fed up with it all.

He had a 3 1/2" disk drive for his Spectrum called a Disciple which had a habit for eating Spectrums! Every now and then, the disk drive would somehow blow up the Spectrum and Russell would have to get another one from Dave. By then end, he managed to almost break every one of Dave's Spectrums!

Dave's search for a publisher had taken him to the doorstep of a company based in Liverpool; Psygnosis. All the elements were in place and now the race was on to finish.

A selection of the ships produced

A name change took place and now the scrolling shoot-'em-up was called Draconia. While Tony started churning out great graphics at a frightening rate, Dave started to build levels for the player to fly through and paths for the bad guys to follow.

By the time that the freshly-monikered Draconia had gained its first few playable levels, Psygnosis had been persuaded to let Brian do the Atari ST version. His first problem was replicating something that the Amiga excelled at and the ST simply couldn't do easily: smooth scrolling.

Fortunately he was up to the task and his scrolling method was a memory-hungry design using no less than 8 screens each of which was two pixels further on than the last one. He was very proud, and strutted around the room as if he had just solved world hunger.

An old ST Ship, and some test panels

Tony started modifying his graphics so that they would fit in the ST, which had less colours to work with. These included the low-colour ships and a vertical panel.

Since Psygnosis couldn't decide which player ship they liked, Tony ended up drawing so many more variations on player ships that he even started to label his disks "This weeks ship". It was a running joke for a LONG time.

The company name Acme, proved to be already taken in the form of a design company, so Dave needed another name. This one was chosen in a name-storming session at the Bell Street Tech computer club.

The New Ship Disk!

Another Amiga hardware register came into play and this time it gave it's name to the company: DMA Design, standing as it did for Direct Memory Access although it didn't stand for anything as far as the company was concerned.

Dave just thought it sounded cool and didn't go for the many alternatives which included 'Visual Voyage' and the not-so-serious 'Alias Smith and Jones' (which was a T.V. series at the time).

Years later, DMA would be asked by countless journalists what DMA stood for, and after answering too many to count, he thought it funny to remark, "Doesn't Mean Anything". Frighingly few journalists got the joke however, and DMA members would sigh and explain it.w

Once chosen however, Tony was able to do a new logo.

The Menace Character set

Having a publisher located in Liverpool meant a long trip every now and then for when Dave went to see them. Mike would go along to keep Dave company and Steve would go along to keep Mike company, such was the arrangement!

While Dave and Tony would talk shop, Stev and Mike would head into town and check out the arcades and shops. These trips were great fun since Dave would hire a nice car as a substitute for his own one, which wasn't so nice.

In fact his own little black Mini was run down to the point that the door handle had broken off, and it was a struggle to get in and out of.

They would start the journey at the crack of dawn, stopping only for breakfast on the way down and for tea on the way back. It was great fun and all very new for them (Mike had just turned eighteen.)

Even after all this, Tony was never actually seen by anyone, except Dave; something that remained true for years. The rest of the team finally met Tony at a computer show, while Steve never actually managed to see Tony at all - Ever!






















An unused sprite
Dave resisted the temptation of adding this sprite to menace.










Low colour ST ship




The ST ship only had 4 colours in it, this meant more colours could be dedicated to the actual level graphics.






Old logos





Tony did many mock logos before he stuck on one that everyone liked.






Menace on the ST





Brians version of Menace had a vertical panel, since the ST didn't have the same resolution as the Amiga.



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Text Copyright 2004 By Mike Dailly
All rights reserved.