Brian and Russell





Brian getting some helpful advice for DMA Debug (or Monster Debug as it became) from Russell.








Mike and his PDS





Brian getting some helpful advice Mike working away on Blood Money with his PDS (personal Development System) an being secretly  "snapped" by Gary.






Golden Axe





Dave was a huge fan of Sega's GoldenAxe, but wanted more blood and gore whenever you hacked something up. This was the insperation behind GORE!

The Complete History of
DMA Design
Mike Dailly

Chapter 3
(Finding a focus)

Part 1

DMA Debug in action

After the experience with his last games, Dave decided he needed a dedicated games debugger. A debugger is a tool that allows the programmer to find his bugs and makes development a whole lot simpler. The problem with most games, is that they use the whole machine; memory, screen - everything, and no normal debugger could cope. 

So Dave commissioned Brian to write a new debugger, one that was game friendly and would aid in development without expensive PC hardware. Brian decided to use Devpac as a template, and set about reproducing it's layout and interface.

Around this point, Dave also now started to do a series of 6 articles  for Amiga Format, all about games programming. He wrote a special framework that budding games programmers could use to get complete control of the system, then became one of the first developers to then go on to release the full source a published game; Menace.

This is now a common practice, with some high profile companies such as ID sofware, and Sierra releasing their own back catalog.

The framework program turned out to be incredibly useful, and helped many games programmers find their feet in the complex work of Amiga programming.

Each episode of the article, he would release a new section of the Menace source code, and detail exactly what he did and why. This series of articles turned out to be very important for many programmers, since it gave them a first hand insight into how games were written.

Mike was getting on well with Blood Money, and had decided to write his own tape loading routines. Unlike the normal, run of the mill turbo loaders, Mike wanted one that would allow users to play a simple game while it loaded.

The GORE! man
Dave meanwhile, decided that walker wasn't really going anywhere, it needed a rethink. So he and Tony set about writing a new game, called Gore!

Tony drew a man with a large axe, much like Golden axe, and then added some background tiles. Dave then wrote a 3 level parallax scrolling system to place the characters in, and tried to think of a way to store these huge images.

The character had to be broken up into 16x16 pixel blocks (hence the grid in the animation above) in an attempt to fit him into memory; ultimatly, this wasn't enough, but it was a good place to start.

Dave had also gotten a new contract to write "Shadow of the Beast" on the C64, something he handed over to a friend of Mike's call Richard Swinfen. Richard was still at school when Dave sub-contracted the work to him, and it was to consume a large portion of his life!

Steve was to do the graphics in his spare time between College and sleeping, something which Steve and Richard would be deprived of, for a long time to come.

Mike was now finishing up on Blood Money, and it was all going very well. The last level was being finished off, and Psygnosis was testing the game.

During testing Mike's tape system failed a couple of times, and even though it got fixed, Psygnosis got understandably edgy and decided to use an off the shelf one, much to Mike's dismay.






















Amiga Format







Daves series of articles helped get him more publicity, at a time when games programmers were still considered "whiz-kids".














Gore was designed to push the boundarys of the Amiga, and that ended up being its downfall, as it constantly ran out of memory.



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Text Copyright 2005 By Mike Dailly
All rights reserved.