Oh No! The History of DMA Design

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It took a long time, but I finally started to write in earnest the history of DMA Design.

DMA, if you don’t know, is a computer game company from Dundee, Scotland and also the studio which happened to create Grand Theft Auto. The story of that place is something I think I’m uniquely placed to write since I worked there for most of it’s existence. Not only that, I happened to be friends with the founding members since we had all met at a computer club. That takes my involvement with the games industry back to around 1984.

I’d had the idea even as far back as 1993, when I wrote some example chapters. However that was the wrong time to do it. DMA had only really started and the result would have been a story without a conclusion. As it happened DMA ended in 2001 in very different circumstances to how it began. In 1996 I wrote down a diary for the year about the comings and goings, something I wished I had done all along. In any case, after I left, I inherited several boxes of documents and paperwork which I had compulsively hoarded in those years. Part of my job had been typesetting manuals and writing stories, so I have many interim printouts to work from.

Even better, I wrote the company newsletter and have managed to keep most of those. Some printouts and notes contain information which didn’t make it into the newsletter. So when I say that I’m uniquely placed to write DMA’s story, I’m not kidding. Which of course doesn’t mean I can do it without help. I wouldn’t have embarked on this without knowing that others are willing to help, to offer their memories and recollections of events for which I simply wasn’t present. Researching has already uncovered information of which I had no idea, shining a new light on things I knew only in passing or not at all. Mike Dailly, whom I’ve known for decades now, has said he’ll help and he just happened to have invented Lemmings and the technology which GTA was based on.

What this means is a true behind-the-scenes account of the company which was for a short while the largest independent developer in Europe and most controversial in the world. All the games we made, all the ideas we had. From the games which were only ideas to games which were cancelled mere months before completion.

In August 2016 I passed the 40,000 word mark. And that is just the first draft with only my own memories. As I go on I’ll be refining it with other’s clarifications and additions. It’ll be a while before it’s complete and edited.

But I promise it’ll be worth the wait.