Ernest Adams

Developer Biography

Dr. Ernest Adams has been in the game industry since 1989, and has worked as a game design consultant, lead game designer, audio/video producer, and software engineer. He holds a PhD from the School of Computing and Mathematics at the University of Teesside, UK, for his work on interactive storytelling.

Adams graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Philosophy in the early 1980s. For the next seven years he worked as a software engineer in the electronics industry. In 1989 he left computer-aided design to develop games, joining Interactive Productions (later, p.f. Magic). There he created the PC-side client for an early America On-line game, RabbitJack's Casino. He also did the programming for a multiplayer party game called Third Degree for the short-lived CD-I player.

Adams became a game designer shortly after his move to Electronic Arts in 1992. He designed the first ever CD-ROM edition of John Madden Football, for the 3DO machine. With the experience gained on that project, Adams was the audio/video producer for the Madden series for the next five years. Under his guidance Electronic Arts perfected the technique of assembling sentences from audio snippets to produce seamless play-by-play commentary.

During this period at Electronic Arts Adams also helped to produce the Computer Game Developers Conference (now the GDC), and founded the International Game Developers' Association, the first international professional society for game developers. He served as President and Chairman of the Board of the IGDA for two and a half years.

In 1999 Adams moved to Great Britain to become a lead designer at Bullfrog Productions, a subsidiary of EA. There he worked on two projects, Genesis: The Hand of God and Dungeon Keeper 3. Both were terminated when the company cut back its PC development.

In 2000 Adams left Bullfrog to become a game design and development consultant, joining the International Hobo group. Among his clients have been UbiSoft, THQ, Sony, Crytek, and Glu Mobile.

Adams lectures and write extensively on game design, including a regular on-line column called The Designer's Notebook. He has written five books: "Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design" with Joris Dormans; "Fundamentals of Game Design" (in two editions); "Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design" with Andrew Rollings, and "Break Into the Game Industry: How to Get a Job Making Video Games."

In 2004 Adams began teaching as well as consulting. He has held appointments as Visiting Fellow at the University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster Magee, Derry, Northern Ireland. He is currently serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Gotland, Visby, Sweden.

Contributed by Ernest Adams (130) on Nov 28, 2004. [revised by : Ernest Adams (130)].