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Dr. Ernest Adams is a game design consultant, writer and teacher. Adams graduated from Stanford University (California, USA) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1986, and in 2013 earned a Ph.D. from the University of Teesside in the UK for his work on interactive storytelling. He worked as a software engineer in the electronics industry for seven years before switching to game development in 1989, joining a company called Interactive Productions (later P.F.Magic). There he wrote the PC client for an early America Online game, RabbitJack’s Casino. He also did the programming for Third Degree, a multi-player party game for the short-lived CD-I Player.
Moving to Electronic Arts in 1992, Adams became a game designer. He designed the first-ever CD-ROM edition of John Madden Football, for the 3DO Multiplayer. For the next several years he served as the audio/video producer for the Madden series, and under his guidance Electronic Arts perfected the technique of assembling sentences from audio fragments to produce seamless play-by-play commentary. During this period Adams also helped to produce the Game Developers’ Conference and founded the International Game Developers’ Association, the first worldwide professional society for game developers.
In 1999, Adams moved to Great Britain to become a lead designer at Bullfrog Productions, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. There he worked on two prototype projects, Genesis: The Hand of God and Dungeon Keeper 3. In 2000 Adams left Bullfrog to become a design consultant, joining the International Hobo consortium. He has worked for both large industry publishers such as Sony and Ubisoft, and smaller clients with special projects, including the Guinness Book of World Records and Zoo Atlanta. He writes an irregular paid column on game design called “The Designer’s Notebook” for the Gamasutra developers’ webzine, and has written a university textbook on the subject, Fundamentals of Game Design, which was subsequently adopted at MIT. He has also written a second book, Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design with Joris Dormans. Adams lectures frequently at colleges, art festivals, and game conferences, and conducts game design workshops around the world. His professional web site is at www.designersnotebook.com.