There are giants in this industry, and then there’s Ernest Adams. A developer, lecturer, scholar and teacher, Ernest’s book Fundamentals of Game Design is the essential text on the subject, while his newest work Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design, written with Joris Dormans, is a much-needed formalization of game mechanics grammar and understanding.
In his spare time, Ernest founded the International Game Developers Association and shipped 15 games over 23 years.
He’s also one of the nicest people you’ll meet, and I consider myself fortunate to be able to call him a friend; one who’s assisted me many times in my career. All that you need to know about Ernest in order to get along with him just fine is that he has no time or patience for people who are stupid or disrespectful – and that being one of the nicest people you’ll meet doesn’t mean he won’t be aggressive about subjects that anger him.
Ernest has written a column for Gamasutra since the place was founded over 14 years ago, with a largely free editorial hand. Unfortunately, that site chose not to publish this piece as it was written… something that makes me bite my tongue. Interestingly I went through a similar incident several months ago with my Culture Clash column for the IGDA. Perhaps wrongly, I elected to rewrite the piece to assuage the opinion of someone who frankly had no right to judge what I said.
Ernest chose another path, and here is his view, in his words, without dilution; because courage to stand up to wrongs (editorial and social) is another one of his qualities.