Meet the team: James Stimpson

James Stimpson
Senior Designer

What does an average day at work look like for you?

I start my day about six AM when I’m woken up by my son. As soon as he’s up, everyone’s up so I generally get into work pretty early when it’s quiet and I can re-arrange people’s desks and blame it on the cleaners. I’ll get a cup of tea and a bowl of Wheetos and then I check through my emails to see if I’ve broken anything between leaving work and arriving in the morning, most of the time I’m in the clear.

What I do day-to-day has been quite varied on Elite Dangerous. When I first joined the project I was helping out with new USSs and Community Goals. Then I moved onto Elite Dangerous for Xbox One where I handled the new design tasks that come up when moving onto a new platform as well as designing CQC with Dan (Davies). My days can be spent in front of a script, in 3DS Max doing map layouts, talking to coders and artists to see how they’re getting on, writing documentation, sending emails to the boss men to get their thoughts on things, trying to organise everyone ready for a play test, and getting tea. Always getting tea. And biscuits. But not too many. Just a few.

What aspect of the game have you worked on that you are most proud of?

Compared to a lot of the people who’ve worked on the project I’ve not done that much in the grand scheme of things. It was a steep learning curve coming onto a game that had already been released and had a devoted fan base who already knew far more than I could ever learn. 

I think the way that CQC has turned out in general is what I’m most proud of. It’s taken a lot of hard work and we’ve hit many bumps in the road but we’ve ended up with what we feel is a really fun game in its own right. 

It’s taken a real team effort to get it all together; our coders have written magical code to get everything working (I’m quite sure they’re wizards), art have got us some fantastic looking assets to fly around and through, rendering have made things look even prettier, we’ve got badass particle effects going on, the audio continues to be outstanding, the UI team have worked miracles and given us everything we needed and made it very pretty, QA have been invaluable in play testing and of course, finding bugs, and of course the design team who have made something really fun to play. So I guess you could say the thing I’m most proud of is the team! (they better buy me donuts  for saying this).

What's your favourite thing about Elite Dangerous?

The sheer vastness and expanse of the game. It’s freaking huge. It’s amazing how much there is yet to discover.

What was the biggest challenge you came up against during game development?

Getting up to speed on the project. There is so much to Elite Dangerous and it continues to get bigger. It was quite daunting joining the project as everything design-side is quite technical. Just the weapons themselves are incredibly complex with so many different aspects you can tweak. 

What have you learned from working on Elite Dangerous?

I’ve learned that people are incredibly passionate about Elite. I’ve also  learned that Sandy wants everyone to put  on weight (the number of treats he brought in for everyone on his birthday was amazing). 

Federation, Empire, or Alliance? And why?

I’d probably pick the Federation because I love flying the Fed Fighter.

Tell the community a fun fact about yourself.

I wrote a children’s book that I’m trying (and failing) to get published.

If you could ask the community one question, what would it be?

How do you plan on playing CQC? Do you prefer to hang back and support, or lead from the front?

Got an answer for James? Answer it on the forum thread here.