Meet the team: Adam Woods

Adam Woods

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

It starts with a coffee. Freshly ground, black, with no sugar. 

I then head to my PC, and have a quick skim through my emails, flagging any that require my direct attention. Then it’s in to the various morning meetings we have. These are quick 10-15minutes stand-ups to get a quick overview from the leads and heads of departments, and allow us as a production team to distribute any important information or updates. 

Once back at my desk, I make a plan of action for the day as well as updating my build to get the latest version of the game. Depending on what phase of development we are in, the bulk of my day differs. High level there are 3 different phases:

1 – Plan it!

2 – Do it!

3 – Ship it!

Plan it! This phase requires my time to be spent talking with the teams to get the features/content that I will be looking after understood and the work broken down. Then I have to do a lot of electronic paperwork and get Jira (the task and bug tracking software we use) setup ready for the team to use. Elite is ever growing and developing, so we also have to look ahead into the future a lot, planning for what’s coming up next, to ensure that the team can move onto the next feature/update when ready.

Do it! The team will now understand 99% of the work expected from them to hit the goals for release (no-one can ever know 100% in game development, trust me...) so this phase sees me ensuring that the they have the right tools, software, design specs, and support from other teams to get their work done as smoothly as possible. During this phase I also constantly review the build and features along with the leads, heads of departments, and executives to capture feedback/requests that needs to be folded back into the game. I work with the teams to balance the pre-planned work with the feedback and requests that come up during development, which can be tricky at times.

Ship it! We are content and feature complete, and we are now exterminating those pesky bugs! During this phase I run around the studio...a lot. It’s similar to the previous phase, but here I concentrate on liaising with our beautiful QA department, and get the team working on the highest priority bugs. It’s a very exciting phase, seeing the various features polished and optimised, and the hype that starts to build as we release sneak peeks.

Of course, that’s the way I see it in my head, in an ideal world. It’s much more like a mixture of all 3 phases, with a huge side helping of laughs, songs, tears, sweat, blood, pizza, doughnuts and some of the largest, most complex excel sheets I have ever seen.  

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

As a producer, I rarely work on anything that goes into the game directly (I have been known to check some things in, to the horror of the programmers. I’ve never broken the build though...yet). My role is more about helping steer the feature as a whole. 

I think the 1.2 ‘Wings’ update is probably the feature I am most proud to have been part of; it really opened up a whole new way to take on the universe. I remember shortly after we released it, I was docked in my trusty Eagle, looking for mission (I had my eye on an ASP, and needed credits). I took on an assassination job. The target turned out to be a wanted, Elite ranked Anaconda. I thought I could pull a ‘David Vs Goliath’ move. I couldn’t, and barely made it out of the skirmish alive. I headed back to the nearest Starport, docked, and paid for repairs. Dejected, and ready to head back ‘home’ (Sol), I was going through the launch procedure, when I noticed another human player leaving the ‘Port. I opened up comms with him, and asked if he wanted to help me hunt down the Anaconda I had just escaped from. We winged up and headed out to find my target once again. 

And we kicked his butt.

And thanks to the Wing feature, he could share in the bounty that was on the Anaconda. To this day, it’s one of the greatest moments in any game I have played.


What's your favourite thing about Elite Dangerous?

2 things:

First it’s the fact that, even after almost 2 years on the project, I still see brand new things every day. And even that’s before I start looking around “Horizons”. Most of my ‘Geeeez, I have never seen that before!’ jaw dropping moments come from checking out the vast amount of content that the players of Elite create every day. Which leads me onto my second favourite thing...

The Elite community. You guys and gals are incredible, and it’s humbling to hear and see your responses to Elite.


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

Trying to keep on top of all the things going on! It’s hard enough in ‘normal’ game development (if there is such a thing?!) let alone when the play space is  a 1:1 scale Milky way, and you need to fill it with the necessary tools and gameplay to create a compelling place for players to ‘live’ and create their own stories as well as being able to follow the over arching story provided by factions, community goals, and Power Play.

Watching and reading the players reactions on the numerous videos, fan made comics, forum threads and player group sites, I think it’s safe to say that the team have done a great job so far.


What have you learned from working on Elite Dangerous?

Space is big.

No really, it’s huge.

And it’s a beautiful, dangerous and daunting place to be. It’s a combination of these and many other emotions that set it aside from other gaming experiences. 


Federation, Empire, or Alliance? And why?

Federation. All bow to the might of Zachary Hudson.


Tell the community a fun fact about yourself.

I have a phobia of the “Waltzer” fairground ride. 


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

You’ve just finished a delicious Sunday roast. Dessert is next. You have 3 options:

1 – Cold custard, warm pie

2 – Warm custard, cold pie

3 – Warm custard, warm pie

I am a “1” kinda guy. You?


Answer Adam's question on the forum thread here.