Ian Bell (programmer)

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Ian Bell
Ian Colin Graham Bell

(1962-10-31) 31 October 1962 (age 61)
Alma materJesus College, Cambridge
Occupation(s)Software engineer, game developer
Known forDeveloper of Elite

Ian Colin Graham Bell (born 31 October 1962 in Hatfield, Hertfordshire) programmed, designed and developed the computer game Elite (1984) with David Braben, which met with much acclaim.[1]


Bell attended the independent St Albans School. He studied at Jesus College, Cambridge,[1] graduating with a degree (1st) in Mathematics in 1985, and a Cambridge Diploma in Computer Science in 1986.


Worked as a Senior Software Engineer for Autodesk.[2] Bell was a speaker at the 2009 GameCity game festival.[3] Bell mentioned in his speech about the impact of games:

You're reaching into the minds and the imaginary spaces of children, and you're to an extent shaping their characters and their life stories. I'm glad [Elite] isn't Doom because I'm glad that even though we didn't really think in these terms, I think its effect on players and on people's lives is good, both in the sense of giving them good memories but also in making people think in different ways and awakening interest.[4]

Game development[edit]

His work on Elite (1984), included programming in machine code using assembly. The game was based on an open-ended non-linear game model, and included revolutionary 3D graphics, at the time.[5] Prior to Elite, he developed Free Fall, a game set inside a coriolis space station with the player controlling an alien punching astronaut, described by Bell as "the first ever Beat 'em up". Free Fall, also a game for the BBC Micro, was published by Acornsoft in 1983.[6] Bell put later Free Fall and Elite with the associated source code for free download on his website.[7]


  1. ^ a b Francis Spufford (18 October 2003). "Masters of Their Universe". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ "An interview with Ian Bell". 9 October 2013.
  3. ^ Stuart, Keith (October 2009). "GameCity: the interview". guardian.co.uk. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  4. ^ Marko Susimetsä (20 October 2009). "My life with elite event in Nottingham, UK". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  5. ^ LaMosca, Adam (18 July 2006). "Lost in the Void". The Escapist. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  6. ^ Ian Bell. "Free Fall". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  7. ^ Ian Bell. "Elite Archives". Retrieved 8 November 2015.

External links[edit]