Wilson Saunders

August 21 2009 Wow five years since I last updated my elfwood page, and I still remember my password. As an Artist: Some of my work here dates back to high school where I was very interested in fantasy art. I was inspired to draw by video games, most prominently Warcraft 2 (just to give you an idea of how old I am). I still find a great deal of inspiration in video games, however my creative energies have been focused more on the coding side of the art than the pixel side. I still retain the ability to render the human form in all its beauty and ugliness. I just focus those energies on making sprites for my video game projects. I feel my greatest asset as an artist is the ability to comprehend how 3d space should be represented in 2d. My second greatest asset is the stubbornness to draw the sameĀ  character 8, 16 or more times to make an animated figure. By far my greatest weakness is the fear of color. As is obvious I favor the pencil and eraser over all other mediums. This is mainly because messing up carry no consistence beyond a few rubs of the eraser. As such I spend very little time practicing with colors which usually involve mediums that can not be erased. As a Programmer My dad taught me a little bit of Turbo Basic when I was a eight or so. The first thing I did after "hello world" was set out to make a video game. Ultimately I made some thing remotely playable but so wrapped up in spaghetti code that I could barely manage it. Fast forward to college, because I did shamefully little programming in the time between. I barely managed to pass admissions due to low SAT scores and an over crowded Computer Science program. By some miracle I was accepted to UC Santa Cruz where I was trained in the art and science that is programming. I would like to say I was a dedicated student but that would be a lie. Everything I learned I put into the context of making a video game. This was great for topics like 3d math and data structures, but my brain had little patience for logical proofs and statistics. One of my favorite classes was 3d programming and animation. I loved it so much I flunked or barely passed the two other courses I was taking that quarter, but my final project was awesome. Eventually they gave my Bachelors of Science and told me to get lost. Hitting the job market right after the .com bust was probably the most depressing experience of my life. It would be several years before I would get paid to sit in front of a computer. In those years I worked as a vacuum salesman, and a dock worker. I like to think that those years ingrained in me a powerful work ethic. One thing is for sure I learned how to stack a pallet and sweat talk prospective customers. During this time my desire to develop video games only grew stronger. My many rebuffed applications to video game companies convinced me that I had to do something to stand out from the hoards of other applicants. While surfing the net one day I stumbled upon Speedhack, a 72 hour game development competition. By entering this I felt I could show I had the chops to code with the big boys. Granted my first games were not that spectacular, but I could brag I made that in a weekend. In the years between then and now I have participated in many similar events, busting out fun experimental games in the time most game makers would still be refining their design document. It was oddly not my constant forays into game making that landed me a programming job. Rather a friend of mine was working tech support for a small educational software company when he overheard the higher ups discussing a need for a new programmer. He dropped my name and the next thing I know I was interviewing for a programmer position. My back catalog of completed projects, some of which were more complex and entertaining than their core product, probably helped to convince them I was the right man for the job. I have completed several published projects with this company and greatly enjoy working with the professional programmers, artists, and musicians that are employed there. As a Person Outside of my work and hobbies I am not that interesting a person. In college I took up fencing because I was a big Highlander/Zorro fan. The UCSC fencing club was a little sparse when I joined and before I knew it I was the president of a 1 man organization. Fortunately the previous president stayed around long enough to give me some basic instruction with the foil and the rules surround it.In my time as fencing club president I watched the club grow large enough to host an inter college fencing tournament. The most life changing part of fencing club was meeting Elizabeth Ambrose. She was one year my junior and poseses one of the most agressive spirits I have seen in a man or woman. Not the wild unpredictable aggression, but rather the charge an opponent twice her weight and 1.5 times her reach understanding that the outside game was a loosing proposition, and the path to victory lay in getting uncomfortably close, type of aggression. That and her adorable laugh and smile attracted me to her. I eventualy worked up the courage to ask her to dinner and we have been together ever since. We moved in with a five college friends the next year and after that house broke up (for crazy landlady reasons) we moved in together. For the next 5 years we lived together when ever we were in the same City. After landing the programming job and getting accustom to the substantial boost income that comes from the transition from dock slave to software engineer I asked her to marry me. On the steps of Cabrillo Academy of the Sword she accepted a ring I had custom made from a hand drawn celtic knot pattern. One year later we were married on the roof top garden of the Cardif Sea Lodge. The ceremony involved such sillyness as tying a literal knot, walking under 4 pairs of fencing foils held by the wedding party, and cutting the cake with a Katan (on loan from a from a freind).