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Forest's auto-biograghy

Forest Handford with his son

I was born in Kent County Hospital on September 16th 1977. I was raised in the largest town in Rhode Island, Coventry. Even though the town was large the population was fairly small. I lived 5 miles from the Connecticut border and only half of my road was paved so that the local farmers could ride or walk their horses on a dirt road. I lived directly across from a corn field that made for great games of hide and seek. Unfortunately it also came with a yearly stench of manure that included dead chickens. Our dog would often bring some of the chicken carcasses to the house!

My parents divorced when I was in Elementary School. I lived with my mother during the week and my father on the weekends. My mother has been a school teacher for almost 30 years and currently teaches fourth grade at Hamilton Elementary School in North Kingstown RI. My father worked for New England Telephone as an electrical engineer and retired just before Bell Atlantic bought them. He went to Bryant college were he learned to program BASIC and COBOL. His father owned his own radio repair shop so you could say engineering runs in my family!

When I was in High School I was one of those kids that got involved with everything. I played the trombone, ran Cross Country, took part in two school plays, was in student council and even ran for student council president. I lost though, I still think it may have been rigged. :p

Besides school, Boy Scouts was a big part of my life. I became an Eagle scout at 14 and worked summers at Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rhode Island.

While I was in high school I also founded and ran a non-profit theatre company called "The Revived Theatre, Those People who put on Plays". The last half of the name was my idea! We put on two plays before I left Coventry for College. Oddly I can only remember that one of the plays was Exit the Body. I was the producer for that production.

During college I was a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) where I literally got to beat people with sticks! Unlike re-enactment groups fighting in the SCA was a martial art. In fact it is deemed the hardest hitting martial art in the world. Like medieval fighters trained and often competed, the SCA uses weapons made out of rattan. The armor people wore had to be thick leather, steel, or strong plastic. Our helmets were made with 10 gauge steel. Unfortunately due to lack of funding the dojo I went to in Fall River closed and I ended up leaving.

I went to Rhode Island College for two years. During my time at RIC I worked as a web developer for the school. In my first semester I was a theatre major. During that semester I realized that professional theatre was not at all as fun as non-profit theatre had been so I switched to a Computer Science major. At the time I already new QBasic and Pascal from projects I had done for fun in High School, like making a vote counting program for Student Council. I planned on becoming a game programmer and spent lots of personal time teaching myself programming concepts and languages that my college didn't offer or wouldn't let me take. By the time I left college I had learned so much on my own I was able to take and pass their highest and toughest computer science classes. Since I didn't want to stick around to take classes unrelated to CS I started looking for a job.

I met Andrea Sinapoli at a campus job fair and got hired in 1998 by MEDITECH to work as a Payroll programmer in the General Financial Implementation group. You can see a picture of me on the website from the 1999 talent show. I transferred to the NMI (Non-MEDITECH Integration or interface) Implementation group a year later under.

On August 4th 2000 my son Simon was born. Simon and I go to the park most weekends to play. Simon has the same favorite cartoon as I do, Scooby Doo! Since I wanted to make sure he learned the Alphabet I would sing it with him at night since he was two. He now refuses to go to bed unless we sing the Alphabet at least once!

I have been playing games since the Apple IIc and original Atari. I started playing internet games around 1994. Mostly MUDs but also Doom, WarCraft, Quake and StarCraft. While I had heard of "graphical MUDs" I never tried one until I started doing research for a game patent involving MMORPGs. At that time I started playing Asheron's Call (AC1) around the release of Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty Expansion Pack. I played AC1 until I got my beta copy of Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings (AC2) at ACPL 2002. I continued to play AC2 until a I got accepted to the Planetside and EVE Online: The Second Genesis betas. I played PlanetSide and EVE briefly while in beta and then chose to play EVE after release. I currently exclusively play EVE with the small exception of playing N64 games like Mario 64 with my son.

I'm still involved with Game Development to some extent. I'm on the advisory board for the Boston chapter of the Independent Game Developer's Association. I also own and run www.EastCoastGames.com . Of course my fondness of games keeps me involved with actually playing games as well. I was asked by IGN to do some writing for the IGN EVE Vault and I have been writing for them ever since as a volunteer. One of the things people often ask me is why don't I work for a game company. The answer is that I like where I am. :) The game development business is very risky, people work long hours and often 60 hours a week to meet milestones and get the product on the shelves, many games fail even if they are good games, and lay offs are extremely common. For example the game company that makes Asheron's Call, Turbine Entertainment which is the oldest successful game company in Massachusetts, has had two lay offs in the last three years!

I transferred into MEDITECH's development division group a few months after it was created. I have worked on various things here including writing MAM (Medical Archive Management), some work for MIG (MEIDTECH Internet Gateway), some work for NPR (Non-Procedural Representation), and I'm currently helping with our scanning application MRM (Medical Records Management).

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