William Sawyerr Headshot

William Sawyerr

BSc, MSc, PhD

BA (Hons) Game Development: Programming Module Leader

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William Sawyerr Headshot
Enamoured by world-building, William’s extensive studies in computing and love of emerging technologies feeds into his passion for creating empowering interactive experiences.

What did you do before joining dBs?  

I worked as a software developer for audio branding and retail companies, so I was involved in building all sorts of exciting things from very large databases for storing and distributing audio to enterprise-grade e-commerce solutions that support millions of shoppers worldwide.

Prior to becoming a software developer, I was an Associate Lecturer in Computing and a Researcher in Virtual Worlds at Anglia Ruskin University.

Why did you first get into game development? 

Well, I’ve always been interested in worlds. It all began with me being gifted with the 'The Chronicles of Narnia' when I was a kid. All those enchanting worlds, the humans, the magical creatures and all the events that showcased them. Eventually, I wanted to do more than just read about and imagine such places. I wanted to experience them. I began playing video games around the same time and built up further interest and appreciation for beautifully crafted Worlds. My all-time favourite sci-fi movie is 'The Matrix', which led me to become interested in the idea of intelligent agents and incorporating virtuality into reality. I subsequently got into game development because I wanted to develop worlds that offered people empowering experiences.

Any special areas of interest?  

The use of Intelligent Learning Agents (ILAs) in worlds. ILAs are artificial entities that can interact with everything in the environment they exist in, learn from the process and act using the acquired knowledge. Utilising such technology in game development will lead to enhanced interactions in the resulting worlds. There is a long list of potential application areas that includes personalised experiences, enhanced AI and NPC characters, dynamic or responsive environments and so on.

What do you love most about what you do?

A lot! Witnessing the spark of understanding and creativity in my students. Guiding them through the intricacies of programming and game design. Seeing them grasp new concepts and unleash their imagination. Helping to foster a learning environment where passion and curiosity thrive. Being part of each of my students’ educational journey as they explore the fascinating world of software and game development.

Tell us about your proudest career moment.

It wasn’t a particular event that happened at one point in time, but rather a series of them that have happened over time: I have met a lot of my heroes in computing (people who wrote books I read, created games I love and played, invented pretty cool stuff that I use) or their relatives

What do you get up to outside of teaching?

I like to read, write and play video games. I am also into hiking and sightseeing.

Tell us something our students may not know about you.

I recently began collecting vintage gaming consoles and first up on my list is the original Game Boy in mint condition. I have a number of classic games for it too that include Mario, Tetris, Terminator and Zelda.

I got into game development because I wanted to develop worlds that offered people empowering experiences.

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