Art of Game Design MFA

Interview with Laguna College of Art + Design Art of Game Design MFA Alumnus, Gavin Rich (2017) »

Interview with Laguna College of Art + Design Art (LCAD) of Game Design MFA Alumnus and Chair of LCAD’s BFA Program in Game Art, Gavin Rich (2017)

Laguna College of Art + Design Art of Game Design MFA Alumnus and Chair of LCAD’s BFA program in Game Art, Gavin Rich (2017)

Gavin Rich was born and raised in an artsy little Victorian village hidden away in the redwoods of Northern California. After taking some sculpture and drawing classes, Gavin gravitated to interactivity in art. For Gavin, it wasn’t enough that sculpture seemed to force viewers to pace around and view it from all angles. This led to Gavin’s realization that games absorb viewers (or players) into an ultimate, interactive sculptural world. Gavin is now Chair and a full-time faculty member of Laguna College of Art + Design’s BFA program in Game Art where he helps empower his next favorite artists.
LCAD: What kind of game is your thesis game?

Gavin Rich (GR): It is an online multi-player game. Ready or Not is a fast-paced game of tag set in a Star Trek kind of future where kids use high-tech gadgets.

LCAD: What was your intention for the game?

GR: To create a non-violent experience that can work in the same venue as Halo, Destiny, and Team Fortress while giving back to the world we live in.

LCAD: Who is the intended audience for your game?

GR: Ages 14 and up. Families who like to game together. Young adults who like the fast-paced action of Call of Duty but don’t like the violence.

LCAD: What is the most surprising thing you’ve come to find of our program?

GR: I came into the program from an art background and thought that would be my main contribution. I was very wrong. You get hands-on experience with every step of the process. You learn basic scripting to prototype your ideas. Management psychology gets you thinking like a producer and finding out what really drives the members of your team. As much as I love creating art, being a strong leader is just as engaging and rewarding.

LCAD: What are your post-graduate goals?

GR: To form a small design studio which we plan to name, Odd Hat Sizes, and to keep working on the projects.

LCAD: Where do you see the future of gaming?

GR: I see it in augmented reality (AR) more than anything else and couch co-op games. In other words games you play side-by-side as opposed to online. Similar to Pokémon GO and the Nintendo Switch.

LCAD: What was your favorite video game growing up?

GR: Odd World, because it changed me from wanting to just play games into wanting to make games. It was the first time I saw games as a venue for expression and not just for entertainment.

LCAD: How has LCAD given you the resources (people, networks, etc.) to be successful?

GR: The information given in our classes has been crucial to everything that my team has accomplished. We dove into the power of Excel sheets to balance and plan progression for different features of the game. The act of leading from the front with prototypes allowed my team to focus on their strengths and made it so there was no confusion during production. The writing classes forced us to dig much deeper into what we were creating and why we were creating it. The instructors would take the time in the first day of class to get to know each of us and what we want our of the program, then find readings and do their own research to custom tailor the class towards the students in it. All of this was combined with a great layer of business so we always stayed realistic with our goals and had a plan to take this game further after graduation.

Gavin’s thesis game is Ready or Not.
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