Art of Game Design MFA

Art of Game Design MFA Student Highlight: Matthew Krumlauf »

Laguna College of Art + Design Art of Game Design MFA
Student Highlight: Interview with Matthew Krumlauf


Matthew Krumlauf: Student of Laguna College of Art + Design’s (LCAD) MFA program in Art of Game Design

Matthew Krumlauf earned his undergraduate degree in Computer Science with a minor in Theatre Arts from Earlham College in Richman, Indiana, in Computer Science with a minor in theatre arts.From his perspective as a consumer, writer and programmer, game design always has been about storytelling. Single-player games informed his understanding of interactive storytelling from an early age and continue to retain his engagement. Matthew actively pursued programming, reading, creative writing and acting for their abilities to enhance his understanding of how to engage viewers through actions and mechanics.

LCAD: What is your background Matthew?

Matthew Krumlauf (MK): My first internship started at Earlham College as a Computer Science Administrator. After that, I completed a summer program at Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, MO. While at Stowers I switched between wet work in the lab and programming. I worked in MatLab with data submission and tracking cells within three-dimensional images. I continued working at Earlham College with a focus on Metagenomics research dealing with submitting DNA sequences to databases. We also worked on trying to find significant data with batch work on rRNA sequences. While working through these programs I completed my degree in Computer Science from 2011 to 2014 at Earlham College. The last few years include working as an administrative assistant at Laguna College of Art and Design for MFA Art of Game Design Department Chair, Sandy Appleoff Lyons. At the same time, I continued and completed my education in the Art of Game Design Masters program at LCAD.

Matthew Krumlauf’s thesis game in VR is Threshold

Matthew Krumlauf’s thesis game in VR is Threshold

LCAD: What was your favorite video game growing up?

MK: My favorite game growing up was Star Wars: Jedi Outcast II. It balanced an interesting story with game mechanics that included force powers, guns and lightsaber battles.”

LCAD: What kind of game is the game is your thesis game?

MK: Threshold is a horror VR game that has a narrative focus. Here is a sampling of the story:

Hannah feels trapped in her apartment because of a lack of work and progress has paralyzed her. She wanders around her room depressed. One day a door appears in her apartment that she has never seen before. All other exits are useless as if they became part of the walls and are only decoration. Soon Hannah Dokko enters the door and is trapped in a realm of mazes with a monster trying to chase her down. Some dark presence is causing all the events, and it is up to Hannah to escape. After making it through each maze Hannah discovers one of her neighbor’s apartments and uses the batteries to help survive the next maze.

LCAD: What was your intention for the game?

MK: To continue to develop the narrative and try and get some traction on the demo. A final stage for the game would be trying to get funding from an established company. The final stage is adding all three stages of the game and improving the mechanics.

LCAD: Who is the intended audience for your game?

MK: Horror game fans starting at 17+ years of age. The game uses a female protagonist and a unique focus on narrative. That will attract the usual horror fans because of the aesthetics and also should appeal to fans of strong narrative games.

LCAD: What are your post-graduate goals?

MK: To enter the game industry as a game designer and to advance to higher positions with my experience making games and my programming background.

LCAD: Where do you see the future of gaming?

MK: Various spaces with VR (virtual reality) will take a powerful position if the hardware gets enough buyers. I think that the games will have to find interfaces that are faster and more intuitive than the current PC/console controls to gain complete control in the future.

LCAD: What is the most surprising thing you’ve come to find about the Art of Game Design MFA?

MK: That you actually get to work and study with teachers who work in positions at incredibly impressive companies in the game industry.”

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

MK: Laguna College of Art and Design provided me the opportunity to work with brilliant artists and programmers from USC’s GamePipe Laboratory. It takes work to bring a team together and to keep them on task like in a real industry team. The professional teachers instruct students on what to expect when looking for work and also what is expected in each position on a team. Mentors are also a strong part of the school. For example, Chris Avellone, renowned game designer and comic book writer, was my mentor, and he expanded my understanding of game narratives along with where and how to push Threshold forward.

Link to video trailer for Matthew Krumlauf’s Art of Game Design MFA Thesis game, Threshold: