“Play” as in “Instrument”: Creativity Support Tools and Game Design

Time: March 13th, 2023 @ 4pm MT

Location: PTAB 109

Creativity is well-known to be difficult. Issues such as writer’s block, the terror of the blank page, and dissatisfaction with the quality of one’s creative output can be enough to frustrate novice and expert creators alike. Research in both human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence has aimed to mitigate these issues through the development of better creativity support tools. However, there’s also another context in which people not only tolerate but actively seek out and enjoy a certain level of difficulty and frustration: namely, in games! What can we learn about the design and development of creativity support tools by considering creativity as a form of play?

In this talk, I discuss three of my research directions at the intersection of creativity support tools and game design: developing games-inspired AI technologies that can make creative tasks (such as creative writing) feel easier and more fun; broadening participation in digital game design through AI-based creativity support tools for student and novice game designers; and studying how creators “play around” in creative possibility spaces, much the same as players of games. Results from all of these projects suggest deep and potentially fruitful connections between efforts to support creativity and efforts to support play.

Max Kreminski is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Santa Clara University. Their research focuses primarily on human-AI interaction in creativity support tools and digital games. Max’s work has been published at conferences including CHI, DIS, FDG, AIIDE, ICIDS, and ICCC; presented at GDC; and covered by outlets including New Scientist, The Verge, and Polygon. Max holds a PhD in Computational Media from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a BA in Interactive Entertainment from the University of Southern California.