Max Kreminski

Assistant Professor, Santa Clara University; Research Scientist, Midjourney

Email maxkreminski@gmail.com Web mkremins.github.io

Education

2017-2022
University of California, Santa Cruz
Ph.D. in Computational Media (2022)
M.S. in Computational Media (2020)
2013-2017
University of Southern California
B.A. in Interactive Entertainment
Minor in Game User Research

Employment

Since 2023
Midjourney
Research Scientist and Lab Director, Storytelling Tools
Since 2022
Santa Clara University
Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
Faculty Scholar, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Since 2020
Independent consulting
Clients include Zynga’s Applied AI group and Fable Studio
2017-2022
University of California, Santa Cruz
Graduate Student Researcher, Expressive Intelligence Studio
2016-2017
University of Southern California
Undergraduate Research Associate, Mobile & Environmental Media Lab (F2016-Su2017)
Undergraduate Research Associate, Game Innovation Lab (Su2016)
2015-2017
User Behavioristics
Junior User Researcher

Honors and Awards

2024
Best Paper [C28], C&C 2024
2023
Invited Participant, Polaris Game Design Retreat
2023
Exceptional Service, FDG 2023
2022
Finalist for Best Student Paper [C21], ICIDS 2022
2022
Best Artifact [C20], AIIDE 2022
2022
Resident, Stochastic Labs
2021
Finalist 2× for Best Short Paper [C17, C18], ICIDS 2021
2021
Best Paper [C13], FDG 2021
2021
Best Game or Demo [PD3], FDG 2021
2021
Second Place, Generative Design in Minecraft Competition
2020
Best Reviewer, ICIDS 2020
Awarded to top 14% of reviewers.
2020
Exceptional Paper [C9], FDG 2020
Awarded to top 22% of papers.
2019
Best Paper Honorable Mention [C4], FDG 2019
Awarded to top 17% of full papers.

Publications

Book Chapters

[B2]
Authoring for Story Sifters.
Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas.
In The Authoring Problem: Challenges in Supporting Authoring for Interactive Digital Narratives. Springer, 2022.
[B1]
Academical: A Choice-Based Interactive Storytelling Game for Enhancing Moral Reasoning, Knowledge, and Attitudes in Responsible Conduct of Research.
Katelyn M. Grasse, Edward F. Melcer, Max Kreminski, Nick Junius, James Ryan, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
In Games and Narrative: Theory and Practice. Springer, 2021.

Journal Articles

[J1]
Using Self-Determination Theory to Explore Enjoyment of Educational Interactive Narrative Games: A Case Study of Academical.
Katelyn M. Grasse, Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas, Edward F. Melcer.
Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 2022.

Conference Papers

[C28]
Homogenization Effects of Large Language Models on Human Creative Ideation.
Barrett R. Anderson, Jash Hemant Shah, Max Kreminski.
C&C 2024. 27% acceptance rate. Best Paper (top 1%).
[C27]
Evaluating Creativity Support Tools via Homogenization Analysis.
Barrett R. Anderson, Jash Hemant Shah, Max Kreminski.
CHI LBW 2024. 34% acceptance rate.
[C26]
A Design Space for Intelligent and Interactive Writing Assistants.
Mina Lee, Katy Ilonka Gero, John Joon Young Chung, 27 more authors, Max Kreminski, 5 more authors.
CHI 2024. 26% acceptance rate.
[C25]
Praxish: A Rational Reconstruction of a Logic-Based DSL for Modeling Social Practices.
James Dameris, Rosaura Hernandez Roman, Max Kreminski.
AIIDE 2023.
[C24]
[C23]
Being Social in VR Meetings: A Landscape Analysis of Current Tools.
Anya Osborne, Sabrina Fielder, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Timothy Lang, Max Kreminski, George Butler, Jialang Victor Li, Diana R. Sanchez, Katherine Isbister.
DIS 2023. 24% acceptance rate.
[C22]
Select the Unexpected: A Statistical Heuristic for Story Sifting.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas.
ICIDS 2022.
[C21]
Constructing a Catbox: Story Volume Poetics in Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
Isaac Karth, Nic Junius, Max Kreminski.
ICIDS 2022. Finalist for Best Student Paper.
[C20]
Loose Ends: A Mixed-Initiative Creative Interface for Playful Storytelling.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas.
AIIDE 2022. Best Artifact.
[C19]
A Coauthorship-Centric History of Interactive Emergent Narrative.
Max Kreminski, Michael Mateas.
ICIDS 2021. 25% acceptance rate.
[C18]
Toward Narrative Instruments.
Max Kreminski, Michael Mateas.
ICIDS 2021. Finalist for Best Short Paper (top 15%).
[C17]
Emergent Narrative and Reparative Play.
Jason Grinblat, Cat Manning, Max Kreminski.
ICIDS 2021. Finalist for Best Short Paper (top 15%).
[C16]
Winnow: A Domain-Specific Language for Incremental Story Sifting.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Michael Mateas.
AIIDE 2021.
[C15]
Reflective Creators.
Max Kreminski, Michael Mateas.
ICCC 2021.
[C14]
A Genre-Specific Game Description Language for Game Boy RPGs.
Tamara Duplantis, Isaac Karth, Max Kreminski, Adam M. Smith, Michael Mateas.
CoG 2021.
[C13]
There Is No Escape: Theatricality in Hades.
Nick Junius, Max Kreminski, Michael Mateas.
FDG 2021. 38% acceptance rate. Best Paper (top 6%).
[C12]
Improving Undergraduate Attitudes Towards Responsible Conduct of Research Through an Interactive Storytelling Game.
Katelyn M. Grasse, Edward F. Melcer, Max Kreminski, Nick Junius, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
CHI LBW 2021. 39% acceptance rate.
[C11]
Germinate: A Mixed-Initiative Casual Creator for Rhetorical Games.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Joseph C. Osborn, Adam Summerville, Michael Mateas, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
AIIDE 2020. 25% acceptance rate.
[C10]
Why Are We Like This?: The AI Architecture of a Co-Creative Storytelling Game.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Michael Mateas, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
FDG 2020.
[C9]
Getting Academical: A Choice-Based Interactive Storytelling Game for Teaching Responsible Conduct of Research.
Edward F. Melcer, Katelyn M. Grasse, James Ryan, Nick Junius, Max Kreminski, Dietrich Squinkifer, Brent Hill, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
FDG 2020. 36% acceptance rate. Exceptional Paper (top 14%).
[C8]
Why Are We Like This?: Exploring Writing Mechanics for an AI-Augmented Storytelling Game.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Michael Mateas, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
ELO 2020.
[C7]
Teaching Responsible Conduct of Research Through an Interactive Storytelling Game.
Edward F. Melcer, James Ryan, Nick Junius, Max Kreminski, Dietrich Squinkifer, Brent Hill, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
CHI LBW 2020. 42% acceptance rate.
[C6]
Felt: A Simple Story Sifter.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
ICIDS 2019. 30% acceptance rate.
[C5]
Evaluating AI-Based Games Through Retellings.
Max Kreminski, Ben Samuel, Edward Melcer, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
AIIDE 2019. 25% acceptance rate.
[C4]
StoryAssembler: An Engine for Generating Dynamic Choice-Driven Narratives.
Jacob Garbe, Max Kreminski, Ben Samuel, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas.
FDG 2019. 37% acceptance rate. Best Paper Honorable Mention (top 4%).
[C3]
Sketching a Map of the Storylets Design Space.
Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
ICIDS 2018.
[C2]
Immersive Design Fiction: Using VR to Prototype Speculative Interfaces and Interaction Rituals within a Virtual Storyworld.
Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Max Kreminski, Keshav Prasad, Perry Hoberman, Scott S. Fisher.
DIS 2018. 22% acceptance rate.
[C1]

Workshop Papers

[W16]
The Dearth of the Author in AI-Supported Writing.
Max Kreminski.
In2Writing @ CHI 2024.
[W15]
Intent Elicitation in Mixed-Initiative Co-Creativity.
Max Kreminski, John Joon Young Chung.
HAI-GEN @ IUI 2024.
[W14]
[W13]
[W12]
Unmet Creativity Support Needs in Computationally Supported Creative Writing.
Max Kreminski, Chris Martens.
In2Writing @ ACL 2022.
[W11]
Reevaluating the Role of Relatedness in Single-Player Roleplaying Games.
Katelyn M. Grasse, Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas, Edward F. Melcer.
SDT-HCI @ CHI 2022.
[W10]
Evaluating Mixed-Initiative Creative Interfaces via Expressive Range Coverage Analysis.
Max Kreminski, Isaac Karth, Michael Mateas, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
HAI-GEN @ IUI 2022.
[W9]
Opportunities for Approachable Game Development via Program Synthesis.
Max Kreminski, Michael Mateas.
PLIE @ AIIDE 2021.
[W8]
AgentCraft: An Agent-Based Minecraft Settlement Generator.
Ari Iramanesh, Max Kreminski.
EXAG @ AIIDE 2021.
[W7]
Social Superpowers in Social VR: Beyond Approximation of Face-to-face.
Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Anya Osborne, Max Kreminski, Sean Fernandes, Sabrina Fielder, Victor Li, Tym Lang, Katherine Isbister.
SocialVR @ CHI 2021.
[W6]
Toward Example-Driven Program Synthesis of Story Sifting Patterns.
Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas.
INT @ AIIDE 2020.
[W5]
Tabletop Roleplaying Games as Procedural Content Generators.
Matthew Guzdial, Devi Acharya, Max Kreminski, Michael Cook, Mirjam Eladhari, Antonios Liapis, Anne Sullivan.
PCG @ FDG 2020.
[W4]
Generative Games as Storytelling Partners.
Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
UX of AI @ FDG 2019.
[W3]
Cozy Mystery Construction Kit: Prototyping Toward an AI-Assisted Collaborative Storytelling Mystery Game.
Max Kreminski, Devi Acharya, Nick Junius, Elisabeth Oliver, Kate Compton, Melanie Dickinson, Cyril Focht, Stacey Mason, Stella Mazeika, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
PCG @ FDG 2019.
[W2]
Generators that Read.
Max Kreminski, Isaac Karth, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
PCG @ FDG 2019.
[W1]
Gardening Games: An Alternative Philosophy of PCG in Games.
Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
PCG @ FDG 2018.

Playable Experiences and Demos

[PD8]
Cheap and Easy Open-Ended Text Input for Interactive Emergent Narrative.
Max Kreminski.
FDG 2024.
[PD7]
Blabrecs: An AI-Based Game of Nonsense Word Creation.
Max Kreminski, Isaac Karth.
NeurIPS Creative AI 2023.
[PD6]
A Demonstration of Loose Ends, a Mixed-Initiative Narrative Instrument.
Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas.
ICIDS 2022.
[PD5]
Conversation Balance: A Shared VR Visualization to Support Turn-taking in Meetings.
Jialang Victor Li, Max Kreminski, Sean M. Fernandes, Anya Osborne, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Katherine Isbister.
CHI Interactivity 2022.
[PD4]
A Demonstration of Blabrecs, an AI-Based Wordgame.
Max Kreminski, Isaac Karth.
AIIDE 2021.
[PD3]
Generating Playable RPG ROMs for the Game Boy.
Isaac Karth, Tamara Duplantis, Max Kreminski, Sachita Kashyap, Vijaya Kukutla, Aaron Lo, Anika Mittal, Harvin Park, Adam M. Smith.
FDG 2021. Best Game or Demo (top 16%).
[PD2]
Playable Experiences at the 16th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment.
Melanie Dickinson, Max Kreminski, Michael Mateas, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Sabine Wieluch.
AIIDE 2020.
[PD1]

Other Publications

[OP4]
Understanding Systems Suspense.
Jason Grinblat, Max Kreminski, Graeme Lennon, Cat Manning, Alexei Pepers, Lauren Scott.
Report from the Polaris Game Design Retreat, 2024.
[OP3]
[OP2]
[OP1]

Grants and Fellowships

2023
Investigating Homogenization of Imagination by Generative AI Models. Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Hackworth Faculty Research Grant. $5,000. PI.
2022-2023
A Neurosymbolic Approach to Creativity Support for Narrative Writing. SCU University Research Grant. $5,000. PI.
2022-2025
Innovating Online Ethics Training Using a Dynamic Narrative Learning Environment. NSF RETTL. $849,964. Proposal coauthor (with PI Edward Melcer, co-PI Michael Mateas, co-PI Noah Wardrip-Fruin). Not listed as awardee due to student status at proposal submission time.
2022
Graduate Dean’s Research Travel Grant. UCSC Division of Graduate Studies. $400.
2021
Investigating Instrumental Uses of Interactive Narrative Systems. UCSC Computational Media Department. $8,973. PI.
2020-2024
Social Virtual Reality Technology to Improve Networked Meetings. NSF CHS. $373,142. Proposal coauthor and supported PhD student (with PI Katherine Isbister). Not listed as awardee due to student status at proposal submission time.
2019
AIIDE 2019 Travel Grant. AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE). $1,900.
2017-2018
University of California Chancellor’s Fellowship. University of California. $24,000 stipend plus one year of full tuition remission.

Invited Talks and Panels

2024
AI for Storytelling: Lensing the Imagination
Autodesk Research
Panelist, “Ask Me Anything” Faculty Panel
Bay Area HCI Gathering, Stanford University
Creative AI: Lensing the Imagination
AI & Storytelling Talks, University of California, Davis
Blabrecs: Weirding Language with AI-Based Gameplay
Experimental Game Workshop (EGW), Game Developers Conference (GDC)
Storytelling Research at Midjourney
Remarkable AI, Santa Cruz Works
2023
Panelist, Career Advice for New Faculty
AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE)
Designing AI-Based Play
Otter Jam, California State University, Monterey Bay
Guest lecturer, Reflective Creators
GSND 6460 Generative Game Design (Prof. Chris Martens), Northeastern University
“Play” as in “Instrument”: Creativity Support Tools and Game Design
Entertainment Arts and Engineering Lecture Series, University of Utah
2022
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
School of Arts, Media and Engineering, Arizona State University
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
Department of Computational Arts, York University
Narrative Instruments and Story Sifting
Fable Studio
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
Khoury College of Computer Sciences, Northeastern University
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
School of Interactive Games and Media, Rochester Institute of Technology
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Santa Clara University
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
Department of Computer Graphics Technology, Purdue University
2021
Creativity Support via Story Sifting
Computer Science Colloquium Series, University of New Orleans
Guest lecturer, Story Sifting
CS 660 Topics in Artificial Intelligence: Interactive Narrative (Prof. Stephen Ware), University of Kentucky
Toward Narrative Instruments
Association for Research in Digital Interactive Narratives (ARDIN)
2020
Panelist, Murder Mysteries as a Grand Challenge in Computational Storytelling
AIIDE Workshop on Intelligent Narrative Technologies (INT)
Synthesizing Story Sifters
Roguelike Celebration
Panelist, Games as Story Generators
Foundations of Digital Games (FDG)
AI Support for Player Storytelling in Digital Games
Animal Crossing AI Workshop (ACAI)
2019
Approachable Authoring Tools for Simulation-Driven Interactive Storyworlds
UCSC Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS)
Panelist, Changes over the last 10 years in PCG research and practice
FDG Workshop on Procedural Content Generation (PCG)
Exploring Poemspace Through Procedural Erasure
Computational Poetry Workshop
Procedural Narrative Design with Parametrized Storylets
Tech Toolbox microtalks, Game Developers Conference (GDC)
Procedural Narrative Design with Parametrized Storylets
Experimental AI for Games microtalks, Game Developers Conference (GDC)
2018
Gardening as a Mode of Play
Roguelike Celebration
Gardening as a Mode of Play
Queerness and Games Conference (QGCon)
2017

Art Exhibitions

This section lists exhibitions without an accompanying academic publication. For exhibitions with an associated publication, see “Playable Experiences and Demos” above.
2023
Generative Advent, curated by Rianna Suen and Mike Cook. Online.
2020
(un)continuity, Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) Conference. Orlando, Florida.
2018
QGCon 2018 Arcade, Queerness and Games Conference (QGCon). Montreal, Quebec.
2018
2016
Winteractive Festival, USC School of Cinematic Arts. Los Angeles, California.

Teaching

Santa Clara University

Sp2023
COEN 266 Artificial Intelligence
Highest possible median student evaluation scores (5/5) in all categories.
W2023
W2023
COEN 174 Software Engineering
F2022
COEN 174 Software Engineering

University of California, Santa Cruz (as Instructor)

Su2021
CMPM 148 Interactive Storytelling
W2021
CMPM 171 Game Design Studio II

University of California, Santa Cruz (as Teaching Assistant)

Sp2022
CMPM 172 Game Design Studio III
W2022
CMPM 171 Game Design Studio II
Sp2020
CMPM 172 Game Design Studio III
W2020
CMPM 171 Game Design Studio II
F2019
CMPM 170 Game Design Studio I
Su2019
CMPM 147 Generative Design
W2019
CMPM 80K Foundations of Video Game Design
F2018
CMPM 176 Game Systems
Su2018
CMPM 80K Foundations of Video Game Design

Conference Tutorials

2023
Introduction to WaveFunctionCollapse @ CoG 2023

Mentoring and Advising

Visiting Researchers

2024
Taewook Kim. User interfaces for steering creative text generation via large language models.

Master’s Students

2023-2024
Phoebe J. Wang. Neurosymbolic approaches to human-AI co-creativity in storytelling.
2023
Jash Hemant Shah. Human-centered evaluation of large language models as support tools for creative ideation [C27, C28].

Undergraduate Students

2022-2023
James Dameris; Rosaura Hernandez Roman. Praxish, a partial reconstruction of the lost interactive drama framework Versu [C25].
2021
Ari Iramanesh. AgentCraft, an entry for the Generative Design in Minecraft (GDMC) AI Settlement Generation Competition [W8].
Second place (top 10%) in the 2021 GDMC competition.
2020
Camille Miller. Paper Hearts, an approachable digital game creation tool inspired by queer games and flatgames.
2019
Anthony Medina; Katie Moses. Data collection and coding for a qualitative study of human-AI co-creativity in emergent narrative games [C5].

High School Students (via the UCSC Science Internship Program)

2019
Megna Anand; Anish Kashyap; Daniel Man; Akhil Vemuri. Contributions to the AI-based research game Diarytown [C6].

Service

Conference Organization

2024
Artifacts Chair, AIIDE 2024
2024
Keynotes Chair, FDG 2024
2023
Session Chair, Case Studies, AIIDE 2023
2022
Area Co-Chair, Tools and Systems, ICIDS 2022
2021
Co-Organizer, Queer in AI Social @ AIIDE 2021
Since 2021
Steering Committee Member, EXAG @ AIIDE
2020
Publicity Co-Chair, AIIDE 2020
2020
Co-Organizer, EXAG @ AIIDE 2020
2020
Co-Organizer, Casual Creators Workshop @ ICCC 2020
2019
Demonstrations Chair, ICIDS 2019
2019
Co-Organizer, EXAG @ AIIDE 2019

Reviewing and Program Committee Membership

Journals
Nature Human Behavior (NatHumBehav)
IEEE Transactions on Games (ToG)
Entertainment Computing (EntCom)
Conferences
ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)
AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)
ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY)
AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE)
ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS)
International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS)
International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG)
IEEE Conference on Games (CoG)
International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC)
International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Music, Sound, Art and Design (EvoMUSART)
IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI)
Workshops
Workshop on Intelligent and Interactive Writing Assistants (In2Writing)
FDG Workshop on Procedural Content Generation (PCG)
AIIDE Workshop on Experimental AI in Games (EXAG)
AIIDE Workshop on Programming Languages and Interactive Entertainment (PLIE)
Workshop on Casual Creators (CasCre)
FDG Workshop on Human-AI Interaction Through Play
ICSE Workshop on Games and Software Engineering (GAS)

Departmental Service

2019-2020
Community Management Assistant, UCSC Computational Media Department

Selected Media Coverage

2023
2022
2021
“How the Grid Kid Became King of the Online Spelling Bee”
Spectacular Vernacular (Slate podcast), August 2021
2020
“17: Words of the Week of the Year 2020”
Because Language, December 2020
2019
“Storylets: You Want Them”
Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling, November 2019
“Survey of Storylets-based Design”
Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling, January 2019
2018
“Have Academics Finally Found the Perfect Meme?”
Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2018
2017
“IF Only: Apocalypse Eve”
Rock Paper Shotgun, January 2017