Contact

Feel free to e-mail Rob at the address below.
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Rob is also reachable on Twitter via Direct Message.
Twitter: @lachrob

Biography

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Twitter: @lachrob
LinkedIn: roblach

Short

Rob Lach works as an interactive media artist and community organizer based out of Chicago. As an artist Rob is best known for his avant-garde experimental game POP: Methodology Experiment One. Working as a community leader Rob established the Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts and co-founded the Bit Bash Interactive Arts Festival where he currently works as its artistic director leading the curation and experience design of Bit Bash events.

Long

Rob Lach works as an interactive media artist and community organizer based out of Chicago. As an artist Rob is best known for his avant-garde experimental game POP: Methodology Experiment One. Working as a community leader Rob established the Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts and co-founded the Bit Bash Interactive Arts Festival where he currently works as its artistic director the curation and experience design of Bit Bash events.

Rob has been interested in the cross-section of technology and art ever since first interacting with a computer and teaching himself to program in his teens. This passion lead to his exploration of using video game engines as a way of producing short films and organized the Chaos Films Machinima Production group which crated many of the early processes for machinima production using the Half-Life engine and influenced the Source Filmmaker™ movie making tool by Valve Corporation.

Rob attended the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign studying Computer Science and graduating with departmental awards for excellence in Software Engineering. After working a short time at Electronic Arts in Orlando, FL, he left to work independently as a game designer and artist based out Chicago. Sensing a need for a supportive community in his hometown he began establishing himself as a community leader organizing and carrying through projects such as the Indie City Arcade and co-founding the Bit Bash Interactive Arts Festival.

In 2015 Rob established the Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts, a 501(c)(3) charitable arts foundation that supports a number of local organizations and aims to further establish Chicago as hub for interactive art creators by creating supportive programming and empower the local community through educational programs working within the medium of video games and more general interactive art.

Awards and Accolades

IGF Nuovo Award - Honorable Mention (San Francisco, CA 2012)

Fantastic Arcade Official Selection (Austin, TX 2012)

A MAZE Festival Indie Connect Semi-Finalist (Berlin, DE 2012)

IndieCade Finalist (Culver City, CA 2012)

Michael S. Hughes Award for Excellence in Software Engineering (UIUC, 2009)

Selected Interviews & Press

Community service: The story of Chicago's Indie City Arcade cabinet (Andrew Hayward, Polygon.com)

Bit by bit, Chicago's becoming an indie gamer's paradise (Rianne Coale, Chicago Red Eye)

The Sound Design of An Arcade (Dan Solberg, Kill Screen)

How Chicago's Overlooked Video Game Creators Scored an Extra Life (Sam Greszes, Thrillist)

The vaporwave games and glitch art at this year’s Bit Bash festival (Dan Solberg, Kill Screen)

Media

Portraits (High Resolution JPEG)
Portraits (High Resolution PNG)



Rob Lach's Loveable Mugshot
Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts Logo
Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts Logo

The Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts

Founding Director (2015 - Present)

Information

The Chicago Foundation for the Interactive Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Rob Lach originating from and becoming a parent of Indie City Games dedicated to elevating the interactive arts medium.

The CFIA enacts supportive programming that aims to foster the creative community; provide financial, legal, and creative support; and utilize the interactive arts medium to educate and inspire the general public.

Role

As the organization's Founding Director, Rob Lach lead the initial planning of the scope and mission of the organization and continued on to solely navigate the CFIA through the 501(c)(3) qualification process.

Rob continues his work building the early board and directing initial development to ensure a sustainable and impactful organization.

Additional Information

CFIA Website


Bit Bash Logo

Bit Bash Chicago

Co-Founder (2014 - Present)

Curator / Artistic Director (2014 - Present)

Development Director (2014 - 2017)

Information

Established in 2014 as an all-volunteer organization, Bit Bash immediately became the eminent voice for bringing under-represented interactive art works and avant-garde video games to the general public.

Bit Bash takes great pride in creating environments focused on positivity and creating a safe and inclusive environment that welcomes exploring the fringes of the medium.

Role

Rob Lach was one of the initial founders of Bit Bash where he initially led the artistic direction, experience design, and partnership/sponsor development.

Working as the event's curation leader, Rob has established a set of criteria and central ideas that permeate through every event's selection of work and established cost-effective exhibition designs that continue to create impressive immersive spaces.

As the event's initial sponsorhip director, Rob toiled through the difficult early days of building relationships with sponsoring partners for an event without a history and defined the framework for which partner relationships are developed today.

Selected Press

Bit By Bit, Chicago's Becoming An Indie Gamer's Paradise (Chicago Red Eye)

Chicago's Bit Bash Proves How Plesant Videogame Events Can Be (Killscreen Magazine)

The Sound Design of an Arcade (Killscreen Magazine)

The Vaporwave Games and Glitch Art at this Year's Bit Bash Festival (Killscreen Magazine)

Additional Information

Bit Bash Website

Bit Bash Press Kit


POP: Methodology Experiment One

POP: Methodology Experiment One

2012

Digital Software on x86 Computing Machine

Keyboard / Gamepad Control Surface

Information

POP: Methodology Experiment One is an experimental game which dissects the impact of reinterpreting the typical game development process and following a self-prescribed dogma to its creative conclusion. POP takes you on a visual and emotional roller-coaster, throwing at you a series of disjointed interactive vignettes of ranging purpose, visual style, and frustration.

POP:ME1 was designed music first, with the game mechanics, visual aesthetic, and overall structure derived from the creative flow of the music production process. As Rob created each song, he imagined a game that would go along with it, tapping into the emotional energy of the music he was creating, documenting his concepts, and executing the ideas with minimal iteration. What emerged is a series of interactive vignettes, disjointed, taking the player on an intimidatingly intense and equally indecipherable journey of frustration and wonder.

Game Of The Saeculum Edition

For the Steam release of POP:ME1, I created a satirical Game of the Saeculum edition playing on the "Game of the Year" marketing gimmick, but also providing me with an opportunity to bring something fresh to the project.

Included in the GOTSE is an audio track of developer commentary featuring some playful anecdotes regarding the development of the game and some observations regarding releasing something so avant garde in a commercial medium.

Accolades

IndieCade - "Nominee" (2012 Culver City, CA)

Fantastic Arcade - "Official Selection: Main Showcase" (2012 Austin, TX)

Rezzed Festival - "Official Selection: Left-Field Collection" (2012 Brighton, UK)

A MAZE Festival - "Semi-Finalist" (2012 Berlin, DE)

Indepdent Games Festival 2012 - "IGF Nuovo Award - Honorable Mention" (2012, San Francisco)

Exhibitions

"The Ears Have Walls" - Experimental Sound Studio (2018, Chicago, IL)

"Chicago Games as Art & Culture" - Dittmar Gallery (2014, Evanston, IL)

"Interplay Arcade" - Jackson Junge Gallery (Chicago, IL 2014)

Selected Press

Play this: 'POP: Methodology Experiment One' (Verge)

Additional Information

Release Website

Press Kit

Steam Store Page

Listen to Soundtrack

Soundtrack (iTunes)

Soundtrack (Spotify)


Sphere

Sphere

2009

Digital Software on x86 Computing Machine

Keyboard + Mouse Control Surface

In collaboration with: Alexei Andreev, Kevin Berg, Joseph DiGiovanna, Marc Holden, Michael So, Paul Taraszka


Sphere is an open source project released under the NCSA License.

Information

Sphere is a digital game where the player guides a sphere through a series of physics, reaction, and spatial reasoning challenges.

Development

Built in collaboration with a group of developers as a senior thesis project within the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign College of Engineering Computer Science program. Sphere is built on a engine written from scratch in C++ utilizing OpenGL, OpenAL, and SDL.

Accolades

Michael S. Hughes Award for Excellence in Software Engineering (UIUC, 2009)

Additional Information

Download (Zip)

Source Repository (GitHub.com)

Documentation (PDF)


Indie City Games

Indie City Games

Board Member (2013 - Present)

Arcade Lead (2014 - Present)


Information

Indie City Games is a collective of Chicago-based independent game developers who enact a number of programs that support the student, hobbyist, and novice proffesional game development community.

Indie City Games Meetups

The organization's primary program is a bi-monthly meetup where attendees are presented with talks regarding game design. Events conclude with an opportunity for anyone to exhibit their work in progress to gather valuable feedback.

Indie City Arcade

Indie City Arcade was a projected spawned from Indie City Games to establish a physical arcade machine to exhibit games by local and select international developers. See Project Page Here.

Role

Rob's role within Indie City Games started after he heard about an arcade project which was similar to a project he was working on with the City of Chicago. As the project with city was cancelled he took over leading the Indie City Games project which is now known as Indie City Arcade. Soon Rob was added to the executive board where he leads the organization in an executive role.

Additional Information

Homepage

Facebook Group


VGA Galley

Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery

Board Member (2013 - Present)

Information

Founded in 2013 in the lively game community of Chicago, Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery seeks to increase cultural appreciation, education of video games and new media through exhibition, study, critique, and sale. Annual programs include Exhibitions and Events featuring the work of significant artists and game developers from around the world; Education programs are comprised of talks, screenings, and student programs; the VGA fine art print collection encompasses giclees and posters of artwork from video games; and a scholarly publications program that includes the VGA Reader, a peer-reviewed journal that highlights new scholarship about video games and new media art.

Role

Rob was an early addition to the Board of Directors for VGA where from his capacities as an indepdent artist and director at Bit Bash is able to advise and govern the organization from a unique perspective. Rob has also worked alongside Chaz Evans, the Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Co-Founder of VGA Gallery, to co-curate VGA programming.

Additional Information

Homepage


GameBuilders Logo

GameBuilders
(ACM Special Interest Group at UIUC)

Project Lead (2005-2007)

President / Chair (2008)

Public and Corporate Partnership Manager (2009)

Information

Founded in 2002 at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign as a special interest group (SIG) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), GameBuilders is a student run organiation devoted to communally honing the craft of producing computer video games. The organization's focus encompasses all aspects of game development including programming, visual asset creation, sound and music authoring, and game design. GameBuilders aims to educate those who are willing to learn more about game development, especially for those with the goal of one day producing games of their own.

GameBuilders to this day prepares its members for careers within game development, attracting recruiters and inspiring graduates to pursue their own projects.

Role

Rob joined GameBuilders at the beginning of this student life at UIUC and quickly aspired to leadership roles within the organization.

In his first two years, Rob lead the development of Red Girder (2006) and Overly Professional (2007); projects which each garnered awards at the University's Engineering Open House for excellence in teamwork and audience popularity.

In his third year with the organization, Rob was nominated and unanimously voted to become the chair. Under his guidance the organization significantly grew its membership and continued to expand the scope of activities and opportunties to its members. Rob also acted as the primary mentor to newer members which lead to a string of highly acclaimed and ambitious student projects. At the end of his tenure in this role, Rob rewrote the bylaws of the organization to better adapt to the changing technological landscape of game development and member interests, adding an additional role to the leadership structure focused on managing partnerships with game development companies and external organizations.

In his final year with the group, Rob took on the newly formed role to realize the scope of the role and solify the role's scope of duties firsthand.

Additional Information

Homepage


BoomBox Screenshot

BoomBox

2009

Digital Software on x86 Computing Machine

Keyboard + Mouse Control Surface

In collaboration with: Craig Grupp, Emma Ritter, Tony Reimer, Paul Taraszka, Kevin Berg, Chaesung Yoon, Shajee Fakih, and Sunah Suh


BoomBox is an open source project released under the NCSA License.

Information

BoomBox is a massive multiplayer online game with strong musical ties and teamwork based gameplay.

The world is split between two distinct factions, which players upon avatar creation choose to join. The player avatars are musical vehicles which within a certain radius project player-created musical melodies which interact with other players and the environment.

The world is constantly changing, with the faction’s borders shifting and buildings being built and destroyed. The musical environment is dynamic and player controlled.

Development

Built in collaboration with a group and developers and artists at the University of Illinois: Urabana-Champaign. This work leverages MaxMSP to create a player controlled audio sample sequencer that melds with a game engine built on top of Ogre3D with Bullet Physics and Zoidcom Networking.

Additional Information

Source Repository (GitHub.com)

Design Documentation (PDF)


LLMLMMMRRR

2012

Digital Software on x86 Computing Machine

5 Floor Pressure Pad Control Surface


Information

LLMLMMMRRR is a local multiplayer game designed to be played with floor pressure pads at Stattbad Wedding in Berlin, Germany for the Experimental Gameplay Project and 02L > Outside Standing Level.

In this work 2-5 player(s) collaborate to steer a vehicle through a procedurally generated city streets to combat roadblocking vessels.

The work aims to create an intrinsically collaborative musical experience by leveraging the ship control mechanics and natural rhythms of navigating a gridded city environment.

Exhibitions

"STATTMEDIA GAME CONTEST" - Stattbad Wedding (2012, Berlin, DE)

Additional Information

Source Repository (GitHub.com)

Download (ZIP)


Indie City Arcade, Photograph by Hilary Higgins

Indie City Arcade

2013

Interactive Installation

Arcade Control Surface

In collaboration with: Jake Elliott, Andy Saia, Benn Marion, Benedict Fritz, Greg Wohlwend, Craig Stern


Information

The Indie City Arcade is an interactive installation consisting of a refurbished arcade cabinet that displays a diverse collection of works by local and international artists.

Much of the electronic and physical fabrication was lead by Rob Lach.

The cabinet was painted by Benn Marion.

The software was initially developed by Jake Elliott but was subsequently updated by Rob Lach. The current launcher software is available upon request and has been used in other works by local artists.

It is regularly on display at the Emporium Arcade Bar in Wicker Park.

Exhibitions

Bit Bash Interactive Arts Festival (2014)

Chicago Games as Art & Culture (Evanston, IL 2014)

Selected Press

Community Service: The story of Chicago's Indie City Arcade Cabinet (Polygon)

DIY gaming: Local collective creates Indie City Arcade cabinet, games (Chicago Red Eye)

Additional Information

Game Submission


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