"A meek endeavor to the triumph" by Sampath Jayarathna

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Reading #26: Picturephone: A Game for Sketch Data Capture




             This paper proposes a multi-player sketching game called Picturephone. Its purpose is to capture hand-drawn sketches and player-provided descriptions which can be used by other researchers to develop or test sketch recognition systems. Picturephone is not a new recognition system—it is a tool for capturing hand-made drawings in many domains by many people, along with human-classified descriptions. Picturephone is inspired by the children’s game called Telephone. In Telephone, a player privately describes something to the person to the left. That person then conveys the message to the person to their left, and so on. Over time the message may change drastically. Picturephone uses a web oriented client/server architecture and is known to run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Ubuntu Linux. Both client and server are written in Java. Communication is done with the standard HTTP protocol using the host web browser’s network connection, allowing the game to work unimpeded by firewall or router restrictions.

            There are three primary game modes: draw, describe, and rate. Players are randomly assigned one of these modes. In Draw mode (Figure 2), players are given a text description and are asked to draw it using the sketching surface at the right. A time limit is enforced to encourage simplicity. 


            Picturephone is the first instance of a class of planned sketching games that could provide researchers with a method to acquire data about drawings. This includes the physical act of sketching as well as how people describe those drawn elements. The paper is lack of most of its implementation details, and significantly overlaps with the paper described in Reading #24. Here it asks the player to draw using the description “three concentric circles”. After completing the drawing, the player hits ‘Done’. The game chooses among your preferred modes: sketching, describing, or rating.

The user gets a few ‘rate’ phases in a row here. It simply asks the player to rate how closely the two pictures match. The picture on the left was the basis for a description, and the one on the right was a sketch made based on that description. When a player rates these two drawings, points are assigned to the people who made both sketches as well as whoever made the mediating description. As you can see, the task of rating is rather subjective, but since it collects lots of ratings for the same pair it seems to work out fairly well. Eventually the game picks ‘describe’ mode, so here you see the player typing in a description about a floor plan layout of a square house with a bathroom and kitchen in the corners. This process continues until the player chooses to end their session.

1 comment:

Jonathan H. said...

It's always fun to invent a method of getting people to unwittingly do your work for you. I must confess, though, I do not see a target audience for this; the author could put the game in an elementary school and get some kids to play, but I don't think they'll give some high-quality results. My reason for concern here is the author spoke as if he would put this on the Internet and people would flock to his game and play it. If that is his intention, I hope he realizes most people would rather play Halo than Picturephone.