Sketch Master – A Sketch Game for Collecting Exploratory Data

Sketch Master is a sketch-based game designed to strengthen drawing and memory skills in a fun and engaging manner. Additionally, Sketch Master serves as a research instrument to study the relation between perception, memory, and sketching. It is an example of a “game with a purpose”, such as ESP, the online guessing game that motivates users to tag photos for search optimization.

The gameplay is as follows. The Sketch Master system presents a source image for a limited amount of time (e.g., 20 seconds or 3 minutes). After the source image disappears, the player is asked to sketch that image from memory. The drawn image is scored based on the accuracy from the source image. The user has the ability to “spy” on the source image and also the drawings of other players (if any) who participated or competed simultaneously during the sketch session. There are multiple game modes that vary gameplay, which include single player, multiplayer, and cooperative.

Research shows that learning how to properly perceive a source image is one of the most difficult skills for novices. Non-artists do not know what visual information to select for visual processing. Humans can only attend to a subset of information in the visual field. Non-artists are not as skilled at selecting the most critical information and therefore make errors in the way they perceive the source image.
Sketch Master can help us collect data about how users perceive and remember source images. This data will serve to tweak the interaction of Sketch Master to help novices improve their perceptual skills in drawing. To achieve this, the sketching behavior and in-game decisions of the user are recorded. The order of the drawn strokes has the potential to provide insight into the clarity of the user’s memory of the source image. For example, the initial strokes represent the most recent or salient features of the source image perceived by the user. The airtimes between the strokes may provide insight about which parts of the source image are easier or harder to remember.

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