A #bl_labs Game Jam Idea


[Edit: I managed to get the game below finished – it’s a work in progress – but I didn’t finish in time to enter the jam. The game “60 second Art Heist” can be downloaded here. ]

I was hoping to get involved in the British Library game jam that’s happening this week, but my programming skills let me down. I couldn’t get past a problem that meant I was able to download all the images from Flickr as the program was running – some of them loaded, others didn’t. Anyway, I still like the idea I was aiming for, so I thought I’d share it…

It would have been called something like “Art Thief” and the idea was that it would play along these lines.

The setting is a gallery with 3 framed images on the wall. All of the images are taken from the British Library’s photos on Flickr.

gallerycroppedpaintings statue

A speech bubble appears next to the art thief (who is disguised as one of the gallery’s statues), commenting that the buyer would pay handsomely for a particular type of artwork. The particular type (eg flora, portrait, architecture, cycling) is taken from a tag of one of the 3 Flickr images that is displayed on the wall.


The player positions the cursor over one of the paintings using a joystick and presses the button to select it. Up shoots a hand and nabs the selected painting.


If the player chooses an image that matches the tag in the speech bubble a bundle of money appears and their money goes up. At the same time if they get a correct tag/image combination like this their average percentage accuracy rate increases – they don’t see this. In fact they don’t know this is happening behind the scenes.

gallerycroppedpaintings stolenFor some time the process continues with changing tags and images until you’ve played the rounds enough times for the game to determine how accurate the player is at choosing the correct tag/image combinations asked of them. Until this stage all of the images presented have been tagged already, so we know which images have been tagged with what keyword. However, now untagged images are gradually added into the game. When presented with a comment such as “The buyer would pay handsomely for a “flora” artwork.” the game can determine how likely the player is to have chosen an image to match the tag based on their accuracy score. For example, if during the earlier rounds of the game they have an accuracy rate of 92%, we could suggest that any untagged items they selected later on were 92% likely to match the tag the game has asked for.

At the end of the game the untagged items url, suggested tag by the player and their % accuracy score could be stored in a csv file along with other players scores/suggested tags.

For added variety more images could be shown at the same time. The player might also be against the clock, or avoiding moving when the gallery security guard is watching.


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