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Project Proposal


Vedran Pogacnik 20:18, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Target user group

The target users are people below 20 who own a camera. Anybody can own a digital camera, but not everybody can take good pictures. It is very important for younger people to take good photographs because of social networking web sites, where photos are THE way of establishing one’s identity, reputation, and social circle. Older people do not pay as much heed to social networking online, and they have more experience taking pictures.

Problem description

The majority of people take pictures that are not “presentable”. Not presentable in the sense that given any situation, the picture is not nearly the quality of the one taken by a professional photographer, who can, without the use of Photoshop, make a gallery exhibit out of a seemingly mundane situation. To put it in simple terms, most people take bad pictures.

The first part of the problem is that most people do not critique the soon-to-be photograph before they press the “shoot” button. Rather, they take hundreds of pictures during a single trip, party, or evening, and then carefully select the good ones to post on Facebook. Well how about snapping only ten really good photos in an evening, and all of them ending up on Facebook? That saves the momentum of the occasion and the time to take the pictures (I’ve been to many parties where people were so focused on taking loads of pictures that they forgot what the party was all about- having fun)!

The second part of the problem is that although a digital camera will adjust all the picture settings automatically, it still doesn’t help with getting the content right- balancing all the elements in a photo. Apart from getting the content right, the owners of the old-fashioned Polaroids or disposable-style cameras need to adjust the settings manually.

Problem context and forces

To (intentionally) make a good photograph, shooting pretty much anything, one needs to follow a set of guidelines. Some of them are: identifying the center of interest, cropping, adhering to the Rule of Thirds, gauging the quality and direction of light, establishing the depth of the field, choosing a background, adjusting the shutter speed and sharpness, setting the proper camera angle, balancing the content of the photograph, setting the format, etc.

Some camera settings, such as depth of field, are impossible to visually represent in a 2D plane. Guidelines that are impossible to implement would have to be omitted entirely.

Proposed Solution


For the purposes of this game (and this proposal), there are some terms that need to be defined since they are used in a different context from their Thesaurus' definition.

A “template” is a 2D simulation of the real world. It is a large, carefully engineered, artificially enhanced, high resolution picture, and it is positioned in the background. It itself is a picture, from which the player chooses smaller rectangular segments or “photographs”.

A “photograph” is produced by small a rectangular frame controlled by the mouse. The frame simulates the scope of the camera.


This game is designed to improve people’s photography skills. It is a simulation of taking pictures in the real world. The simulation consists of a template and a photograph- a respectively smaller rectangular segment of the template. As far as implementation goes, a photograph is a small picture “cut out of” the large picture.

A predefined set of critiquing rules would rate a photograph’s effectiveness. Dragging the frame (which is the “photograph” that the user is taking) would interactively yield effectiveness percentage for that particular frame.

Details of the game include choosing among the options that are commonly found on a camera, and the position of the frame within the template. A different combination of camera settings yields a different overall effectiveness of the photo. In addition, a different frame also yields a different overall effectiveness (i.e. a picture of the bay bridge is presumably much more effective than the picture of the blue sky above it, but a clear sky is better than a blurry bridge).

The nature of the game is a simple brain-teaser that can be played for seconds, minutes, or hours. Because the majority of the target group in the U.S. has access to the internet and a computer at home, work, or school, the game has to be easily accessible and playable in a casual manner, much like waste-your-time-at-work type of games.

The user’s experience with photography is a factor that should enable the player to set the mode of the game; Simple mode or Advanced mode. Hence novices would have only a few critiquing guidelines to take into account, while more experienced players would have a greater set of rules to consider. Similarly, the templates would become more sophisticated / realistic / complex in Advanced mode.

To obtain or increase player’s interest in the game, a ranking system would be introduced. Points would be awarded depending on the percentage of critiquing guidelines that the photograph satisfies. After a completed session- a fixed number of photographs, players would be able to compare their photographs with other players’ photographs of the same template.

Solution Sketch:


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