Friday, October 10, 2008

Designing GWAP

Luis Von Ahn and Laura Dabbish have an article in the August 2008 CACM on "Designing Games with a Purpose".

The paper has a nice overview of the goal of Games with a Purpose (GWAP), which is to produce useful output from the work done in games, and a good survey of some of the games available at and the useful data they output.

If you've seen the GWAP work before, what is new and interesting about the article is the general framework they describe for building these types of games. In particular, the authors describe four generic types of guessing games, give examples of each class of games, and help guide those that are thinking of building their own games. In addition, Luis and Laura give a fair bit of advice on how to make the games enjoyable and challenging, how to prevent cheating, and techniques for mixing and matching human and computer players.

If you haven't seen GWAP before, go over to and try a few games. My favorite is Verbosity, and Tag a Tune is good fun. I also think Tag a Tune is impressive as a demonstration of how games that label audio and video can still be quite fun even though they take a lot more time to play.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Von Ahn is really doing some great work. Just noticed that they released a Facebook application back in September:

We released something similar this July to use games with a purpose for Sentiment Detection, if you're interested have a look:

The results look very promising so far!

Another is "Phrase Detectives" which was demoed at this year's Triple-I. (

Kind regards,