September 1, 2019

Creating a game from a painting by David Hockney

This summer I produced a small example of how to create a Scratch game from a museum painting. Specifically, I chose a very summery painting: "A bigger splash", by David Hockney. It is part of the Tate collection, and on the museum's website they have a great educational resource to dive in for a closer look and explore Hockney's inspiration, techniques and try some splash-inspired activities. 

A bigger splash, David Hockney. Tate Modern.

In my project, I hacked the painting with some playful coding and Scratch, so every time we press the space key the Scratch cat falls from above into the pool, producing the big splash. But that's not all, there are some ducklings swimming by the pool. If you can get the cat to fall on the yellow ones, you'll score points. If it falls on the red, the game is over.

Programming is relatively simple. We have to control the movements of the cat and the ducklings, and play with two pictures of the painting (with and without splashing). So it is necessary to use some image editor, but it is very simple because in this case the painting is made mostly with solid colors.

Apart from this, we have to create a variable to keep the score and use the sensing blocks to detect if the cat touches the ducklings.

Please take a look at the scripts in my project.

 Check the Scratch project.

Could you invent another game with this same painting? Or do you have in mind some famous painting that could be hacked and turned into a game with Scratch? You could also think of a way to add interactivity to the project, using Makey-Makey, micro:bit or Arduino. Feel free to remix my project, and let me know if you make some project inspired by this.


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