Programming with Alice -- overview from Princeton University
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Computer Science 111 -- Lab 9 -- Page 2

The Alice Programming Environment

Overview of Alice

Alice is a programming environment that
allows a person to make 3D interactive animations.
It was written by the Stage Three Research Group at Carnegie Mellon University.
Quoting from their
What is Alice? page:

"The Alice project is a public service to the wider computing and artistic communities; our hope is to make it easy for novices to develop
interesting 3D environments and to explore the new medium of interactive 3D graphics. The current version of Alice authoring tool is free to everyone
and runs on computers that are commonly available for reasonable prices."

Objects are maniputated in a simple object-oriented style. This lab is meant to
be a fun way to learn something about object-oriented programming and the
capablities of 3D graphics.

This lab consists of working through the Alice Tutorial provided by
the Alice designers and then creating a short animation of your own

This is the first time we have offered this lab. The Alice tutorial has
been used by many people. However, this is the first time COS 111 students
have used the tutorial in a lab, so there may be some first-time
"glitches". We expect any such "glitch" to be minor, but Alice is not
a program that the lab assistants are used to working with, so please bare
with them if they are not as familiar with this environment as
they have been with the other applications we have used in labs.

The Alice Tutorial

The first part of your assignment is to go through the Alice Tutorial.
The Alice Tutorial is available
online at the Alice site. We have also made printed copies available to you.
We have done this for two reasons:

  • The tutorial authors recommend that you use a printed copy because it
    is easier to follow along,

  • If the Alice site is down, you still have the printed copy and can do the

Important note:Sometimes if one prints the tutorial, some of the
"screen shots" (pictures of the screen while you are using Alice) are cut off.
The missing parts can be important!
We have checked the hardcopy we are providing you; you need to be careful
if you print a copy from the online tutorial yourself.

To go through the Alice tutorial you need only start up the Alice application
and then follow the tutorial step by step. To start the Alice application,
Go to "Cluster Applications" and double-click on "Alice98".
You will submit your work on the "inchworm cement trunk" at the end
of Part Two of the tutorial
. So please be sure to save your work.

Some helpful hints for following the tutorial are given on the next
page of this lab.

Viewing the animations in HTML

One important feature of Alice that is not mentioned in the tutorial is
that Alice animations can be saved so that they can be viewed in HTML pages.
This is the way you will submit your designs. When you have an animation
(in Alice lingo, a "world") completed, chose "save as WWW page" from the
File pulldown menu and save the world in your public_html directory.
Saving in this way will create an new subdirectory of (i.e. folder within)
your public_html directory with the name you gave your world when you saved it.
Within this subdirectory are many files, including one with the same name
as the subdirectory and extension ".html". For example, if you have saved
a world with the name "bunny", you will have a subdirectory of publice_html
called "bunny" and within "bunny" will be, among others, a file called
"bunny.html". View the HTML file with Netscape to be sure all is well.
Be sure to put the directory in the path name, e.g.
Ask a Lab TA for help if all is not well.
The Alice site provides

online information
on making HTML pages.

Creating your own animation

After you have finished the Alice tutorial, create your own short animation,
using as many of the techniques presented in the tutorial (Parts One,
Two, and Three) as possible. You will
be graded primarily on how many of the techniques you can use properly, but
there will also be a few points for creativity. Have fun! When you
are happly with your animation, save it as an WWW page in your public_html
directory as described above.


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