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hgs 08-03-2006 12:47 PM

Getting involved in development?
Given that Alice 3.x is to be open source and that you have a community site, how do people get involved in development? Where are the CVS, SVN, Darcs, or whatever repositories, or the tar files of the nightly snapshots, etc? Before one can contribute patches etc, one needs access to sources...

Thank you.

pausch 08-03-2006 10:01 PM

Getting involved in Alice development
We greatly appreciate your interest in helping with the development of Alice 3.0. Currently, our approach is to build it in house, and then release the system, with its source code, once we have it up and running.

hgs 08-04-2006 05:38 AM

Thank you. We are interested in contributing because we are interested in developing code based on Alice. So, it seems we will need to base this on Alice 2.0 to start with. This raises a number of issues:

Firstly, the Alice source tarball contains no build instructions at all. No makefiles or ant files, or configure scripts. As our group is new to java this makes things rather difficult. I can only infer that running javac on every class file will eventually get us something we can use. Would it be possible to supply some hints about the intended process for building Alice from source, please? Maybe as part of a re-released tarfile?

Secondly, it's been stated that Alice Worlds from 2.x will not work in 3.x. Is 3.0 going to be a complete rewrite, or will the API remain largely the same? I'm wondering what to plan for when 3.0 comes out and our apps work with 2.0

Thirdly, I imagine that as this is a research-based project, there will not be sufficient resources for further development of 2.x, apart from some bug fixes. Is this correct? This would tend to limit our scope for contributions if 3.0 doesn't share much of the 2.x code base (to which we have access).

Thank you.

pausch 08-04-2006 05:48 AM

2.0 vs. 3.0
Your insights are all correct - we have finite resources, especially people, and we are focusing all our energies on the design and development of 3.0 - especially given the strong desire people have for a system with a clear path to Java programming, and our ability to use the Sims characters, we feel that the best and highest use of our team's time is getting 3.0, so we have no plans for any continued development of 2.0.

So, as you note, that might limit your desire to do any development on 2.0 yourself, which we would completely understand.

thanks again for your offer of help!

hgs 08-04-2006 06:34 AM

2.0 vs 3.0
Thank you for your prompt reply. (It must be well before breakfast over there :) ) I think we will proceed with developments based on 2.0, and we'll just to reduce coupling between classes as much as possible, so that we can ease any transition to 3.0 in the future.

What has attracted us to this route is the intuitive nature of the interface for building worlds from the supplied models. Were I to express any wishes for 3.0 it would be that the ability to create objects of our own be made as straightforward, by facilitating imports of "traditional" 3d formats such as .OBJ, .3DS, and so forth. It occurs to me that allowing intuitive manipulation of points, edges and faces, in combination with a paintbrush tool, or material toolbox, would permit the construction of new objects using the present Alice interactivity or programming.

The only other thing I have wanted is the import and export of source code, so that I can write programs that write Alice programs. This does introduce the problems of compilation errors that your interface neatly sidesteps, so maybe allowing Alice programs to create Alice programs would be worth considering.

I wish you all success with the development of 3.0.

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