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Answer to SheilaRuth about Alice v3.0 and the Sims
Director of the Alice Project
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Posts: 38
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Answer to SheilaRuth about Alice v3.0 and the Sims - 02-06-2007, 09:40 AM

Dear SheilaRuth,

The Alice team read your recent post with great interest, because it reflected some discussions we had early on when the Sims opportunity presented itself. I think you'll find this pleasing - here is what I can tell you right now:

1) Alice v3.0 will not be identical to (nor backward compatible with) Alice v2.0, but we are committed to there still being a way to construct programs as easily as the current system allows, using the same basic drag-and-drop approach.

2) Alice v3.0 will not become "another version of the Sims," because that just wouldn't make sense. We welcome the increased production values, and we anticipate some increase in younger users due to familiarity with the Sims characters and environments, but Alice will always be about creating, learning to problem solve, and (whether or not we explicitly say these words) learning to program/learning some important concepts about computing. The Sims is a game; Alice v3.0 is a programming system. Very different things.

3) As for risque content, we joked early on with our friends at EA about which side was *more* adamant about not having sexual/risque content in Alice v3.0 - it's in nobody's best interest. It's very easy for us to simply not include certain texture maps and animations for characters. Having said that, in any programming system where users can control the character's position in 3D space (including the current Alice v2.0 system), our users can doubtless find ways to make things that can be interpreted as naughty, but we certainly have no intention of making that easy.

4) As for a case statement, that's an interesting suggestion that I think is "in play," (the ultimate call on that lies with our head designer), and there are certainly arguments for such a construct in terms of clarity of code (to show my age, when I learned about case statements as a student, we were taught about their benefits in terms of speed-of-execution... imagine my horror when I realized that many high level languages actually implemented them as chained if/then/elses under the covers!)

thanks for this feedback!

Randy Pausch
Director of the Alice Project
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