Alice 3 to Java: Learning Creative Programming through Storytelling and Gaming, 1st edition

Published by Pearson (February 23, 2017) © 2018

  • Wanda P Dann Carnegie Melon Unviersity
  • Don Slater Carnegie Mellon University
  • Laura Paoletti Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dave Culyba Carnegie Mellon University


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For courses in Introductory Programming for Java and Alice.

Learn programming basics in a creative context that’s more engaging and less complicated

Taking a computer programming course can be challenging, time-consuming, and downright frustrating–but there’s a better way. Alice 3 to Java: Learning Creative Programming through Storytelling and Gaming, First Edition introduces students to programming in a creative context that’s more engaging and less complicated, while still covering all the essential concepts you’d expect to see in an introductory programming course. Students are invited to step into the world of creating 3D animations through chapters that present programming concepts with hands-on examples. Throughout the text, students create a short story or game centered on Lawrence Prenderghast’s Haunted Circus, a story by Laura Paoletti. Students bring the story to life through projects and exercises using Alice, an animation tool similar to professional software used by studios like Pixar and DreamWorks. Later in the book, students may apply what they’ve learned in Alice to using Java, a professional, production-level programming course.

About the Book

A unique teaching approach supports student development

  • A creative problem-solving approach is used throughout the book, which incorporates some elements of design thinking that starts with understanding and analyzing a problem (a challenging task), involves experimentation, and expects design and implementation changes.
  • The enhanced animation capability provided by Alice 3 through a library of built-in classes, visually embodied by unique 3D models (characters and props), covers a wide range of stories and cultures. In addition to their visual appeal, Alice’s Gallery classes provide features to jumpstart student animation programming, including built-in animation methods.
  • A main narrative throughout the book leads students through the creation of animations and interactive games adapted from episodes of Lawrence Prenderghast’s Haunted Circus, a story by Laura Paoletti. In between the chapters of the textbook are episodes of an unfolding story about a mysterious, haunted circus train, a cast of unique characters, and the adventurous task of lifting a magic spell from a troupe of circus performers.
  • Software features and instructional material support the transition to a production-level language (Java), in response to the requests of hundreds of instructors who participate in our online Alice Educators List.
    • Several chapters are devoted to providing assistance to the instructor and students for building on the concepts learned in Alice to make a successful transition to Java.
    • Some features of Alice 3 have also been improved to provide a close correlation between Alice and Java’s object-oriented concepts.

Pedagogic features enhance understanding

  • New terms are introduced in bold blue print.
  • A list of new terms is provided at the end of each chapter and in the index.
  • A summary is presented at the end of each chapter.
  • A set of concept questions is provided in each chapter.
  • Exercises are provided in each chapter. In most chapters, exercises are included for extending and enriching the example problem task for that chapter.
  • Project ideas are provided for later chapters, after students have experience with the Alice and NetBeans IDEs.
  • An optional capstone project is presented in the Epilogue.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue: Lawrence Prenderghast’s Haunted Circus

Episode 1. March 1, 1910: Larry

  1. Introduction
  2. Design
  3. Implementation in Alice
  4. Implement and Test

Episode 2. The Train Engine

  1. Procedures, do together, and Count Loops

Episode 3. The Tunnel

  1. Stepwise Refinement and Inheritance
  2. Implementation in Java
  3. Importing: Alice 3 to Java and Code

Episode 4. The Forest Cabin

  1. Code Reuse, Parameters, Data Types, Variables, and Arithmetic Expressions
  2. Java: Parameters, Data Types, Variables, Expressions, and Loop Control

Episode 5. The Ringmaster Coat

  1. Interactivity with Events, If/Else, Conditions, and Built-in Functions

Episode 6. March 1, 1910: Nicholas

  1. Custom Functions, While Loops, Random Values, Input, and a Game Algorithm

Episode 7. March 1, 1910: Esther

  1. Built-in Arrays, Poses, More Events, and Interactive Controls

Episode 8. March 1, 1910: Adelaide

  1. Custom Arrays and Functions
  2. Java: Custom Arrays and Sort

Episode 9. March 1, 1910: Gideon

  1. Event-Driven Programming and Advanced Game Controls


Epilogue Capstone Project


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