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Week 1 – Hello World!


Hello! We are A² Studio, a team of 4 students at the Entertainment Technology Center. This semester we are developing a project for Alice, an open source platform to create animation and interactive story through block coding.

First let’s meet our team and instructors:

  • Xiangming “Rick” Ka, Programmer, Technical Artist
  • Kayi “Shirley” Ng, Artist
  • Zhiqi Zhao, UX Designer
  • Jingyu Zhuang, Producer, Programmer

  • Brenda Bakker Harger, Instructor
  • Scott Stevens, Instructor

After a quick meet and greet we found that our team has diverse backgrounds in game development, 2D illustration and product design and we are all excited to kick off this semester.

Researching our Client

For the first week we conducted some individual research on two programs given in the project prompt: ARENA and Alice.


The Augmented Reality Edge Network Architecture (ARENA) is a platform designed to simplify programming where there is a mix of virtual and physical systems, with locality and pervasive sensing as first-class citizens. ARENA makes it easy to create and host multiple applications that interact with users and other agents in an immersive 3D environment created inside a browser.


Alice is an innovative block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D. Unlike many of the puzzle-based coding applications Alice motivates learning through creative exploration. Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills, fundamental principles of programming and to be a first exposure to object-oriented programming. The Alice Project provides supplemental tools and materials for teaching using Alice across a spectrum of ages and subject matter with proven benefits in engaging and retaining diverse and underserved groups in computer science education.

Meeting our Client

After familiarizing ourselves with both programs we had the first conversation with our client Melanie Lam (ETC 05’), the director of Alice Project, on Friday. Melanie gave us an overview of the project and provided us with a lot of insights on what exactly we are delivering and why she initiated this project. Below is a quick summary.

With the term “Metaverse” becoming more and more popular these days, Alice is hoping to explore the future of remote collaborative learning, as a potential future direction for the product.

To explore this field, our team is tasked to design and develop an experience that enables middle school students to learn 3D scene building and block programming through remote collaboration. 

One thing Melanie also clarified was that although we are exploring the future direction for Alice, and ARENA was suggested as a potential platform for the experience, the use of either platform is not required for the project.

With these information we now have a lot more clarity on what we are creating and we look forward to continuing our research and starting brainstorming!