The program at the core of materialworlds, MATWRLD.EXE, has two functions.
It runs in the background as an ActiveX document server, displaying materialworlds simulations on web pages.
It's also the program that creates and edits materialworlds simulations.
Existing simulations have been created using a combination of programming (not available to materialworlds users) and editing with MATWRLD.EXE.
Using MATWRLD.EXE as an editor you'll be able to modify simulations (by loading, editing and saving *.mw simulation files, or selecting a "new" simulation from a selection of preset types) but you won't be able to create new types of simulation object, and the extent to which the program can edit objects is quite limited.
We don't offer any support on the use the materialworlds editor - as we concentrate on developing new simulations ourselves - rather than providing a simulation development tool.
The editor should be seen as a free extra toy to experiment with (should you wish to) rather than a reliable or documented tool. It is in constant development, and the user interface is only partially implemented.
If you do use it to edit simulations, be sure to save changes to regularly - and under new names.
The editor's tabbed dialog boxes were designed for use with the Windows display set to "Large fonts". With "Small fonts" some of the captions are truncated.
If you have any particular variations on a simulation that you'd like to see, it could be easiest to request them from us.
So what can the materialworlds editor do?
- create new simulation files from a preset range of simulation types
- open, run, edit and save existing simulation files (you can also save modified copies of web page simulations by pressing Shift+Ctrl+S)
- a limited degree of object editing
- adjustment of simulation click time, distance and time scaling
- selection of which parameter arrows are displayed, and adjustment of arrow scaling
- create and edit various types of graph
- create and edit multiple 2D and 3D views of a simulation
A few tips on using the materialworlds editor
- rewinding a simulation will destroy many of the changes made since the last save; so if you want to edit a simulation's initial state, pause and rewind the simulation before you start editing.
- to create a new view, select "create new camera" under the View menu.
- saving the simulation sets the current view as the default view when the simulation is opened.
- many of dialog and menu buttons are only active when objects are selected. Switch to a 2D plane view in order to select objects.
- you can edit with the mouse only in a 2D plane view - but you can switch between front, side and top plane views to achieve 3D editing.
User interaction and editing with the mouse in 2D plane views
While the simulation is playing, you can grab hold of an object and move it around with either the left or right mouse button.
Using the left button has the effect of dragging the object around with a piece of elastic; the object is still affected by interactions with other objects.
Moving an object with the right button stops it being affected by other objects and also sets its velocity to zero.
While the simulation is paused, both left and right buttons have the same effect - selecting the object and moving it about - both without changing its velocity. Holding down the Ctrl key causes selected objects to be copied rather than moved.
Multiple selections can be made by Shift clicking, or dragging out a rubberband over a group of objects.
The selection can be cancelled by clicking in empty space.
An object's velocity (in the viewing plane) can be edited while the simulation is paused by pulling the velocity arrowhead with the mouse.
The other side of creating simulations is incorporating them into web pages.
Each simulation web page is in its own subdirectory containing all the files it needs. The files with an .mw extension are the simulation files.
The easiest way to put your simulation onto a web page is by editing or replacing the *.mw file use by an existing simulation page.
Try this with a renamed copy of the original simulation folder.
Visit the webpage tutorial for advice on putting existing simulation pages into your own framed pages.