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What is Floatator?

Floatator is an interactive fluid dynamics simulation running on Linux. The simulation and the visualization are 2D. It was originally programmed on HP-PA and SGI, and it uses X-motif for the visualization. The fluid dynamics simulation core is derived from the course work "Praktikum wissenschaftliches Rechnen", conducted by Prof. Zenger and Dr. Griebel at TU-München, at which I participated together with Tobias Völkl. The interactive visualization wrapper has been added my me to serve as a demo at the fluid dynamics course of Ferien-Akademie/Sarntal, conducted by Prof. Zenger and Prof. Durst, at which I participated 1995.
When I wrote this program, I just got to know my former fiancée, who prefers to stay unnamed, and being separated from her for two entire weeks for going to Ferienakademie seemed to be quite a long time for me. I was very happy with her, and being with her was just so great that I can not express it by words. After more than five years, she ended our relationship in 2001. This is pretty much a year ago, and since then, she has not felt any desire to come back to me. When I browsed through my files a few weeks ago, I found this old program, and the simulation of the falling drop reminded me to a falling tear, so I would like to donate this piece of code to express my deep regret about not being with her more. I spent some of my lonely evenings to make the program running again, under Linux this time.
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The purpose of this program is to remember the great days of my relationship with a person I was deeply in love with long time ago. By using this software, you implicitly declare your condolences about this breakup. The only restriction is that the text contained in the about box must be preserved, and the program must reproduce this text by some kind of splash screen or equivalent. Otherwise, you may use this software in any kind, commercially or non-commercially, and distribute it in any form, with or without source. The program contains bugs, so I do not provide any warranty about any particular properties or suitability of this software.

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The software architecture is based on the strict separation between problem specific code, i.e., the fluid dynamics simulation, and the representation specific code. These two modules are even running as separate programs connected with a pipe. The two parts of the program communicate using the FDCMP, the Floatator direct communication message protocol. This document in German gives a brief overview over the numerical background of the simulation.

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Due to the complex inner workings of motif, the interface part needs to access X-resources which should usually be put into /usr/X11/lib/app-defaults. Since this requires root privileges, it is also feasible, to put the file into the user's home-directory. To ease this setup procedure, I provided a script called make+run which created a symbolic link from the user's home directory to the resources file.

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Thumbnail Description
The program startup screen. It contains of a main window showing the simulated fluid, a palette for viewing controls, another palette for selecting fluid and particles.
After the program is started, a new simulation has to be created using the File-New menu.
This is the initial configuration for the "Fallender Tropfen" (falling drop) simulation. The simulation can be started using the play-button in the lower right corner of the main window.
This shows the drop falling. Somehow, it reminds me about a tear.
This is the same falling tear. This time, there are some particles placed on the fluids whose path can be traced visually during the simulation. (Well, the particle background is not transparent yet)
This is another configuration called "Brechender Damm" (breaking dam). It somehow reminds me about the sadness of a broken relationship, too.

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If you improve the program, feel free to send me patches :-). Some suggestions are: back to the top

Written by Gordon Cichon, 2/14/2002