Mandelbrot Madness!

Version 2.0 -- Command Overview: The Options Dialog

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The Options Dialog

Selecting Other Options... from the Options menu brings you the Options dialog box. Here, you can change additional settings than what you can find in the various menus and toolbars. Most likely, you won't need to change these options very often, which is why they have been pulled out of the main part of the interface.

There are three buttons at the bottom of this dialog:

The Options Dialog: General Tab

The Options Dialog: General Tab The General tab contains a few miscellaneous options that affect some of MM!'s default behaviors:

Show Render Dialog when opening a file: By default, when you open a parameter file, MM! copies the parameters to the Render toolbar. Unfortunately, some people think this doesn't provide enough feedback to the user; the values show up in the toolbar, but if you're not paying attention, you may not notice the change and may think the file silently failed to open. This should never happen (MM! likes to complain a lot when things go wrong), but it can still be viewed this way. Other people just prefer the older Render dialog to the toolbar. When this checkbox is checked, opening a file sends the parameters to the Render dialog instead of the Render toolbar. By default, this box is unchecked.

Prompt to save view on close if not saved: By default, if you try to close an image window and its parameters have not been saved to a file, MM! will ask you if you'd like to save it. This also occurs when you close the entire application when at least one image is open. You can change this behavior by unchecking this checkbox.

Default Image Format: In this drop-down box, you can select the default image format to use when you save graphic image files. Note that this only affects which format comes up by default when you choose to save an image; you can always override this by changing the "Save as type" value or changing the extension. The default image format is PNG. See the Technical Information section for details about available image formats.

Default Parameter Format: This drop-down lets you select the default parameter file format to save your image parameters in. Note that this only affects which format comes up by default when you choose to save the parameters; you can always override this by changing the "Save as type" value or changing the extension. The default parameter format is MM XML. See the Technical Information section for details about available parameter formats.

The Options Dialog: MM XML Tab

The Options Dialog: MM XML Tab The options on this tab relate specifically to the MM XML parameter file format. If you do not plan to use this format, you can safely ignore this tab.

Save prerendering data in MM XML files: MM XML files inclue the option to save prerendered image data as part of the parameter file. The theory behind this is that the rendering process is the most time consuming and expensive part of generating a fractal, so it makes sense to find ways to shortcut this process when possible. When this checkbox is checked, MM! will store the prerendering information in memory and save it to the MM XML file when the parameters are saved. When you open an MM XML file that contains prerendered data, you'll be asked if you want to recreate the prerendered image. If you say yes, the image will be rebuilt as it was previously rendered, hopefully in a much shorter amount of time than the original rendering took. If you say no, you will always have the option of rendering the image again.

Note that saving prerendered data only works with MM XML files. If you save the parameters in another format or convert from MM XML to another format, the pre-rendering data will be lost. Also note that it is highly recommended that you enable MM XML file compression if you save prerendering data, as this extra information can make your parameter files very large. Prerendering only works for a given image it if this checkbox is checked before the image is rendered; if unchecked, the extra data will not be saved during the rendering process. Prerendering is turned off by default.

Compress MM XML files to save space: MM XML files can be optionally compressed using GZIP compression. MM! doesn't care if the file is compressed or not when it is opened; it will adapt accordingly and open the file either way. However, compressing the file helps it take up considerably less space, especially if it contains an inline palette or prerendered image data. You can always turn off compression if you plan to manually edit your MM XML files or otherwise look at their internals. Compression is turned on by default.

Show comments when opening an MM XML file: MM XML files can also store user-specified comments, which can be set with the Edit Comments option under the Edit menu. If this checkbox is checked and you open an MM XML file that contains a comment, the comment will be displayed when the parameter file is opened. This box is checked by default.

The Options Dialog: Helper Apps Tab

The Options Dialog: Helper Apps Tab MM! uses a couple of external helper applications to perform functions that it cannot do on its own. By default, MM! searches the Windows registry to find these itself. However, it may not find the right programs (it may find a program for simply viewing image files instead of editing them) or may not find a helper for that function at all. This part of the Options dialog lets you override this default behavior and set these values yourself.

Image Editor: MM! does not provide any functionality for scaling, resizing, or otherwise editing the images it produces. That can be accomplished by far more capable applications. The program specified here will be launched by choosing the My Image Editor button in the Main toolbar or menu item in the Command menu. By default, MM! tries to search the registry for a program that can edit PNG files. If nothing can be found with the "edit" command attached to it, it then looks for "open" (which unfortunately may include programs that can only display PNGs). If something is found, the My Image Editor controls are enabled and MM! takes note of the location of this program.

Unfortunately, sometimes it can't find the right program for the job. A Web browser is useless if you want to edit images as it can only display them, or you may not have a program installed that can even open PNGs. Thus, you can override the automatic search by unchecking the checkbox and selecting the executable file for the application you want to use. When you click OK, the automatic search will be disabled and the file you specify will always be used. You can always turn the automatic search back on by checking the checkbox.

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© Copyright 2007, Jeffrey T. Darlington. All rights reserved.