From: Marcos Ackel (
Date: Wed Sep 26 2012 - 15:43:19 CDT

Hi John,

it seems that there is something wrong. This is exactly what I've being doing. Just to be sure, I've repeated everything from the beginning. Both, for the SpaceNavigator and for the joystick - same results:

1) Started VMD
2) New Molecule (alanin.psf) -> Load     (alanin.psf is from the NAMD tutorial)

3) Browse (alanin.pdb) -> Load

4) (menu)/Graphics/Tools      (Tool Controls dialog opens)
5) button "create tool"     (a Grab tools appears at the OpenGL Display)
6) "Position" dropdown box    and select SpaceballTracker
    vmd console:    Info) Opening VMD console Spaceball device (tracker).
7) Buttons drowpdown box and select SpaceballButtons
    vmd console:   Info) Opening VMD console Spaceball device (buttons).
8) Press SpaceNavigator right (mode or button 2) button  6 times

    vmd console:    Info) Spaceball set to user mode                                Info) Spaceball set to rotation/translation mode   
                                Info) Spaceball set to dominant axis rotation/translation mode
                                Info) Spaceball set to scaling mode

                                Info) Spaceball set to animate mode
                                Info) Spaceball set to tracker mode
(now, if I move the SpaceNavigator, the tool moves in the OpenGL view - as expected)
9) Press SpaceNavigator left (button1):
    vmd console:    Info) Spaceball reset view orientation

Tried many different combinations of buttons, tool creation orders, and different uses of the "Assigned Rep" tab (in the Tool Controls dialog), different tools  with the same result. Also, tried the Tug Tools in a running Interactive MD. In all cases I was not able to connect to the molecule.

I've looked at the source code trying to identify what should be the called function to connect the molecule, but couldn't conclude anything.



----- Original Message -----
From: John Stone <>
To: Marcos Ackel <>
Cc: VMD_List <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 6:40 PM
Subject: Re: vmd-l: Using Tools (grab, tug, etc)

  I thought I'd said this already previously in our earlier email exchanges,
but in order to use the SpaceNavigator with the 6-DOF "Tools" menu, you
must set the SpaceNavigator to "tracker" mode.

You can do this by pressing the mode button until the VMD console window says:
  Info) Spaceball set to tracker mode

Once it is set to tracker mode, you can create a new tool in the Tools
menu, set it to "grab", or "tug", etc.  Once it is created, and you've
associated its position/buttons with the SpaceNavigator, then, when you
press the first button (the one that usually acts as a "reset view" button
when in normal mode), that will activate the grab/tug function on whatever
molecule you have loaded.

The behavior the SpaceNavigator depends on which mode its in.  In the "normal"
mode, you are correct that the buttons are set to reset the view or change
the mode.  But, in "tracker" mode, the first button activates the grabbing
or pulling behavior rather than resetting the view...

Hopefully you can get this working with very little difficulty.  If you
still have problems, let me know.

  John Stone