Simulation and Engineering Software
Imagine you built a simulator so that when you added weight to the climber, the ribbon dimensions got bigger. If a spreadsheet created calculations that boiled down to simple algebraic formulas, those could be put into a video game. If someone improves the spreadsheet, they can swap in a different algebraic constant.
Dynamics, basic principles relationships, materials properties,... Codebase_Analysis#Physics_Engines
We believe that ODE could be a good simulation engine for realtime, or non-realtime calculations. Here is an excellent summary document: http://keithcu.com/cgi-bin/hg.cgi?raw-file/073cec0e2635/docs/dynamics.pdf
Ribbon dimensions, performance trade-offs, overall interactions matrix.
3-D Design Files
We will use the Collada format which is open, XML, has 3-D and physics capabilities. Collada introduction: http://keithcu.com/cgi-bin/hg.cgi?raw-file/6bcb243bfc7d/docs/COLLADA.odp
A little hard to get into, but extremely powerful and it has some physics simulation capabilities built in and supports Collada. Complete tutorial: http://www.cdschools.org/54223045235521/lib/54223045235521/BlenderBasics2.42a.pdf
NASA's free code: http://opensource.arc.nasa.gov/