I just wanted everyone to know that there are now three Lua Scripting tutorials up on the wiki that you can find here: http://foldit.wikia.com/wiki/Lua_Scripting . Lua is an easy-to-use programming language that we can now use to manipulate proteins. Like cookbook recipes, scripts are a great way to automate repetitive folding tasks, help you fold while you're not home or sleeping :), and maybe increase your score!! I designed these tutorials for beginners (thanks to mat747 for helping get them at a good level for "absolute" beginners), so you don't have to know anything about programming to use them. If you have never programmed before, you will want to start with:
This tutorial will get you to the point of downloading and running other people's scripts.
This tutorial gets you to the level of modifying scripts and understanding some basics of commands.
There will be a Beginner 3 tutorial soon (I'll update this thread when it's up) which will work with the rest of the commands and get you to the point of writing your own script with any commands you like in it.
Currently, there is also a very long intermediate tutorial on the wiki ( http://foldit.wikia.com/wiki/Lua_Scripting_Tutorial_(Intermediate) ). I recommend it for folks who either have worked through the beginner tutorials and want more to sink their teeth into or who have some programming experience and want to go at a more accelerated pace (it is actually a standalone tutorial so you don't need to have read Beginner). I will most likely split it into three bits like I did for beginner and then add more, but it is up now and complete for folks who want to take a look.
Scripting is a really fun way of getting deeper into Foldit, learning some basic programming concepts, and maybe even discovering new and exciting ways of folding that no one has used before. There's been some criticism of the addition of scripting to foldit, but my position is that it won't automate our folding completely or make what we do by hand obsolete -- rather, it's a way of taking our unique folding abilities -- our spatial sensibilities -- and extending, deepening, and codifying them. In this sense, scripting becomes a tool we can use to realize our human folding abilities in the form of heuristics, rather than a wholesale automation of folding that would replace us.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas for the current (and future) tutorials, and of course everyone is invited to modify them directly on the wiki and/or add their own!