Photonic crystals are not only responsible for the beautiful colors of opal gems, butterflies and peacocks. They are also of great technological interest as the key elements of a large variety of modern photonic devices . We present a domestic simulation package, which has been developed for the optimum design of such devices. It basically consists of a number of MATLAB routines, which should allow for a convenient determination of photonic band structures and related properties. We briefly mention some of the main numerical challenges involved in the development of the most effective code. Then we discuss the main features of photonic band structures obtained for complex dielectric materials, and finally describe some useful numerical features, that will be implemented in future versions of our program package.