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The following is a list of material types as of 1/11/08. This is stored in src/engine/decal.h, so you can check that list to see if it is up-to-date. To make a material use a particular material type, edit your surfaceproperties.txt file and set "gamematerial" to a string containing the letter shown below. For example, to make something metal, you would use
Material type letters
ANTLION A BLOODYFLESH B CONCRETE C DIRT D EGGSHELL E FLESH F GRATE G ALIENFLESH H CLIP I PLASTIC L METAL M SAND N FOLIAGE O COMPUTER P SLOSH S TILE T VENT V WOOD W GLASS Y ADVISORSHIELD Z