Cliff, thank you for sharing this document with us and soliciting our informed input.
The file’s contents are very interesting! Kudos!
But I regret to say that I find it rather user-hostile at present concerning its readability. Also, the left and right horizontal halves of the file appear to be complete duplicates of each other. But there’s more than that needing some help here.
For purposes of finely detailed review & critique, it’s too overwhelming to have all modules of all types lumped together into a monolith. Of course it’s likely much more of an “organic” document (and thus more easily read) for you, the developer, than for any of us - after all, you created it a piece at a time over an extended period. I truly look forward to helping balance the content, but the way the data is presented needs some help before that’s feasible. It’s not too late to start off with a community-friendly format, though.
[size=115]Would you please consider breaking it up into multiple separate docs according to ship size of each module?
Or better yet, split it on the basis of module types instead (one file each for all beam weapons, then another file for bullets, then one each for the missiles, armors, shields, engines and so forth)?[/size]
The amount of side-scrolling (even more than the vertical scrolling) required to make sense of this (game-critical & fascinating) body of data is excessive; we don’t all have monitors larger than 20 inches diagonally, let alone dual or triple monitors. In order to squeeze as many relevant columns of data (and, situationally, compress any less-vital-at-present columns) into my view as possible, I find it necessary to dial down the magnification to 55-60% (ouch), which then makes all characters become much too small to be easily legible. I freely admit that the eyestrain caused by then trying to parse this zoomed-out data is very uncomfortable.
But with so very much horizontal expanse to your document, and the urgent need to compare module stats in detail by viewing as much of the entire thing as possible all at the same time, something has to give. That’s why I’m requesting that you provide us with multiple documents, each one dedicated to a single family of modules.
In the course of my very-long-term modding efforts within GSB1 (not all of which are public), years ago I manually divided the original game’s total overall content from the module textfiles into numerous individual spreadsheet files. To personally re-type all that data based on the 140-plus module textfiles across all of GSB1 took an annoyingly long while, but it was worth the effort. I’m sure that you could accomplish it automatically via scripting in a trivial amount of time.
This user-friendly division of data resulted in a HUGE leap upwards where ease & efficiency of reading was concerned! I found that having a separate spreadsheet file for each module-family of data was a significant User Experience improvement. That plurality of discrete files allowed me to see all of the following categories of GSB1 textfile content in a way that’s much faster to understand, as well as better for comparing the strengths, weaknesses, gaps and redundancies of different modules in the same module category, such as:
From there, it was a simple matter to craft content accordingly for my mods, comparing and contrasting each new item by placing that column of modder-made data adjacent to the closest such column of data that it resembled in the official game. But it was an even greater help when analyzing GSB1 as a whole - the “Core Four” races’ content as well as all of the DLC races’ content - yet still being able to examine things in great detail.
Anyhow, I’d like to hope that you would be willing to split your own master GSB2 file accordingly. This will result in vastly better public feedback than a scenario where the master file remains as it currently is. This allows the player community to more easily make quality contributions towards GSB2’s balance. If (maybe a BIG ‘if’) GSB2’s guts might not be arranged around a series of hundreds of tiny little textfiles for all modules, then now is the best time to split and reorganize the master module data before textfiles are created.
“Help me, Obi-Cliff Kenobi; you’re my only hope”.
Or to put it differently, “help US to help YOU”.