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Data Management : Tools, Tips, and Tricks


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As a reasonably newbie minded player, I can see tracking the information needed to run an empire is not trivial. At the moment I can see at least 2 classes of information.


1) Over time data - This is stuff that you see on one turn that you will want to keep track of over the life of your Empire. Examples of this include : Tech ANZ's, System/Planet surveys, Ship designs.


2) Per Turn data - This is stuff you see every turn, but want needs tools to help manage each turn. Such as Planet production.


Now while there are some basic examples of a few of these on the RTG site, it is obvious (at least to me), these are at best start ideas, that rapidly become obscolete as the Empire progresses.


So the question to the Elder Races out there : What sort of Tools do you use to mange this data ? And good tips and tricks that you might want to share with the younger species ?




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Im not that computer minded (and I use a Mac :) so alot of my solutions are quite manual, however I get by easily enough using the following:


1) A Database program (I use Bento) for:

- Storing Planetary data for each system that is not a Nexus

- ANZ Records

- Ship Designs


As I go through my turns I just copy and paste the info into the relevant section of the database program. Then I can search the database for planets with a certain atmosphere or resource, look back at tech items and also keep track of what my designs actually require.


2) A Flow Char Program (I use Omnigraffle) For:

- Tech Tree: I like a visual Tech tree so all the ANZ data I transfer onto a visual tech tree, this helps me spot patterns and which tech may lead to multiple items and therfore may need prioritising.

- A Map of the galaxy: I like my maps to remain static and a flowchart program is designed to allow you to link boxes with lines, perfect for making a visual representation of space, I tend to find I only add 4-5 new systems a turn so easily manageable by hand, others do alot more exploration and the manual nature of this solution may not be perfect if your a big explorer.


3) Spreadsheet program (I use Numbers) for:

- Managing production

- Keeping plans for research (SRP spending also) and also general notes.


Slowly my spreadsheet for managing production has evolved but to begin with it was simply to work out what order to build things. Now I paste in my bases inventory, it already knows what mining and imports will happen each turn and by just selecting what items I want to build it works out if I have the capacity to build the items this turn and then generates a list of build orders for me to input into the system. Ive not worked out yet how to successfully create the orders so I can just paste them into the turn yet, my attempts have met a mixed success and not had time to continue working on it.



I know other players use different solutions, some use spreadsheets for everything from mapping to ANZ data. There are some programs other players have made that will generate a map each turn and plot routes but not used them so they are probably best telling you about them :)

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I use Excel to track production and research. I have been using it to keep track of planet and system data but a quick-and-dirty database might be better for that now that Flagritz has mentioned it.

I also have a sheet in Excel that reads in the warp point info from my MDB file and produces the code I plug into GraphViz (it's free) to make my maps. Probably very similar to Omnigraffle as mentioned above.

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I have tried, and tried again to get GraphViz to work, but I only have so much hair left to pull out while howling at the moon in frustration though! My Excel map looks pretty, but it is falling further and further behind the information coming in because it is labour intensive....and and and... I want to HURT my computer! I really do. I'm being good however. I haven't shot at my computer yet.... hmmmm...... zero windage, no drop in the trajectory over such a short distance..... hmmmmm...


And Hell! Rumour has it that I am at least moderately smart! I'm starting to wonder though....

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For my positions I use Excel for my long term mapping needs. I use the flow chart tools that imported over from my first map which was in power point. I found the new Excel also makes it much easier as it has alot more columns. This map is required since I can't annotate my Graphviz map. I find the Graphviz map to be invaluable. I just recently got it working on my Windows 7 machines so I am good to go once again.


I have a tracking spreadsheet that I use to track system/planet info. This is a manual entry system and takes lots of effort but is generally worth it although I generally update in spurts, say 6-10 months at a time.


I have a ship design spreadsheet that is invaluable. I have sent a basic version of this to folks who have asked. It is relatively easy to add more tech to it as the empire advances.


I have a production spreadsheet that I have used in the past and still do occasionally. However, this seemed to be much more of a requirement during early empire development than it does now. I mostly use it now when setting up new production bases or doing total revamps of production.


My current tools are the same ones I have been using for years.


So tips for younger empires -


Use tooled builds. It always amazes me when I see production that is not tooled. For some things it is warranted, but for your baseline production you should set it up and forget it. I plan on building 10% excess of any intermediate item i.e, Advanced Electronics, Tritantulum etc. I also leave several clean up builds to use up any left over production capacity due to unforeseen shortfalls.


Different positions have different challenges so don't expect your neighbors solution or mine to be your solution. They may work, but they may not.


After passing my tools out to dozens of people I find that most folks build their own after they figure out what is important to them.


Enjoy! :)

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I use my extract tools on Linux/Mac: http://www.cestvel.de/dl/sntools.zip


They need some work to set up and need to be modified for your empire(s).

They run on mysql as a database and use teh webbrowser on a local webserver for data retrieval.


Mapping is done with SNFindPath (windows) and Graphviz.

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  • 10 months later...

I have discovered that you combine pdf files together with the Macintosh Preview Program, thereby creating a searchable file for all of your data.

You can leave out earlier turns if you want to search later things.

This is alot easier than putting everything into a database.

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