Currently, combat logs are pretty light. There's no way of distinguishing between weapons that have the same name; for example, you could have 8 large beam lasers, but whatever log message that shows up for a hit/miss cannot tell you which laser that was. Same goes for weapon groups, multiple groups of same weapon name doesn't distingush.
Another bit of information I'd like to see is the ammo equipped in the weapon/group and any modifiers that affect the weapon/group (tracking comp, heat sink, destabilizer, etc).
Add a slot number to each weapon when it shows up in the log, ie (3)Large Energy Beam I did x damage, and that would represent the large energy beam in slot 3. For groups, either add the range of slots or just an enumeration, ie (1-3) group of Large Energy Beam I... or just (1) group of Large Energy Beam I... or if you want to get real fancy, allow user's to name their groups, and put that, like (alpha) group of Large Energy Beam I...
For ammo, I've thought of 2 possible solutions.
1) When the first shot is fired, send a notify with the ammo equipped by the weapon/group just before the first damage message. I'd imagine it would show up like this:
message 1 - Ammo Notify: (1) Large Energy Beam I has Multifrequency L equipped
message 2 - Combat Damage: (1) Large Energy Beam I did some damage to that guy
Then send a notify any time the ammo is changed. I think that's already done, but I'm not sure if it specifies the ammo type, or if it just says "10 seconds to reload." An issue I see with this, however, is detecting the first shot of each weapon/group. Depending on how the code is structured, there could be an "inactivity timer" and the ammo message would be sent if the timer is more than # minutes (I'm thinking 2-5, maybe even make this an option). There is obviously something that causes combat logs to split, for I have multiple logs for the same day's activity. Maybe it makes a new one when you dock?
2) Simply tack on an ammo type to the damage message, ie. (1) Large Energy Beam I completely missed target [Multifrequency L]. Simpler, easier to implement, the first idea is just fancier.
For modifiers, however, I envision it utilizing method #1 above. When the modifier starts, throw a notify "Tracking Distrupter I in effect" and possibly add the modifiying attributes after that, and when it ends, throw the same message but "no longer in effect." To distinguish between multiple modifiers of the same type, add the ship/tower/whatever that is causing the modifier, like "Pithi Disruptor is using Tracking Disruptor I. Tracking modified by -25%" and "Pithi Disruptor stopped using Tracking Disruptor I. Tracking no longer modified by -25%."
Upon further development, modifiers can be tracked in real time, so when there's three disruptors on your ship, you get a more accurate message, so each message can display the real-time total modifier, instead of the module's base modifier. Confused? post a question and I'll explain it a bit more, as I'm running low on characters left
Of course, this brings up an issue in identifying npc enemies. Along the same lines as weapons, if you shoot at/get shot by npc's that share the same name, you cannot distinguish which one you shot at upon reviewing the logs. Simple solution, add a counter or ID to the end of the name: Pithi Disruptor 1 or Pithi Disruptor 1994981 or Pithi Disruptor 1c813baf or whatever, just something to set apart ships with the same name.
So why all these changes? Nobody reads logs, right?
I want to make a Log Analyzer, and looking at existing ones, these are the biggest issues I've found that stand in the way of providing the most accurate information to the player. Even without an analyzer, it may be helpful for some players who are wondering why suddenly they can't hit anything, and the friendly notify "you're being disrupted" shows up, and then they say "oh...bugger" or something.
Questions, Comments, post em. I want feedback plz