I have a substantial amount of experience developing complex mechanical engineering simulation software, and simulating WoW combat is not very different. I hope to provide a much easier to use theorycrafting tool than the various spreadsheets on these forums, and allow whole-raid analysis (think: equivalent of having a spreadsheet for every member of your 25 man raid, and playing with different factors to optimize -- but it takes 5-10 minutes to set up instead of hours).
I have chosen to develop this application using the Netbeans 6.5 Platform on Java, because it lends its self well to a modular architecture. For example:
User Interface, Parties, Raids, Classes, Stats, Talents, Player Spells
SIMULATION MODULE: (requires CORE)
WoW Combat, Enemies (via very short user-created java files), Combat rotations
ARMORY INTERFACE MODULE: (requires CORE)
Provides functionality similar to Rawr. Optimization is left to the next module
OPTIMIZATION AND ANALYSIS MODULE: (requires SIMULATION, CORE, ARMORY INTERFACE)
Combat log parser, Raid makeup optimizer, Talent optimizer (find the optimal dps build for a particular boss fight), Performance analyzer (compare a player to their simulated performance).
Using Java allows easy HTML or XML output for posting reports on your respective guild websites. I do not plan on involving hosting like WWS, although I am looking into the possibility of pulling data off the WWS site. Furthermore, using Netbeans allows people to easily add modules to the software (i.e., performance-based DKP or something like that).
What I would like to know from the EJ community is:
What would you absolutely need in order for this tool to be something you'd use? What types of features would make you use it more frequently? What do you see in existing WoW analysis tools (Spreadsheets, Rawr, Combat log parsers, theorycrafting add ons) that drives you crazy?
More feedback on this concept means the result will be far more useful.
I expect to make available an alpha release (haven't decided if it will be public or not) of at least the core module at around new years, at which time I'll provide a link to the source code and a place to report bugs/enhancement requests. In the mean time, please think of this as a "need/wish list", and a discussion about possible use cases and features.