This works best for veteran training due to the number of stats it affects. Open sharedassets17.assets with Notebook++.
Find Veteran 1, it may take 2-3 searches to find the one that has actual values for stats.
Set melee, offense, and defense to have a value of "" with no number, not even 0.
For Veteran 1&3 set Wit to "999" and Labor to "99". For Veteran 2&4 set Labor to "999" and Wit to "99".
Find Name="XPPerAssignedTurnBonus" and set it to Value="9".
It will take 6 or so turns before you have acess to Veteran training if you remember to hire a hero on turn 2.
Once you have that training you heroes becomes godly. With no extra building my initial planet was producing 289 food and 169 labor. I use it while playing on Endless difficulty with max level pirates.
Sorry, I did mean Notepad++. When you open the file up it will have about 900 lines of gibberish. About line 910 you should start seeing the real data that can be changed. Also check to make sure that your files are not set to read only.
Unsure about that but when I played it the AI did not seem to be advancing too quickly since they still wanted research when they offered me treaties. Unfortunately I don't know of a way to check the AI's development.