Loving the game so far. I have been replaying the first few hours of gameplay as we focus on bug find and fix, but as I get more familiar with ship modules and cargo I have a few ideas to tweak balance in the game, and hopefully add some more interesting choices.
- Life Support System
As far as I can tell, at a bare minimum you need sensors to detect stations, a nav computer to plot a course, RCS to turn, and engines to thrust. That will get you home, even without a working comms, or helm. You can swap components around to do that in steps, or you have the SOS beacon if you’re stranded.
I think it would be neat to also have a life support system that, if disabled, gives the player a limited time as oxygen levels decrease (e.g. 6 hours/15 minutes). It they hit zero, you pass out, and can be recovered ala SOS beacon (or maybe that’s all she wrote).
My reasoning here is that, as a standard feature of any ship, this basically offers the player a bunch of spare components to swap out and repair other systems, albeit on a very temporary basis. In the early game components seem like an expensive investment, and purchasing enough spares of all types is a bit cost prohibitive.
- Power requirements for cargo pods
At current I feel like cargo pods are pretty cheap and upgrades for them don’t feel like a big investment. Generally, if you see a good deal on commodities, you can buy the cargo space and upgrades necessary, and the investment pays for itself in that run. On top of that, there is no downside to having maximum cargo space.
One idea I had that I think would scale nicely would be if cargo pods required a small amount of power, with temperature control requiring more power. This means large traders will be pushed towards bigger reactors and will struggle to go silent unless they are carrying 2 good solar sails. This sets up a nice distinction between smuggling small amounts of high value illegal goods versus trading large quantities along established legal routes.
Both of the above hone in on an aspect of the game I am really enjoying, which is power management. Now that IFF fines are a thing, learning how to build a ship that can go dark and get things done will be more interesting, but in my experience a good solar sail will negate your need for a reactor unless you want to start spinning up torpedoes or doing a lot of manoeuvres, and setting up your Emcon to bare bones will give you quite a range for nebula hopping. But more advanced systems seem to just make this easier due to lower power requirements.