As to the "supply ships", it would be a viable idea if supply is made differently.
E.g. like in ASC
Not that carrying things around was a bad idea, it's just too unwieldy to do manually and automation requires extra programming which doesn't look like a high-priority thing. Also, trucks zipping around may both clutter screen and eat extra machine resources to process. For very small fleets it would be good and fun, but the more ships are here to supply, the worse it will be.
So if you don't want to care about it all the time, just assume there are many little lame trucks and the supply range is defined as supply ships' range in first place.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Also, outposts allow to form supply lines. Again, already implemented in Bigjoe5's ruleset, though probably this can be refined further - e.g. by allowing Max population of 0.001 or so on "bad" planets.
I'm reluctant to make it too easy to extend supply lines indefinite distances... At some point they'll end up being an annoying nuisance requiring the player to build a bunch of supply depots around the galaxy, rather than actual limits to where and how ships can operate.
Of course, if it's too easy, it removes the very point to have any support system in first place. But if it's too hard to do in unusual circumstances, why not have one more option. Maybe, keeping a pile of non-producing, but resupply-capable outposts just costs too much. Also, outposts are hapless sitting ducks, so once the enemy hit the line, it's broken, and rebuilding it means more time and expenses.