Since this thread is getting a bit close to death, time to revive it.
Now I will talk about some things I would like incorperated into Ship Design.
One awesome idea I've had in the past is to have different methods of propulsion to build into your ship. Having different ways of getting around the galaxy can make for an interesting game. And ships can be very unique between races based on their travel type.
Pullers - Specialised Engine Ship - Each can pull so many engineless ships through space. A group of engineless ships can move between systems simply by having the right amount of Pullers in their group.
Pushers - Specialised Engine Ship - Same as Puller, though push. Not sure what different attributes they could have.
Carriers - They carry ships, so can be a means of propulsion for short ranged fighters etc.
FTL - Faster Than Light Engine for open space
Sublight - Slower Than Light Engine for open space
Sail Propulsion - Super cheap, super slow, unlimited fuel.
Mass Driver - Launch ships from a planet or starbase using a mass driver. May be one way trip if no mass driver in target system.
2) Stealth / Detection
A stealth / detection system as we are working on now. I think both passive and active systems can be used, as this is just equipment. I would like stealth and detection to be based off the sum of component stealth and detection for the ship.
In the case where engines ouput alot of emissions lowering stealth, different propulsion types (mentioned above) can play a part in stealth. For example, Solar Sails might be too slow for travel between systems, but in space combat they have no emissions, increasing stealth and are very cheap and need no fuel. Engineless ships that use 'pushers/tugs' can leave their engines at the edge of the system to be more stealthy.
I was thinking that different power sources could make for interesting ship design. Along with space, you could have power as a requirement for a component, though it has been said many times that this would equate to the same as space. Still, I think a powersource component could be interesting. One powersource might be unstable, but increase engines speed, so damage might cause the ship to explode before the hull is overwhelmed. Another powersource might be low powered, but might be good for stealth ships.
More ideas required . . .
When you design a ship, you design it for the crew as well as its equipment. Life support, crew quarters, etc. I was thinking you could put crew quarters of certain types into the ship. So you put in the captains quarters, that is the captain, his room, his furniture, his dog. A crew member takes up space. Crew members would be generic in that they dont have names, but are simply the jobs/positions on the ship, eg captain, helmsman, navigator, security, etc.
Each crew member might have set bonuses specific to their job:
Ship 1 has:
* 1 Commander -each 50 space, +10% increase in other crew bonuses
* 2 Gunners -each 50 space, +10% bonus to hit
* 1 Navigator -each 50 space, Scan Range increased +10%
* 5 Security -each 50 space, Ship Boarding Combat Defense +10%
I don't know whether crew members should die, or be disabled in battle, but if so, they could be replaced/eneabled automatically at a spacestation.
In terms of experience, I think there should be experience ratings where you have a beginner crew all the way to veteran crew members. The experience would likely increase their bonuses.
Their could be widely different technology types to incorperate into ship design. For example, Organic/Metal/Energy/Crystal, etc. An organic ship may not be able to have Metal parts, but with the right technology and research you can make interfaces to link them. Some races would have preset technology types, but are still able to obtain the other technology types in the game, however it is alot of work to do so, eg their not all at the bottom of the tree, your starting one is, but the rest are at the top somewhere.
The purpose of this is to provide a system of incompatibility of technology in spying, but also difference in the ships of different races.
In past 4X games mainly Moo2, there have been different weapon types eg beam, missile, etc. But there have been obvious interesting effects that we can implement, but have not been used in previous games. The biggest example is area effect weapons (though their were pulsars). Missiles could have blast radiuses. We can do interesting spread fire weapons (shoot in many directions). Weapon bullets with smarts (eg breeding bullets, attach and leech bullets). Mines would be awesome making travel difficult and providing terrain. We can even have non damaging weapons, eg reveal map, detect ships, knock out shields/engines/weapons.
We just have to be creative.
You have armour, shields, etc. Once again we can be creative and have different interesting types of defenses. Maybe some internal ship defenses, eg sentry guns to mount on the rooves inside your ship to stop boarding.
8.) AI designed into Ships
When equipment is place on a ship during design, it would be cool if you could specify behaviour that cannot be changed in battle cause it is set in the design.
Weapon X - If biggest target - attack first
Powersource Y - If stopped, power off engines and double sheild strength.