This idea has a complexity which could be part of a new DLC. It would require quite a lot of assets and balancing. But I feel confident it has a huge potential to create more identification and emersion for players with the world they act in. Here's the idea (note: every letter in quotation marks is a byword for an amount):
Over and out, Kleckerklotz
- Players can create their own outpost on planets or in space. New explored systems next to a civilized system get the option in the map, where "n" players have to click on a button called "VOTE TO COLONIZE". This button should be somewhere predefined on the system map. Maybe on spots next to a planet or in orbit. If this group of "n" players have submitted (from now on called PIONEERS) their will to create an outpost, they get a message to contribute commodities to this location. The first required asset would be a small landing pad and maybe some kind of containers, where the players can contribute the commodities. After the contributions are finished, the first small outpost should appear. It should be three times smaller than the usual spaced ouposts. Now the PIONEERS group should get the option to vote for a name via message board.
- When this level 1 outpost exists, the next contribution should takes place, which should be communicated to all players (maybe via GALLNET NEWS). This time adjoining civilized systems should offer missions to transport colonist passengers to the oupost. When the contribution is finished, the oupost should grow to level 2. The required assets are some kind of living spaces which should be added. And maybe another medium spaced landing pad.
- The next step is to define the type of economy. I guess this is limited to the predominant planets. Agriculture, service or tourist for earthlikes or mining, industry or military for ressource planets. This should be evaluated. Maybe some kind of tech-tree could define a route for the outpost development. The contribution for this level 3 outpost could be mined ressources or rare commodities. When the contribution is finished, a standard outpost appear. Minor factions of adjoining systems (or randomly generated) arrive at the outpost. One is the Colonization Party of the PIONEERS group. What possibilites they have, should be evaluated (e.g. naming votes, missions, terraforming, illegal commodities, laws ...). The whole colonization process should last "x" months. If not enough contributions are made, the coloniztion of this spot fails and the outpost abandons. An option to prolong the process should be available to the PIONEERS players. A balancing curve is required here.
- Next step after finishing the ouptpost is to define the offered services of the station (commodities market, message board, passengers lounge, shipyard, outfitting and so on). This should be made by the PIONEERS group. Another contribution cycle should take place for each service to all players in the game. Every new service should be represented by an appropriate asset. Services should be limited to a predefined number.
- If one outpost reaches level 3, new outpost locations are available for colonization to every other player. After the finishing of a third level 3 outpost in one system, the first outpost in the system should be able to update to a bigger station (level 4). Another contribution cycle should take place now. And a new level of services should be available.
- After some time the galactic powers should take interest in the outposts. The PIONEERS group should have the option to join a side or fight for indipendence. Any player can participate in this conflict. This could blend in the existing conflict mechanics, the game already provides.
- Every player should have the option to "vote to colonize". But it should be limited to "y" times. Maybe only once, until the outpost reaches level 3 or is abandoned.
- Abandoned outposts should not despawn. It should be possible to be reactivated by a new PIONEERS group or illegally looted.
- The PIONEERS group should get messages for every change on their colony.
- A player of PIONEERS group should have an option to quit his participation. Other players should have the option to join the PIONEERS group and gain access to votes.
- Maybe every player in the PIONEERS group have the option to gain ranks inside the group. Higher ranks increase the votes. Naming of the ranks should be defined by type of colony. For e.g. industry = colleague > team leader > department officer > manager or for agricultural = forerunner > settler > citizen > statesman. Something like that. Ranks should be gained by contributions or active participation.
- Every contributing player should get a name credit in some kind of colony credit board. Every contribution should provide a benefit in the form of seldom materials, data or technology.
- The design of the colony should be able to be individualized. Maybe one player of the PIONEERS group buys a special asset design in the game store and sends a vote to all other players to errect it. Or the PIONEERS group votes to have the design before it can be bought. And every participating player can decide to pay his share. This option should be evaluated.
- Terraforming could be part of some kind of SRV-Missions. Contributing commodities to predefined places on a planet. This should be evaluated.
- The colonization mechanic should be recognizeable and understandable. This means every action should have an explanation window/area of what happens next.
Over and out, Kleckerklotz