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you kind of alluded to what you wanted to do, I'm not sure how you are going to do MP. I would Love to see an Open 'world' on a Galaxy scale where you pick a star system and terrestrial body to orbit around to build you space station(of course you can move it to a new location at a cost or so). Where you pick is important, you build along a trade route you get more transport, escort, pirating/privateering missions than the other mission types.

The building system is neat as it is, but a common issue I run into with SE (space Engineers) is how restricting it is. It's fun to place blocks and mess around but now 1000 hours in I'm looking at several hundred ship builds that pretty much all do the same thing. ya one Might be fighter and the other a transport or a repair ship, but they all have the same power output to reactor ratio, the same thrust to thrust ratio. Nothing is unique, my repair ship welds slower than his but moves faster. woot, would it not be cool if not only does it move faster but it boosts the resistance to damage types due to the welding style? it may take longer to weld but the ship stronger than stock models. Or ( and I think you talked about this in one of your galactic line vids) the targeting computer in my turret has a reduced fire rate but high accuracy.

You may be able to avoid the "its too complicated" issue by giving a base module that gives just straight stats. (it just gives power x1, where as someone who has played for a bit needs a specific build for a ship, so gives power x3 with a 30% increase radiation output) very RPG like but RPGs are fun

another trick would be the ability to adjust the effects even further (3x power 30% radiation increase, boost the power higher radiation lower the power to 1x 0% radiation)

I know that players will be able to share ships and crews, for sure. It should also be relatively easy for players to have mission outcomes mirrored across universes, allowing them to affect the same galaxy... but they wouldn't necessarily be able to see each other.

I don't know how much realtime multiplayer there will be. Realtime multiplayer is a bit tough to do. I'm building the framework to be as "network agnostic" as possible, so I'll take a stab at adding in live multiplayer later in the dev cycle... but in honesty, that sounds like a "Galactic Line 2: Electric Boogaloo" feature.

Regarding uniqueness:

The reason your "slightly faster, slightly poorer welding" ship feels boring and samey is because it's being measured in terms of those flat stats. Rather than make the stats ever more complex, I want to measure your ship's uniqueness in other ways. Specifically, in terms of the missions it takes, the crew it grows, and the history it has.

For example, as missions come along you'll find that a faster ship has opportunities to accomplish missions about racing from place to place, while a ship that has a more effective repair crew will find opportunities to accomplish missions featuring larger or more devastating damage.

The two will slowly diverge as you take missions your ship feels comfortable with. In a few months, the fast ship will be rushing from crisis to crisis, perhaps even serving as a courier or mid-battle repairer. The slow but more effective ship will be waist-deep in the most devastated sectors, helping to haul whole settlements out of a disastrous asteroid rain...

Would those two ships feel distinct from each other?

I still like the RPG style LOL. but yes this is very cool, it's Unique becuse of what it has done not what its made of.