Ok, it's been quite a while since I've posted. The latest development have mostly been with travel. I plan to post screen shots of this in the next few days, but basically intergalactic travel via public transportation is now up and running. Planets maintain schedules and there are a number of other factors to consider such as taxes, tariffs if you are transporting goods and how long you want to wait to get away from the planet you are on.
One of the biggest challenges I've faced in this part of programming is actually a somewhat trivial issue. When traveling, you are presented with a starmap of the neighboring stellar systems that are within reach of the public transportation system. But in the database that runs this, the stellar systems are not named, the planet that hosts a spaceport is named. So are you traveling to the planet or the stellar system? Did I mistakenly name the planets and not the stars they orbit?
I'm actually still struggling with this and believe I came up with a creative work around.
Players will be able to take over planets. That's been the plan from the start. So the player base will have the ability to name the stellar system. Travel will be based on this name. But planets within a stellar system can also be named. The stellar system will basically have one of the planet names promoted to be the name that represents the stellar system. So in theory you could have competing players owning planets in the same stellar system. Devising the manner in which they will handle who gets naming rights is simple, whose player association is bigger? Whose planet has more players selecting it as their "home" planet?
To make it a little more complex, very few planets actually reside in the "habitable zone" around their respective star. Players wishing to take over planets that are not habitable due to extreme temperatures or other reasonable excuses to avoid regular visitation of these potentially deadly planets could end up giving a habitable planet little competition in naming of a stellar system.
So how would the underdog win? Simple, get some friends together and blow up the other planet.