I also like to give some feedback and share some ideas about the game.
As so many I have hoped for a game that is close to what prosperousuniverse is right now or could be in future. And I liked astronomy, space and stuff.
Seems I liked it so much, that in school (end of the 1990s) I started coding something that should be a game where you can deliver stuff from one planet to another, you build techs, ships etc. I even had two different kind of fuels involved. OK – rereading the 90 page concept (last touched 2004) I need to say: There is differences: point to point travel (not jumps on a path), money is not universal, it has to be taken with you … Anyhow soon enough I run into issues as of course Turbo Pascal is not the coding language someone should use (I remember after making to much variables and arrays, the program just did not like to do more). So I am aware how much effort, time and energy already went into prosperious – good that someone took the burden (or joy) that so many of us (including I) could and would not be able to take.
Lets come to the part where I try to give some feedback and suggestions as well.
What I suggest is:
• Add a civilian component to the game.
Don’t the workers have a family? I mean the population on planets currently only consists of „workers“. There is no big need to change things here. But at least on fertile planets a separate civilian population (could be eye-candy, numbers or basing on buildings, satisfaction of needs…) would add a lot.
This civil population could auto generate a kind of tax for the governments. And/or the governments then could places (hidden) auctions or requests for orders.
Using this approach would come close to some economic games I have played in university. I remember one, with 6 groups producing typewriters. The product had different characteristics and the customer had different needs. The better as a company you „hit“ the customer needs the more demanded the product was. And from time to time the government asked for a lot of lets say 5.000 typewriters with some specifics. Taken in a hidden auction.
With Prosperous growing maybe one or two elements of that approach could be implemented (hidden auctions by governments, customer that have specific needs).
You could even ask universities (or students) to help you modelling there. In another university we played a game like that with smartphones. So the concept/those games are known to universities and could be an interesting bachelor or master thesis project for some underpaid students. With a bit of luck and research on funding you may sell it as educational and get a governmental sponsorship (ESF, EU whatever).
The basics for this is already in game: Workforce population, buildings and need satisfaction. Local markets/contracts. You may bring this “governmental” needs to the exchanges (to not make them obsolete) as a substitute for the market maker. Or mix MM and governmental needs/auctions.
• **Add technology levels**
I feel like adding a technology level could be a nice feature. I know with settlers up to scientists there is some kind of technology level in place.
Let me try to explain what I have in mind.
Have kind of technology categories e.g. energy, engines or maybe down for specific products.
There is a minimum technology level in each of those categories. This minimum is always like lets say 40 % behind the galaxy average. The average may come from university technology/and or company technology level.
Each company could then hire scientists (that come from the civilian engineering pool or the universities already available). The better the university the better the scientists (to give an incentive for creating a knowledge infrastructure on planets). The scientists working on improving the companies technology levels. The technology level in the end determines the quality or the version of a product. (I believe the game Capitalism was using that mechanism. Quality of a product was determined by your tech level vs max tech available, quality of the product was determined by production process, production technology etc. And the final quality of a product was one factor for the buy decision of customers. While for jeans it was not that important it was for CPU units).
To be honest implementing this would need quite some changes on the current business model, but the current model will always be limited. Once I have all buildings/resources I may be able to produce everything. No need for competition or improvement. But also no chance to compete once an established company sits there. My professors said: Companies hate competition.
Currently its not a problem, but if prosperous in one time in future has a mature player base with a lot of players, with the current economy model the only solution would be to enlarge the universe.
• Technology level on ships
In my own game draft I was planning to have a technology level on ships and its part.
I have seen something like that is in place in prosperous, but its limited by the devs.
So why instead of having like 4 or 5 engines available let people develop there own engines. A tech level could make it stronger (faster) another could make it consume less (using a parable formula to have a set minimum). You may have a tech on hull plates to make them less weight. Or as mentioned above a tech level would determine the overall quality of components and thus a ship.
If a system like that could be in place – companies may produce there own individual engines/hulls etc. and even sell it on the market. (I have seen, that you can produce single parts already).
With an adaption to the existing blueprints company A and B could produce engine Typ 1 (with limiting specifics like “can be build in ships with max length, max ship weight, quality) while company C could make a blueprint using Typ 1 engine and then decide if it using the part from company A or Bs (or even produce it themselves) to build that ship. The blueprint of company C by using different engines in production would have ship with different final status/values.
• Kind of ships
I think I have read it somewhere: Make ships ready for selling. Yes – should be! And also make different kind of ships.
I’m sure there could be a demand not only for freighters but also private yachts (the modern men car) and maybe from time to time the government asking for 500 small gliders or representative governmental yachts in auctions. Why not also selling huge hotel ships or transport ships or ships that can transport small gliders?
• Add travelling and tourism
Its nice that goods are transported from A to B but why should people not go to other places.
Maybe they want to do a business trip, visit the beautiful beaches of Benten or just aunt Gini?
Similar to local markets there could be a demand from civil population to travel from A to B within X days at a standard quality/comfort level of Z. (Come on, you guys made Airline sim, just take a small part from there).
And again – maybe the government need some delegates or even soldiers transported from A to B.
• Add a military component
While I am against military or war that influences players directly (OK, pirates would be nice but… no) cause nobody like to start a game and then to be destroyed by the “20h online, playing it since ages” nerd, I feel there should be a military component.
As mentioned above: Government may need soldiers. Soldiers would need a whole bunch of new products, beside RAT they may need a uniform, a weapon (level 1 to X), some new buildings, some kind of spaceships (fighters, transporter or even huge battleships, carriers that can take smaller ships). They may need transports or could be stationed on space stations (who could be build by companies)…
Honestly I am not sure if and if yes how wars/conflicts could be: Via politics and players decision, would it take extra war taxes, should there be armies occupying bases/planets to take the fees in future ?
• Repair/loss of ships
Why do I need to repair my ship alone? Could there be a service on a spacestation ? Could there be a company running a space service point for me or the governmental fleet?
Ships below 30 % (that’s the current limit, right?) should deteriorate until they finally disappear (got deleted from game). Otherwise in the end we end up with a lot of unused ships stranded somewhere.
With some kind of AI civil component in play, why should there not be some events ? You said in future updates maybe trading of information will be possible. So why don’t use this news-system to inform about events: e.g. a Virus on planet Z increases demand for medical oxygen a lot; A baby boom on X increases demand for construction; The government of Y wants to explore sector H and needs this and that for it. Combine this with the governmental auctions/public demand and let companies know where to go and what to produce.
To sum it up:
I suggest adding a civilian and a military component, mainly to enable some kind of government auctions/demands. Combine this maybe with some (random) events. It would add a whole world of new products and a way to bring cash into the game.
I also strongly sugges to at least think about technology levels for components/products and make shipbuilding more variable. Once the universe has grown it would (could) be mega boring/hard for new companies to evolve. By enabling technology levels (with a gliding average) another way of competition and a chance to keep pace with big players could be opened.