I like your corporate culture idea. That seems really spectacular. And maybe we can tie the faction lore into it and have different cultures between the factions.
Let me expand a little on what I mean by the research tree concept:
When you start your company, you only have the ability to build the habitat buildings (including STO), the resource extraction buildings, and the first tier building(s) that is(are) part of your selected specialty.
Examples: A Refiner can only build Refineries. A Farmer can only build Farmsteads and FPs. A Manufacturer can only build the BMP. Etc.
In order to unlock additional buildings, you have to “Buy” the blueprint for that building. And obviously the blueprint for a Pioneer class building is cheaper than the blueprint for a Technician class building.
But once you have purchased that blueprint, you can build an unlimited number of those buildings. On as many planets as you want to build them. That becomes your company knowledge to use over and over.
What does this accomplish — It encourages you to have a lot of buildings in your specialty, and to stay out of specialties that you won’t have a lot of. If I invest 250K to buy the blueprint for a Laboratory and only build 1 Laboratory, then I will probably never get payback for that building. But if I spend 250K to buy a Laboratory blueprint and then build 5 or 10 of them, then that cost pays back pretty fast.
With the Blueprints being for sale…anyone can choose to get into another business at any time. So it isn’t limiting and blocking. It just adds financial cost to encourage people to leverage the market rather than trying to be entirely self contained. Today it is simply too easy to throw up one of a building (say a PP3), run it for a few weeks to get a handful of the product (e.g. HSE), and then tear it back down. I would like to discourage that behavior.
And if you couple it with some of the corporate changes that both of us mentioned, I think it will really encourage people to be a part of a corporation with diverse capabilities that work together to build out a complex supply chain.