Something I'd like to see is a little time pressure on the player. At the moment once you've beaten off the initial attacks on your home sector and secured it, the entire game revolves around whether or not your screw up and push AI progress too far, but if you're at AI Progress 30 then the threat levels stays identical while you build up another enormous force for the next push.
Well, the incoming threat level remains identical. I don't know how much you've played on difficulty 7, but after 5 or 6 hours you'll start noticing some planets with just absolutely massive (thousands) of ships at them. Basically, the longer you delay, the more entrenched the AI gets. So there's time pressure in that sense, because if you get caught up too much in your defense then that can make offense too hard. And if you are really succeeding on offense and just blow through a bunch of planets (one of my allies did this in my current game), then the AI Progress shoots up and defense is super hard.
So it's kind of back and forth, almost like a turn-based game in that sense, but the main thing is that the human players always have the "tempo" in Chess turns. I felt like this provided more opportunities for strategizing, in general. However, I do have planned to introduce "events" of various sorts, which would basically be like the like the AI building some big massive ship during the game (over time), and the players have a certain amount of time to react before it finishes getting built and ready, and then a certain amount of time pressure when actually trying to kill it before it kills them. I'm not yet sure whether I'll start doing those in DLC, or if all of those are going to start with the first expansion. At present I think I'll have at least one of them in upcoming DLC.
[quote author=Quitch link=topic=45.msg794#msg794 date=1245412397What I'd like to see is that on higher difficulties (7+) or when you check a box on the game setup screen, AI progress increases over time e.g. every fifteen minutes it increases by 1. This ensures the player needs to keep the ball rolling, rather than just using their infinite resources and relatively predictable AI attack levels to build up another maximum size force.
However, all of the above aside, I really like this idea -- the checkbox idea. I think that this could provide another style of play, basically, and that's a good thing. Added to my list! This should be an easy one, so I think it will be out today. Actually, I think I'll make this a dropdown with various options so that players can tune this to a certain degree -- how much it increases over what interval. For smaller maps, having this feature could be hugely useful for making those even more interesting and fast-paced. Awesome!