Okay, a few points for discussion before I run to lunch (this has been an interesting topic, and one I would like to see further opinions on):
1. I agree that the metal-only / crystal-only costs are kind of lame, and I don't like some of the simplifications that made to the various parts of the economy. But making resource outflows for queue-based ships be identical is the only way I could think of to make their costs predictable.
2. I agree that some more interface is needed, Rev's suggestion is a good one for starters and darke's management screen is also a great idea. Some of those are going to take some serious dev time, though, so we might be looking at a delayed official release for this stuff. We shall see, it's not the end of the world if that happens.
3. A couple of people were complaining that this makes the model more complex and more micro-heavy. I'm really not sure in what way this makes it more complex, as it is more of a simplification in my mind, so could you please elaborate? In situations like this, often I am missing something that the other person is thinking. Regarding the micro-heavier claim, here again this is intended to minimize that issue (with missiles and starships, yes it becomes a tad more complex, but it's simpler for docks and especially advanced factories).
4. I don't feel like the old system was broken, or massively inconvenient, but I feel like it could be better. And, queuing up a missile/starship when you don't have the money, then getting it later, was definitely not an exploit although it was a tad odd. That was a conscious design decision on my part, for a number of reasons.
My thoughts on what to do next (again, please discuss):
1. I think I will keep the queues working the new way that they do, with costs-over-time, because it is, basically, expected from the genre.
2. I think I will return all of the ship costs back to what they previously were, with mixed-costs per ship. This will make the queues bounce around a lot more, and the overall inflow/outflow rates for ships will thus bounce up and down making the net amounts saved vary a lot, but still it won't be hugely problematic to manage. Stuff with excess values being stored, etc, I think would be detrimental.
3. I think a few simple interface extensions like what Rev was suggesting are in order, to help players more quickly reach ships that are costing them metal/crystal over time.
That's all for now -- please discuss.