So, we have in software engineering this thing called the Spiral Development Model (of DOOOOOM!)
What it means is that, instead of like, deciding what you (well, your client, but in this case, I am my own client) want, and then making it, you sort of work back and forth, adding more features, revising the design document, so that pieces are gradually more and more fleshed out; the basic principle, when you are your own client at least, is that you don't ever "finish" completely one aspect of something, you move onto the next when you get each part to a certain point. Well, at least that is how I'm doing it!
So anyhow, I have gotten the basic battle engine just about to where I will call it finished. What's next, really, has got to be monsters. Until monsters (i.e., creatures you shoot while flying around) are in place, it will be impossible to really work on balancing the development of the game, since that is the principal gameplay mechanic (shoot stuff while you fly around), or at least, the secondary one (primary one really being, fly around and look at things).
1- fly around
2- shoot things
3- talk to people (acquire items, trade them, whatnot)
4- battle monsters
Ho ho ho! Anyhow, in terms of features, I have actually stuck to the spiral development model reasonably well. In that, basically nothing is finished! Ha ha ha! But certain things do have enough substance to them (i.e., most things) that they will start to feel like an actual gameplay mechanic. But man, even when everything is in, it's going to be a lot of work to balance, fill in, and so forth! So what this all means I guess is that now is probably just about as good a time as any to release another demo, or should say, "alpha naught", since the next thing to do really is implement monsters, and that is kind of big.
Two crucial jobs remain:
1- implement monsters
2- bring everything together (story, plot, whatever it ends up as)
Other jobs that remain:
1- enhance architectural models (basically just the bad ones for now)
2- add better environmental effects to planets (oceans too)
3- fill in/balance dialogues/trading/items
4- fill in/balance battles (RPG style one)
5- enhance ship models, monster models
6- add vegetation to planets
Then guess what! The cycle repeats, and I choose something else (from that list 1-6 above) to enhance. As I go along, I enhance the engine in ways that make sense (for instance, I need to add some feature to more easily find cities, I think before the current version, because right now it's actually pretty hard to navigate planets; anyhow I can just put the old system back in, will probably make the most sense)