So, I have the galaxy layouter fixed, and I fixed another misc bug or two that arose. I have a bit more work to do on that still, but it's basically A-OK now. I may try one more layout algorithm, becuase my main complaint with this one is that it's too uniform (stars are too evenly spaced on the galaxy map).
I think vex has a certain lack of centralization. On my list right now is to add research stations, and pirate bases, and I'm thinking I may add a "central system" or two. The idea of centralization matches nicely with the rest of vex, for instance each planet has a capital, systems have inhabited and uninhabited systems, so on and so forth. So a system itself which is somehow central to the universe would be a nice addition. What about a pirate system? I could add a system which is home to only pirate bases, where you could always go if you needed some bit of juicy information. I also thought about some kind of "sector government" who would be more or less a main system with big cities and a special city which would have special sector government buildings. These two would probably improve the overall coherency of vex a lot, right now it's good but it feels a bit too much like a bunch of loosely aligned planets who have no special interest. If I created some kind of federation, it would basically just be some buildings where you could get information on all of the different cultures, and other information as you needed it.
Actually, I think that's exactly what I will do. Then, pirate base (along with research station and mining colony) will just be another type of city.
What else? I am going to add city and planetary defences. Basically, cities may have gun platforms on the outskirts which will a) shoot aliens that approach and b) shoot you if you are in bad rapport with the city. Most cities won't have them, but pirate bases and mining colonies will. Other planets will be protected with a planetary shield, and your culture rapport will determine whether it fires on you. So if you are near a planet and they don't like you their, you will get a warning hail and then the satellites will open fire. Seems like a cool idea.
Is this too much? I don't think so. The centralized gov't system solves a lot of problems for me, both by making the vex "world" hold together a bit more tightly, and by giving me mechanism to help the player advance properly. Basically, they can go there to find out where there are more powerful ships, find out about cultures, cities, etc. Basically it's a "go to" place for all sorts of information. More information than the player will need, but, then that's the idea with vex. Bigger world than the player will actually explore. The pirate bases and research stations are actually not that big of a job; the mining camps did take 2 more days than I planned (I thought 1 day, but relaly they took 3) but, I wasn't being very productive on those days. The planetary and so forth are also a bit of work but ultimately not too hard. I will have to include some kind of damage sensor for cities so that you can attack buildings. You wo'nt be able to destroy them, but maybe they will smoke up a bit or something. Or, maybe you can temporarily destroy them, I don't know. I'll have to work on it a bit... That itself is a bit of work, but I guess the bigger picture is that these things will really draw vex more and more into a coherent whole....