I think the next thing to tackle here is just generally the AI. I have finished implementing such that you can destroy cities, and it's fun =) It turned out to be a lot easier than I had anticipated, which was nice. Basically, I had not planned to support this but I did an experiment and discovered that, hey, it's not very hard at all... so I went ahead =) There is still probably a little work to be done, mainly wrt hitpoints and the like. Major buildings should regenerate their HP rather quickly, but lesser cultures can be slower. The basic idea I guess is just, you shouldn't be able to destroy cities at the start.
So, AI eh? There is a lot that can be done here! Some ideas:
1. Rapidfire weapons. Maybe ships will have a primary weapon that is rapidfire; these will have their own simplified "beam" gfx, and have a very low cooldown. I'm not sure about this but I think it would be a popular thing among players. Maybe what I can do is with the gun type weapon, give it a probability of being rapidfire. If it is, then we automatically cut the cooldown say by 1/5 or something (damage scales accordingly of course) and use an alternate mesh generator for the bullets. Also, we cut the range way down for rapidfire. This is probably the simplest way to implement this. Actually in general, weapons should have less range for less cooldown, I think.
2. Monster secondary attacks. Monsters need better attack patterns in general. The best starting place would be secondary attacks. Perhaps certain monsters can burrow into the ground? Disappear? Hit you with a homing-type missile? Generate a fieldof some kind? Lay an egg-bomb?
3. Ship secondary attacks. The large frigates should have missiles they can pelt you with, and so on. Some ships should fight back. In general, they should also have other types of weapons, e.g., defence-fields and the like.
3. Fire pillars, tornadoes, etc. A little of this would be nice, something to make certain planets hazardous.
That's more than enough for today!