I was reading some rants from a person who said that the races in 4X space games are too similar. They're all ground based, and there's no major differences aside from race attributes such as creative or repulsive. He suggested some different races, and one that struck me was space-based races. Each person is basically a sentient starship (think of crystal or space eel from MoO 1/2).
This got me to thinking, is this even possible to be implemented in my game? I thought about it a bit, and realized that due to my emphasis on macro-management, it is indeed possible! However, this is just speculation, and I don't know if I will actually add it. But if enough people request it, then I will look into it.
I would need to add the ability to generate commerce, research, and construction from ships through add-ons. The ships are maintained through commerce (commerce are a food source for those races, such as gems and rare metals), and they can "genetically modify" new ships (ship design). This would require racial technologies, which are already implemented in my game.
However, what's to prevent them from hiding in a corner and just keep on building ships that generates outputs? So one requirement could be to have them be adjacent to a star system with unoccupied planets. Their output can depend on the best bonus in that system (if there's a planet with bonus to construction, the ships would use that planet). This whole process would be abstracted away. If no income is being generated, the ships will starve and you'll be forced to cannibalize some of them to feed others.
Spying and ground invasions won't work against those races for obvious reasons (technologies are race specific, and are locked in their memories, and they don't have planets to own)
Gifting planets/ships to them will work, and will grant them access to ground invasions and the ability to capture technologies through that method. However, the technologies may or may not be useless compared to their racial technologies. But it can provide a stable source of income for the space races. But they can't produce the ships other than their own designs, so they won't suddenly build normal starships from nowhere.
What do you guys think about space-based lifeforms in this game? It's very possible to implement it, but I would need to tweak the ship code to support special modules and have the ships be able to generate output.