If you check the 0.5 version on Desura, you'll see that I actually had it almost playable, it was just lacking AI, research, and certain features to make space combat work. But most of the stuff were there. You can invade planets, you can colonize, you can build ships, etc... Now look at the latest version. What do you see? A galaxy... That's it pretty much. What happened?
Well, right after that 0.5 version on Desura, I decided to re-do the economy system so that it'd be moddable. That's mistake #1. After finishing it, I felt that it should be moddable in other ways. That lead to a sequence of a lot of work that just aren't visible to the users.
I'm not saying this to tell you that I give up. No, far from that. I'm telling you why I'm changing course and doing things differently now.
Instead of pretending that I'm not copying MoO 1, I'm outright just doing it now :)
I'm creating a branch and putting the current version in that branch for reference. Then I will clear out most everything that I have so far, and focus on getting things implemented the non-moddable way. This means hard-coding everything, including technologies, races, AI, etc. I will restrict myself from using data files other than graphic files and save files. I will copy MoO 1's gameplay as a base, to avoid design decisions. This will be a re-imagined MoO 1 in every way.
You may be thinking, that'd be a drastic change. The truth is, most of the delays were from me figuring out how to support modding for a certain feature. For example, star systems? I had to write code that reads in a data file that defines star systems, and the code had to be flexible to accommodate the different star systems. It contains a list of planets, which in turn contains the bloated economy system that can accommodate any kind of economy that you want. When doing it the hard-coded way with MoO 1 as base, the star system will just contain 9 values: the 5 sliders, population, factories, which ship being built, and owner.
Once the game's playable and all features are implemented, then I will start swapping out hard-coded parts of the game with code that uses data files to support modding. Then after that's done, I will finally start tweaking the game to incorporate my design ideas. I will keep the MoO 1 gameplay as "Classic" dataset.
I realized all of this when working on the new UI system. The whole project has gotten so bloated that I'm basically endlessly designing and tweaking and getting nowhere, and having a hard time staying motivated. This change will give me a boost, focusing on only the essentials now. So please bear with me...