Exploration and Maintenance Necessity for Survival Gameplay Longevity
This only pertains to survival:
Space Engineers, as it is right now, gives you all tools necessary to build ships and stations right away. The only thing you need to explore for are ore deposits to mine so you can refine them for your materials to build everything. The problem is that pretty much every material is available to you within a few minutes of wherever you are even on lowest density settings. And any planet's going to have a huge abundance of materials in each deposit very close to you.
The vast majority of the game has you building powered craft of some kind, but there is never a reason for them to move very far. Uranium and electricity act as fuel that you can deplete, but when was the last time you had a struggle? Even when I played space scenarios on a dedicated server and set procedural density down to like 0.05 where you encounter an asteroid once per hour, there was still never a chance of any problems of resources.
Make us explore for mechanical game reasons.
Give us a setting to drastically reduce the amount of ore on a planet/asteroid so you really have to explore to do your work.
This would also make haulers instead of miner/hauler combos essential.
Modules should break on their own over time. Even the best built spaceships need maintenance for their more complex parts. You should not be able to build a ship/block and have that block work perfectly for the remainder of the server time. Mechanical/electrical parts need maintenance and upkeep and ones built out of better quality materials will break less often. Maybe you can build your machinegun turret out of the normal materials, but if you build it using a more advanced recipe that uses hard to find materials it'll break less often?
Make us explore for tech. It's apparent that you can randomly spawn satellites now (the ones for unlocking skins) so why can't we use a similar mechanic for exploring for tech? Maybe tech needs to be discovered, then researched using a combination of a blueprint and some rare materials?
There needs to be a technology tier that's before nuclear reactors. There should definitely be something prior to using nuclear reactors to power jet turbines and ion thrusters. I know you teased months ago an internal combustion engine and wind turbines and that seems appropriate if that's still being worked on.
I want to thank you again for supporting the game as long as you have toward its release, but please consider the overall idea I presented here even if you don't think the suggestions make sense. Give us a purpose in survival and make us earn it.