Make Engineering Mean Something
This game has engineer in its game, and it was a good one for a while. However, ME came out and proved that SE has the potential to do a whole lot better. Sure we have a physics engine and a few blocks like rotors and pistons, but some elements of gameplay need refinement to create a challenge for us.
Looking at ME, there are a few things that should be changed in SE to make engineering your way through problems easier and more viable then trying to find a ship on the workshop that will do whatever your doing autonomously.
- Better large / small grid combining. ME lets you place a small grid block on a large grid block without needing to do rotor stuff. This enables carts and a whole lot of interaction and engineering gameplay as things can be smaller and not be the size of a 4 story building to remove ore from a mine.
- Better power mechanics: Currently power is just a "this produces a bit of power and this consumes a bit of power" system with no real numbers or meaning behind anything other than "Hey, lets stick a few reactors here and we're fine." We should have to see reactors as a threat of meltdowns / overloads if they take damage or are grinded while they are online, we should also have a more "This produces 10KWhrs" while a block consumes "10MWhrs" or something where power is needed to be balanced. Additionally consumption blocks should have more than an "on" and "off" state but have sliders that affect how much power is being used. This way you can prioritize say thrusters rather than weapons and get out of there.
- Better speed mechanics - Currently we just turn off inertial dampeners at 100m/s and call it a day. The max speed is way too achievable with current thruster mechanics. In the real world we have no max speed, but we have fuel and efficiency that dictates what we should REALLY be having our max speeds be if we want to not get stranded in space. Perhaps ion and atmospheric thrusters should produce less power to favor hydrogen thrusters, which in turn have a max speed of the speed of light, while approaching that speed does damage to you and your ship because its really, really fast and we dont want someone just doing the same shut off dampeners and drift tactic just at higher max speeds.
Overall, these improvements are just some I can think of off the top of my head to make space engineers another engineering game without introducing new clang-prone blocks with stuff like hydraulics or pneumatics. This suggestion is more of a reminder to dedicate resources to polishing the engineering aspect of this game.