Modifiable Asteroid Entity Spawning
This isn't a new idea. But it dovetails into reworking the spawning system. Currently, at the first loading of a new gameworld, procedural asteroids can be generated as an option. These asteroids can be controlled as far as density. However, the spawning is pretty uniform.
Instead, procedural asteroid spawning should take place clustered around a user definable point in space. Multiple procedural asteroid definitions should be available, i.e.- I can program asteroids to spawn in separate relation to one or more points on the map.
Each asteroid spawn should be able to call on a custom algorithm defined as a mod from the workshop or local mods. Being able to spawn different patterns of asteroids as well as their ore content and probabilities of ore and probabilities of amounts, would lead to deeper game-play.
The modded definitions would allow for generation of asteroids as planetary rings, clusters of asteroids that diminish in population the further you travel from the epicenter (and possibly limited by a maximum range).
Being able to define procedural asteroids that are limited in scope in the game-world would invigorate game-play as procedural asteroids could be placed within a game to create a strategic significance. Being able to create these algorithms as workshop mods allows the best-of-breed algorithms to be tracked, even Keen-staff created algorithms. HOW people play offers a lot of insight as to which features will be important to the continuation of the game and player participation.
For example: a limited asteroid field could be created that contained a concentration of uranium but devoid of platinum. Another asteroid field could be generated with the inverse properties. Being able to define where these fields are, the relative content of ores for each field, the shape, and the minimum and maximum distance from the epicenter would create seriously competitive worlds and the need for players to generate specific strategies for each unique game world generated.
If each game-world has unique characteristics that must be met by unique strategies, then each game is fresh and unique even for very experienced players. Replayability is a cornerstone for building a strong core of experienced players.