1. The AI needs to improve on its planetary invasion assessment. I repeatedly see empires(not pirates) land insufficient troops to take over a world. The occasional miscalculation is fine, but it should at least be somewhat close. What I see fairly commonly is a fleet or individual ship drop a mere handful of troops on planets that have dozens of defending troops. All this does is train the garrisoned troops present on that world, making future invasions even more difficult. I think the AI needs to have(or improve) the ability to determine if an individual ship or fleet has sufficient troops in-system to successfully invade a planet and, if not, to refrain from dropping troops at all(maybe blockading it instead while it waits for more troop carriers to arrive).
2. I'd like to have the ability to land troops to help defend allied worlds, or help assault worlds being invaded by my allies. I think this functionality would require a bit more granular assessment of troops on a planet.
- Assaults would need to recognize attackers, defenders, and the allied troops of each side.
- Outside of combat, planets would need to be able to recognize domestic troops and foreign troops, with foreign troops incurring a pretty severe diplomatic penalty unless the proper diplomatic flags have been set to allow them. Some level of discontent even then would likely be appropriate, especially among the population of the planet in question(extralegal armed forces and whatnot).
- Troops from multiple empires, who may be allied with the planet owner yet at war with each other, should be under a truce while present. However, for the duration they should cause planetary population unhappiness to represent disruptions caused by low level infighting.
- The first empire who assaults the planet gets the planet if the assault is successful, not the empire with the most troops engaged. If you're assisting an ally in their battle, you don't take the prize just because you commit more troops. You're helping them to achieve their goal.
3. I would like some limited ability for standard empires to engage in certain pirate empire behaviors. Pirate empires should have advantages associated with their "way of life," but standard empires should be able to engage in similar behaviors even if they're not as good at it.
- A standard empire with surplus military resources should be able to devote those to mercenary missions.
- Smuggling is a bit different in that the private sector of a standard empire should occasionally "go rogue" and participate in smuggling missions if corruption is particularly high.
- Just as Pirate empires can become something similar to a standard empire by taking over a planet, there should be a chance that a standard empire can become a pirate empire if they lose their last planet. Empires who retain military forces and one or more constructor ships should have a chance to exist even if their last planet is lost. Some percentage of their remaining forces will surrender to the conquering empire, but the rest will continue on as a space-based empire until they can capture or colonize a new planet, or are wiped out like a pirate(all construction and supply ships destroyed). Chances to continue to exist would be increased for each construction and supply ship they have, as well as any troop carriers that still have troops on board.
- A standard empire that becomes space-based does not gain the pirate ability to build hidden pirate bases or criminal networks. They have to work with what they have left.
4. I would like to be able to loan ships(and maybe troops) to other empires.
- Ships would fall under the control of the AI. Breaking them down for tech advances would be disabled, but they could gain a research bonus similar to the one gained from repairing derelict ships while in control of high-tech foreign vessels.
- Foreign empire would pay the maintenance costs, but could return the ships at any time.
- Agreements to loan ships would made for fixed amounts of time, but would not be returned immediately upon expiration. Rather, there should be a diplomatic option to recall those ships. The time limit is there to determine the diplomatic penalty, if any, of recalling them early. The more time remaining in the "contract," the greater the penalty. Allowing the foreign empire to retain the ships longer than the contract period would produce a diplomatic bonus.