I've just been playing for about a week, and I really love this game!
I find myself thinking about the time scale, though...
Watching the days tick by, it's kind of shocking how fast everything happens in the DW universe. I can accept that hyperspace travel is much, much faster than light (otherwise space empires are impossible), but some other things seem way off: not only are massive ships built from scratch in a few days' time, but whole new worlds are colonized in an instant, and populations grow at astonishing rates. My civilization blows through whole generations of technology in the space of a few years.
I know all of this is as it is for the purpose of game play, but I've been thinking about how the time scales might be adjusted for something more realistic. I'm not suggesting that the core game should be radically redesigned, but what about these changes for an option or a modding project?
--Hyperspace remains fast, although perhaps a little slower than now,
--Communication (i.e. knowing what's going on all over your galaxy) remains instantaneous... tachyon phone or whatever,
--Construction is much slower, perhaps a year to build a size 500+ ship,
--Colonization is much much slower, with the period that a colony ship takes to "build" a colony being extended to ten or even twenty years. This would still be fudging reality, but it wouldn't be instant,
--Tech'ing up is slower, so the player would spend a longer time with each generation of tech,
--Retrofitting old ships and bases wouldn't be nearly so quick, and for some techs would be impossible.
Obviously, game pace would slow way down--but I'd want the game to give us the option to run at 10x or 20x speeds (with auto-pause/slowdown options for various events). But the feeling of growing an empire over generations would be richer, I think. The player would have to plan ahead more for fleet-building. Wars would have to be fought with the fleets already at hand, rather than with massive ship-spamming build-ups happening almost as quickly as it takes enemy fleets to arrive. Players would have to plan ahead for tech more carefully, and knowing what techs your enemy uses would be crucial.
All this would be to produce a game where we grow a space empire over 500 years instead of 50. The slower pace satisfies the hard-SF side of me, and the constraints of tech and ship-building might make wars feel more dramatic and harder to recover from. Individual worlds would probably be more important too, since they required more of an investment.
Anyway, just daydreaming here. I've always been interested in the huge distance involved in space travel and how space opera SF deals (or doesn't deal) with it.