I have also seen suggestions to remove all labs from space ports and only put one of each type on each type of research location. But also seen suggestions to put one type of each lab on resort bases to get access to commerce and research in the same spot?
I have seen suggestions to put a commerce center on every base. Why put a medical center on anything else but a spaceport or troopship?
Is more than one cargo bay only necessary for mining bases/ships and spaceports?
What other tips can you offer?
Putting research labs on Resort Bases does not make any sense. I challenged this assertion in another thread and, AFAIK, the person who suggested doing it did not follow-up. So I will make my own assertion and let others challenge it: Research labs do not belong on anything but Research Bases (and for the sake of simplicity, defendability, and maintainability, Space Ports). Only a RESEARCH BASE will give you the research bonus of a particular location. If you settle a planet with a research bonus, not even the Space Port will give you the bonus (fact check).
TIP: I like to have just one Large Space Port design which has research labs. I retrofit it with additional labs as my research potential grows. I only build one of these. My Medium Space Port designs are for all other planets. My Small Space Port design is for bootstrapping colonies when my funds are low. For me this is easy to maintain. I also agree, however, that in the early game snagging a 20%+ research location is worth building the Research Base. Put extractors/mining comps, cargo holds, and a Commerce Center on it to get double the utility (research and resources). In the late game I find Building Research stations a drag and don't bother. The late game is a drag anyway in almost all respects.
Only put commerce centers on bases that generate... uh, commerce. I think this goes without saying but I will say it anyway: if you build a station that (like a Research Sation) that also extracts/mines resources, then ships are going to come and pick up those resources. The Commerce Center gives a bonus to the sell price (fact check--I believe that is essentially all the Commerce Center does).
Why put a Medical Center on anything other than a Space Port is my next question. I don't think Med Centers on Troop Transports are that essential. I would rather have the extra troop space. You will easily get generals that have bonuses to Troop Recovery. That's just my opinion.
Cargo Bays on Space Ports may help make cargo transfers more efficient. I don't know how it works, but it *sounds* like cargo is first put into the hold of the Space Port before it is transfered to a ship docking at that Space Port and vice-versa. So it *seems* that if you only have one cargo bay, you will bottleneck your loading/unloading at the Space Port. This is assuming that the transfer of cargo between the Space Port to the planet is set at some constant value (like the mining speed of the planet itself). What I mean is, again assuming all this is correct, your ships will wait to unload cargo to the Space Port until the Space Port's cargo holds are empty. The Space Port cargo hold won't be empty until the invisible docking component between Space Port and planet moves everything to the planet surface (and vice-versa in the case of outgoing freight). If you have more docking bays on the Space Port than there are these invisible docking bays between the planet and the Space Port, there becomes the bottleneck. I cannot emphasize this enough: this is my conjecture. I haven't bothered trying to figure it out, because I just leave the extra cargo bays on the Space Port per the default design. I think you might be able to put ZERO cargo bays on your Space Ports. If this is the case and it works, then everything I have just written is bollocks (also in which case you should just put no cargo bays on your Space Ports).
For Mining Ships, the question is stickier. It is more fuel efficient to give your mining ships more cargo bays. But I don't think it is wise. I want my Mining Ships constantly trickling in resources to prevent occasions where any one resource becomes too scarce. Mining Ships *appear* to mine locations with resources in high demand. Their method for choosing location is a secret known only to the elite inner circle, but I believe it involves vermuth, permanent markers, and a blood sacrifice to Armok. Many an early game have I pulled my hair out waiting for a mining ship to finish mining silicon at a desert planet while my Colony Ship waits for steel. Having Mining Ships mine less more often mitigates this atrocious behaviour.
Which leads me to my next TIP: Early game, builing a state vessel with a mining component and cargo bay can be a life-saver. I usually choose the Escort design for this. You can tell the state ship EXACTLY what you want it to do. Need steel? Tell it to go mine some. No more are you at the mercy of your capricious private sector mining ships.
Finally, I am going to push back against some "common wisdom" that I have seen in other threads regarding ship design. People seem to overpower their ships. This means putting energy generation in excess of what is optimal. The reasoning behind this is that you want your ship to be able to power all weapons at sprint speed. There is a flaw in this reasoning, however. Ships only sprint for two reasons: 1) to engage and enemy and 2) to escape an enemy while being blocked from hyperspace. I will discuss these two scenarious.
Obviously, when a ship is trying to escape, its biggest priority is not shooting weapons. It will, but it probably wouldn't be trying to escape unless it was already taking damage. And very likely that damge is hitting vital components, like weapons systems. If it isn't, then *hopefully* it is escaping the enemy and leaving weapons range. If it is leaving weapons range, then it can't shoot. So the only time sprinting and weapons fire take place simultaneously during an escape situation is when the ship cannot outrun the enemy and damage is still limited to armor. I do not recommend designing ships around this edge case. You can make an argument for it, but I would argue that the space is better spent on extra weapons because...
When a ship is engaging, as soon as it reaches optimal weapons range, it ceases to sprint and begins firing. So that excess engine power you reserved for sprinting while designing the ship is wasted. Better to use it on weapons fire. And the more firepower you bring, the less likely you are going to encounter the edge case above. Once the ship has engaged, is it most likely using cruise speed. So...
Design ships with adequate energy to fire all weapons at cruising speed. The vast majority of the time this is the situation you will be in during combat.
Others may have insights that lead them to disagree with me. I welcome any correction where my assertions are based on erroneous assumptions or information.