Ok. I have been thinking quilte long about this one (I started to think before I posted suggestion about diffrent races) and I am quite sure I want to share it with Developer and community.
Those of You who read my suggestions propably do know it already, but for everybody else...
All of my suggestions are long term ones - which means that I accept that they will not make it into game before it is released. Insted I make them with patches/DLCs in mind that may come long time after game reaches V.1.0. So keep that in mind when you do read it! Thank You from advance!
All right... I would like to see not only military activity but also civilian activity to be present in Galaxial. I believe that it would make galaxy look more "alive". It could be made by adding some civilian ships flying around as aesceticks. Destroyable aesceticks that is. Why not? It could be. But that would be kind of sensless in my opinion. Or to be more precise - wasted opportunity to implemend some nice and interesting game mechanic. One of civilian activity that I can think of, and which would make sense is Trade! And this is how I would suggest to make it nice and interesting... I will put it point by point...
1. Every planet would have set of resources that are "produced" on that planet, and list of those that are "demanded" by it. Those resources would NOT have any impact on industry or any other thing, apart of trading. They would be considered to be luxury, and nothing needed for civilisation to progress. They would influence only trading and nothing more.
2. Every planet that reached certian development level would be sending trading ships to other planets once in a while - "while" would have to be precisely definied, and most propably there should be some randomness added, so it will not be ALWAYS same amount of time. More like "Last time we managed to send fraighter full of Eurylium in matter of 2 years (4 minutes in RL). But this year we had some trouble with miners, so it will take us 3 and a half of year (7 minutes in RL)."
3. Planet is sending trade ship. But where? And here is where those resources are coming in! Each planet "produces" some, has "demand" on some and is "neutral" about others. Planets are sending traders only with resources that are being "produced". And they choose randomly it's destination... But it is not 100% randomnes! Planets are choosing firstly from those who have "demand" on goods they do "produce". Only if there are no such planets, they will choose from those that are "neutral" to them. If that is also impossible than they choose planets that are also "producing" same goods. Moreover - planets that have lower development level should be more propable to be targetted planets for trading ships (RNG should favor them, but not exclude or make developed planets highly impropable - just less propable).
4. What would be effect of trading? Simple! Planet that managed to send succesfull trade mission would get temporary boost to it's economy - it would generate some additional money with time. Planet that was target of trade mission would get also temporary boost to it's growth and morale (point is - that speeds up development of planet).
How big those boosts would be? How long would they lasted? That would have to be determined how well placed was trade mission. If that was trade betwen "producer" and "demander", those should be greater than if it would be betwen "producer" and "neutral", and DEFINIETLY greater than betwen "producer" and "producer". Lattest should also grant boosts! Just much smaller/shorter/smaller and shorter than two other situations.
Please, note that boost for both planets (one that is sending trade mission and one that is targetted by it) would be applied only AFTER trading ship would managed to reach it's goal. Not right after it was send.
5. What if trading ship is being destroyed while trying to reach it's target? Ha! Than planet which send trading mission would get negative boost (how to call that?), that would lower it's money generation and propably would also slowed down next trade mission. And planet that was targetted would simply not recive boost from trading, because there haven't happened any trading at all.
If we see planet that is "producing" big amount of types of goods we might want it to specialize in trading - why not add some trade oriented structures that could be erected? Maybe some would allow to have more than just one trade mission at same time? Maybe they could decrease time betwen trade missions? Maybe they could increase size of traders from that planet and by that - they would increase boosts that are provided? Maybe they could change type of trader to one with some armor and weapons to not be an easy target? Possibilities for more planetary structures...
In diplomacy we could see possibility to allow trade! Than our planets would choose from not only other our planets, but also from planets that are belonging to empire with which we do have "Trade Pact" sighted. Trade missions would not only give short boost for economy, but also long term boosts to diplomatic relations (with some max cap of course, and with slow decay if trade would stop suddenly).
Anyway - I do hope You liked this suggestion. I hope that I described it in good way, and that everything was pretty well understood. As always - I remind You all that I am considering my suggestions to be really longshoots.