inspired by the recent Starsector dev blog
(subsection "Autofit") i wanted to point out that a similar mechanism to that described there would be very useful for LT as well.
When a ship design cant get the exact equipment specified in its blueprint it searches for a similar, available, piece and uses that until the right one becomes available.
In the handcrafted starsector its just a table of "this is a worse version of this", this doesnt work for procedurally generated equipmemt for obvious reasons.
so i'd say we use a system based on stat ranges and "quadratic similarity" (theres probably a term for that, but i dont know it, so fark that).
The player enters a target for equipment stats (maybe by just defining a desired piece of equipment and the game computes the rest from there).
possibly using a variation of the McDuff diagram
Then the median of the "balancing point value" of the equipment gets calculated.
For each characteristic (energy usage, refining throughput, thrust, etc) the distance to that median gets calculated and then squared.
The squaring amplifies the relative characteristics of the equipment.
Low stats get even lower, high stats get even higher and average stats stay average.
The player either manually configures the stats or uses a known object as target.
when the game tries to find a suitable piece of equipment it calculates the square-similarity factors as outlined above and compares them to the target factors.
With a fair bit of leeway of course.
And then uses the best available candidate.