I would like to cite Jabblewok: Bear in mind this is a game, not a simulation.Gazz wrote:X3 may be an extreme example but it's a very good example of how to screw up with the best intentions. It's space isn't small at all. There are 200+ sectors! But when every point in the universe is maybe 30 seconds of travel (real)time away, the universe is tiny.
The mini game I proposed puts some scale back into the universe. The autopilot gets you there if you have something better to do in the meantime but you do have the option of flying yourself if you're in a hurry like if you want to intercept or outrun a ship.
Of course it is simplistic but it scales well without up-scaling the involved micromanagement!
Anything that takes (valuable) player time looses quickly its interest, however well done it is. Typically how often do you look at the (often artfully realized) splash screens when you open a game? You probably as well click through as fast as possible, even if they are cool, because you've seen them already. Even a funny "jump" effect should not last more than 1-2 seconds before becoming boring the 1000th time (you jump around a lot in a space exploration game).
While adding as you propose a small "game in the game" can add to gameplay (as an option to "beat" the normal dureation of a trip), and is therefore a valuable addition to the game, you must have the option to cut it short. I will not be investing my gaming time to wait in front of my screen that a minutes-long trip comes to an end.
There are other options: make (simulation) time pass: in a blink of an eye, the calendar is now 3 weeks later than before. It impacts on your goods with a limited storability, with mission schedules, many other things may have happened while you were traveling (goodness, somebody just attacked my target system and my customer is gone).
Thus the scale is given by the fact that making side trips is wasting (simulated) time and may cost you. It does give a scale for all practical purposes.