I'll do my part and increase my backing from $30 to $75, carriers are a HUGE part of space games to me. The sight of large swarms of fighters being scrambled will always be THE image I think of when it comes to space and space games. I hope fighter procurement won't be handled like X3 though. The pain of having to equip that many fighters just doesn't make it worth it. I always use a script and clone the fighters I need instead. The idea of heavy bomber that could destroy large ships with ease was an interesting one but the lack of carriers that could hold even one or two of them meant that they had to be used on their own most of the time, without carrier support.
I really liked how Spacefarer handled it's carriers. Cargo craft and carriers could both hold fighters/bombers but only carriers had the ability to repair the fighters in combat. The top down interface (maybe LT could adopt such an interface in an 'advanced tactical mode'?) made it easy to recall damaged fighters and repair them, making fighters a credible threat. They didn't need that much attention and could put some pressure on the enemy without completely overpowering them. It also solved the problem of equipping the fighters. In X3, fighter procurement was a slow, painful process. You had to buy them and obtain the proper equipment yourself, it took quite a bit of time, and fighters weren't that smart or durable so the problem is compounded. Spacefarer simply had default types that you could choose from. The bomber variants, the heavy fighter variants ect. It all depends on how fighters/bombers will be handled.
In limit theory, I'm hoping for these two options.
1. Outsourcing work
Essentially, you pay someone to buy the fighters/bombers and equip them to your specifications. Highly expensive but effective and fast. Useful if you like the more combat/exploration aspects without involving the industrial portions like building factories.
2. Just produce everything yourself
Create a huge factory complex that makes and equips the ships. A high cost of course and dependent on constant stream of raw materials to fuel the factories but has the greatest output for the least input.
To go more in-depth with option number 1 here's a post I made a while ago. It's for X3 but the main idea is there.
I've been thinking quite a bit about fighters recently. It's a pain to properly equip them and send them off to battle, only for them to die, so you can go hunting for the parts to equip a new one. It can be a pain to replace any losses for just about any ship and part hunting is an incredible pain. I know you have factories and such but think about it, there are perfectly good ship yards all over the universe with the proper equipment you need somewhere out there. Seems like an awfully good idea for a corporation to cater to those wants. Here's how I think it should work, there will be a price limit for any orders. The corporations aren't going to ship one measly fighter to you for next to nothing. You're going to have to pay top dollar for the luxury. I can see it branching into two possibilities here. I'll state an example and illustrate the two ways of doing it later. Example one- you need a single fighter/a small group of fighters. Example two- you need an entire fleet. I'll also get another thing out of the way here. There will be several kinds of corporations.
Race-aligned corporations - they cannot buy products belonging to other races unless they're allied eg. argon-boron, teladi-split OR the factory is in their area of space. I would argue that the paranid-split alliance isn't that solid and is mostly to intimidate the boron but I digress. Neutrality eg. teladi-everyone, means they can buy some items, but not the higher tier ones. A system based on the player reputation could be used. As a result, they are cheaper to use but limited in function. Additionally, they will have some trouble moving through unallied races' space and if you want your goods moved through it, you will have to pay more.
Multiracial corporations - they can purchase all the items from all racially owned shipyards/factories (pirates not included) but are insanely expensive. They will incur no additional cost for travelling through any sector of space.
Both Race-aligned and multi-racial corporations also have a 'legality' system.
If a corporation is 'legal' it will refuse to bring in illegal goods into sectors (if they have the ability to purchase the goods, they will use a jumpdrive and will deliver in a unknown sector or where all the items you ordered are legal) and will not deal with pirates.
If a corporation is 'illegal' they will deal with pirates/yaki. They can even reserve IBL's for you, so you don't have to keep checking back. They demand more money for services charged though, not exactly crippling. The only difference is pirate trading after all.
This is how the corporation would calculate the price.
-Base price of 5 million, think of it like macdonald's delivery fee
-Going through sectors of non-allied races? Race-aligned corporations demand 100 000 credits per sector, for allied races you only need pay 20 000 credits per sector. Multiracial corporations demand 200 000 credits per sector, regardless of race due to their ability to attain ALL racial item (except for pirates)
-Strength of convoy needed, base price is 10 million. For every two border sector you go through, you pay 1 million more. For every pirate sector you go through, you pay 2 million more. They will NOT go through xenon sectors.
-Items/ships requested- expect to pay 1.5x-2x the price for race aligned and 2.5x-4x the price for multi-racial.
-Illegal companies charge 2x more for every pirate item.
Alright, now on to the two ways it can be implemented. Possibility one is simply a time based system. You book an order through a menu screen, the corporation calculates the price based on the formula above and assigns a time-frame whereby you'll be able to find all you ships in your chosen sector at the promised time.
Possibility two involves ACTUAL convoys with destroyers and such for the player to observe. These convoys can come under attack by pirates but are well-defended enough for such fights to be in their favour. They will also sacrifice their own ships to ensure yours remain unscratched. The customer is always right, remember? In the off chance they fail, they will replace everything, free of charge. They will also only charge for the route they took till they failed, not the whole way. And no, you can't attack them or they keep your money and the deal's off.
If it isn't obvious, the system is geared towards obscenely rich tycoons who want entire fleets. What do you guys think?