There is some discussion of challenges in the “tribes pwn” thread that got me thinking.
Right now, you create custom ships for every possible battle–or you can, anyway.
In many cases you tweak an existing design to better deal with some novel challenge.
It would be neat to have some campaign mode where you are given certain strategic limitations, and you must design a NAVY that follows the limits.
So for example this mode would have a total budget, and a total pilot count, and even, perhaps some other limitations on certain modules for any player playing within campaign mode.
You’d then design ships, and have a certain number available within your navy. So you might have a shieldless CA design that uses only plasmas, but if you build too many, you’ll be SOL if you need some other design. A certain overhead can be abstracted for each ship as a function of its cost to maintain them, and there can be economies of scale built in as well—you get the first ship at cost, and if you commission at least X ships you get a 5% price break, and if you buy 10X you get 10% off. This encourages standardized designs instead of a navy full of 1-off ships.
Then, when facing a challenge, you’d pick from a fixed number of available ships instead of custom building ships to deal with a threat.