I’d shorten the fighters light trails to less than a half of what it is now. IMHO, they take to much visual protagonism in the battlefield.
I’d make a bigger graphical representation of the hit of any weapon that hasn’t a very visible trajectory (e.g.: blasters). A large array of cheap blaster corvettes can destroy a cruiser in seconds without seeing more than tiny bullets.
In this game, losing sight or perspective for a second isn’t inherently bad (In an RTS it’d be an awful mistake). Thus I’d:
- Add much light to the ships explosion effects (MUCH light, as in losing sight on that 2cm radius for two seconds).
- Add some independent moving smoke to the small burning parts in ships. No need for particle effects, just an animated image of a small smoke patch that fades for three seconds or so.
- Add also smoke as an after effect of the much brighter ship explosion.
- Leave a very subtle afterglow under stronger lasers. It creates nice “fan” effects with rapid firing lasers and fast ships.
Lastly, I’d really try to establish a direct correlation between power and graphical representation. At least between similar weapons. The afterglow is one of the tools for this.
The optimal result should be that people could instantly differentiate a heavy laser from a medium or light one.