I’m very excited about this game, and I really like the focus on strategic planning instead of real-time tactical clicking. I haven’t seen much detail about what kind of choices are available when designing ships.
Some ideas I have (which may or may not already be implemented):
A points-based system for ships and ship components - allow the player to opt for very different kinds of fleets by spending points on tons of cheap ships vs. smaller numbers of huge dreadnoughts, etc. The key here is PLAYTESTING to ensure balance.
Weapon facings - not every weapon should be on a 360 turret. There should be tradeoffs between raw firepower and ability to track targets and fire in different arcs. Look at Master of Orion 2 for the best example of how to implement something like this.
Ship speed affecting weapon accuracy - some weapons should have slower travel times to target, allowing faster ships to avoid getting hit some of the time. Instantaneous weapons (beams) should be higher costed to reflect this targeting advantage.
Weapons that are different in functionally significant ways - more variety in weapons is definitely better. Some fun ideas:
*Shotgun-type weapons with high damage but terrible range
*EMP-type weapons with a disabling rather than destroying effects on the target
*Point defense turrets with great tracking but bad damage (can shoot down missiles maybe)
*Huge cannons with great damage output but terrible tracking ability
*Rapidfire rocket launcher clusters with long reload times
*Long-range sniping weapons
*Weapons with area-effect blast radius
*Flak cannons with exploding submunitions
*Beams that do more damage the longer they stay on one target
*Shield-penetrating or destroying weapons
Ship components other than weapons and engines - allow ships to be specialized in other interesting ways. Some ideas here:
*Electronic countermeasures (throws missiles off course, etc)
*Damping fields (%reduction in damage taken, different from how most shields work)
*Effects which boost other ships in your fleet (for example, a shield that extends over multiple ships)