The point of this thread is to throw around ideas for behavioural changes, not so much to implement them, but to provide a sense of the kind of things that our new modding interface (to be written!) should support. Things like:
Targetable ship sections
Per HW2. Things like engines, gun emplacements and sensors.
Offensive damage dependent on health (and working weapons - see above)
If a ship has been heavily damaged, it shouldn't be returning fire as though it just came out of the factory. In a simple scenario, it might just be 100% firepower for health of 50-100% (green bar) and linearly proportional in the range 0-50%. i.e. firepower = min(max_firepower, max_firepower * (current_health / (max_health/2) )). The 50-100% range of the health bar representing hull armour protecting the ship, so there is no change in offensive capability. Similar degradation in performance for things like speed also make sense.
None of this crappy: heavily damaged ship, bright flash, vanished ship nonsense when a ship explodes. If it's a big ship it should leave big debris. Great hulks of burning resources in fact. (The act of burning could slowly reduce the number of recoverable resources too which could liven things up). Not only that but my group of Ion Cannon Frigates should be able to slice large vessels apart and have the sections slowly drift apart. If you are able to push me back, recover the sections and use repair corvettes to weld them back together, then good for you
Segmented construction of ships
In a similar vein to the above I should be able to build large vessels from smaller pieces. I know how to build a resource controller, so why can't my carrier construct one? There is a natural forfeit for building something this way - the finished pieces are floating around outside where anyone can shoot/steal them and are unable to defend/move themselves. Throw in a requirement for small services vessels to piece/weld them together and it's reasonably easy to rebalance.
Air traffic control
Ships shouldn't use collision detection to get from A to B in crowded space, they should be organised. The ATC belonging to the largest vessel in the vicinity calling the shots. The docking ladders in HW2 go some way to doing this but it's still a mess.
If there are no docking bays available for a ship to use it should ask around for the current wait times from the appropriate ATCs, calculate time to destination and choose the optimal one. My ship should be on its way to, or in docking formation when the bay frees up. My salvage certainly shouldn't be parked half way across the map waiting for a docking bay to become available (and then spend ages getting there, thus preventing others from docking in the meantime - grr!).
If it's not jump capable and it's not docked, it gets left behind if you emergency jump
Aunxx (I think) mentioned this in another thread. Sounds goods to me - magically appearing in parade formation is simply not realistic. "No-one gets left behind" is a nice brothers-in-arms mantra but that's not to say they won't be dead by the time you are able to go back for them...
That is, area of effect damage. For example, lingering radiation clouds from a nuclear explosion. The only thing I've come across in Homeworld that has this property is when a ship explodes. A set amount of damage is done to everything within a certain radius of the ship. It's only really noticeable when a Mothership dies though and even then you have to be pretty close.