First of all, this is my first post so apologies if I'm in over my head. I was about 7 or 9 when I first started playing MoO 2 and I didn't understand a bit of it but it still remains one of my favorite games. I'd love to see a revival of the 4x genre and if I can help that by helping FO, count me in
with that out of the way, my thoughts:
Also seeing the whole galaxy with its nebulas’ and gaseous substances might be more pleasing to the eye than just seeing a couple of stars or a single star at the start of the game.
Nebulae and gaseous substances could be shown even though the stars are invisible. It would look like this, which I find is quite interesting.
I like how this allows for different strategies to explore the galaxy, as mentioned previously. Some players might use just ships to travel from star to star, others might use techs and/or buildings, others might use spying etc.
I also believe that this allows for certain stars to remain hidden until late game, which might produce some interesting situations. In the other case, one would always know, that there are still unexplored stars left.
I feel that stars themselves should be visible only when an adjacent system is explored. Master of Orion was able to get away with revealing all the stars because travel wasn't based on starlanes, but since it is here you get a different perspective. For example, somebody in an earlier post mentioned that
from the point of some guy on a FO planet, there are a bajillion stars in the sky, but the only ones that matter are the ones with starlanes, because offroading takes too long to be of any use.
I think this makes perfect sense, and it (along with common sense) implies that you don't know where a starlane goes until you've been through it, and thus can't know all the connected systems (like which stars are junk and which are important).
As far as levels of "explored" go, I think it's a complicated issue. You end up with either leaving scouts (or scout-like entities) in a system for an extended amount of time (boring to the player since it appears nothing is happening) or you have it all explored at once, and then you just move on to the next system. I would say the environment and environment-related specials of planets should be immediately visible, and others make themselves known some time after colonization, like a plague or ruins.
I think the cloaking of stars and/or starlanes would end up being very confusing. I can see two scenarios: one where the enemy fleet suddenly jumps in via cloaked starlane, and then the starlane's revealed, meaning cloaking is a one-shot deal and thus annoying and not extremely useful, and another where the enemy fleet suddenly jumps in, but the starlane's not revealed.
the latter seems game-breaking to me.