I dont see how this reduces the number of ships that can be displayed. ... Total war manages a far more complicated combat system than freeorion could ever realistically hope to achieve, and that involves tens of thousands of troops.
Well, system requirements will depend in (number_of_ships * complexity_for_each_ship) as each new feature needs code and CPU time. I havent played Total war a lot but 1.- Itś not a game you can play on your Pentium III and 2.- I'm not sure if each individual troop in that game has his own complex code. It seems to me that you play a group of soldiers like a single unit and then display the graphics according to the unit stats.
I donṫ know if the fleets in freeOrion will be composed of squadrons or not, but for now it seems not. And "shield efficiency based on the angular spread of enemy attacks" doesnṫ sound simple if you have a lot of ships and every one of them has to run the same algorithm.
Bear in mind that the shield facings would *not* be controlled directly by the player, its completely automatic.
So again, if I have 3 small corvettes and 5 slow doomstars I can do this: move the corvettes to each side of the ship and attack from all sides. Based on this the efficiency will be low, then I blast the ship from the front with all the slow ships that couldnṫ get there to flank. Same as before but with an exploit so an enemy ship has reduced shields. To compensate this: you make efficiency decrease accordingly with damage received from each source/direction but then you get more or less the same you had before making any adjustment to shields.
The idea has some merit indeed, but needs to be refined. Hope we can make it