drek: I'll quote your proposal, and comment or suggest changes...
For each of the resource types, there is a Max Meter and Current Meter. Effects from technologies, buildings, racial picks, events, other meters etc. are applied to the Max Meter. The exception is destructive events: for example, earthquakes, riots, and enemy bombing act on the Current Meters.
After all Effects have been applied to the Max Resource Meters, they are normalized to the range of 0 to 10.
I'm not sure what you meant by this. Do you mean the sum of all the resource meters for the planet, after normalization, is 10? Or do you mean that the maximum possible rating in the game for a particular planet is calculated, and then the current rating is divided by that, and the quotient multiplied by 10, so the range always falls into 0 to 10? Why would you do either of these? It seems simpler to just allow the meters to go as high as the set of possible bonuses allows.
New colonies start with all Current Meters set to 0.
I'd start all meters, or at least food and production, at 1. If not, you'd need some food stockpiles sent with the colony ship... (could work as well)
Each turn, if a Current Resource Meter is greater than it's associated Max Meter, the Current Meter is reduced to match the Max Meter.
Each turn, the value of the Construction meter is added to an accumlator. If this accumlator is greater than 10, Current Meter with the greatest difference between it's associated Max Meter is incremented by 1 and the accumlator is reset to 0. (If there is a tie, the meter with Primary Focus is chosen, otherwise the tie is resolved randomly.)
This would nicely tie in the transition period and a penalty for switching that depends on how different your old and new focus settings are. If you go from 1/1/1/7 meters to 1/6/2/1 meters, you'd be at 1/1/1/1 immediately after the swtich, and would slowly build up towards 1/6/2/1. This is a good solution.
One addition I suggest considering, but don't expect you'll like, is that going from meter levels 1 to 2 requires the construction accumulator to reach 10, but going from 2 to 3 requies the accumulator to reach 20 (and so on). This is just like population growth in SMAC. It weights the delay more heavily on transitions between very different specialized focuses.
If a Build Project (including Terraforming) is currently in progress on a planet, the Construction meter is not applied to the accumlator. Build Projects halt all construction on infrastructure.
This is fine... though unless there's a longer delay as described above for building the infrastructure for larger meter levels, it seems that you might run out of stuff to build fairly quickly. (I guess pooled PP would alleviate this issue)
The Current Resource Meters are multiplied with population to determine the quanity of each resource produced by the planet. If there is a Build Project in process on a world, the number of resources produced is reduced by half.
That's a bit arbitrary... why not have build projects require x/y/z/w food/minerals/reserach/production per turn for N turns? Everything always requiring half of all produced resources, independent of what it is or how many resources are being made, seems odd...
On the Sidebar UI, each resource meter should be represented by:
a: Filled in boxes or icons for each point in the Current Meter
b: Greyed out boxes or icons for each point of the Max Meter above the Current Meter's value.
c: A numeric and/or iconic display of the total resources produced by the planet.
d: An indication of which resouce meter is enjoying the benefits of the Primary and Secondary Foci. (Player should be able to maniplute this indication to change the Focus of the world.)
You don't like my mockup border thing? Ah well, not a big issue.