How it works now:
We have techs branches for:
- planetary defense (one big cannon),
- planetary defense regeneration,
- planetary shields, and
- planetary troops.
Current issues reported by some players:
- Planetary defense is useless: On one hand the growth rate of defense strength is relatively slow compared to how fast can grow warship fleets damage (i.e. getting the first defense strength tech vs getting laser tech). This should be alleviated. On the other hand we have that fleets are limitless stackable while star systems doesn't tend to have more than 7 planets to join forces. This means that going the defense path early on is rather innefective, and going it late game is plainly useless.
- Planetary defense makes little sense: although a planet is like a huge ship, it can just have one powerful cannon for three shots per battle, although it should have space for many more defensive weaponry. Also, its maximum "hull points" are very low, any huge ship in FO can withstand more damage before losing any bit of damage power.
- Planetary defense is boring/uninteresting: maybe consequence of the other two.
I suggest giving more love to this part of the game, not only fighters, to take care of the irrelevance of current planetary defense, as follows:
TAKE PLANET SIZE INTO ACCOUNT FOR DEFENSE STRENGTH
A huge planet (size 5) will have 5x the defense strength of a tiny planet (size 1), so it could take down 5x enemy ships and withstand 5x damage before getting completely knocked down.
Giving protagonism to the size of the planet seems interesting to me. If 5 to 1 huge to tine is too much, it could be tiny=1, small=1.5... huge=3. All the suggested values (above and below) are adjustable.
MAKE DEFENSE GROWTH RATE (from current to target) DEPEND ON INFRASTRUCTURE
(This depends on another suggestion to make infrastructure growth really slow and use it to control exponential growth and steamrolling.)
New colonies, or recently devastated ones, will have growth rate reduced and its target meter capped based on the infrastructure of the planet, although influence (¿or PPs?) could be spend to speed up the refeneration and move up the cap. This means no huge defenses will be online after 5 turns of an advanced enemy conquering one of your planets. The idea is to avoid the extra defensive capabilities for advanced/stronger empires, that would need less effort to keep the areas just conquered.
On the other hand, a planet with high infrastructure will be able to regenerate its full defense strength in few turns.
DIVIDE PLANETARY DEFENSE INTO DIFFERENT WEAPONS
Give planetary defense different weapon subsystems, depending also on weapon techs:
- A flak cannon battery system: requires mass driver tech; gives 1 flak cannon (3 shots) per planet size and defense tech level (for huge planet and defense tech 4, 20 flaks, 60 shots).
- A SR weapon battery system: requires mass driver tech; gives 1 cannon (shot) per planet size and defense tech level (for huge and defense tech 4, 20 shots); shot damage as per weapon tech level (e.g. for laser 2, dmg 7, for death ray 4, dmg 30) (*).
- A fighter defense system: requires fighter tech; gives 1 hangar bay (3 fighters) per planet size and defense tech level; figther damage as for fighter tech level (*).
- A Spinal Anti-matter cannon system: 1 shot per planet size, damage 100, ¿plus one upgrade to 200 damage?.
(*) I'm not sure I like the (my) idea of making weapon subsystems damage depend on the corresponding weapon tech level. I mean, that makes impossible to pursue a full defensive strategy with no investment on ship weapons. So maybe better have the requirements of "corresponding tech level" substituted by defense tech level. Mass drivers unlocks flak and SR systems, basic fighters tech unlocks fighter subsystem, and the growth of number and damage of cannons/hangars depend only on planet size, defense tech level and infrastructure.
ALLOW PLANETS IN DEFENSE FOCUS TO FUNCTION AS HOSTILE SHIPS
Thus defense-focused planet could intercept/blockade incoming enemy fleets without having to rebuild that annoying comsat every now and then.
No changes for defense focus mechanis apart from that: if set, defense max target meter is doubled, with the corresponding changes on current meter regeneration.