Now that I'm at home with the game files in front of me....
Sins is essentially two different games: one on smaller maps and a different one on larger ones. Based on how Social and Industry upgrades are "balanced" against each other, the fact that each lab gives one tier of research regardless of map size, the fact that Titans unlock at tier 4, how the whole 1.80 open rebellion triggering thing was not noticed until after the patch had gone live, and how longest trade route bonus can stack to ludicrous levels, I'm guessing the game was originally designed and tested with smaller maps in mind.
Perhaps. But it's also a great way to limit how absurdly crazy things can get "late game" on smaller maps, especially when you consider smaller maps won't have the economy to properly support all the stuff you can get at the higher tiers. To me, it would seem weird for a research lab or trade port to give me more at the same planet on a small map than a large. That's supposed to be the benefit of a larger map with more space to expand. So this, frankly, seems fine to me.
EDIT: Eh, I think I misread most of that point. Agreed, they probably could've done most of the balancing on small maps. They probably only had small teams testing and they probably didn't play full, long games with the AI. It's also possible the larger maps were added in after.
A lot of these seemingly arbitrary numbers might be the result of this type of balance: on smaller maps, there will usually only be one or two non-homeworld terran planets, often contested between players. Forcing all Terran planets to have the low cap that TerranHome has would pretty much make Oceanic the only planet type where social is ideal (save maybe for some odd Advent culture strategy), not to mention significantly decrease the value of holding Terran planets on smaller maps where trade is not as lucrative, whereas having TerranHome match Terran's numbers would make it a go-to on smaller maps, since you don't have as much room for longest trade route and your homeworld is the only Terran planet that's never contested.
You are actually correct on the boosting of the TerranHome's numbers. I hadn't considered the smaller maps with that previously.
However, I believe you are wrong on lowering "regular" and "fair" versions of Terran. Consider:
1) Oceanic's bonus caps at +375... TerranHome is 420. The trade modifier penalty is the only thing that is better with the Oceanic.
2) Out of the 10 "different" types of colonizable rocks with Social/Industrial upgrades, 6 of them double their Max population with full Social. Exceptions:
- Ferrus - ~64% increase (+90 onto a base of 140... Assuming FerrusFair is bugged, otherwise that one is even less)
- Barren - ~122% increase (+110 onto a base of 90)
- Oceanic - 150% increase (+375 onto a base of 250)
- Terran - ~321% increase (+900 onto a base of 280... using TerranHome's numbers, we'd actually be at 150% increase, same as Oceanic)
And personally... I almost think they should've stuck with doubling the pops of each world with full Social Spec'ing.
I do not know about the Barren vs. BarrenFair thing, but Ferrous and FerrousFair's higher numbers are because of a similar reason: on smaller maps, they are usually contested planets, and since they can only have metal extractors, the higher rate is to put it on even footing with other contested planet types that might have crystal extractors and a higher population cap.
I don't quite buy that on Ferrus seems both Volcanic and Ice are limited to 1 specific resource each yet don't receive the increased extractor rate. But actually, after discovering Ferrus' numbers, I was more inclined to think that BarrenFair was the bugged world. I'm ok with different worlds having different extraction rates... goes to show how rich or poor they are in resources. However, for Barren to have one set of numbers and BarrenFair to have another doesn't make sense, especially when that is not repeated to Ferrus.
EDIT: Another slight misread, I think, but on this I can simply point to the number of resource asteroids Ferrus has compared to the other single resource focused worlds. Additionally... Volcanic pop: 70. Ice: 160. Ferrus: 140. So Ferrus is in no way suffering in population, here.
Number three (inexplicable zeroed out neutral extractors) are probably to put uncolonizable gravity wells on even footing. You'll notice that all uncolonizable gravity wells with fair versions are subject to the zeroed out thing. Asteroid Belts are both fairly common and are easy to traverse, so they get one metal. Gas giants have a giant planet in the middle of the well in addition to the whole passive explosion thing and being larger wells overall, so they get two metal. Space Junk is similar to Asteroid Belt, but is usually much rarer on smaller maps or is deliberately put in contested areas, so it gets one crystal. Plasma Storm does not allow launching of strike craft, making it a lot easier to steal extractors without sacrificing ships (especially for Vasari), which is why it gets two crystal.
Lack of fair versions for DLC uncolonizables is likely an oversight.
Yes, of the 4 they actually made "fairs" of, all 4 have one resource type zeroed. And yes, if you total the resource asteroids of the 4 systems, you get 3 metal and 3 crystal. However, if they'd actually made "fair" versions of all the uncolonizables with resource asteroids, they'd not only no longer have to do something slightly "silly" such as taking a system that leaned metal and make it crystal in the "fair" version (AsteroidSpaceJunk), but they wouldn't have to cut out several systems from being able to spawn in the "fair" versions of the randoms in GalaxyDef.
Max extractors left at 3 for DesertFair and TerranFair is likely an oversight. DesertHome having 4 extractors instead of 3 is not a problem at all, you are simply looking at it the wrong way: while other Desert and Terran types can spawn deliberately, DesertHome needs to be explicitly defined, otherwise TerranHome will be used for homeworlds. You should not look at DesertHome as a Desert planet that happens to be a homeworld: instead, it's a homeworld type that leans towards resource production instead of credits and happens to be Desert only because Desert is the planet type that is one step below Terran in terms of tax credits. Making DesertHome extractors stand on even footing with either TerranHome or other Desert planets defeats the purpose of having a special, second type of homeworld for maps where you want to direct players towards certain playstyles.
I think you misunderstood me with the Desert worlds. I have no issue with DesertHome at 4. It balances out the lower population compared to TerranHome. However, there's no reason why the "regular" Desert can't be given the extra resource asteroid, either, based on that same reasoning (spawn chance 1-2 for both metal and crystal). This would not unbalance things and would actually further differentiate a "regular" Desert from a "regular" Terran.
Then you have the "fair" versions of both Desert and Terran having only 1 asteroid each that spawn? That doesn't feel right to me.
Once again, too high max allowable resource asteroids on certain planet types is both an oversight and has no in-game effect. At worst, it can be considered a "dirty" setting.
Yes, and I noted that. But pointed it out anyway seems I was digging around and found all the other related stuff.
No idea about the whole social vs. industry thing outside of the TerranHome one. My guess is that both DLC's were slightly rushed, supported by how the majority of changes in patch 1.82 were to DLC additions and that projects in the games industry tend to be rushed in general.
Agreed, but it's been a while and they're still not fixed, so I'm wondering if they're even aware at this point.