I'm very excited to see where this goes!
Combat is the weakest part of 4x gaming in general - I'm glad that your tackling this issue early into GC4 development. I like the direction you've taken with the hull changes - feels like the natural progression and should allow much easier customization. I think this will fix one of my biggest issues - early-mid ships that need to be upgraded to a larger hull to be remotely useful at all mid-late game. I'm curious how this is deployed tho - I know it isn't realistic to take a huge hull and slap enough engines and boosters to it, so its faster than fighter - doesn't even work well in GC4 but I do like having that option. More specifically, I don't want to be forced to build a medium hull if I want a surveyor with guns - stuff like that.
Related to this topic - Carriers. A few carriers with both sets of fighters in a fleet is hard to beat... A max logistics fleet of optimized carriers can beat anything - I may be slightly exaggerating but not by much. I'm not sure how to balance that.
Both of these topics touch on something that I've been thinking a lot about recently - the declining significance of ships, fleets and stations as the game progresses. This is fundamental to every 4x game I've ever played. Early on, ships are expensive and the trade off to an early fleet is a delayed/under-powered mid-game fleet, colony growth is greatly impacted - each ship construction is decision with apparent consequences. I've lost many starts because I had one less basic ship than the other guy and I've exploited that to my advantage many times also. plus, an early war win means dragging along a maxed logistics TINY fleet for the entire game - the Hull revamps may alleviate this a bit.
All of that is obvious - what I want is the feel of those weak early ships when I launch a super expensive, maxed tech, incredibly huge, fleet/planet destroying Capital ship that I just spent 3 hours editing. As I amass more ships, all ships lose value. Eventually T, S, M & even L hulls become insignificant - no matter the upgrades. By the time my OP universe conquerors roll out, I've often sent entire fleets to their doom that if had I lost earlier, I would have loaded an autosave. Personal attachment to a ship I've had for 400 turns < Destroy/Sell for pennies just to decrease my total number of ships... etc.
I want to value my fleets the entire game. I want to sink so much money into them over time that I'm always weighing the financial aspect. As I upgrade ships, win battles and level them up, I want them to improve so much that I might opt to upgrade them rather than build bigger "better" new ones. I think it would be awesome if I recognized individual ships by the end of a game. Even further, I'd like to be able to formally retire a ship that has been in service for like 170 years - that should go to a museum. Think of the Enterprise as example - either one works. The Enterprise is a bigger deal than the Admiral/Captain, crew, armaments, etc - its a part of navel and sci-fi history. As the leader of a Galactic Civilization I should face consequences if I send a similar (or really any) veteran ship/crew to an unnecessary certain doom.
I'm intentionally trying not to be specific with any examples of solutions to this stuff - thats why I focused on how it all feels. Like how CIV4 had stackable units to a tile and CIV5 didn't, I hated it - at first. In CIV4 I had a massive military by the end game - hundreds of units more than possible in CIV5 and although IV is more realistic, V makes for a far better game. The two have a completely different feel despite being almost the same game.
My only actual tip/suggestion:
Separate offensive fleets from Planet/Station defense fleets. Maybe call defensive ships "Police" and don't allow them to clutter up the actual military ships/fleets UI, as I will ideally never move them. I wouldn't mind some sort of auto-generation of defensive ships. I dislike building a ship just to move it once, to an adjacent location - and then repeat. With civilian ships removed, it would mean every time I search for a military ship - only ships I'd actually deploy are visible. Not only less cluttered but also increases my familiarity.
Just my 1000 words 😂
Thanks for everything - keep up the great work!
I want my ships, fleets and space battles to be a little less Legend of the Galactic Heroes & a little more Star Trek/Andromeda/Orville style.