Played around with it, and I must say: it's already quite an accomplishment!
I'd love to help, but I'm not good enough with coding (I'd love to help with testing and balancing, though, as well as most people here). Some thoughts:
UI can definitly benefit from some improvement, but I'd say to leave that for last. Base gameplay might go through several iterations, requiring tedious rewrites. Especially considering the original was quite broken, improvements would be made, changing the gameplay massively.
Question; didn't Outpost 1 under windows simply change the theme to some odd variant of the high-contrast theme?
In Outpost 1, I remember not paying attention to resources at all, unless something was wrong. I vaguely remember I'd just plop down mines, and keep the mining robot busy on new ones. This cannot be intended, so some form of resource management would be required. Separating metals and minerals into common and rare is good enough, I'd say. Could mining sites have differing proportions of these, though?
Mines automatically adding to the pool is odd, and trucks are defintely a solution. Truck routes with waypoints might not be ideal. How about this (example): mines automatically add truck routes from the mine to the command centre. The length of these routes is calculated using for A*, with every tile having a bit of resistance (rough tiles take longer). All trucks are shared between them. If a truck can traverse 100 tiles every turn, and we've got two mines at a distance of 25 tiles to the colony, then one truck can visit each mine twice every turn. Assuming mine production is balanced based on resource usage, then you'd only have to fiddle with the truck size until it feels right. Using mining robots to extend a mine would have it produce more resources, having insufficient trucks would cause resources to stock at the mine until the mine is full. A button showing the results of the search algorithm and a small window showing all truck routes with the used storage room at the mines would be enough for truck routes, then. Connecting a mine directly to the colony with a tube or monorail or whatever means trucks are no longer for that route, and then resources are added instantly (read: it's best to start near a mine).
MPG always reminds me of Soylent Green, so its universal use always felt wrong. I would also vote for the resource 'organic waste'. Food comes from agridomes, raw organic matter is fertilizer. Slag as a resource also feels realistic. Question: what did SPEW stand for (Sewage Processing ...)? It's kinda a nice acronym:)
As I read it, we've got several resources:
- Common metals
- Rare metals
- Common minerals
- Rare minerals
- Organic matter/food
- Organic waste (food for plants)
- Slag (contains metals, need a lot of energy to get metals out)
I'd like to propose the following as proper resources as well:
- Trash (contains metals and organics, based on number of people, education, luxury use, efficiency, etc.)
- Bioplastics (since plastics are seeing HEAVY use in our society, and we don't expect oil on other planets)
On research, I'm not a huge fan of Civ's system; it feels like an annoyance. Queing might work quite well, but maybe a slider system, like Space Empires uses, would work better. This would be a parallel system, where you set up a couple of 'studies', which are then shared across labs. Making research parcs by coupling research labs would work very well, as long as you can set the task for the whole parc in one go. Multiple parcs, multiple tasks. Same for factories; certain tasks take quite a while, combining factories would reduce the time required. Separate factory parcs with separate tasks would be brilliant. As for the interface-part; show the separate parcs as a single 'factory' in a list, each with their own task/queue.
Modelling individuals would be a nice addition, and easy since it's a turn-based game. Also, this allows you to model birth, aging, and death. Relationships... would be complicated, but a simple marriage and procreation thing might be nice.
Question: didn't the original say something like 'people are frozen, and will be thawed if we've got the capacity'? If not; this might be a good addition, for the sake of realism. A genepool of twenty people is awefully small.
I feel medical issues are generally neglected, while they provide quite a bit of material for gameplay and storytelling. Perhaps medical issues could benefit from something similar, but simpler: everybody has a base chance to get a cold, break a leg, get cancer, andsoforth. However, somebody working in the agridomes might have an increased chance of needing treatment for allergies. A list of diseases/disorders with base chance, and modifiers based on job would do the trick (although this might stretch the idea a bit too far). Medical centres producing medicine would be good enough, so they'd need a bit of resources. Maybe this addition might go a bit too far, though...
I've seen other games use VERY simple formulas to model morale to good effect, so it doesn't have to be too complicated. Let's say morale goes from 0 to 100. The base state would be 20 (the only survivors, stuck on a inhospitable planet; not fun). And then you'd simply give additions per individual.
For example: let's say you've got one residential unit, which holds 16 people, and you've got a production of 10 cheap luxury items per turn. Randomize the colonist list, and start running through then one by one. For the first ten, you've got housing and cheap luxury items: +10 morale for housing, +5 for cheap luxury items. For the next six, you've only got housing: +10. The next four, you don't have anything; they'll sleep in the hallways and brush their teeth with the gravel found outside the airlock. Simple math then tells you you've got 10 colonists with 35, six with 25, and four with 20. Average would then be ((10*35)+(6*25)+(4*20))/20=29, which is not great.
The effect of food should work differently. Let's say 20 people, but only food for 10: nobody starves, but people aren't happy, so -10. Food for 40, and everybodycan pick and choose: +10, and slightly more organic waste (people simply eat more), which drains into the agridomes. Food for eighty, and a lot of food gets wasted, leading to unhappiness: +10 for the food, -5 for the inefficiency.
EDIT: sorry for the wall of text, I got carried away.