Originally Posted by Rust_Lord
Galactic pop cap issues are another story. Unless a maintenance cost that others have mentioned is introduced (which is akin to my fave SW strategy game, Rebellion) there is no reason you cant build a limitless military providing you have the cash.
I am not in favour of an increasing cost for additional units. Its not realistic at all. Its not about the cost of the unit, which shouldnt change, its about the ability of the race to afford the extra unit. It does force you to balance your force but balance should be determined by the will of the player not dictated by the game and cost. The necessity to balance should come from knowledge and experience that a player leaves themselves vulnerable if they create an imbalanced force. If they want for eg to buy nothing but cap ships and leave themselves vulnerable to bombers, go right ahead.
What about increasing pop cap everytime you upgrade a space station: the larger the station the larger the force it can service/support. This can be applied to both skirmish and Galactic. The real question is what is the maximum pop cap you would like to have, and what would be the highest that could be supported by PCs without making it unplayable? What if you kept the current pop cap of 20/25 with a 5 point increase for each tech upgrade?
Maintenance could work, but not in the current EAW system. It didn't even work right in Rome. You had to have a basic income for each unit, but there was no way to keep increasing your income. For example you couldn't keep upgrading your mines. You could conquer a city, but you couldn't create one yourself. So there was no way to actually get enough resources for an infinite army. Apart from that, the more cities you had, the more troops you could use. this just meant that the strong would keep getting stronger even faster than the weak. IMO the stronger you are, the more carefull you should be, just to give the weak a chance (not realistic but balanced).
The cost increase system provides for that. In addition to that, it also makes the other versions of the same unit more attractive. There is no reason to purchase a Victory SD once you have can build Imperial SD. It does the exact same thing but not as good as an ISD. So in the end you now have 2 types of units, a fighter killer and an battleship/carrier. Possibly somebody would use bombers every now and then, but not too often.
Upgrading the space station wouldn't work, as you can only have 5 levels of station. There is a way around this, and that's to use a seperate tech that can be upgraded an infinite amount of times for an increasing cost, but still providing the same amount of new pop slots, wich would also come down to another version of the cost increase per unit. In that case it would be better to tie the cost increase system to the units themself as that wuld make lesser units more usefull because of their lower increase. The tech and unit increase both work, but it's merely a matter of taste to decide what to use.