Space engineer posted basic game play concept and I though we may need deeper,detailed discussion on how economy will work in the game.
So.... here's what I've thought on this topic. Please let me know what you thing about this.
1. Science Exploration
Players can make profits by sending scientific data gathered during exploration. As space Engineer posted, players will be able to gather scientific data by using various sensors(telescopes, spectrometers, etc) that are placed on their mother ship, sending probes/crews' shuttles to planetary bodies/asteroids to do more detailed exploration(including taking samples).
Relatively easier explorations(orbital observation, telescope observation, etc) will award players with smaller 'science score' , while relatively harder tasks(sample collection, etc) will award players with higher 'science score'.
Better science equipments will lead to higher score. More valuable data gained from interesting places will lead to higher score ex) Blackhole data will be more valuable than normal stars.
The more science score players get, the more profit they can earn by sending science data back to Earth.
2. Resource mining
Players will be able to mine useful resources on asteroids, terrestrial planets/moons, gas giants(in this case, would be only hydrogen), using specific mining shuttle.
When mining on rocky bodies, players should be able to do more efficient mining by according to resource mapping data(made by players themselves, or one already made by other players).
Some resources will be used by players themselves(hydrogen as fuel, silicon as on board 3d printer material, etc) while the remaining can be sold to market for players profit.
Mining will also require resources tank attached to mothership.
1. Buying/upgrading/repairing spacecrafts
If players want new shiny mothership, it will cost some money. Same goes to shuttles.
As Space Engineer said, many motherships will be capable of upgrading by switching it's modules. For instance, players will choose to upgrade their on board science equipments to better one, which will produce more science score, or upgrade their habitat module to fly with more crews, or better solar panel to gain more power(which will be required to maintain ship and to run various equipments on board)
For shuttle ships however, upgrades will be limited to basics. For example, switching to better thrusters, extra winglets, more durable landing gears(which will reduce ship damage on landing with high vertical speed).
If players ships are damaged, they will require repairs. While smaller damages can be repaired by crew EVA, more serious damages will require players to visit nearby human colonies. Ship damages are very critical to flight.
For example, if one of the thrusters are malfunctioning, ship flight computer will try to maintain normal flight but leading to much inefficient fuel consumption and sometimes not even able to fly. If solar panels are not working, your crews may die since life support system cannot work without power, unless you have alternative power source.
2. Hiring Crews
Not sure if there will be crew system but if there is, players would spend money on hiring crews. There will be minimum numbers of crews required to fly a ship, and more crews will lead to positive effects(more engineer leading to faster EVA reapair and better on board 3d printer operation, more scientists leading to more science data)
If we are going deeper than this, each crews will have different stats(crews with higher stats are better workers) and crews with higher stats will require more money to hire.
3. Buying resources/refueling ship
Players will need some resources for long interstellar voyage. Oxygen for crews breathing, water, hydrogen fuel, 3d printer material etc.
While good players with good ships will be self sufficient by executing mining by themselves, players who are not willing to/ capable of mining will be supplying required resources by buying it.
Please express your thoughts on in game economy by leaving posts below, so we can have some more discussion.