EVILLE, PLEASE READ THIS
I am quite well aware that what I now suggest could be interpreted as presumptuous, and most likely displays an astonishing lack of even the most basic understanding of how SoSE works, but I would like to suggest a rather large change to the basic structure of this mod. In short, I would like to see culture become the most important feature of this mod.
To my knowledge, culture percentage can affect ship stats in the form of shield mitigation, and I am presuming that it can affect other stats as well. If this is not so, than just stop reading this and have a good chuckle at my expense. All I know for sure is that there is some kind of boost “in friendly culture” for shield mitigation. It would be best for the purposes of my argument if this boost was proportional to just how friendly the culture is, instead of being a simple true/false scenario. I know that capital ships, at least, have a culture spreading and a culture repelling affect, and I also base some of my ideas on the assumption that this affect can be applied to frigates and cruisers at will. Assuming these things, I now make my argument.
I came to this view as something of a fanciful epiphany, but become more and more convinced that it could work as I think on it. Currently antimatter recharging is accomplished by placing ships near logistics structures. This is a noble attempt to represent the need for fleets to be supplied, but is somewhat unwieldy and forces an unacceptable amount of micromanagement on the player. If culture percentage can affect any stats, then I suggest that antimatter regeneration be directly related to the culture of the gravity well a spacecraft is occupying. This means that your ships will regenerate antimatter in friendly gravity wells or (hopefully) in enemy gravity wells penetrated with friendly culture; giving them a significant edge in combat, and (if culture bonus really is proportional to the percent of culture) that the effectiveness of fleets fighting for the core worlds would increase as maximum allegiance goes up nearer to the capital. This could also be used to make the game more challenging for large empires, with poor logistics at the end of long supply lines, and give smaller defending empires more of a fighting chance.
(Note: I’m pretty rusty on my Star Wars lore, so feel free to criticize me on my characterizations of the factions)
This culture-based antimatter regeneration offers a range of new options to differentiate the factions. The Alliance could gain greater boosts from friendly culture and have more effective propaganda spreading, this giving them more of a guerilla feel and forcing disproportionate responses from other factions in order to deal with Rebel propaganda, thus tying up resources that would otherwise be put into world-conquering fleets that the Alliance really shouldn’t be able to match toe-to-toe. The Republic could gain similar advantages, just to a less degree. The CIS could be something of a middle ground, with some mildly-evil tendencies balanced out by their fighting the oppressive Palpatine Republic. The Empire, of course, would need the most culture support to operate and be extremely susceptible to enemy propaganda, allowing you to make the Empire’s ships qualitatively and quantitatively superior to everyone else’s, but still balance the game. That brings up one of the greatest benefits of using culture more actively: It adds another way to balance out the factions. All cries of “but the Rebels could never beat the Empire in a fair fight!” will be forever silenced because they won’t have to; they’ll just make the fight unfair.
My second assumption, that any ship can spread culture, is actually quite crucial to this culture-based game working effectively. If every single ship in the game can give a differing amount of culture repression or support, than this system could actually be workable. The Alliance propaganda structures could be very effective while their ships could have very little culture repression and a culture boosting affects, this determined by their power; on the other extreme the Empire’s propaganda structures would be nearly useless, especially compared to their incredibly intimidating and reassuring battle fleets.
This in turn allows for an indirect warfare where scouts lighter ships may actually make a difference. You could send in cheap units in preparation for an attack and weaken the culture of your enemy with their presence. This could give rise to entirely new strategies; such as sending cheap, fast ships to weaken the culture of the core enemy planets even while dealing with their border fleets on outlying planets.
EDIT: I almost forgot this, and it's pretty important.
If your fleets really have a cultural punch, then you could gain control of a planet without having to bombard it into slag. This would give a more profitable way to take over planets for those willing to spend the time, and could simulate "surrender" and stop you from having to have the Alliance indiscriminately bombard civilian populations. This might even allow you to do away with bombardments completely, with “invasion” abilities injecting a large amount of your culture without damaging the planet (if you can code that into an ability). You could still bombard planets at need, of course, but it would no longer be the only viable option.
Thank you for reading this far. I apologize if I have wasted your time with my idea, or if what I propose is simply impossible, but I think that it is worth considering.