Hi there Maelstrom. I just found this thread and investigated. Your pictures are mighty fine looking, so I decided to give it a shot. I downloaded your entrenchment version, which I realize is quite beta, having read most of this thread. I tried a game by myself as the Traders. Seconds after the 2nd auto save (which is the default time, every 15 minutes), the game gave me a minidump. I remembered what was said here about turning settings down to achieve the < 2 gig limit and did so, reloading the auto save. The same result. I have yet to try it out with a fresh game with the lowered settings, so it might just be the screwed up save file, and I will try to report back my findings. But I just wanted to say that I also am receiving the 30 minute crash bug that others have mentioned here. But the entrench version is beta, which you make quite clear, so it's all good.
Problems aside, the thirty minutes I did get were enjoyable. I love the music (who is it, by the way? Custom/personal or a particular artist?) and the ships for the Traders, at least, are quite schnazzy! The colony cap ship is a bit funny looking with all it's bio-domes, highly vulnerable, I think, but I don't care. It's a neat, well made new ship model. I wish I could have seen another capital before the crash occurred. Anyway, the voices are also well done.
The only complaint I have (and I don't know if this is intentional or if maybe I didn't put a file in the right place) is that I started out with no builders, shipyards, or mining facilities. Is this intentional and everyone, including the three vanilla races, are like this? Or does this potentially give any player/computer of the vanilla factions a brief lead right at the game start? Having to wait around a few moments for builders to spawn while your foes are moving is unsettling. If everyone, vanilla included, are like this, then that's fine. But if it's just the Traders or new races (bug or intentional), my opinion (for what it's worth) is that this is not a good idea. All or none, I think. But that's just my two cents.
I have one further question, not a complaint or suggestion. The Trader basic combat frigate, Mars something or other I think, only costs 2 population, the same as the scout vessel. I ran across a computer controlled TEC cobalt and compared stats. Indeed, the Cobalt is superior in a one on one matchup. But having around 10 cobalts at the start, plus a capital, before getting fleet increases vs a Trader cap and some 30 or so of their frigates might be unbalanced in favour of the Traders. Having not done this experiment, I do not know the results. I am just going on conjecture. Again, this could also be a simple glitch from the entrenchment beta. Regardless, I just wanted to bring it to your attention, should you have some extra time. Having only done my short-lived Trader game, I know nothing of the other new races and if they are similarly given such a cheap ship or not. It might just be a unique thing for the Traders.
Well, my short story now concludes. Hopefully something I have said will be of help to you. I will try the mod again or patiently wait a more proper version. It appears to be a well done mod and I eagerly await my chance to get a complete match finished!
Happy modding! Cheers,