We're here to 'optimize' the game-play without inherently changing any values related to or that could affect the actual game balance.
I will continue to reiterate that if you mess with trade ships or SC as far as values etc are concerned, that you will inherently unbalance the game. The issue is not about by what value, but the simple fact that if you change the game balance, LESS people will adopt this mod project online. I remember that this was a huge point of debate with the original TSOP mod. A VERY big issue.
Simply put, if you buff the trade ships, do we need to also buff the pirates to compensate? They are already a great distraction tool for them, build a trade port. If you make less of them, they will either die faster (the pirates then target your ships and facilities faster) or, if they are built faster AND are tougher, the pirates may never actually kill a trade ship in the earlier waves, thus making Trade Ports more effective than ships as a pirate deterrent.
We could go onto modifying SC as well for buffing them, reducing squadron size, do we need to balance the Flak Burst abilities, or the flak weapons on the frigates so that the abilities and damage actually mean something? Buff the SC and suddenly flak burst becomes even more useless, same with flak frigates. Buff flak damage and suddenly Flak Frigates become OP, then we have to balance everything else ... let alone that each race has different squadron sizes and that we would change the rate at which they all die and the effectiveness of different weapons, plus their upgrades (6 races!!!) and the way that it affects the balance against SC. Kill rates, live rates, etc.
It's not a simple 'Change X and in response change Y', it is much more complex than that and can, and WILL, have long reaching implications.
Many people will say, "Well I don't care about pirates, they're way to easy as it is!", or "the value it will change doesn't matter because on Fastest settings everything dies anyways." Some people do care and I would guess more than you think.
I should remind you that DPS does NOT SCALE between the game speeds. On slow games (or normal for that matter), changing the number of SC as well as Trade Ships, can have a HUGE impact on the game in terms of targeting priorities, how long it takes to kill a ship etc. Lets just assume that carriers jump in on a Normal ship speed game, on the other side of the gravity well. Before I can get there suddenly the tougher SC actually DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE to my shields and HP because I can't kill them fast enough with my flak frigates and anti SC abilities...
Does anyone see where I am going with this and the inherent problem with this approach? If items such as SC squadron size and damage values, same with trade ships, are messed with, they better sure as heck be 'optional mini-mods' because otherwise TSOP:R will be used less and ultimately adopted at a much slower rate by the community (most of which do not play online and are just looking for a game that runs better). My LAN group included, that was their biggest gripe about TSOP when we talked about some of the SC modifications that at the time were being discussed.
Do we truly understand the IMPLICATIONS of what we are discussing in relation to the time that will be placed into making those changes, balancing, etc etc.
Re-balance mods are already out there and will be made by other modders that likely will incorporate TSOP:R. We shouldn't waste our efforts on re-balancing the game. TSOP for Diplo made a huge difference in performance (and it sounds like we have the same pre .32 issues all over again so I'm expecting another performance increase.)
I want an optimization mod, not a SoaSE:R rebalanced mod that includes an optimization mod. Simple as that.