My eyes!! I don't quite think the narrowness of this blog was meant for posts this long.
Now, to the debate mostly between Chris and Blake. As a CS/Aero major, I'm definitely leaning towards the more scientific view of game making, in fact my first game of breakout ended up as a full on physics simulation, and not so much a game of breakout. I know how easy it is to get lost in the battle of fun and realism, and I've come to understand compromises must always be struck. This isn't to say fun and science are mutual, the first time I played Deus Ex, I spent hours tossing objects around in all its simulated physics glory, same with Half Life 2. The original Outpost sought to incorporate as much real and theoretical science as they could fit, it made the game an amazing and unique gem that was fun to play.
I share many of the same ideas Blake has mentioned, but also realize many cannot be implemented, and many should not be implemented, for the simple fact they would make the game less fun, and more frustrating. Various damages and armor types should be a given, c'mon even the old Warcraft had this with heavy, medium, and light armors that were effective and weak against various types of damage. This wouldn't be hard to add, just have classes of damage, ex. Explosive, Impact, Plasma, Laser, and Electrical. The armor types could be split into categories of active and passive, with emp, projectile, cooling, an energy dissipating system (Though, wouldn't the ship act as a Faraday cage, even with a taser type setup?), and an energy type force field as the active. Plating and reflective could be passive. Different weapons and shielding could combine various aspect of the different attributes, game testing and balancing could figure out the exact values that each of these stats will mean.
With the currency, why not go with the good ol' USAs approach of just saying money is worth what it is without any real backing, aka Credits, as most scifi games do. Since it is the future, and self contained systems and nanotech should around, make these upgrades for your ship. Make food production, water recycling, power generation, and even matter creation all components you can buy and upgrade. If you don't mind constantly stopping to buy food and water, no need for water filtering and agriculture. If you don't mind your power generation being vulnerable to attack but also being cheap, get big solar panels hanging off your ship. If you have spare energy and space on your ship, start producing or refining minerals and goods, though the equipment would be better suited to a space station, or a planet colony as the energy and space requirements will be very expensive, though perhaps something you can do while logged off.
There is plenty more to be said on this topic, but to avoid writing a really long post... nm, I'm already there, sorry for the long post. How do you make the blog display wider, because right now it's just vertical text. Also, the wormhole concept of moving and trading them seems like it'd be more work than it's worth, plus players would get angry when griefers start sacrificing their own wormholes to destroy other players' wormholes.