So at this stage the project is a prototype, meaning that a lot of game elements are taken out and I don’t give it much thought, for example in iteration 1 I gave the player all the ships, a station (at that time the only station) and a planet with plenty of resources. So basically a lot of the usual RTS elements were already taken care of for the player (station building, ship building etc). When I think about games and good game design the thoughts that pop into my mind are: give the player something to do, create an environment where they plan and have goals, make it entertaining process. A lot of times in MMORPG type games the player constantly strives for the next step up, the more hit points or damage.
Getting back to my giving the player everything at the start of a new game: this is mainly because as I’m programming the game I like to have all the assets on hand to test the changes, however in terms of fighting for the hearts and minds of gamers maybe this isn’t the best approach? Maybe I’m treating whoever downloads my project at this stage too much like a tester? The player has nothing to aim for except to fight the never ending waves of enemies. However since the game is fairly difficult to play initially (the feedback I received states this, I plan on creating tutorials to combat this, plus the future iterations will have a progressive difficulty) maybe giving the player enough ships to defend already is a good approach?
One thing is certain as the game progresses and the iterations add and refine to the gameplay I should focus more on making it more oriented towards the gamer rather than my testing. The upcoming instant action mode will actually accomplish this, I can have the player go into the game proper with the new game button, and for myself I can save instant action scenarios to help with testing.