Hi Dark, thanks for the tip about menu items.
Good will contracts rack up good will quicker than being aggressive creates bad will. Nefarious contracts rack up bad will quickly, but you may decide the balance against a quick profit early on, is worth it.
Fighters provide a financial benefit in relation to potential damage sustained in battles, especially if you want the size of your cargo fleet to increase.
At the start of the game you have a few scouts and limited funds. New players have to learn the controls and how to play the game, before learning how to win. I wanted the game to be open ended to some extent and to provide the player with options, even if they weren't perfect.
Creating a new game is definitely harder than copying an existing one, and this one went through a major redesign. For me, complexity means some level of complexity in the relationships between objects in the game. Part of the fun is discovering the rules and learning how to win effectively, and exploring the limits of the game.
What I was aming for was a balance, where potential benefits vary depending on circumstances. Otherwise the player may find a rich source of income and do nothing else. One of my favourite games of old was Elite, but one could equip a ship entirely by trading between two specific worlds near the starting point.
There is a statistical benefit to exploring, in regard to contracts, and it relates to the location of colonies.