Feature suggestion: Economy Blueprints Expansion Competition
So this is something I heard in passing on a Keen stream and I think it's a really good idea.
A lot of the designs in the Economy system are currently a bit dated and most have some pretty major design flaws - some new ship blueprints for the game wouldn't be the worst idea.
To that end, I submit that having a competition periodically (perhaps every 3 months) where users can submit designs from the workshop that meet a certain criteria, such as working as expected without experiential mode, no mods required, etc.
The winning design of each competition gets integrated into the Economy system and can be purchased pre-built from shipbuilder NPC factions, thus setting it apart from the Steam Workshop integration.
The advantage of a system like this would be that players get a wider selection of pre-built ships that they can use as-is or as a platform for expansion, as I myself tend to do. These base-game ships would be more reliable than Workshop designs because they would be required by the rules of the competition to work properly without experimental mode, janky scripts or untested mods.
This would also fill some gaps in the existing market of Economy designs, such as powerful warships or resupply ships for remote bases, or even ready-to-fly autopilot drones capable of anything from area patrol defenses to player transport.
I've put a lot of thought into this, so I hope you can leave your thoughts on this and I hope Keen see it.