[Suggestion] Infrastructure based Progression
Rather than simple having to unlock components how about instead simple requiring different tiers of parts to make them.
So for example:
- If you want to build a "Gravity Generator" you need Microprocessors,
- To build Microprocessors you need at least an Advanced Assembler.
- To build an Advanced Assembler you need Circuits.
- To build Circuits you need at least a Basic Assembler.
- To build a Basic Assembler you need Wires.
- And Wires can be built by a Survival Constructor
This way progression is made by building more complex equipment (but can be circumvented slightly via salvaging parts from existing advanced blocks) You can also control progression via different pieces of equipment besides the obvious of different tiers of Assembler, you could have different tiers of refinery with the most basic only able to refine Iron and Copper, so to build components that need silicon you would need to first build a more complex refinery.
Maybe for the most advanced equipment you could have them require parts that can only be built by specialised equipment in specific circumstances.
E.g. for Hyper-drives you need Superconductors that can only be built in a "Superconductor Forge" which is too heavy to be practically aboard a ship, and also only works in a Zero-G environment.
To my mind this type of progression of building thing to allow you to build other things seems to fit well with the core game-play of space engineers.