Tiered components and alloys
This might be more of a mod suggestion, given the added complexity, but it’s an idea, so there you go:
Make components into types that are required and accepted by blocks, like motors, plates, etc. You could merge interior plate and steel plate into just a plate, come on.
Have each component have some quality. Then the overall quality of the components would make up the complete block’s quality, influencing durability, power efficiency, quality of items produced, etc.
Replace pure metal ingots with alloys of different qualities to serve as a baseline for quality of produced items. Also probably add Cu and Al for this.
The quality of produced items could be mostly on a gaussian distribution with biases up or down depending on input material quality and production facility quality.
This could do:
-open a better end game when PCUs are limited, squeezing more out of the available blocks.
-make scaling ai enemy difficulty more gradual (epic assailant or rusty argentavis)
-open new options for design decisions in terms of cost and effect balancing.
-open new options for early game, get earlier access to advanced blocks but with worse quality
-make it possible to gold plate your entire space destroyer for extra space cred.
-copious ammounts of item farmimg to get an epic construction component for your desk lamp
What this couldn’t do:
-improve new players accessibility
-fix any bug