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Suggestion

Allows factions to slowly build new stations and expand into new territory; potentially taking control of sectors away from other factions.  For manufacturing, priority is given for goods that they can produce but do not yet have a supply for (but they don't perfectly complete their economy, thus leaving room for the player to place factories strategically).  Per 24h of playtime on a server or singleplayer game, each faction is able to allocate a cumulative % of their station construction capacity.  Default, say 3% accumulation/day (24h of gametime). 

The specific traits would require some modification. 

Adds some new NPC Faction traits: 
Materialist:  Instead of 3% station construction capacity towards new stations, this is 4%. 
Materialist (Very):  5%/day accumulation of station construction (resulting in new stations getting built).
Expansionist:  50% of the time adds stations to sectors that have no stations of their own yet; 25% of the time expanding into sectors that may be in other faction's territory.
Expansionist (Very):  75% adds stations to sectors they have no station in yet.  50% of the time expanding into sectors outside but adjacent to their territory.
Isolationist:  50% of the time, constructs new stations in sectors they already have stations in; 25% of the time expanding into sectors that they control, but have no stations in. 
Isolationist (Very):  75% of the time, constructs new stations in sectors they already have at least one station.  Only expands into sectors that their faction controls (via faction color on map).
Spiritualist:  Opposite of Materialist, 2% station construction accumulation / day; rituals/ceremonies are spawned by their faction more often in their space but also in far-flung parts of the galaxy.
Spiritualist (Very):  Opposite of Materialist, 1% station construction accumulation/day, often spawns ceremonies/rituals, as well as any bosses related to 'religion' in the galaxy. 

I wrote this while livestreaming, so the above idea might need some refining.  Like scrap metal. 

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Absolutely! There should be a way to turn this off if the player chooses, I always wondered why factions build mines after you sold asteroids to them but not stations

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