It's funny how the phrase generator looks like spam generator code
Another source of radio chatter could be what the ships see, essentially other ships and pirate ships. This would be useful as well because their radar coverage being different than yours if you cruise at a certain distance, it would give you some useful information ahead of time. Also messages that appear in the chat window could have a voice counterpart. It could be nice even if it sound like some alien gibberish like one can hear when in aegis range.
I'd also like to take a different approach to the initial problem, that flying the space lanes can be boring because it's long because mass locks. I assume that the idea of applying time acceleration at will, like many flight/space sims do either is technically difficult or is considered a lazy way to solve the problem.
When we are bored and want to escape a mass-lock faster, the usual solution is to hit the fuel injectors if we can afford the fuel. This is also the solution adopted by the escort contract OXP: it made up the concept that if you're close enough to a ship that hits the fuel injectors, you benefit from the speed increase (iirc).
The second observation I'd like to make is that fuel in the Oolite universe, while being cheap is a vital element: No fuel no jump no trade. However there is no fuel market and all ships have enough tank capacity for 7LY jumps, period.
Various OXPs try to "fix" this aspect. I think that enhancing the fuel economy in the game could globally enhance the experience. I suggest several modifications:
- Fuel prices are determined per system, based upon the government type and the tech level.
Fuel canisters are normal cargo that can be traded. Those canisters being specially crafted for obvious security reasons, they can only be of a relatively small capacity.
Fuel canisters can also be used "en route" in order to refill the main tank. However, for obvious security reasons, the ship has to be at full stop in order to perform this operation.
The content of the main fuel tank can be emptied and sold at stations.
The last two possibilities might be made available only if some dedicated equipment is fitted on a pylon, like the fuel tanks OXP does, if one considers they are too advantageous.
Those modifications have several implications: one can use a fuel canister in order to be able to escape boring mass locks after a long jump, at the expanse of cargo space, though. But this cannot be done in an emergency in order to escape pirates. It also improves the return-on-investment of the heat shield, because one can do sun-station trips for fuel scooping not only to save money but also to make some.