After discussion in this thread about Start Choices
I want to present you first raw draft of new expansion pack - Mining Contracts. My goal was to make "Miner" starting choice little less hardcore while providing new kind of activity.
This expansion adds new interface to Rock Hermit stations. In this interface numerous mining corporations are offering you to gather fixed amount of minerals or alloys for them before deadline. Prices they are paying are proportional to tightness of schedule, but always below market. Be aware that if you are not working hard enough, penalties for not meeting contract terms in time can make you in debt to employer instead of receiving reward.
What is an advantage of taking mining contracts instead of selling on market? Very simple - usually there is a lot of contracts open for signing. This way you can dump way more minerals or alloys then very shallow market of Rock Hermits can bear.
Update: Have found severe bug in save-load mechanism, do not rewrite your important saves.
Update: Fixed save/load bug, v1.1 now
Update: Added tracking of cargo amounts required to complete signed contracts to the Missions screen (F5F5), v1.2 now
Update: Added compatibility with Asteroid Tweaks by spara, v1.3 now
Update: Iceteroids are not required now (thanks to Diziet Sma) and contracts for alloys made less frequent, v1.4
Update: Various improvements in interface, added possibility of waiting at the station for new contract, slightly adjusted balance, v1.5
Update: Waiting at the station for new contracts is not free now, v1.6
Update: Signing mining contract now adds Rock Hermit to your Advanced Space Compass, also some balance adjustments, v1.7
Update: Mining Beacon Descrambler addon to ASC is now purchasable at all Rock Hermits for clean commanders, v1.8
Update: Shrinked contract details screen for smaller resolutions and some balance adjustments, v1.9
Update: Obscure race condition bug in waiting for new contract squashed, also balance adjustments, v1.10
Update: Bugfix release - docking with rock hermits after witchjump do not invalidates descrambilng keys anymore, v1.11
Update: Made average contract difficulty dependent on system government type, also chaotic rock hermits are giving contracts too now, v1.12
Download link - http://bitbucket.org/diagoras/oolite/do ... s_1.12.oxz
PS I'm not sure I will be devoting much time into future support and development of this expansion, so project is open for early adoption.