And what a complete and utter cluster-phuq that created.
Not really. A unit is a unit, and OpenGL doesn't care if that unit is called a metre, a foot, or a light-year. There are only two places in Oolite itself which mention metres: one is in the F7 screen, and we don't make the planets their labelled size anyway, and the other is in the Scanner Targeting Enhancement, where you could change "km" to "kf" (kilofeet) - instantly, everything is 3.3 times smaller - ranges, speeds, ships, etc. (Or change it to "mm", for "Oolite: Fantastic Voyage")
There are essentially four different scales in Oolite:
- ship scale (including stations, weapons, scanners). The freighters and stations could perhaps be a bit bigger, but the scale here is fairly consistent. Ships introduced from other SF universes won't necessarily work without rescaling - but that's the same for most pairs of SF universes.
- planetary scale (100 times smaller than ship scale)
i.e. for realistic scale the planets should be 100 times bigger
- solar scale (~25 times smaller than planetary scale)
i.e. for realistic scale the suns should be 2,500 times bigger
- inter-planetary scale (~1000 times smaller than planetary scale)
i.e. for realistic scale the suns should be 100,000 times further away from the planets
In 1.78 or earlier you also have the problem that anything more than about 10^6 units from the origin had coordinate precision problems, so you can't make the inter-planetary scale much different (even Sensible Suns is running into the absolute limits of what's usable). In 1.79 you can go to at least 10^15 units (which if the units are metres is about 10,000 AU) so there is in theory room to start adjusting the scales a bit.
In practice, the scales are all very difficult to adjust. For instance, one change could be adjusting planetary scale to be a bit bigger, so that rather than the planets being 100 times "too small", they're only 20 times "too small". This would make it possible to have a Torus station in orbit without it clearly being the same size as a System Redux moon.
This causes a whole range of problems: leave aside for now that the texture pixels on the planets would be several square kilometres in area, and the corners on the planet model would be even more visible as those are relatively easily fixable in theory.
- if the planet is five times wider, then the sun also has to be five times wider (at least). It therefore has to be five times further away.
- if the spacelanes are now five times longer, you need five times as much traffic on them. However, the lanes are now also aiming for a much bigger target, so you actually need closer to 125 times as much traffic on them to keep a similar density of ships. That takes you way over Oolite's entity limit (and even if it didn't we'd need to seriously rewrite the entity simulation code to get it to run at any decent frame rate even on modern hardware: the most obvious optimisation of multi-threading it would need to be handled extremely carefully to avoid giving OXP writers serious problems)
- it also takes you five times as long to get in-system, so any consumable items for fights have to be spread out to last five times as long (or there have to be places to resupply on the way in), and it becomes much less feasible to escort ships to dock.