I wonder if this could work if the reduced friendly encounters was made into a boolean for an alternate encounter system. I.e. normally, the odds of an encounter is say, 30%, with 10% chance of military vessel, 20% pirates, 30% smugglers, and 40% merchants. If the boolean is selected, the entire monte carlo scheme changes to a 10% chance of encounters with 40% military and 60% pirates, since those two will demand your attention every time. Instead of letting the computer decide to ignore an encounter it already calculated, let the player use only the dice they care about, and at least reduce the encountering scheme to those they selecetd plus those forced upon them.
I forgot to say, this would obviously be an selection under the options menu. If it is a little incovenient there, well it's no more inconvienient than making a career transition from merchant to pirate, bounty hunter, alien hunter, etc.
I don't think auto-acknowledge is advisable. Because of the open ended nature of the game, I might want to attack a friendly ship, because I'm a greedy pirate, or because I'm desperate for supplies, or just because I'm in a really, really bad mood.
A preemptive strike button might come in handy, you get to do some damage and then combat starts?
Also I had another idea as I was writing that one. What if some enemy ships already have some damage done to them? Pirate ships would get into an awful lot of fights and would show the scars of battle.
Right now, every ship you encounter is fully healed. What, every ship in the galaxy is only attacking the player?
Ha love the Cadar auto-launch option. It's definitely fitting with the psyche of the entire faction. I wonder if Cadar art exhibits often have displays of "the artistic remains of exploded torpedoes". I mean to say, they each have a unique but elegant peeled metal look"
I also definitely agree with SgtCookie. You would expect at least some of the ships you encounter to have battle damage, or even just space damage. Ships should not always have full crew, torps, or sails given that even if you go through battles unscathed, you often get damage in space with all those radiation storms, sail tears and floating pepsi can mine-fields.