An interesting point was brought up by Sanati in the “Role for Gas Giant's” thread. I felt I was worth further discussion, hence the creation of this dedicated thread. Before proceeding, it may be of interest to reference the wikipedia article regarding the Kardashev Scale. It is a fascinating read.
Also here is Sanati's original post: (I apologize for this not linking correctly)
"Radiation is energy. Gas giants are huge batteries of nearly unlimited energy, almost as powerful as a star. Speaking of which, we should also be able to do something with stars.
Something none of these games really do (that I can think of) is properly address the growing power requirements an advanced space empire would require. We should be building giant power arrays in close orbit to stars and gas giants and beaming the collected radiation to space stations and planets with lasers, or transferring it through quantum entangled particles around the universe instantly."
According to the Kardashev Scale and the wiki page above, a Type II Civilization is defined as:
"A civilization capable of harnessing the energy radiated by its own star (for example, the stage of successful construction of a Dyson sphere), with energy consumption at ≈4×1033erg/sec.”
I propose that a late game GalCivIII civilization should be Type II Civ. I submit this not because I think its practical to implement Dyson sphere construction into the game (Though it would be rad if the developers did this), but because I propose that a late game Civ should have the ability to construct several different Dyson rings/clouds , or other power sources. The entirety of a late game civilization's power output should sum up to roughly this amount of energy.
1) Harnessing the Power of Stars:
I think an implementable idea would be to have a series of later game technology's that allow you to use a construction ship to construct a specialized space station next to, or directly on top of & around, a star. I imagine this structure would be similar to a Dyson ring, however much closer to the star than a “Ringworld” type object (So arguably not a Dyson ring). This structure would be strictly for power harnessing. It would be upgradable, very similarly to other space stations, and would produce a significant amount of energy for nearby planets. This would free up the need for power stations on said worlds, but would also leave them vulnerable to the destruction of said space station. I imagine the same general mechanic that allowed you to allocate the production bonus from an asteroid miner to a colony would be easily duplicated to allocate energy from the solar power array to a colony.
As there are a variety of different races, each with unique technology trees. I propose that several different variations of this should be implemented. I would assume several different Civs would employ a ring structure, while some may opt for a cloud of orbiting solar arrays. Some others may opt to build an artificial star (aka, a massive fusion power plant). Some may do this on a planet while others may do it in space. If black hole's or neutron stars exist in the game, I image a special technology to harness their power in a similar fashion may be a differed race's approach, or possibly just a very late game manifestation of this technology in general. Yet other Civs may find a way to ignite and harness fusion inside a large gas giant (Jupiter is close (ish) to the limit of igniting internal fusion naturally). Other ideas are welcome. This list is just my thoughts over the last few min.
2) Utilizing the power of Stars:
This is where late game could get very interesting. There are an untold number of different technologies that could be imagined to utilize this amount of energy. The Thalan could build huge manufacturing complexes to convert energy into production. The Dengin could build immense weapons capable of vaporizing planets from afar. The Terrans could build some crazy quantum computer capable of vast research. And the Yor could swim into heavenly power bliss across rainbows of electrical euphoria...
But really. I think every civilization that gets to this level of power production should be able to convert that power into manufacturing, increased research capacity, and food production, on top of whatever other specializations are dreamed up.
It could be an interesting game dynamic if a race's power needs start growing more rapidly then their supply ability as mid-late game roles around. There would be a choice to double down on planet side production or invest heavily in an off world energy solution. If the civ is at war, the cost of defending such a structure might make it impractical, however, if the extra energy boosts your ship building production significantly... it may be a good investment.
Either way, I would like to see this implemented, even if its as simple as a construction ship building something akin to an asteroid mine on top of a star, which gives power to near by planets...