Last night I got a customized pirate system up and running properly.
1) Technically, it replaces the current pirate style. As opposed to adding a style and changing what the pirates use. I'm still trying to figure out if that is possible, but it looks like NO. GC is very finicky about when it will let you use designs outside of the installation or inside the installation folders.
2) I've made the pirates a unique color scheme, its based on GRM Cutlass, but replaces the orange colors for Green, and swaps which color is purple. The materials also make a difference, and they stand out pretty well and are less dark.
3) The shipset for them is less diverse than other races, but includes designs from the Turians, Veygar, and Orions. Some new designs are present, but very few. I'm pretty busy right now, I am considering doing a whole more unique set, but I just needed to pump something out for testing.
Turians: Because they are essentially the biggest organized pirates, their designs differed over time, and now that they are a full empire, they sell many of their ships and components to other pirate groups.
Veygar: The Veygar are notoriously aggressive nomads. Long before the human population explosion, they plied space for anyone or anything to pillage. Wisely, their greatest clan leader found them a homeworld as the galaxy began to become "smaller" and more globalized with the advent of improved FTL drives and imperial expansions. Some however, refused to abandon their nomadic ways, and so Veygar pirates/mercenaries are readily seen.
Orions: The Orion shipset represents ships from the Terran Republic days that proliferated 30+ years ago. Many republic ships were wrecked and salvaged by pirates during the Monroe wars. Some military vessels went rogue, and generally, the Orion Republic will still sell ships to outsiders, albeit, only unarmed vessels. Unlike the Turrans who would sell you a death star if you have the cash.
Testing reveals the pirates will use a Survey ship or constructor ship properly. But I'm not going to mess with AI, and they don't seem to ever build constructors. Generally my mods are aesthetic, but I could seriously embolden the pirates in a number of ways.
A) Make a new static blueprint set. These are ships like the starting ships with very specific components. I would likely give them a single special survey ship that is a large hull and uses T1 equipment, lasers/railguns/etc. Should make a nasty enemy, but not insurmountable. Yes Pirate survey ships would fight pirates they find in surveys I believe. I think that is fine, since they are not organized forces. Furthermore, bear in mind, that the AI survey mechanic generally avoids the guarded surveys, so these guys are just going to snag the good stuff!
GSM in my current iteration, doubles the weapons and HP of shipyards including the Pirates. I could make this more extreme and make Pirate Shipyards powerful bastions that require a real fleet to take out.
Part of the problem with this, is its requiring the modification of more and more files and its starting to overlap with other GRM products, which can cause conflicts. Eventually, I'm going to have to provide a "All in One" mod package of all or most GRM items, as opposed to so many separate packages.
We will see. Expect a new ship set, and the new mining bases first
Anyone out there NOT have the Snathi DLC I wonder? I've been avoiding using their parts, but I'm starting to wonder if I should just say screw it, and make GRM require all DLC (in theory).