Wow! A few years back I really wanted to create/find a game just like this, however at the time I had no idea where to start.
I had completely forgotten about the idea but looking at this it is virtually the same
. (Though I didn't go into quite the detail you did)
I would certainly love to be a part of this project, but will not sign on just yet for a few reasons. However, I may try designing a few 3D models, if I feel they are of adequate quality(I'm not very experienced yet) then I will submit them to you for sure.
I have a few queries about the project though -
1. What is the art style you are going for in general, eg. realistic, cartoony, another abstract look (such as a blocky world, black and white etc). Do you want lots of flash looking ships with blue lights and glowing, or ships that look like they are made out of piles of rusted junk welded together or something else entirely.
2. You said you wanted it to be on the web, do yo want full on player interaction? (Player to player direct transactions and see each other's ships etc) or a more separated game world? (They all affect solar system status but do not see other players or trade directly etc)
3. What do you want story wise, do you want a no story just play the game sort of thing? A story that just explains the very basics of the world? Or a dynamic story that is altered depending on the state of the universe/solar system?(Whether typed up by you with a basic state of the economy and wars etc, or using presets in a condensed history page, things like "A war has broken out between Faction A and Faction B", "Faction A has taken control of Planet X" and "The price of #ITEM# has dropped significantly on Planet Y" as an example)
Ideas(You may have considered some of these already):
A ready made engine -
A ready made engine could simplify the process a lot. It could also get you away from DarkBasic much easier (by your comment I am guessing that is what you want to do?).I will suggest the best engine I have found that seems to fit this project well, which is Unity 3D.(NOTE: Following comments may be biased as I am a bit of a fanboy
I know there are restrictions with licensing etc but the newly released free version can be used to make commercial games without any royalties to Unity Technologies. That is of course unless you expect to make over $100k in a year, in which case you have to get pro.
A few Pro's and cons
Limitations to the free version are certain premade shaders/effects and real time shadows(by what you have described this won't affect much as you want a fairly low requirements game). Also you cannot directly modify the engine source, Linux support is unavailable and media streaming is pro only.
A massive pro is a large community behind it, so you can usually get help fast if you have any troubles, and there are plenty of guides/tutorials/examples freely available. Official Features list is here
Damn, after typing that out I have forgotten all the gameplay ideas I had, I will post them here when I remember them
Best of luck with the project!