One colony per account per faction (or you can join your fleet's colony if you prefer)
The colony will take a lot of memory on the server to store. So you would have to limit the number of colonies that are out there. So your colony is your whole account's colony. All of your characters contribute to the success of your colony. So even that LtC6 who doesn't even have access to Terraform Command can contribute because he does have access to the colony. (because you can designate who you allow in)
Access Via Sector Space
When you approach the system that houses your colony (say, the Kuda system) you will be given the option "Approach Colony." That way you have easy access. You then fly to the planet and beam down like normal.
Daily Cargo Runs
"Admiral, we need 50 Water Purifiers" So you set course to get some. Well, 50 are not cheap, but they are not too expensive. To start out you'll be able to just use your replicator to get the colony what it needs, but at some point you will need to hit the dailies to restock your EC. The colony will make a new request for supplies every 6 hours and as the colony grows, so do the requests. The health of the colony depends on you keeping up with those requests (don't worry, being logged off doesn't count against you nor does being logged into an account that doesn't technically have access yet even if they really do) Sometimes, your colony will contact you over subspace radio and make an "Emergency Request" this will be a time-based cargo run. "We need emergency rations and you have 30 minutes to get them here!" Failure results in a serious hit to the health of your colony.
"Admiral, we are under attack" As before, your colony contacts you on subspace to let you know some alien race is attacking them and you have 1 hour to respond. Failure means your colony is destroyed and you have to start over. Again, as long as you are logged off or logged into an account that hasn't reached VA1, then your colony is fine. Also, this emergency clock only ticks while in sector space and in social areas. It does not tick in DSEs, PvPs, or missions.
Your colony will have the remainder of your ships orbiting it. Whichever ships you own but aren't currently using will greet you in orbit of your colony "on patrol." (It's not like they are doing anything now)
Using elements of Foundry, you will actually build the colony and see the population grow. Want to see a city like the Defera Capital? Then that's what you get to build. You start with left over pieces of a ship and turn it into a shanty town. Over time you will turn it into a huge metropolis worthy of the Federation or the Empire. As it builds, it'll start getting certain useful locations like a bank, a mail station, and a shipyard. It will vendors who will offer a limited assortment of supplies. (It won't take away the need to go to ESD) But as it grows, the more it's able to give back. But you still have to make those cargo runs.
"Admiral, we need a new school. But it's going to cost 5,000 GPL..." The colony will have standing requests for new buildings in order to build the colony. But this will take resources. Some resources will require you to stand at the Dabo wheel and some will require you to run the dailies. But the end result will be to build you colony. Once you have enough resources, you build your building, and using the Foundry tools, place it where you want it.
My two cents; though I may be constantly adding stuff. So be careful when quoting me....
Some of those ideas are similar to what I had thought out, but futher along after getting the Colony Founding part out of the way. For the Capital Campaign idea it might also work with a Storehouse of readily avilable stock you might have already got the colony from a previous mission that the colony hasn't used yet to build structures.
For the shipyard idea, maybe along with your other ships on patrols, you could have the odd one or 2 that trade for a single needed commodity (food/water) then the Cargo runs that you would do could be for extras or emergencies (entertainment and medical etc). Along with these ships any that are on patrol duty will aid you as NPC ships in Defence missions which could get harder as your colony grows.
Another thing to add might be a trading post where your colony might recieve a Trader selling unique but none game breaking items.
Also having accolades tie into the whole thing might be something interesting as well, like when you get a population of say 1,000,000 you get the accolade Builder of Worlds and the Title Mayor.
Originally Posted by Blitzy
this could also be a diplomatic point generator.
This is also something good to add, your colony might have internal disputes, farmer's strike, tainted water supply etc.