There's a lot of cool games in the pipeline these days, and a lot of them are about building cool things in scifi settings. The problem is, they all then universally talk about blowing things up with the things you built.
That's really a bad call.
Combat is not compatible with the sort of internally-focused construction games these people are building. We've become so used to adding combat to everything that people have forgotten to think about whether combat is a good fit. I think the reason most designers seem to lose track of whether combat is a good fit is because they are used to customization rather than construction.
See, in most space combat games, you can customize your ship. Add in a better laser, change how much energy is going to your shields, restock on missiles, and stick in a better engine. Customization is fine for a combat game, because it's fundamentally the same as equipping a character. You are changing how your ship relates to the world around it: improved firepower, faster speed, more cargo, whatever.
But with a lot of these new games, you aren't simply customizing a ship. You're constructing it, brick by brick. For example, in Space Engineers, you build a ship out of Minecraft-style bricks.
These ships are built with combat in mind, because uh... because... ... well... uh... lasers are cool?
The problem is that this kind of construction is an internally-focused system. The end result of weapons, shields, engines, and other combat stats ends up feeling very forced, because the actual construction of the ship is about making a ship exist. This is not about making a ship relate to the outside world, it is about making the ship exist in its full complexity, with all the walkways and landing pads and sleek planes and whatever.
If you just care about how it relates to the outside world, you end up with a very ugly optimized ship. It feels wrong and stupid-looking. Even if you do that, the combat is never very interesting because it is too, well, too realistic. Things get damaged arbitrarily. Things resist arbitrarily. It's hard to tell how much damage you're doing. It's hard to tell how much damage you're actually taking. There's too much noise introduced by the extremely fine grain of detail that everything has.
You really need to consider whether your game is about customization or construction, because construction is not compatible with external challenges.
When you're building something where each piece relates to specific other pieces in direct ways, the challenges need to be about THAT. This trap moves a person towards that trap. This walkway connects that hall to this warp core. This wire hooks that light to this power source. That building creates a certain amount of cash but annoys all other buildings within 200m.
But there are base-building games that are externally-focused. For example, every RTS.
An externally-focused base-building game looks the same as an internally-focused game at first glance. They share a lot of similarities: putting things down in specific places, managing resources, and so on. However, an RTS base is not very internally complex. The buildings don't relate to each other very directly, but instead only indirectly through resource production and consumption. Where you choose to put them is more about the constraints of the map and your guess as to your enemy's tactics, rather than having to place them to directly relate to other buildings.
You could argue fine points. For example, you could argue that a combination of turrets and walls is sometimes used, and those do physically relate to each other. Similarly, you could argue that something like a goo field directly relates to other buildings. In the end, the line can be a bit vague, but I don't think anyone would argue that building long lines of walls is the core gameplay of Starcraft.
Putting aside the sometimes blurry edge cases, I would argue that internally-focused construction games are inherently a bad match for combat gameplay. Combat boils your avatar's performance down to some stats, while complex construction is focused on exactly the opposite.