I always feel limited in stellaris\sins because of the star lanes corraling me into the enemy defences.
I know that stellaris tried to do other kinds of jump techs but failed, but I think it can be done.
I have been thinking about this lately and some of the things I came up with to mitigate jumping around defences to make things feel more space like would be:
* Add fuel consumption. Make outside of space lane jumps both use rare materials and expensive to do. This would both make the jumps rare and not with too many ships.
* Make off starlane jumps have randomness chance of ending up in the wrong location and leaving your fleet stranded until you can afford to jump them again hopefully closer to somewhere other than deep space
* Make off star lane jumps need to be mapped first by a special survey ship. Of course the idea here is that the enemy will see you do it and expect an attack in that area.
* There should be the potential out of system jumps to be hijacked and used in the opposite direction a little like counterbattery artillery finds enemy batteries and sends rounds back the other way.
* Off star lane jump flashes should have a chance of being detected by spies. Leaving you with an idea that enemy ships may be incoming. Of course this idea is probably the least likely to suspend disbelief unless factions are already known to each other and infiltrated through relations.
* Fleets should be helpless for a while after arriving from an out of starlane jump, leaving them vulnerable to response until the effect wears off.
* Only very special custom built expensive ships should be able to do these out of lane jumps and most of their hull should necessarily be taken up by the special warp drive leaving little room for weaponry.
* Range - Out of lane jumps should be very limited in range. Only allowing one space lane to be bypassed. Any more and your ships could end up anywhere at random in the galaxy.
You can see all of these ideas aim to limit the size of out of lane fleets along with the regularlity that these tactics are used.
I am told a game called Interstellar Space: Genesis eschews warp lines. There are still some terrain effects: Different kinds of nebula either block travel altogether or slow it down.
I am told this produces a milder form of bottleneck, but one that they find quite satisfying to play with, plan around, and adapt to (especially in the middle of a shooting war). While there is technology to reroute craft in the late game, even in the mid-game (with faster engines) it typically takes 2-4 turns to travel to a nearby star, so it's easy to get caught with your fleets in the wrong place.
This largely prevents the "stacks of doom" default strategy that I find to be the primary limiting factor in 4x space games that feature only travel by star lanes.
Would sins2 devs venture to try something outside of standard phase lanes that appear in most of theses 4x games? Especially now we have spinning star systems?