New game to add to the list
Not sure how many here are aware at this early date, and keep in mind it might be a while until this is available to the public, (however I would bet on seeing a functional copy before Infinity):
0x10c: The upcoming open space combat and trading game made by Notch himself - creator of Minecraft.
From the website at the time of this posting:
The game is still very early in development, but here is a list of things we hope to include:
- Hard science fiction. Update: GAH, NO! I'm focusing on fun gameplay instead. I still want to get corrected on glaring scientific errors, though.
- Lots of engineering.
- Fully working computer system.
- Space battles against the AI or other players.
- Abandoned ships full of loot.
- Duct tape!
- Seamlessly landing on planets.
- Advanced economy system.
- Random encounters.
- Mining, trading, and looting.
- Single and multi player connected via the multiverse.
It seems that he will be moving away from the voxel based approach of his previous title and opting for a somewhat higher end rendering method. The game seems from everything they say at the website to fit the bill of the original poster's request quite well, and you can expect this to be massively popular. As a matter of fact, I don't know why I haven't heard more about this other than that its just so new. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one.
Astro Galaxy: New space exploration 4X browser game
Astro Galaxy is a realistic online space exploration game. It's free to play and you only need a browser.
Space exploration has always been a dream of humankind. Since the 20'th century, the dream of exploring another star has haunted humanity. By gaining a deeper understanding of quantum physics and the use of exotic matter, the Wormhole Generator engine (WHG) is discovered. The new technology is vastly superior but required a tremendous amount of resources to develop. Thus, Earth is facing a shortage of resources...
The SOL Corporation is created, a coalition of all major powers dedicated to the exploration of space. The SOL Corporation manages the new technology and issues licenses for new space ships and space stations. Volunteer captains are recruited from the best and each captain is given a ship to start exploring / colonizing space. Vast opportunities arise for the new captains, as they expand and develop their fleets and outposts. In the depth of space, law is non-existent, conflicts for valuable resources are inevitable...
This is where your role begins, as a volunteer captain, you are given a small ship and command of a handful of personnel. You start from Earth orbit and will be able to explore the stars near and far away.
And so it begins...