Re: Developing planets: any suggestions?
has a free online fractal planet generator if you need a random world map. FracPlanet
, if you want to download and roll your own planetary surface. Sometimes just seeing a map is enough to inspire landing/settlement sites and weather conditions.
Since you're already using Diaspora for general traits, you probably don't need anything hardcore. But, if you do, I can always dig up my customized version of Accrete and post that. [Oh hey, StarGen is pretty close... http://www.eldacur.com/~brons/NerdCorner/StarGen/StarGen.html
As for a development mini game, maybe the later stages of Dawn of Worlds would work...http://www.clanwebsite.org/games/rpg/Dawn_of_Worlds_game_1_0Final.pdf
The idea being that you could use the core mechanics and hack in the BattleTech specific terms.