I'm working on a game, where the player lives in the space-station equivalent of a dying rust-belt town.
The "settled lands" of an interstellar civilization, are in a horseshoe-ish shape
The two ends (I'll call these places End-A and End-B) are too far apart to reach each other without traversing the entire horseshoe.
a. End-A and End-B are the two farthest-apart places in the settled galaxy
This new settlement (I'll call this place Gap) is in the middle of the gap, between End-A and End-B.
a. If it can be settled, the horse-shoe becomes a circle, and (physical) trade between End-A and End-B is expected to be worth a lot of money
People actually try to settle the Gap system, and it's actually going pretty well. Everyone thinks this will be a new center of commerce.
You head to the Gap system, seeking a better life on the frontier
However, before you get there, cheap FTL engines are invented, and now the Gap system is essentially worthless as a trading port
However, you can't afford to leave, so you live here now
The game, is about you trying to survive, and the people you meet, who are doing the same
What I'm trying to figure out, is: what kind of space stations do you build, in you're trying to settle a nearby system, so you can use it as a filling station and trade hub? I was thinking that a few space stations would exist at the outer edge of the system, and they would essentially just be filling stations, selling hydrogen collected by the refineries further in-system. As the player, you run a gas-station of this type.
There is a nearby space station, which is a "small town" of fewer than 10,000 people. There are a few other stations in-system, but any place that could be described as a "major city" would be prohibitively remote.
One thing I have in mind, is for this "town" to be designed with the expectation that it should expand over time, as it accrues new resources from trade; and the town as it exists in the present, is simply the "core" of the possible-future-development. The town infrastructure should have its own life-and-growth story, if you will.
The problem I'm having, is trying to figure out what jobs people would have, and how they would go about their daily lives. It's easy for me to imagine people being doctors, or farmers, or part of a municipal government, but I would also like to help real-world people imagine real-life space-station jobs as something they could do (or could imagine people doing some day).
So, I've tried the idea of just "copying a small town", but I haven't really been able to find a list of things you need to start a small town--I've found some ideas for revitalizing small-town economic sectors, but I've found very little information about how one would go off and start their own.
So I guess my question is: does anyone have any ideas, about what would be included in a rust-belt space-station town? Or any ideas of where I could look for specific information of this type?
I quite liked the scenarios depicted in the IA: Life in a Space Colony series, but the scenario I'm looking at, is after the colony has been established, and then external support is cut off. In that way, I feel it would be similar to the Gardener Ship, except that a Gardener Ship is built with the gardening process in mind, and this colony was built with the expectation of continued external support and trade, so it will have lower competence in sustaining itself in isolation, than a Gardener Ship would.