Finally i have some time to spend on your idea, kev.
I mean universe, galaxy, or so on?
In this point my opinion is that a galaxy-global map, with may solar-system where you can jump using FTL (Faster Than Light) engine is the best solution.
I HATE X-series of game, because having fixed portal that player can use to jump from one system to another.. i think that is more fun to permit FTL-jump from everywhere (even from a planet
And what about races? Only human, or evil (or good) aliens?
Not only military ship, or military vs pirate mecanics.. please!
I read this point i and i think: wow, kev wants a serius game!
What do you want to create is a MVC (Model View Controller) application on a single applet featuring a multiplayer space-trading-exploring game?
Using hibernate involves an application server (Tomcat?) running on a server and offering a persistence (Model of MVC) layer for your application, right?
But.. do you really need it ? I mean, Hibernate is good for certain application, not for everthing, and what i ask you is: why Hibernate?
Please explian, if you want, this point
Wow, a crew-management-star-trek-battlestar-galactica game? Great! and.. what do you think if player can buy a battlestar-ship, that can launch another incerceptor-ship?
Again in X-series i hate docking sequence on a space station, a planet, or so on: i think that a game in space must hide some details.
When player approach space station, must dock in auto-mode. stop. no ?
And what about planets? I think that a crossover whit a rpg-game where you can land on a planet, or another ship ?