This is something I was thinking about while at work. I'm currently playing through Starcraft: Mass Recall and I had finished one of the space platform missions earlier today. So I got to thinking... who built these space platforms? What real purpose do they serve?
The following is a conversation between a Terran General and one of his top engineers.
Engineer: "General, my team has finished construction on this space platform, from which you can stage your attacks and coordinate strategy."
General: "Oh, Wonderful! This is so... big!"
E: "I know. It took a truly ridiculous amount of resources and labor to build. I mean, it's literally as big as hundreds of Battlecruisers put together. And the workforce it took to build it could easily crew that many ships and have a TON of people left over."
G: "So... why didn't you just build me hundreds of Battlecruisers instead? Even just a dozen capital ships would give us a massive advantage. Instead of being tied to one stationary platform, I could use one ship as my mobile command HQ, and coordinate attacks from there..."
E: "Oh, if you want Battlecruisers you can build them yourself. See, I also mined tons and tons of minerals and brought them here for you."
G: "Wow, thanks!"
E: "I could easily have refined them and put them directly into storage. I mean, I processed all the resources to build the platform itself, didn't I? But no, instead I placed chunks of raw ore around the Command Center. When you need them, just send out the SCV's to mine them. Just like if you were on a planet."
G: "Wow... thanks..?"
E: "I also brought a whole bunch of Vespene gas for you. It's..."
G: "Don't tell me."
E: "In raw form, in reservoirs beneath the surface of the platform. You'll have to build Refineries and use SCV's to collect it."
G: "How is this different from simply setting up my base on a planet?"
E: "Wait, you didn't let me finish. See, I scattered clusters of minerals and gas vents all around, not just here at the primary HQ. You'll have to explore around and build mining outposts."
G: "Don't you have a map of your own platform?"
E: "Of course I do! It not only shows where I put the resources, but also things like ramps that connect different levels, and places where the paths are blocked by exhaust vents or those weird spinning contraptions I like to put here and there for no particular reason. I have a complete blueprint of the whole thing, but I'm not going to give it to you! You'll just have to explore it yourself. But you better hurry, because the enemy might already be working at the other end."
G: "Other end?"
E: "Yes, I made some convenient places for the Zerg, Protoss, or even an enemy Terran faction to land. You know, just in case they want to stop by and mount an attack against us, and they may need resources. So I put about half the minerals and gas over there for them to use.