In the original screenshots, every dot is a ship of some sort and the reason there are so many of them is because you need to transport the mined resources to where they need to go, be it a shipyard or colony, and as you start up new colonies you need to ship your resources to them as well. This can lead to your transporters being unable to reach them, if you don’t figure out how to make sure they can carry enough gas to get there. It is, as most everything else in this game, generally automated and this can lead to some frustrations as the game may not prioritize in the same way you would.
Distant Worlds 2 communicates events and needs via pop ups in the upper right, which you can generally agree or disagree with. As your automated explorers find new resources the game will let you know and suggest ordering the construction of a mining ship. If it feels you are a little shy on transports, fuel tankers or military ships it will suggest you buy a certain amount as well as what the cost is. When a scary space amoeba starts munching on one of your scouts, it might suggest you send a fleet off to investigate. This is in addition to all the informational pop ups such as communications from aliens or completed construction notifications.
Once spies, scientists and other special people start to show up they also start out automated and will go on their merry ways to help your empire, as best they can. The economy also automatically adjusts to try to keep you in the red, with some species favouring growth over research or being a bit more corrupt than your average politician. Even your fleets become automated, with ships swapping between them as you create more or invent a new type.
This can be amazing, and give you a real feel of being in charge of the big picture without being bogged down in details you don’t want to involve yourself in. Then again, as that 10 ship fleet you just manually made out of four separate and tiny fleets so they might have a chance in a battle against a mildly annoyed space squid is automatically reverted back to those same four fleets by Distant Worlds 2’s ‘AI’, it can be infuriating!
What does that 205 pound fleet think it is going to accomplish other than to become a big pile of floating debris?