Glad you've been enjoying it
And good to hear that the UI has been playing well for you.
I've actually played very little MOO (the original) myself, and Ur-titles like "Empire" and "Reach for the Stars" are solidly before my time (though Arioch is a fellow veteran). That said, "Sword of the Stars" was a major point of influence for me, and I'm aware that a lot of what I liked about that title actually came from the original MOO. Speaking very generally though, a lot of what I was trying to do with SiS was to "simplify and refine" various MOO2 mechanics that struck me as cool yet tedious -- and I think it's natural that any such effort would tend to loop us around in the direction of a more MOO1-like experience. I once saw someone describe SiS as MOO1.5 -- which is probably pretty accurate from some perspectives, and not a bad place to land in the overall strategy game taxonomy, I think