I've just started and found the basic elements to be well worth the trial and error.
Many aesthetic elements tale time to get used to:
windowed screens as opposed to a new window when selecting other options.
I'm going to pull from my mental archive when I found the way a planet can be shunted into full research or money making mode like the Scientist's takeover or Endless party like from the old Ascendancy game.
It took time to understand the basics but the mouse-overs helped me know what I was up against. I did notice that when I retreated from combat I lost a non combat transport and was not informed about it.
Research: Since it's limited to 2nd tier level tech, Im ok with how it's laid out for now. I am fond of category labeled tech. Ship, Planet, Economy, Energy and so forth.
I haven't explored this yet but is there a way to refit Old ship 1 to New ship 1 and not have to manually refit a ship?
May have a r-click or double click to place the appropriate tech to the appropriate slot.
Have older tech grayed out or have newer tech on top and older tech displayed through a side or pop-up window.
Ship designs have the right feel for the species they are designed for.
I'll keep playing for sure