Hello... first I'd like to say I'm really enjoying this game! I'm a programmer myself.. years ago I tried to create a game like this myself so I have some insight on how tough it is to balance the gameplay in this kind of game.
I'd been exploring the forums and started noticing some things myself as I played, and thought if any of the notes I was making were useful to the devs it would be worth the effort.
Some random ideas to start here... I had more, but since v1.11 came out I don't know what's been changed or adjusted for sure yet... don't want to list things that are already taken care of. I'll go over my list and see if I can't verify things before wasting anyone's time here, and add as I go along.
* How about an adjustable slider to determine at what distance the center map display shows icons instead of the 3d models? It might not matter on higher end systems, but there is a noticable pause to switch once that distance has been reached (zoom level that is) and the 3d ships/planets show. I'd like to be able to zoom in a little closer myself without having this happen too often...
* Could the spy budget be separated into espionage and defense? As it stands now it's not intuitive, and I have no idea if I even have the ability to prevent others from stealing tech. I don't know if this has been adjusted, but I did also find it was way too easy to get the information levels high, and at least once I stole technology without even having money spent (at that particular turn, with an existing level of info already reached.. don't know if that matters).
* Lower tech rates... I've played it only on slow though, not the normal setting. I love the fact I can adjust this by the way - it's a huge thing for me not to see maxed out tech levels. If not an adjustment, how about instead of 5 (?) settings, divide it into 7 with slightly smaller increments between each but extending at least the low end range of the tech speed. High end... well I'd never play it on that setting so I'm not concerned with it.
* Very small detail: Could the shade of grey on control boxes be a little brighter when they're highlighted by the mouse? It's sometimes difficult to tell if it's lit up, that's all.
* This might belong in the bug section, but I noticed a lvl 7 ship with HP bonuses... and another of my ships, a level 18, suddenly dropped its bonuses (HP that is... ). Is there a reason for this (I thought maybe the patch had adjusted what they get a level, but it's weird to see bonuses completely dissapear when much lower level ships appear better)
* I know you've probably heard this a million times now, but I'll speak up as another voice: more hull pieces, specifically more generic 'building blocks' for center hull pieces would be great... any additions to the shipbuilder are of course welcome.
One more quick question, specifically for the devs: do you have a format for bug reports, or certain information you'd like included in bug reports other than system specs and whatever detail I can give surrounding the incident? I'd be willing to make an extra effort if you can use them.