Research could be conducted as research and development, whereas completing research in a tech gives the opportunity to develop a few types of building for a few research points each. EG: after completing research in the Encapsulated Structures tech for 50RP? you may spend 10 RP to develop the capacity to build [Biodomes] for a population boost, 20 RP for the ability to put an [Outpost] in an uninhabitable location, etc etc...
This is already how it works to a certain extent (and I'm not actually that fond of it). Theories are techs that do nothing, but serve as prerequisites for applications, which are the techs that actually do stuff.
I noticed is that a ship given a course that passes through an unexplored system will not report that it has explored the system when it passes by...?
I think this is known and will be fixed, or perhaps has already been fixed in SVN.
Something graphical needs to be added to the list of ships in a fleet to discern their types; I accidentally sent a colony ship on a scouting mission.
There already is. Scout icons are small and pointy, warships are big and pointy, and colony ships are big and curvy.
I understand the need for starlanes in terms of regular gameplay, but adding off-lane travel allows the creation of islands, voids, multi-galaxy maps, etc etc. Off-lane travel could be severely limited in terms of travel time and necessary tech, and a slow-moving object travelling in 4-D space may easily be detected and intercepted. Perhaps sub-light colony ships after research in Biodomes or Suspended Animation? Of course, the Biodomes colony ship may develop its own splinter society... and the suspended animation crew could be a bit behind in the times by the time they arrive... What about deep-space probes or missiles? Please reconsider.
That's exceedingly unlikely unless somebody provides an extremely compelling gameplay reason. IMO, travel purely limited to starlanes is good for gameplay, and that's pretty much been the result of multiple discussions on the topic.
The concept of planet focus is important, but the execution is restrictive. Sliders for each resource would be excellent.
The current system is designed so that each planet is one decision in terms of resource production, and hopefully a decision that a player will never have to remake. There are much more fun things for him to do than manipulate sliders in an attempt to optimize resource production.
I don't see the point in using decimals in measuring resources.
Well, it would be silly to randomly lose part of a unit of food every turn due to rounding. Or do you mean you don't see the point in actually displaying food with decimals? In that case, I'm also not sure what the reasoning is there.