Never heard of Masters of Orion before finding this, and just completed my third game of 0.4 release. I've spent some time looking at the message boards here, but thought I'd put up a few things I like about the game, and a few issues I see.
First of all, the BEST thing that most impressed me was that I could set the number of AI opponents to '0'. A lot of 4x games are just overly complex military games, and while I suspect the '0' setting is for trouble shooting and learning, I hope this game evolves in a way that one could legitimately play an interesting game without a specific opponent. I played that setting first, and enjoyably learned quite a bit of the game without getting killed 10 times.
I also LIKE floaters. They are annoying, but it really changes game play to have a non-aggressive disruptor of logistics. I had to play a completely different strategy in games with floaters or without, (ie, guarding a perimeter, and getting to a map edge to clear a galactic corner) so I hope they stay, with a option toggle.
Overall it's already really fun and I'm running a 4th game now (floaters, locals, and 12 AIs).
Seems like most issues are in hand so I won't dwell on negatives, but a few things.
First of all, I never got a single indigenous species to build a colony ship, did I miss something, is it a bug, not yet implemented, or is it intentional? The posts I read didn't really answer this question for me. I think given that the local species all seem to be more limited than the galactic species, one can make the argument that if you really want to fill up all your Terran planets with a farming only species, that's your choice.
Very early game is difficult to find a balance, since planets can only do one thing. When I realized that was what was happening at first I thought it was a serious bug, but after playing for a while, I am not so sure. Once you have 4-5 planets or more, it's not really an issue, and so encourages expansive behaviors and risk taking early in the game. I now lean towards keeping this as it currently is, but maybe having production ramp up and down a bit faster.
I like the theoretical techs and the tech tree, they add a LOT of flavor, but they do mislead a bit at the very first -"theory of everything, cool!! I'm getting that!" sort of issues. I think maybe if a theoretical tech gave a tiny bonus or one off item (maybe a +1/10 population bonus or so to research/food/industry/etc. on all planets, or a single building or ship on one planet) that would be one way to justify having it exist. I also think it only makes sense if every theoretical tech branched in more than one direction. For example getting to Concentration Camps is really just Architectural Psyc + Con. Camp in terms of time and research, but if Art. Psyc. could also lead to "happy buildings" it would make sense, and would justify why it was a separate research goal.
Also, on that tech tree notion, it would be really nice if I could also enqueue all buildings I need to get to a final production goal. So for example, if I wanted a ship hull I'd just select that, and all the required orbital base stuff would get put in the queue to be built first. The other one I often had issues with was doing a series of terraforming then a Gaia transform, it'd be nice just to click on gaia, and have the correct number of terraforms (and even artificial planet) enqueue.
I'm keen to see more techs, I love that part of 4x games, and at the moment it feels that just as research starts picking up, you have researched everything possible, including becoming a god. Perhaps some of the latter techs can have higher research requirements?
So, a big kudos to all involved in this project, it's already quite playable, and I can't wait to see the future.