* The ability to set a fleet to Auto Explore to save having to move the fleet manually every couple of turns. (Unless this is implemented and I've just not found it, I will admit I haven't looked at the games documentation too closely).
That would pretty much defeat the purpose of having an early-game at all, since a lot of the interesting strategic decisions in this stage come from exploration. Suffice it to say, exploration will be made much more interesting in the future.
* The ability to skip/jump turns early on in the game when you can't do anything (except explore see above) until some research or construction is completed. So the new multi turn button would open/drop down the options:
Skip 5 turns
Skip until next event (Situation Report Generated)
Skip until construction queue empty
Skip until research queue empty
(Any attacks or discovery of new race causing the game to stop looping through the turns)
Something like that might be added eventually, but it's certainly not a priority right now. Ideally, there will be something interesting to do every turn, so such a feature won't be necessary.
* Diplomacy so when you discover a new race you can become allied (but I suspect this is already on your features list).
Scheduled for version 0.5
. There is preliminary discussion going on in the Game Design forum if you have any particular ideas you'd like to share.
* The option to change the number of pre-colonised planets at the start of the game.
I think Geoff is planning to make starting conditions much more versatile someday, but that probably won't happen any time soon.
* The ability to hide unimplemented features, I know the game is still developing but if there was a 'Hide unfinished features' button I'm sure it would help make the interface cleaner for beginners. (This would mostly effect the research tree)
As far as I know, the entire tech tree is functional at the moment. Exactly what sort of "unimplemented features" were you referring to? Also, a "hide unfinished features" button isn't really feasible, since the game has no way of knowing which features are "finished" and which aren't.
* The research tree itself is good but also feels like something needs to be done to make it more obvious what things do. Maybe this could be improved for beginners by having an 'Auto Research' option which like the planets focus can be focused on balanced/learning/construction/production etc.
In what way is it not obvious what things do right now? Also, we're trying to avoid having AIs controlling the player's empire. If there is a reason that the player would want an AI controlling a certain aspect of the game, the solution is to make that aspect of the game more interesting, not to let an AI do it.