I think we may be wise to focus for now the issues that most hinder playability and are most easy to fix.
Here's a list of things based on my experience playing and the recent batch of "first look" reports, and my admittedly half-informed guess about what would be easy to implement.
* Mobile space monsters. These would randomly move around or attach any ships they ran across. Should probably only be low to medium level monsters. "A.I." something like:
- If see ships: stay and fight
no ships: 30% chance of moving to a random star lane.
* Minor planets start with a random population -- i.e. every one is not at their current max.
* Minor planets can hurt "attacking" ships. Or at least some of them can.
* In the Open dialog sort files by modification date-- most recent at the top. 90% of the time that's the file you want.
* Better sitrep battle messages. Stuff like:
- Ship lost at system X
Hostiles defeated at system X
Colony on planet X lost
Planet X captured
Imperial capital captured at X
Empire X defeated!
* More things to find while exploring: see this list
* Different strengths for various species -- i'm working on that one...