I haven't bought my founders editing yet, I have got burned on the last two games I donated to ahead of time, but I am likely to hop on board soon because this is one of the most exciting games coming up, in my opinion.
First, I agree with a lot of other people: Don't dumb down the game! I loved all of the options in Gal Civ II, and it makes for really in depth game play which is WHY I love this type of game. You have a lot of options and you have to think. Also, being able to customize just adds all that re-playability.
Now, having said that, one of the gripes I had with Gal Civ II was the UI. I found it difficult to navigate, visually cluttered (the designs were visually pretty but hard on my eyes) and a bit overwhelming at times. That distracted from game play in my opinion. I was spending a lot of time trying to figure out where settings were, navigating through immense tech trees, but having trouble with the zoom controls, etc. The UI shouldn't challenge the player, it should help them play.
But rather than say what was wrong with that game, I'd rather point out another 4X hex based strategy game that has a UI that utterly blew me away. Not because of it's complexity, but because it was SO well designed, so sleek and so streamlined that you almost forget there is a UI.
That game is "Pandora: First Contact". It is a 4x, turn based, hex-map strategy game, so it's definitely in the same genre.
From the screenshots I have seen for GalCiv III it appears that having a great UI IS a goal for you, and I fully support a re-think!
But seriously, pick up Pandora and just play some rounds. Notice how the mouse over tool tips give you all the information you need while staying on one screen. Notice how the UI gets out of the way when you are doing strategy. Notice when and where combat or unit panels come up and what happens when you click on cities. Notice how the in game help system stays at the top of the screen and out of the way, and is context sensitive. ALL of this could be applied to GalCiv III and it would be a better game for it. Notice how the workshop works where you can modify units and create new designs for ships.
Not all of Pandora's UI translates to GalCiv because GalCiv is just a much deeper game, however the principles of a user-centered playing experience can't be overstated.
iIf you can streamline the UI then you can streamline the game WITHOUT dumbing it down, and it will just be a lot more fun to play.
So, that's my 2 cents. Keep up the good work!