I also don't find that changing a working old concept to be a bad thing. Somethings can be improved, but there has to be a good reason to improve or change the concept. Change for the sake of it needs to be different somehow is not a good way to approach things. I'm all for change in the game, I supported the off world shipbuilding, it adds a great strategic layer to the game, but other things I don't think would work well, like a Simcity type game-play for planets.
First of all i'm not saying anything bad about the game other then what i've already stated, which was mostly the UI. But change is something that happens whether you like it or not. People change, industries change, interest's change, the world and the people in it are changing everyday. What was awesome once upon a time isn't so awesome now a days. Look at pac-man for example. One of the best games of all time. There wasn't many people in the USA that hadn't played Pac-Man. But how did it fair 10 years later? Hows it fairing today?
GC 1 was ground breaking for me i loved it. Many hours of lost sleep. GC 2 was also very awesome lots of improvements, The game was great. Now GC 3 is in beta and yes it's probably just as much fun as GC 2, from what i can tell it's made a good deal of changes. But it still seems like the game from yesterday, i think it's just that the industry and consumer expectations have changed so much that we naturally expect more liveliness more immersion and new versions of the game should introduce some major changes while keep pace with the industry and the prior versions of the game. It's a finicky balance that needs to be made between the three points (new features, modern features, and older version relation).
With that said i know the graphics have made strides and if they can actually deliver on playing against hundreds then that's going to be mind blowing. I don't think you all actually understand what that means yet.
Thats not saying that GC 3 isn't a good game, it's not saying it's an awesome game either. Yes your going to have the die hard fans of every game that are going to mash and maul any nay-sayers even if they have a point. Because some people don't like change.
I love stardock and brad, brad is the only owner that i've ever seen literally talk to people on the forums. I mean he IS stardock. He alone makes the company that much better. I've purchased everything that's been made for Elemental and will continue to throw may money at the man. But i am disappointed that GC 3 has tried so hard to stay true to GC 2 that he's literally made the exact same game in terms of feeling and immersion. Yes the game looks better but it feels the same, graphics aren't the only thing that should change. i mean the shipyards in space was an AWESOME change, that's going to give some tactical choices. But that's the only thing i see that's really changed. (graphics aside)
You ask for examples of interfaces well then look at civilization for example. It's not entirely about the interface it's that the interface gets in the way. Shrink the borders push things to the edges remove the side bar and create a city report type thing like civilization has so if i want to i can view my planetes, they don't always have to be on the screen all the time it takes away from the immersion of the game. I mean it's just to yesterday to be coming out today. having a bar along the top or bottom that contains all your stats like currency and whatever else along with adding report buttons around the map or something to easily get to the items you need. I don't want to say make it like this game or that game because it's not that game it's GC.
regarding the planet view i couldn't careless if it's a flat map, the problem i have with it is that's still only one entity meaning it doesn't feel like a planet it feels like city or i think somebody else said a base. It's not a planet, do something making it appear more like a planet. Like just show the planet and a listing of possible cities (based on planet size or something) only make it so that each city can have only 1 or 2 items in it (possible more tech research to improve). then when you attack the planet make each battle for each of the cities or something. There are things you can do to make it feel more like a planet over a city/base if you want to. I'm not telling stardock to do that i'm just saying that there are changes that be made to improve every part of the game and make it better then GC 2 in even more ways.