While I greatly enjoy the strategical freedom that GC3's management options provide, the actual process of using them is quite unenjoyable.
Let's start with the basics.
It's one of the most basic functions of most 4x games out there.
Normally, these games don't expect you to manage your production to the exact levels of productions costs.
So if, for example, you had a colony producing a total of 50 points of social manufacturing and you ordered 5 improvements worth 30 points each you'd expect that to be done in 3 turns.
Well, not in this game. Or not in my version of it anyway. I've been told that it's supposed to be working. It's not. Not for me at least.
What happens here is we get one improvement per turn. Furthermore it's not a simple "per turn issue". NONE of the overproduction goes towards the next item in the queue.
Get a colony to output 29 points of SM. Order 2 improvements (30 each). And what do we get?
0) 0/30 0/30
4) Empty queue.
This basically reduces the value of 29 SM points down to 15.
Is inconvenient to say the least.
The above mentioned lack of overproduction basically means that you need to manually set your production to "effective" levels. Effective here is something that will not cause overproduction. Furthermore you need to reallocate your production levels each time either your production or your SM, or the item's cost changes.
And here it gets worse.
Let's say that we want to build a 30 point improvement. Our 29 points of SM are no good, so we go to the governing screen and set it to 15. We close the screens, and continue with the game, expecting an improvement to be built in 2 turns.
Well, tough luck, but while we were sure that the planet has been set to 15 SM per turn it was actually less than that. And you now have 29.98/30 teasing you from your planetary queue.
Frankly, I believe that this kind of management should be "automatable". Even if we did have working overproduction mechanics, what about maintaining a fixed level of research or wealth output? What if the player just needs his money-land to cover his maintenance, keep 10.1 points of SM for the 20% influence bonus through the cultural festival, and send the rest of his total production to the shipyard? It doesn't take a genius manager to set the right numbers, but it take a whole load of tedious work to set and maintain them. It's not that difficult to instruct a machine to calculate several necessary outputs and to sent the remaining output to a chosen outlet, but we do not have that option in the interface.
Baring that, we should AT THE VERY LEAST have the option to input the numbers MANUALLY. If we need 15 points of production DON'T make us pixel-hunt for it. Give us an option to type "15" and be done with it. Barring that at least tell us that we missed 15 and hit 14.99.
We can only currently see up to the second digit on the planet screen and we can see no digits on management screen. (Which is the only place where you can see your planet's SM.)
Events and event bonuses.
Currently the event decision screen blocks the access to the rest of the game's interface. This is a poor design decision. Sure, after you are well aware of that you can work around the problem by cancelling any colonization request, and then manually colonizing planets, after you've analysed your situation and got a clear idea of what you would want the planet to do and what you wouldn't. Still, it's inconvenient and wrong. If a player attempts to colonise through auto-move he might not be able to tell what exactly is he colonising. He may be gimping his would-be research base or he may be buffing his would-be industry giant, and he has no way of telling which is it.
Furthermore, it's a bit out of the scope of this topic, as it is also a gameplay element, and not just an inconvenience, but I strongly believe that the player should be allowed to see the planet's layout BEFORE he makes the event decision not after it.
We have no queue here, and we don't see the research's "point cost". This is so fundamentally wrong that I don't even what to get into details why it is.
Though I'll have to... at least partially...
Two things. First - we don't know the values of the research we're trading. And even taking estimates is inconvenient as you have to change screens, or even problematic as it may be someone else's proposition. Not to mention multiplayer, where you'd have to reopen a trading screen of another player.
Second - we can't refuse a research gift from AI. EVEN if that robs us of a chance to pick a research specialisation that we desire. Need I say more?
We have FOW, and it plays a big role in the game, but we cannot properly utilise mobility as a means of defence against a "sneak attack".
We can order a unit to move, and it will remember the order. We can order it to "go sentry" and it'll wait till the right time to poke us. But we can't order it to move around and tell us of any sneaks that it happens to run across while auto-moving. As a result if we want to avoid sneak attacks we either have to rely on stationary sensors OR move each and every damn patrolling scout manually.