Nice job Yin. Ever since I got GalCiv 2 the day it was released I have not played a single minute of Civ 4. GC2 is so immersive it's crazy. Oblivion might be the only thing that makes me put GC2 down for a while.
I'll address a couple things for you.
To quickly change your ship build, click the "planet info" button, first one to the left on the bottom. This brings up a listing of all your planets with a ton of info including current social and ship builds. Simply double-click the line showing the ship build and it will give you a quick build list with which you can quickly change to a different ship.* As for the interface (something I was rather harsh on Civ4 about), I'd say GalCiv does a marginally better job at making a wealth of information easy to access. That said, there are areas to improve. For example, something simple like changing what ship your are building on a planet is too clumsy. Unless I'm missing something, you go to the shipyard, click on the new ship type, click "Done" -- but then the game dumps you out of the planet view, so you can't confirm the change. If you click "back to planet view" then you don't seem to select the new ship type. I'm assuming I'm missing something easy here, but to this point I haven't found a easy way to avoid this annoying loop. The saving grace here, though, is Stardock is so open to fan input, and Brad (the developer and CEO of the company) has worked very hard to retain ownership of the patch schedule, that things like this are almost inevitably going to improve.
Another way is to click the planet on the map. Details appear below in the info screen including current ship build and ships in orbit. Click the "build" button there to bring up the same quick build screen as below.
Rally points are one of the best things in GC2. Here is a quick example. In one game I was attacking the Torians. I created a rally point on their border and called it "Green death". Drengin were on my other side and things were getting a bit tense so I created another rally point there called "Die Drengin Die". So for each ship built I then simply clicked the rally icon and chose the rally point I wanted.* The rally point system in GalCiv2 seems to have tremendous potential. You can set planets not only to send ships out to any number of rally points, but you can also have the ships set to a particular action when they get there, things like form a fleet, attack, do nothing, etc. You can then also have governors (code word for a kind of macro command) change any of these behaviors globally so you don't have to change things on a planet-by-planet basis down the road. I'm just starting to figure this stuff out, but the potential for time savings is huge.
When I finally took the Torians out of the game (dang green guys gave up their homeworld to the Yor) I went into the Governor and with two clicks switched all ships heading to Green death to switch up to Die Drengin Die. Next turn all the autopilots started moving to the new rally point. I then deleted the Green death rally as I no longer needed it.
And it only gets better from there.
You got that right. Ships rarely are without their uses. Even my "mini-scorpion fighters" from the beginning of the game have great uses later on. Usually I have them on system patrol in my inner systems or attach them to a fleet of larger capital ships. It's nice having a battle cruiser along with 3-4 smaller ships to make a nice balanced fleet. And the smaller ships are usually first to go leaving your capital ship more likely to survive a tough fight.* I should also note that in GalCiv2, there seems to be very little of the "I just researched these units and already they are obsolete" syndrome found in Civ4. Again, your ship designs and tech progression is so measured and subtle, that you'll find yourself "stuck" with certain technological limitations for a long, long time, and the focus comes back to how effectively you can design ships within those confines. If you find yourself completely outclassed technologically in GalCiv2, that's because you are REALLY behind in tech and not because the AI researched siege weapons a few turns ahead of you.
The constant "*** for tat" with the AI on ship technology is awesome (which they do even on normal). My most resent game is a great example. I was attacking the Iconions with mass driver technology. I pretty much wiped the floor with them to begin with. But sure enough ships of theirs started appearing that had armor and my spies noted the other races started doing the same thing to counter my "agression". So I quickly traded my way up the laser tree up to Plasma weapons and they had no shields. Problem is my shield technology wasn't all that great either and they also had powerful lasers so my losses were heavy. Now I'm starting to see the other races build up shields but armor staying way behind so I'll start moving up the mass drivers tree once again to get jump on them. It's an awesome stratigic part of the game that doesn't get enough press and Civ 4 just can't compete here.