Iam of the impression that there are quite a few players who leave the game after settling just a few planets and sending out their first wave of scouts. I have to say that the early game can be a bit slow and might not be very encouraging. Therefor i suggest reducing the construction time of all colony ships to just 30 minutes aswell as dramaticaly reducing the construction speed of t1 destroyers and frigates and their research time (and maybe rebalance cost/armor). The starting population on the homeworld should be increased in order to fix the early game credit bottleneck.
Why these changes?
A reduction of the colony ship construction speed does not immensly speed up the actual time that it takes to colonise a planet in a neighbouring system because the flight time will still be the major timesink, however seeing a timer that has only 30min is way more encouraging to stay and do something in the meantime then lets say, those 3h people’s realm ones.
The combat in this game is already very excellent, but in most 4X games actual combat is more a midgame/lategame thing. Having a 7h timer on a Syntis destroyer is very discouraging and the time it takes to research them is quite high aswell. However having people fight in this game early will get them emotionally attached, who does not want revenge after the first lost combat?
This games economy is all about dodging the next bottleneck… however the early game credit bottleneck is something that can not be avoided or be surpassed other then waiting for more population to grow. So just increase the starting population to get more tax, capacity for research and so on.