The first impression of gameplay in a 4X strategy game tends to be what the opening choices are. And this is something we have tried our best to optimize in GalCiv III.
In version 3.96, we are giving players the shipyard again by default (which we used to have back in 1.0). The presence of the starting shipyard has everything to do with having meaningful starting decisions.
For example, here is v3.96 without the shipyard as an option now:
We added a new build-once project called Industrial Center (retribution) that is the equivalent of the Computer Core except for manufacturing. Combine that with trade resources and (in Retribution) artifacts and you have some interesting options.
Then you go over to the shipyard and you have a 4 obvious choices:
Note that we no longer have any weapons at the start of the game (retribution). Your ships are unarmed. So this allows us to clean up the first impression a little bit so that weaponizing ships makes an obvious difference to your shipyard choices.
Also, having the shipyard combined with the recent increase in starting funds means players can move out a bit faster than they could before. This gives a little more room, especially for new players, to not get economically over their heads.
These changes, along with the visual update to the planets (you can see the visual update in the first screenshot) will be in v3.96.