In recent years, "Early Access" has meant "Game is basically done but with bugs". And while it's true that the engine for this game is pretty "done" we are trying to take advantage of early access to try out a lot of crazy new things to get your ideas and feedback on.
GalCiv IV: Supernova is being developed by the GalCiv II team and so some of the changes the team wants to make are things that come from the things we really liked in GalCiv II but in a GalCiv IV game.
Some of the things we want to try may not work out. But we want to see what you guys think.
* Making range matter again. We're going to reduce range back to how we used to do it. This will mean the AI doesn't get into your business as much but it also means that expansion requires building starbases and researching new tech.
* Influence is going to mean a lot more. No colonizing in someone else's area of influence. And planets will fall to foreign influence much faster than currently. It'll be a viable soft conquest mechanism.
* Emergent colonies. Worlds that are in your area of influence that aren't colonized will start to colonize on their own on your behalf. How often this happens will depend on your species.
* More galactic outlook. We want to give players a lot more mechanisms to automate their civilizations as well as mechanics to deal with their galactic civilization at the large scale. Some of our attempts at this will likely fail.