Sorry for the slow response. Here's some thoughts on your post:
1. The sound effects don't have remotely the same impact that the old games' sound effects did. Hitting someone with a nuclear missile barely makes a noise. Even the lightest hits in StarCon 1,2,3 made a satisfying percussive sound. The explosion of an Ur Quan fusion blast or Chenjesu crystal hitting a ship was extremely satisfying, and there's nothing even approaching that kind of effects quality in the game right now.
2. The ships are too wobbly. They seem like they're made out of jelly sometimes. Stiffening them up I think would improve the visuals.
3. I'm extremely skeptical about the planet exploration mechanic, but we can't play with that hands-on right now so that's all I'll say.
4. The planet's gravity well seems a bit too strong. Some ships can't escape it without colliding with the planet.
Agree on the sound. They're largely place holder. We're slowly improving them across the board.
Agree with you on the ships. We are, "tightening up the graphics". A lot of what is in there is based on what can be done and then dialing it back.
On the planet exploration side, this will be a challenge. Ultimately, what we want is the exploration to be fun unto itself rather than a chore. In the originals, the planet exploration was something you just had to do and there wasn't that much fun to be had. This time around, we want the planet exploration to be a fun game unto itself.
That said, we plan to have ship modules you can buy so that those who don't enjoy planet exploring can get what they want from planets quicker at the expense of having ship battles be somewhat more challenging.
Agree on the gravity, this was adjusted in the most recent update. We'd love to hear what you think.