Well Thanks guys.
A couple comments.
your right, I was talking about technology rate. The computer must be killing me on research. I dont mind, I just steal thier tec's when I take thier planets.
Thanks for the PM on the zero year win. (though I have no idea what a spore is yet). I really need to get the expanision packs.
I dont defend my planets either in orbit, I use very fast long range ships (cargo hulls loaded with engines and one gun) to kill transports before they group with escorts or enter my space. And if fast enough, return my attackers to safe area's on same turn. Works great if the enemy has you out numbered and out guned. Also my transports are loaded with engines so I can recover a lost planet the very next round. Really slows the enemys advance when they gotta keep wasting transports to take the same planet.
I also like playing the gigantic games, many stars, many planets, max races (random). So max tec always happens. (What I dont like is that the other races still have discovery spheres everywhere after they have max tec.)
The empty hulls is a good idea, You could direct hostle attacks where you want that way. (seems the computer always gos for undefended planets first, many times with unescorted transports)
Still no idea about spore ships, But if I could get planetary invasion fast enough, maybe I could take someone out fast. I will have to see if I could do that, never really tryed.
You know, all those years I spent playing wing commander must have been for a reason.