Aww a little bit sad teraforming was removed for player, was sorta interesting concept. The race with best polution clear land looked kinda fun from what I caught.
I know yourteam strapped for time, but could it be like two layer map,One is core not changeable or not changeable much(eats lots of resources or time and planet may not like it much(ok alot), but if you /Really/ need it, then with few special techs hidden in the tech tree) -- mountains deserts, swamps, seas, meadows, lakes, forests. And one or several Race specific ones that layer on top of those for each race.
So for example:
There is zenith Deserts, mountains, maybe even some strange forests, which are just grass for them, later Swamps, but no ocean
While Skylaxians, may have their meadows 1, meadows 2, mountains, oceans, but no swamps
Pelters may have their own lands.
Each land as some inpact on eco system both positive for race (good bonuses(morale, productivity, atmosphere), but also some of them negative like(planet likes less). Which makes choice would you like planet to like you, or solve this problem with soldiering/ shrines.
This in my opinion would still keep landscape interesting, and would make intereisting decisions like, which would push player to certain path in research:
- What to terraform,
- How much terraform
- How to counteract enemy teraorming I can't teraform
- How to counteract enemy teraforming with tech I have now
In anyway it is a little bit sad, but I guess it is not whole game, so I hope game wouldn't become less interesting because of it.