I'm getting more of a handle on the game the more I play it. :) Many layers of complexity.
I believe I am seeing that you can build unnecessary stuff. For example, I believe I am seeing that you can build radiation shield buildings when there is no radiation on the planet.
Eventually, you can build nuclear weaponry and indeed can find Galactic Republic nuclear launchers in the early game. These leave radiation in the tiles around ground zero. I have also seen Dissolution War details about nuclear fall-out and the game has reference to Mutants so I guess some planets will have radiation as a left-over of that. RAD is one of the main hex indicators so I guess it is important. If you are watching my series on YouTube I launch a nuclear strike in episode 13 which is probably about a week away. :)
And an option to give your troops environment suits when again, the planet has a great ecology. Is that a bug, or does the Radiation thing still help when you have a nice ecological planet?
Environmental suits provide basic armour (50) so even if you don't need them for thermal, radiation, biohazards, or breathing - they can still be a little useful. If you have a world that requires the enviro suit then you don't have the options to use none, thermal, filters etc.
I was watching Tortuga comment on the Logistics thing sending trucks to nowhere so you need Road Blocks/gateways and that the previous Vic games did not do this. Will this be fixed/changed? Seems to be totally unnecessary micro.
It is micromanagement (and a bit of a dark-art) but can be useful if you really want to force supplied into a specific area. It can work very well if you are finding you have a lot of blockages. You can also create one-way roads which can be useful if your truck network is struggling.
What determines when you can advance to another Research box?
From memory, I think you need three fully researched techs in a box before you can start to discover techs in the connecting boxes.
Does the AI difficulty scale with your planet selection? In other words, if you select a radiated crappy planet where everything is hard to come by (food, water, shielded biomes, special suits,.etc), does the AI also have to pay extra and thus face the same challenge? Or does the AI stay the same, so the selection of an earth-life planet make the game easier for Single Player?
My understanding is that the AI doesn't cheat other than higher difficulties get some added bonuses. One of the coolest aspects of the game is the way resources are directly related to the planet generation. If you don't have xeno lifeforms (plants etc) then you won't find fossil fuels other than in ruins - which means you can't really run mechanised forces - which means you really need to specialise in infantry until you get to tech to extract fuel from methane in the atmosphere. Again in the my youtube series the AI started to create incredible basic infantry. I thought it was a bug so sent it through to Vic but Vic showed me that the AI had just researched exactly what it needed to make them super soldiers. :) These don't appear until very late in my youtube series around episode 21 or so.