Here's what I'm working on for 0.5.3:
I'm working on adding support for data-driven icons. What are icons? They're usually something that displays a graphic icon, as well as a "text" displaying some information. For example, in the planet window, there's five sliders, one for each field. There's a graphic icon, along with the amount of something being produced. An example:
[Commerce] 3.6 BC
Why is this important to have it data-driven? Being able to specify which icons are in your game, as well as how they format the information display, allows you to add your own icons for ship information display. Right now, Beyond Beyaan's default game will have five basic ship displays - Shield Absorption, Armor Absorption, Hull Points, Time Units, and Power Units. Shield and Armor Absorption will show how much each absorbs before the damage is passed on to the Hull (your ship itself). So they'd look like this in combat screen, with  being graphic icon:
In each race, you will be able to specify which icons a ship will use for information display. What this means is that you can decide that a race may use "Skin" and "Health" instead of the Shield, Armor, and Hull, if the race is a space race. Or you can duplicate MoO 2's shields, with "Front Shield", "Left Shield", "Right Shield", and "Rear Shield". Or you can just have MoO 1's single health display.
The information is controlled by the ship and equipment scripts. This will allow you to create unique races with their own ship stats. However, in the default game, all races will share the same stats (shield, armor, hull, time, and power). So yes, you can create a mod that removes the "Time" factor, leaving the power, or remove the Power and Time, and have each weapon fire once per turn (or every other turn based on scripts). You can create your own icons and add them to the game.
In the future, I plan on adding scripts for stars and planets, so that they can influence your population growth/outputs, such as a volcanic planet randomly decimating some of your population with a volcano eruption. With the scripts and this icon system I will be able to add support for custom sliders for planet management. This means that I will then be able to add support for each race having their own sliders for planet management. For example, Silicoids in MoO 2 don't need farming, so you can simply remove the agriculture slider for that race, so it only have the other sliders. Or you could create a new slider that controls how fast your zombie race consumes another race. Or you can change how it all works to be similar to MoO 2, with three sliders (agriculture, industry, and research), and having income automatically generated using race/planet scripts.
That's for the future however. I'm implementing the icon system so that I can add information display for ships in fleet window and fleet management screen. Then I will go back to space combat and implement the information display as well as having the weapons affect the information.
Also for 0.5.3, I'm modifying the "Add Equipment" window for ship design so that it don't close after adding a new equipment. This should improve your experience with the ship design UI.