The new ship build system strikes me as a major step backwards, retreating into the age old standby of standard module placement in predefined hull classes, exactly the same old tired system of virtually every other 4X game. However that retreat from design excellence is NOT why I am not a fan.
You clearly have not actually played the game. The ship design system is one of the most freeform I have ever interacted with.
Obviously there are predetermined 'hulls', but those are nothing more than what sort of 3d marker you use to look at the ships 'close in'. They are purely aesthetic, and five minutes in the ship designer would show you this.
As far as the actual ship design, the only 'hard markers' are the maximum internal space (which I seldom care about except on support ships) and the ship's 'size' which influences every raw statistic on the ship except speed. And 'size' is utterly free... something no other 4x I am aware of has access to. If you want to create a space station that is simply a bridge and a 12 hex torpedo launcher, yet is some 5000 in size (capable of wiping out some pretty scary fleets) the only thing stopping you is your creativity and how much money you are making.
As far as the freeform colony development, it is a system designed to take some colony micromanagement out of the equation IF YOU DESIRE IT. You can still choose to make much of the colony development manual with megacities, science buildings, and factories, but it behooves you to set aside a few lumps of land undeveloped in order to let private industry make use of all of your imports. This is not a poor design decision, in fact it is a creative one.
If you don't care to even give the game a try, That is your loss, but for many other 4x players your claims are spurious and supported only by ignorance, and it's rather poor form to come on the forums and gripe about problems that don't exist in a game you haven't even played.
Edit- I just realized that there are hacked versions of this game out there that use much older pre-alpha versions, and they may have contained earlier versions of the ship building system.
If this happens to be your problem, I can understand your confusion, while at the same time having absolutely zero sympathy whatsoever.