ps any tips for what to build/research when you start off?
Depends a lot on the race and map! Generally, starting with 2 civic labs and getting some basic planet population research is hard to go wrong with. 2 civic labs will also let you research ice/volcanic colonization if any of them are near your homeworld.
Edit: If you're playing Advent, definitely go with 2 civ labs first, that's when they get their culture centers and culture is a very big boost to your economy!