Each time the game loads it resets my gameplay settings, minor, but annoying to reset each time I want to play(not visual settings or anything like that just individual game settings like speed and what not). Anyone know what I'd have to change in the diplomacy.user file to make it hang on to the settings I set up?
The issue you're likely having is where you're changing your game settings. When you're on the screen for picking what map you want to play on, if you change the game settings there, they will be saved and carry over indefinitely to every following game. If you change the game settings on the screen where you pick factions and color and icons for your opponents and number of players, the screen after you've picked your map to play on, those changes are not saved and do not carry over to the next game you play.
your desert planets are still broken a little
There are random little glitches with the graphics that have already been fixed in a few different ways, the planets being one of them. Future updates should not have these problems.
#1 MaxEmpireWindowStackSize 10
Most of us don't even use the empire window. ;]
#3? GS_EXHAUSTTRAILUPDATEINREALTIME TRUE
There's really no reason to mess with this option as you can adjust it's detail level in the Options > Effects section.
Edit: Nice to see you've fixed your problems though, many people just bitch about them and do nothing. ;]