Sorry for the scattered brain dump posts like this, but if I don’t put this to bits, I’ll likely forget it later.
Subtle difference between 3.x and Starfinder: Typically, you are only caught flatfooted when you are surprised in Starfinder. Previously, you were flatfooted if you were surprised, or until your first action in the round.
As I said before, character generation is fairly straightforward. Pick a race, a theme, and a class. The combination of theme and class effectively is your class archetype (though it’s not called that). For example, Envoy plus the Outlaw theme can be a Scoundrel. These are, effectively, suggestions for how to build a type of character more so than an actual archetype.
This combination is fairly versatile, and easily covers a lot of characters from fiction. Han Solo? Envoy/Outlaw. Chewie? More complicated but I would likely go with Soldier/Outlaw (an argument could be made for multi-classing). Luke? Solarian/Ace Pilot.
I could totally do Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar with Starfinder. Vanth is so obviously a Solarian it’s not even funny.
I can only guess what the various inspirations were to the creative team (I miss having a Bibliography like in GURPS books) but some of them are pretty obvious. Star Wars, Mass Effect (Biotics is basically space magic) and Guardians of the Galaxy are all pretty clear.
Since the setting is tied to Golarion, there is a chapter for Legacy Races, such as Elves, Dwarves, etc. I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to play a Half-Orc so badly as I do here. One of the more common choices for the Half-Orc is basically a professional pioneer. They go in do the hard work of taming the world, and then they sell their stake and move on to the next world.
I think that’s it for now. I need to finish the tactical combat chapter and see what other changes they’ve made.