One major thing I do differently is I use huge ships for the starbase array. It cuts down on the tedium of rush-buying ships, but may not be optimal for score. This also lets me have far fewer starports during points-grinding, and consequently more stock markets.
As opposed to tinies?
Due to the depreciation of military rating based on the number of ships you have that Mumble discovered, this would actually result in a higher score.
increased weapons research cost
This is categorically not true.
TA weapons are anywhere from 16k to 22k to max a tree, whereas in DA they're 49k to 75k. TA weapons get a 50% increase to their base value, as of 2.x, and I haven't yet investigated what influence this has on tech inflation, if any, over the old mechanism, but the bottom line is this: weapons are at least 50 percent cheaper in TA.
Additionally, with regards to focus: In DL/DA, you took 25% of military, 25% of social, and transferred that to research. In TA, you take 25% of military, 25% of social, and then transfer 20% of military, 20% of social to research. You're still getting approximately (due to rounding) 80% of the research you would otherwise get from focus. While it is relevant that improvements have less production overall and cost more maintenance, you should still be able to pull about 65-70% efficiency as opposed to DA (DL would be a different number entirely due to the production and maintenance changes going from DL to DA).