I've also been using the break to reassess the gameplay of Nova Dawn. The plan has always been to begin with a single vehicle, working for a faction, and work your way up until you are in command of the faction. I've been wondering if I shouldn't just put the player in the role of the faction commander from the start. The beginning of the game will be important strategically, and if the player is only a lowly operative he has very little control over it.
The compromise solution I have settled on is to stick with the original plan. But when you are promoted to an officer or commander, that allows you to begin new games at that rank. That keeps the gentle introduction of being given missions and following orders. But allows more experienced players to take control of their entire faction from the beginning.