I won’t presume to speak for cliffski, but welcome aboard! We have a great treasure-trove of information here on these forums; please take full advantage of it.
Once you’ve become comfortable with the basics and explored the four standard races in the game, stop by the Mod forum. We have a small but dedicated modding community here that’s created some detailed & carefully crafted mods for the main game.
A few tips for you: Be sure to give your ships an armor rating of at least 12 if you wish to survive your first encounter with enemy fighters. EMP Shielding isn’t as effective as it looks. Plasma has trouble hitting the broad side of a barn, even on a good day…unless you unwisely design speed-zero ships. Research the implications of the “resistance” attribute versus weapons fire, as that has a major effect on shipbuilding plans; the same goes for “weapon tracking”.
Above all, have fun with this game.