Yea, as discussed in another thread during the kickstarter, I do want to have the tutorial basically just be the beginning of the normal game, with the end of the tutorial being equivalent to what you're seeing now. I.e. the fight isn't the very first thing you do, it's just the first thing that happens after you flee the tutorial.
That said, any tutorial needs to be skippable when playing again, and if skipped it could just have the first planet empty of AI presence.
An option would be if the optional
tutorial starts in a shipyard belt facility or whatever and goes through a full suite of optional stages, from basic (camera/unit control) to medium dif (combat) to higher dif (some higher gameplay systems so that players learn that these exist in various forms) - and the force build-up and planet selection is done in transit. The former is optional, the latter should be how the game starts. You gotta take into account people not doing the tutorial or not paying attention. And if first planet is empty then they don't really learn anything about combat and unique stuff now do they.... you just delay the fail-state to the next planet, in worst case costing people more time before they realize they should probably do the tutorial.
Either way, better to think about your game-start and how to integrate tutorial and player choice from the start ^^ Make it optional and modular, for potential expansions having own tutorial segments in a safe-zone where players can experiment or something. That would be even better. Would have saved us 500 page discussions about damage, armor and weapon modifiers in AI War 1 hehe.
I think the "in-transit" start, to build up an arrival force with your current resources, should be the default setting for the game btw. And if you were meta, you could tie this to in-game profile ranks, and perks we earn by beating the AI, giving us better options in that moment, and allowing us to start with higher tier tech but fewer units (for example)
Ehm anway, that's my 2ct ;P