The AI build rules is certainly something to take into account. Though I would rather have the AI on a different build rules that means that they push out ships similar to how they do now (mind you i have seem some questionable design choices, but hey this can be improved with testing etc) Whereas the player should have way more freedom with what they can do. Freedom in design adds a lot more playability to the game, as it allows you to experiment with more interesting designs, or even just allow for more variations in ship designs. I would like to see stuff like edible hulls, more placement points for guns etc just allow for more variations in ship design. Because as it stands imo the editor is not very flexible at all currently.
More designing freedom may me its harder for new players to learn, however what if the editor cautions the player regarding questionable design choices, eg if the ship has a lat/lon offset it could alert the player *Warning, your ship has a high lon/lat offset, which will lead to penalities to accuracy* and then the player can decide to proceed regardless. Alerts like these could be shown for various things, such as low ship speed for class, low armour for class etc. This will allow freedom to the player, but the game would also advice the player regarding various aspects of the ship which should also help the learning process.
What do you guys think?