The levels so far appear focused on "lore" scale. That is, you have absolutely nailed the "person to ship" ratio that was comically (but arguably arbitrarily) ignored in the first two classic games. There was a rude YouTube comment complaining about the apparent size of new previews of Single Player maps and saying everything is wrong and a confident reply that this whiner needs more experience with the levels to understand what they are even talking about.
I can see the whiner's point just a little bit.
There is a level that looks like a huge Star Wars catwalk, but the ships are so big that such a space is not explorable, just little more than a vent in the floor.
So of course it's "realistic" (the drones are massive -- the size of airplanes) but can we not have a few more big areas? Like the Kickstarter teaser?
I can hear the response: "Big areas are not fun. Look what happened to Talon or Descent 3"
I disagree with this straw man entirely and completely. Hehehe
There is a figuratively huge difference between large enclosed spaces with obstacles (like Rama) vs. outdoors.
Despite levels being considered "too big" one of my absolutely favorite levels so far is Colosseum. I also adored the environments shown in the Kickstarter trailer. Tartarus is a fantastic scale although one can imagine just a couple new areas with great big open areas cut apart by strategically placed rock spires, rock bridges and machinery -- just like the teaser trailer.
Of course it is hard to combat from far away but that doesn't mean there should never be "far away" in levels. The strategy would be to try to get drones up close. Constant hot combat is one fine way to play. But another element that is extremely enjoyable for me is a mixture of levels where there is no place to hide and levels where you can hide many places and other levels where you can "hide in plain sight" by flying maneuvers in open space. I wouldn't worry about the weapons being designed for close combat. That is fine. I wouldn't change that. People whining that close-quarters weapons don't function in big spaces need to change their strategy or find their favorite missiles.
I wouldn't say the levels appear small but just not done yet. And a lot of focus on little lovely details. They are beautiful. Fantastic work on the art! It does bring up something that happened with the training mission I wanted to address. The training mission was planned pretty well but it was not programmed completely and there were times one felt that the balance of voice and of text and of actual activities had settled around a very ponderous form of play.
Maybe it had not really anticipated for an eager pilot's actual behavior or "sense of fun" within the level. Is the dev team focused on details that many people will ignore/breeze by? Is the "being into the game" too focused on little things that people won't actually "be into"? Is there still some space and play, like the great balance of tunnels and open spaces and surprising room changes of Descent II? Can we be assured that playing fast and hard and explosively will be enriching? But also that there is a reason for the greebles and details besides just making a metric tonne of non-interactive art?
I have SO much faith in this team, especially with the help we have seen come in now. Just wanted to muse and hopefully get some replies and sorry to bring you away from the development. I hope it is helpful and not distracting or useless.