Yeah I agree with Old Duck try staying vanilla first.Ok I think I'm gonna take the plunge and get into Space Engineers. Any recommendations for mods or is it best to start vanilla? I was looking at this: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=531659576
However that said, maybe just a thought and only cosmetic, a skybox change if you don't like Keen's vanilla one (I don't); 1/ Vas's Starfield/far sun (skybox) or the one I play with when playing the game properly, not just building and messing around, 2/ NoBox Black 2019.
There are loads of great skybox's for the game, so have a wander through WS. It is however a matter of simple tests to see if they work well with the 'current' game version. The two I mentioned do work o.k. But as said, there are some beauties available.
There are plenty of mods I use in game, mostly planets, but one I have to have is 'Automatic LCD's' (script), it's essential for me. But that may be for later on.
@Kaocraft The thing is, once you have got the hang of the game and perhaps want a larger world to play in, then your going to have to build that yourself in Engineers, that is mainly placing planets out now, as the rest is kind of in the current game. The game adapts to your world, i.e. it will place stations on the planets you place out. But you don't have to go that route, there are a few mod's that are pre-made worlds that you could use.
If your into survival more than space, then think about Empyrion (never thought I would say that but for survival, yep). If your into space travel more, then Engineers is the game imho.
Empyrion = full galaxy with everything ready to play. Jumping everywhere for most of your space travel, like ED, but that's o.k.
Space Engineers = a smaller survival world as vanilla. But if your into building your own world, then it can be huge. With real travel, no cheats, you'll jump in the same space not into another box, that is of course if you want to jump. Lots of space travel and maintenance as you travel through space. (I do use a speed mod and tend to have jump drives that give me a push of around 1500km).
Space Engineers is a true sandbox, build it yourself type game.
Edit: For me S/Engineers needs plenty of time (loads of time) if your going to build a custom world. Empyrion has most of that already in there,.