[R-DEV]NikovK here. Someone might recognize me from the conversation that created rally points; I wanted the Americans to spawn on this side of the objective but PLA to spawn on that side of the objective in Road to Kyongan'Ni. It was determined you can't do that, but you can make a specific vehicle spawn in specific spots, and that vehicle could be a spawn point, and really could just be a pile of backpacks, and squad leaders could spawn said backpacks...
The rest is history, and sometimes I wish I'd kept with the team. But squad spawns and FOBs never quite solved the problem, because from then on the metagame of PR-derivatives has been getting your spawn point to a creative direction (some rationalize it as flanking) and exploiting a gap in the lines. This encourages the defense to be directly on the point since the attack can come from behind as easily as the nominal front. This became a real problem on wide-open maps from my map-maker's perspective. I couldn't control the flow of battle after rally points nearly the way I could before rally points. Maps became reduced to sand tables of terrain that players made their battles on.
Lets be clear. Absolute control of the spawn points creates a very predictable game. This is bad. But absolute freedom leads to a lot of exploitation and missed opportunities. This may well be worse. You want a handful of tactical choices presented at a time so a coordinated team can exploit them together. You also want the playspace to be player-dense enough that the battles are intense and exciting. What you do not want is so many tactical choices that things like ambush become impossible, or where players have no focal point and so spread out into lone wolves and bush campers.
Using the exact same maps already developed, no new assets, and a simple "InsideBox=true" levels of logic a solution is attainable. I've heard talk about map layers and the plan to continue creating layers to existing maps in order to have different battle experiences. I think I have devised a way to fit into this system. Call it the "Frontlines" or "Sectors" game mode if you want, or slowly convert most game modes into this system, but I have confidence this will solve many of the complaints currently in the primary feedback thread about MSPs.
A new element needs to be added to the map for "controlled territory". Every capture point contains a volume of "controlled territory" around it; several large invisible blocks custom-tailored to the designer's intent, no a hard rule of X-meter radius circles. Within this territory you can deploy MSPs or FOBs if the point is under your control. Outside of this controlled territory an MSP won't work as a spawn point and FOBs can't be built. These volumes of territory are not exclusive to one another; any desired amount of overlap can occur. When it does there is a contested space either side can place an MSP and spawn in.
Immediately, the playspace is constrained to an intelligent choice by the designer, creating nominal front lines and eliminating the oddball FOBs and MSPs. All possible sites for a FOB or an MSP have been pre-approved by the designer's intent. However, the player still has freedom to choose where he will place his spawn points and maintains this core feature of the PR-Squad-PS series of games.
By shaping the controlled space volumes, the designer can craft experiences on each objective because he can approximately control the approaches attackers and defenders take. Depending on what he wants, MSPs and FOBs can be narrowly constrained to villages and roadsides or allowed to sprawl across the map. Both teams will know to check the enemy controlled territory (displayed as faint blue or red on the map) for FOBs and MSPs and the battle in general will become less random and more focused according to the map design.
As the various map layers are completed each one can have different arrangements of controlled space around objectives, vastly changing how the map is played by shifting the permissible ground for MSPs and FOBs. A back-and-forth between two objectives in the hedgerows? Each objective has controlled spaces for the cluster of hedgerows around them, creating a patchwork of sites for MSPs. A farmhouse in the middle, perhaps, is mutually controlled territory and a jumping-off point for an attack or an outpost in defense, creating a mini-objective and a focal point of the conflict.
On neutral objectives, controlled territory might be roughly neutral, extending a few hundred yards north and south along a road and a hundred into the surrounding fields. In other map layers, where the same objective is being attacked from the north, it may only offer controlled territory for fifty meters north of the objective (the defenders cannot spawn too far ahead of the intended playspace) but extends several hundred meters south. Of course, this is really the intended staging area for the next village to the south. Thus, the defender has a large space to the south to park his MSPs, but after this objective falls, the defenders MSPs need to be evacuated back and the attacker can roll forward to the next objective, placing his MSPs in the same approaches the defender just used. There is a feeling and a focus of clearing out the roads to the next objective. After all, if the enemy has to put his MSP in a narrow band of controlled space, creating ambushes in that controlled space becomes very productive. Controlled space may push further along roads than through open country to create high-risk but closer MSP sites, roughly simulating the vehicle transit times on roads versus off road.
Of course, controlled spaces may be as wide-open as the designer wishes. If the designer so wishes, one objective's controlled space can run directly up to the objective itself. It can even encompass the whole map, or consist of disconnected, patchwork drop zones for paratroopers. Maybe all of the forests on the map are in one controlled space and all the cities in another. Possibilities are just as wide open as they are constrained.
Of particular interest to me? Use objectives and controlled spaces to recreate the actual progression of the battles based on the historical records, shaping them to the defensive lines and the jumping-off points of the assaults. Fight the battle phase-by-phase with the same foundational plan.