this is not a formal submission or anything, just a free-form discussion on an idea that I believe Berenton pitched some months ago (and Highway before him, for different reasons) and that's been stuck in my head.
What if we had all the playable units spawn on mission start as AI and, instead of respawning, took over the AI soldiers?
- Performance wise, they could have disabled simulation and wouldn't have a big impact. Could be even hidden inside a building that defines occlusion, so they wouldn't even render in-game until used and thus have basically zero impact.
- Battle-field wise, if a player disconnects, the AI takes over (group leader can direct it) and the person can connect back and take over the same AI soldier again.
- Reinforcements wouldn't have to be a time limit, it would be up to the commanding element (or HQ if needed) to manage the resources available. If all the soldiers/vehicles are "spent", that's it. So it would make natural sense to reinforce in the form of some usable elements serving a specific purpose.
- There wouldn't be infinite weapons/ammo from respawns, all resources would be limited given that the soldiers with loadouts are limited. There could be additional weapon-less or light-loadout roles in case we run out of regular elements, depending on faction and mission setting.
- If a soldier dies, the slot is automatically removed from the lobby by the engine.
I know the concept has some problems and given our history will probably never materialize on full-scale ops, but I would still like to discuss it as a "thought exercise" and hear your ideas.