From discussions on similar topics before, you are probably familiar w/ the position that catapult seaplanes are similar in function to how Aircraft Carriers might operate planes in WT.
WTM 's USS Essex(CV-9) has operable aircraft as implemented now, using what appears to be an extend version of that mechanic. While that game differs mechanically in several respects to here in WT it 's possible that Carriers might find similar implementation here as there( remember the player-usable hangar technician from last fall ? Fully an Enlisted Moscow Assaulter, down to having provision for the PPD-34 submachinegun in it 's code. )
Even if not, it 's a starting point for discussion. So lets start !
First off, ships which launch aircraft are required to have this tag:
Doesn’t matter if they only have a single catapult plane or many, this is required for them to be able to trigger it 's use.
However, Essex is unique in also having the " airfield " tag, which seems to be generally used on maps rather than vehicles.
The " "catapultx " lines are also present here in WT, on AI aircraft carriers.
ship_wtm+aircraft_carrier allows the player to make use of aircraft_carrier_unit_input.das, which appears to trigger the aircraft launch when the number of available aircraft is greater than zero, and appearently after enough time has elapsed from the prev launching. It also seems to provide for switching between the plane and the ship.
All very familiar catapult plane mechanics.
However WTM expands on these: _unit_input also seems to have triggers for changing between launched aircraft, directing a group of aircraft to attack a target, and telling the aircraft to return to the ship.
This is further supported by the contents of " currentweaponstates.nut " and " weaponsbuttonsconfig.nut ", the former seems to direct the presentation of the player HUD, incl. up to four " support aircraft " buttons on along w/ the other weapons controls any ship has access to, and the latter describes the action each button performs. It appears that aircraft groups can be launched and directed to return independently of one another, but only one group attack command can be made at a time. The aircraft switch key is probably related to that.
About those aircraft groups, Essex replaces the " “supportPlane” " line found on other ships, here 's Bismarck 's:
w/ a " “supportPlanes” " line, and much extended description of the aircraft w/in:
From this, we can see that it 's multiple aircraft which can be launched together, and how they’re grouped: torpedo-bomber, bomber, and fighter. I can’t say for certain, but the " “size” " line only appearing w/ Essex 's aircraft seems to mean multiple aircraft groups of a given class can be carried. The B7A2 being it 's torpedobomber is likely an error, the SB2C-1c and TBF-1 are already in the files of WTM.
The formations and launching seems rather similar to what AI AC 's can do in some Historical Campaign missions here in WT, I’ll have to see if I can get some footage showing that.
These textures seem to be the ones used by the switch to group buttons
Ofcourse, since Essex isn’t available for player use yet all of this could change drastically before we see her in action.
We’ll have to wait and see if any of this is relevant to WT later, but it 's still useful to have something directly comparable codewise now - we’ve got something to be on watch for !
Related to this, the gun used by Midway in her earlier fits has now appeared in the files:
Still possible she might appear in an angled-deck fit, but less so for the later ones.