There two rather specific questions concerning unit ranks in TWW.
1 Is it possible to to make multiple ranks of a unit to fight?
Currently spear infantry differs from swordsmen and axemen in stats and animation only, because ranks past the first one do not take part in fighting. And it is fine as long as models with short spears are concerned. However, this prevents proper implementation of pikes and pikemen, which is a real shame, considering that the Empire, for example, is already in 'pike and shot' era in terms of military technology.
As far as I know, there are mods adding pikemen. Most notable example is Cataph's Southern Realms, but pikemen units there still fight with their first rank only. That problem is partially fixed in 'Real Pikemen' submod for Cataph's Southern Realms. As far as I can tell, Real Pikemen utilizes legacy engine function (formations) to enable rear ranks of pikemen to fight. But, as clearly stated by ChaosRobie (Real Pikemen creator) in the mod description, relying on formations causes pathfinding issues when pikemen unit fights single entity targets.
During testing I have also found that even having their AP damage reduced to 0 and fighting a unit with 200 Armour pikemen in formation deal massive damage and barely receive any in return. It seems like a hardcoded behaviour that cannot be changes with mods.
Tl;dr Is it possible to enable second and deeper ranks to fight in close combat without using bugged phalanx formation? Is it possible to do that by using custom animations?
2 Is it possible to prevent rear ranks of units from firing?
To give a little background, when I first played TWW, I tried to spread handgunners as thinly as possible to maximize amount of models able to shoot. But I was disappointed to see models firing their guns in rear ranks of a square formation, that makes no sense to anyone who understands a little bit about early modern warfare. Also this causes balance issues forcing guns to have lower damage than bows and crossbows while 15 mm lead ball of match-lock musket has tremendously more energy and stopping power than any arrow (except magical ones, of course).
So is it possible to prevent ranks of models except one or two in front of the unit from firing? Ideally, it is best to implement caracole (changing of ranks in firing unit to provide constant fire), but I doubt that this is possible on TWW engine.
PS Sorry for my poor English.