Publisher: Just Flight
Over the last few months, Just Flighthas been showing off their much-anticipated traffic add-on for X-Plane11. Traffic Global fills the simulator world with real-world airlinesand scheduled flights that follow their real-world counterpartsthrough updated flight plans.
In this review, I will take a closer look at Traffic Global and seewhat it adds to the X-Plane world as well as looking to see if itholds up to its pre-release hype!
Traffic Global fills the X-Plane world with over 60 differentaircraft types and over 860 airline liveries. These are all based onreal-world craft, allowing for much more lifelike simulation.
Better yet, it uses the exact same .bgl files that FSX and P3D useto compile each flight plan, adding familiarity across both platforms(and in essence making flight plan updates much easier to dotoo!).
It also comes with a number of tools and user interfaces tointeract with the AI aircraft too. When sitting at an airport you cantrack departures and arrival times to moving aircraft, or open theradar menu when airborne to see which planes will be crossing yourpath.
Download And Install
Downloading and installing Traffic Global is an easy process withthe Just Flight installer. Download the software, login to theinstaller with your Just Flight details and the tool does therest.
Traffic Global comes with a 26-page manual which explains eachfeature in a high level of detail, as well as a number of differentcustomisation options that they have made available for theiradd-on. I do very much recommend going through this document as thereare a number of key commands that you will certainly find useful infinding your way around.
There are also a number of customisation files in the root TrafficGlobal folder too that allow you to exclude different airports orairlines if you don't want to feature them, in particular, add missingairports or liveries that the base simulator may not include. Forexample, the missing ZGHA Huanghua and ROAH Naha sceneries affect17,415 flights between them! You can also enable sporadic GA trafficby enabling flight schools at certain airfields.
Flying With Traffic Global
The first thing you notice when loading up a flight with TrafficGlobal active is how populated the simulator world is! This isespecially true when starting in a busy airport hub, as the number ofaircraft that can be there during busy periods can bephenomenal. Aircraft also fill up gates as well as the air meaning ifan aircraft isn't scheduled to fly for another four hours, it will sitthere until it is ready to go.
When you look at the level of detail that the AI aircraft modelshave too, you can see that a lot of work has gone into making theaircraft look like their real-world counterparts. While it certainlywon't look as good as a fully-functioning high-fidelity singularaircraft add-on, Just Flight did a fantastic job at creating low-polyrepresentations that look good up close as well as furtherafield. Liveries are done in 2K texture resolution, allowing forplenty of details to be visible on the aircraft too.
These low-poly models also mean that there is very little to noimpact on your FPS when traffic density is high. London Heathrow orNew York JFK with maximum AI density will only drop 1 or 2 FPS atmost, which is remarkable when the world can easily become filled with400+ airliners.
The way that JF has also enabled the AI aircraft to 'interact' withyour player-controlled plane too is smart, allowing for completesimulation awareness both in the air and on the ground. When taxiingfrom the runway to a gate, the AI is smart enough to determine yourpath and avoid you where possible, removing conflicting andpotentially deadlocking situations on the ground.
In the air however, and on its own, TCAS and other aircraftdetecting features will not work. This is because X-Plane by defaultuses AI aircraft positions as 'multiplayer' planes. However, TrafficGlobal bypasses this. In order for these planes to be detected, ituses a small part of the default AI system to plot the closest 19aircraft (simulator limit) to your location. These 'planes' areinvisible and don't affect the TG aircraft, other than plotting themon a map and allowing these aircraft to then appear on TCAS and radardisplays.
Aircraft sounds have also been expertly done. Engine recordings aredone to a very high quality and especially in a busy airport canreally add to the depth of your simulator. Little sounds too such asflap movements and touchdown squeal are also small but welcomed extrasthat really add to the living feel of this add-on.
Lights and flaps will also operate at their correct times,following real-world regulations. This means landing lights will beactive on the runway up to 10,000 feet, taxi lights only used on theground, strobes and anti-collision when ready to start, and lastly,position lights whenever aircraft are powered.
There are however one or two small things that I have noticed andcertainly wouldn't mind seeing adjusted.
Firstly, the lack of correct aircraft tail codes. Now I don't meanthat there should be tens of thousands of textures to facilitate eachaircraft in existence because that would be crazy! But when you lookat the Flight Schedule mode, the aircraft IDs do not match any thatreal-world airlines have. Databases showcasing these can be foundonline, and certainly matching them would be an extra level of detailI'd like to see.
The second is populating more 'rural' airports. While major hubswill always have aircraft on the ground, more regional placescertainly do not. Airports like EGSS London Stansted or LIPZ VeniceMarco Polo both serve major populaces, but may see sub 40 aircraftmovements a day which is far from what the airports would normallysee. There are also likely a number of flights that do not appear dueto schedule changes or at least not available when Just Flightcompiled their database, but this has also meant that some smallerairports with basic-level operation, such as EFLP Lappeenranta, willnever see an aircraft fly, when in reality it will serve two or threeflights daily.
But that's not to say that Just Flight is letting these issuesgo. They have been very quick to release updates and patches, fixingbugs and tweaking AI behavior allowing aircraft to fly much morenaturally. Initially, there were occasions where planes would 'touchdown' short of the runway, or look unnatural with a very shallow angleof attack when landing and taking off. These have now been mitigatedand are very rare to occur, showing the developers interest inreleasing as good an add-on as they are able.
The three user interfaces also allow you to look deeper into theaircraft around you. The first is a flight radar that showcases planesrelative to your position, the second is a schedule which gives you alist of departures and arrivals from nearby airports, as well asflight origins and types, and finally, an airport planner whichpinpoints on a ground map the locations of AI planes and whether ornot they're active or parked. Clicking on a plane within this menucenters the camera on it, allowing you to track its progress withinthe sim and see more information, such as its altitude, speed andcallsign, similar to the AI viewing mode of FSX and P3D (somethingX-Plane does not allow for by default).
Traffic Global has added a lot to the overall simulation of X-Planeand is an add-on I certainly see on improving, especially in regardsto future database updates, plus the addition of further airlines andliveries.
Opinion And Closing Remarks
Overall, I do like the way that Traffic Global fills the world withairlines, and the simple yet effective interaction it has with myuser-controlled aircraft too. As mentioned previously, Just Flightshould also be commended for the little to none FPS hit that these AImodels exhibit.
While there were a few nitty-gritty moments with the initialrelease version of the add-on, these have now very much been rectifiedand there are certainly no more major issues that stand out (just theminor ones mentioned in this article).
X-Plane has always been lacklustre with its AI traffic, but ifyou're looking to revamp your flying world, especially if you don'tlook to online networks such as VATSIM or IVAO to fill your simulatorskies, then this is certainly the add-on for you.
The Technical Bit
- X-Plane 11 (11.30 or later recommended)
- Multi-core 64-bit CPU (4-core/8-thread or better recommended)
- 8 GB memory, more recommended (approximately 500MB overhead beyond the normal X-Plane requirement)
- DirectX-11 graphics card
- Windows 7 or later (Mac support not implemented yet)
- 7 GB disk space (SSD recommended)
Review PC Spec/images/reviews/globaltr/traffic-global.jpg
- X-Plane 11
- Windows 10 Professional
- 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 6700K Processor
- 16 GB RAM
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660
Purchase Just Flight - Traffic Global
Traffic Global is expandable; check out the additional aircraft created byRobin Tannahill:
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