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Plugin Update : WorldTraffic v3.5 by Classic Jet Simulations (Ascend Tech Simulations) Although the X-Plane Simulator comes with it's own built in traffic system (A.I.). It is by all accounts quite a very basic way of bringing traffic into your airport environment and is limited in it's scope. Let us be realistic here in that empty airports are really boring, and don't reflect the hustle and bustle of the real world environment, unless you are in the middle of a pandemic, but we are (almost) now back to normal. Basically in the X-Plane Simulator you have three choices. One is X-Life Deluxe by JARDesign. This application expands on and hitches a ride on the back of the default X-Plane A.I. System, it is clever, but never really took off (no pun intended) with the users. Second version is a basic newcomer, although now about exactly three years old, and this application is Traffic Global from JustFlight. I'm a big fan of Traffic Global with features of almost zero impact on your frame rate and a wide variety of aircraft. But it is very expensive of over US$50 (US$52.99), and the aircraft also fly quite strangely if even a little weird... with their dive-bomber tactics, and the very poor takeoff and landing animations, TG is however a nice background filler application and in reality nothing more. The original and the best is WorldTraffic by Classic Jet Simulations (Now called "Ascend Tech Simulations"), or Greg Hofer, but for now we will still refer it to it's old distinguishable name as CJS. The original World Traffic (WT) plugin was released in early 2013, by Greg Hofer of Classic Jet Simulations and is a concept by Francesco Missarino of Aircraft3D. Basically WorldTraffic is a plugin to create a dynamic world around your flying aircraft, this is in the form of other aircraft in which you can interact with and create a visually dynamic environment in that it fills up airports and its gates and has real form routes that the aircraft will fly between with it's own built in ATC (Air Traffic Control) system which is quite good. It all sounds quite simple, but then the machinations of creating this environment are extremely complex on top of an already complex simulator. The early versions of WT were that extremely complex and had all their own home made groundroutes and parking allocations. Only a few really mastered the complex ideas, it was very good, don't get me wrong, but also very laborious to use and maintain. The bonus was you could edit almost every area to match the correct airport layouts and (Gate) bay allocations, and the pushback element was also extremely good with start up timings. But there are a lot of very different airports and groundroutes to cover out there, so it had it's limitations. When Traffic Global was released it took a different path into automating the groundroutes on the fly, and in using X-Plane's built-in ATC ground-routing system. To be honest it was a very efficient and a far better system to use, and the WorldTraffic update v3.0 (WT3) reflected this idea with a new built in autogenerator to build the same ground routes off the ATC routes, but you could still edit and change the routing details within the application. WT3 also changed the aircraft download system from a multi-download 9 Gb set of aircraft files, to then install just to a single file aircraft download of 1.49Gb. WorldTraffic v3 was then a huge step forward from the earlier more manual input context, and for the users of whom revelled earlier in this sort of complex minute, then they absolutely loved it. But for most of the rest of us, it also created a sort of barrier of access and the ease of use that you could get easily from Traffic Global. So the v3.0 version upgrade significantly closed that user and accessibility divide. The quality however really shines in realism of WT3 in operation. It fills out your airports with very high quality aircraft, and it creates dynamic layouts of airfields. Full "Flight Display" and "Aircraft Info" boards means you see all the activity live. WorldTraffic Radar is a separate install... used to track the departing or arriving aircraft, or even the aircraft enroute passing in your area. So here is the next significant update to WorldTraffic in version v3.5, personally it should have been noted as v4.0 as it has quite a lot of changes from the already drawn out v3 development run. Here is the extensive update v3.5 list. ATC supports IFR and VFR flight requires that users use valid ATC frequencies with frequencies listed on display has auto-tune option for frequencies user may be required to make speed changes or enter holding patterns to maintain separation gives taxi paths to and from runways has interface for other 3rd party ATC products allows for user-defined VFR airspace exit points so ATC can vector VFR flights to these positions Particle effects for contrails (wing/engine), tire smoke, afterburner flame Aircraft base file format modified to include particle placement x/y/z fields for particle emitters Labels for AI aircraft which you can turn on and off to identify aircraft near you Color/brightness options for arriving traffic, departing traffic, or transiting traffic Can turn labels on or off as well for planes on the ground Can set min and max draw distances for labels Can set data you want in the labels like telemetry info, airport info, aircraft type Airport Operations File Changes DynamicTaxiRoutesOnly field added - normally set to 1 (true) but can be set to 0 if the airport creator still wants to use some custom ground routes. It will use whatever is defined or create them dynamically for parking defs without fixed ground routes. I think the dynamic ones work pretty well now though. I plan on letting the airport author specify an alternate apt.dat for specific parking spots in the next update if you want planes to follow a very specific route for 1 or more parking spots. This should get rid of the need for ground routes entirely. option to specify if touch and gos are allowed on a runway, default is true for airports with not much traffic and false for airports with lots of traffic but can be changed. add option to write out default airport ops file added new fields for airspace dimensions (used by ATC), VFR airspace exit points (for vectoring VFR traffic), taxi bridge definitions, and exit waypoint for STARs for STARs used for multiple runways added fields for approaches to specify weather minimums add support for bridges for some scenery packages that have bridges that planes can taxi over which sometimes aren't defined correctly causing the AI planes to drop through them Diversions now supported - if weather is below minimums for an airport, it will close to traffic and aircraft will fly to alternate airports. If the weather is marginal, some planes will attempt approaches but will divert if minimum conditions aren't met. GA Traffic Improvements Allow specification of visual approaches for GA traffic (others too) which are often used in mountainous areas. Examples are included for LOWI. Added support for custom routes so GA planes can follow these on out and back flights instead of flying a random pattern. Also allows the user to create specific routes for airliners instead of auto-generated flight paths. GA traffic will avoid mountainous terrain much better GA planes will now often do touch-and-gos at airports that aren't busy GA planes especially light props will often not fly in IFR weather. About 85% will stay parked. Created auto flight schedules for GA flights between airports for better realism Better parking spot allocations - parking spots for bigger planes will be reserved for those when a smaller plane is looking for a spot unless there are no available spot for the smaller type. This improves problem with bigger planes not being able to find parking spots on landing - most noticeable for spots shared between light props and light jets Added support of Navigraph approach transitions New separation logic (3.2) Interception - probably not included Follow me truck Back-tracking logic improved Wind gust modeling Auto-push-back logic so that AI planes push back to the taxi route path so no parking def customization required Prevent AI planes from running into user in flight or on runway if the user is not using WT ATC Support for ABC Camera plugin Added support for user defined text files for custom arrivals and approaches especially useful for GA planes flying in mountainous terrain Added support for simultaneous runway operations for intersecting runways so planes will wait for other planes taking off on an intersecting runway before departing Auto-throttle traffic at busy airports so traffic does not back up in holding patterns Planes will taxi faster on landing until they get to their exit Planes will brake harder to make runway exits to avoid back-tracking Handle drive-through parking spots Flip planes around in parking spots at a random time after landing if they enter and exit the parking spot from opposite headings check for runway name mismatches between navigraph data and x-plane data so when a runway name changes due to drifting magnetic north from say rwy34 to rwy35, it is still recognized as the same runway add parking def option to test dynamic taxi routes ___________________ ATC The ATC in WT3 was always very good. It works better here because it only focuses on your route and not in a global context like it does in X-Plane... so it it easy and quite realistic to use. The v3.5 update makes even better in that it now supports supports both IFR and VFR flight, and requires that the users use the valid ATC frequencies with frequencies listed on display, a built in auto-tune option for frequencies means it is also independent of X-Plane. More complex commands now require users to make speed changes or to enter holding patterns to maintain separation, and it gives you your taxi paths to and from runways and has interfaces with other 3rd party ATC products. This also allows for user-defined VFR airspace exit points so the ATC can vector VFR flights to these positions... Overall a very big revision of an already good ATC, I like it very much. Aircraft Over the years WT3 has been far more ambitious than the other Traffic tools because it has a very large but talented community base behind it. So aircraft are far more up to date and are modeled with mostly the newer NEW-GEN aircraft and far more aircraft types including GA and Private Jets, and the quality detailing is far better of all the three traffic applications. Over the years particle effects for contrails (wing/engine), tire smoke and afterburner flame have all been added into the basic aircraft designs... ... and the aircraft lighting effects are just as good as (and in areas even better) than your payware aircraft, with fine tuned realistic lighting. So all of the aircraft look brilliant and highly realistic when passing enroute, and the aircraft also show on your TCAS screens. Labels Labels are new. You still have the original "Flight INFO" data in the left lower screen, but now also you have more label information in the air and on the ground... .... these labels are set in three colours, and in that you can also choose any other colour to cover... Arrivals, Departures and Enroute aircraft labels if you desire, and these colour options and other parameters are controlled via the menu selections. Diversions Diversions are now supported. So if the weather is below minimums for an airport, it will now close to traffic and the aircraft will then fly to other alternate airports. If the weather is marginal, some planes will attempt approaches but will then divert if minimum conditions aren't met. That is a great feature, and just wait until we get X-Plane12 and it's new seasonal system, then the diversion feature will come into it's own... note WT3.5 has already been tested and passed ready for X-Plane12. General Aviation Earlier WT didn't focus much on GA Traffic, the aircraft were in there, but only at a basic level. Then gradually over the versions (or years) the GA aspect has had a lot of development from CJS, and here in v3.5 another big step has been taken forward. WT3.5 now allows the unique specification of visual approaches for GA traffic (others too) which is often used in mountainous areas. Examples included are for LOWI. There is now also support for custom routes GA within the application. So GA planes can now follow these routings on "out and back" flights, and this is instead of the GA aircraft just flying around in a random pattern. This then allows the user to create specific routes for GA aircraft to follow instead of auto-generated flight paths. This auto function will still happen if you choose to as there have been created auto flight schedules for just GA aircraft flights between airports for better realism. GA traffic now not fly into mountainous terrain as bad as before, and for a bit of fun then go and search out for GA planes that will now often do "touch-and-gos" at airports that aren't busy. Finally in bad weather GA planes especially light props will often not fly as often as in and about 85% of them will stay parked or grounded. Again related to seasons. Better Parking There is now better parking spot allocations. The parking spots for bigger planes will now be reserved for those when a smaller plane is looking for a spot unless there are no available spots for the smaller aircraft type. The aircraft mix should also be far better between the Heavies, Jet, Light Jet and regional allocations as well. You can of course still custom stipulate of which gate takes what aircraft type you want. And you can still designate a particular gate at an airport on arrival for your own flight, so no more hunting full bays for a bay or gate to park at. WT3.5 is also now far better in separating the different airport areas, like putting cargo aircraft correctly into their separate cargo facilities. So now no more Cargo aircraft at terminal gates. Navigraph You can use your account Navigraph data (separate download) to keep all the navigation data totally up to date (recommended), but now also added in is the support for Navigraph approach transitions as well. Another clever fix is that WT3.5 will check for runway name mismatches between the Navigraph data and the X-Plane data, so when a runway name changes due to drifting magnetic north from say Rwy34 to Rwy35, it is still recognised as the same runway. This actually happens a lot more than you think it does, and this is a well thought out idea to cover the discrepancy. Separation Logic WT3 always had a few fobiles that it struggled to dial out. The biggest was trying to sort out the order of the landing sequence. WT3 would usually tie itself into knots trying to work it all out and mostly in then placing aircraft in eternal holding patterns. If you had the time, it was brilliant fun to watch these patterns eventually sort themselves out. Usually it would take an hour or so to work itself through all the traffic build up... and you would be just about to give up on an aircraft in a forever hold, and it would then be given clearance to land... a sort of brilliant time-wasting but animated screensaver. So again there is new separation logic (3.2) to try to order the aircraft into the landing phase more realistically and "Auto-Throttle" the traffic at busy airports so the traffic does not back up into the dreaded holding patterns. Also there is also the need to keep the realistic separation distances between the larger and smaller aircraft types. And it looks like it is far, far more better overall in this aspect, but there are still too many go-arounds in my eyes as there was before, another curse to refine. Back-tracking logic is also improved. There is now also "Follow me truck" and "ABC Camera" plugin support. NOTES The biggest change is the not officially noted area in this v3.5 update... framerate. I changed to TrafficGlobal for several reasons, even though being a total WT convert. Traffic was created instantly in TG, of which you still have to manually generate the traffic here in WT3.5, and that is still a slow process. In fact when you generate your route it will take a good few minutes (even up to 5 Min) for all the traffic to spurn all their departure and arrival routes. So don't take that initial empty view as if it was all you have in active traffic, as the airport will soon become very busy as the spurning takes effect. Certainly I would still like an instant on with WT, but the setup probably doesn't allow for that, but it should be able to select your current airport and generate directly from that to sort of animate the startup process, with you adding in your route later. WT was also poor in timeshifting, say if you wanted a different day or night (essential in reviewing) time, it usually froze, were as TG doesn't care what you do. Timeshifting in the application now is certainly now far better and I haven't had any freezes (yet). So that is far more impressive as well. Framerate was poor back then as well. There was always a niggling stutter on all the traffic, it drove me nuts, it felt like cycle or loop thing, but it was so annoying it felt the application was a bit unrefined. The stutter in v3.5 is gone and so has the framerate loss of around 5 fr, that with added in of the xEnviro pull of another 10 fr (average), created in using both applications, it caused an overall worse performance, again that was another reason I moved to TG, which had zero effect on the frame rate... okay then 0000.5 effect. But I'm more than happy here with the far better performance of v3.5, a big if not again another huge improvement on before. Last note is from the developer "I've tried to make things be as automatic as possible now in WT 3.5 so you shouldn't need to define ground routes. And you shouldn't need to define parking defs unless you want to give them priorities or assign some as for international terminals or modify push-back but even the latter should mostly work now in this update. I defined special cases to deal with the taxi network lines extending to parking spots or cases where the plane just has to back up to the taxi network." Summary Traffic is essential in any Simulator, and in X-Plane you have a choice of Laminar Research's default (A.I), or three payware options, X-Life Deluxe, Traffic Global and WorldTraffic. WorldTraffic is the oldest here, released almost a decade ago, but was always the best. Early on it was a serious complicated beast, but since version v3.0 it became a more accessible and far more easier to use traffic application. Here is the next major update in v3.5 (really should be noted as v4.0 with the extensive list of changes). Again ease of use and more refinement are the orders of the day, and that goes across to even the far more easier installation and setup aspects of the plugin. Including one download for the application and one download for the aircraft (plus your latest Flight Schedules). In v3.5 the main areas that have been refined is the built-in ATC, highly upgraded aircraft and quality with new particle effects for contrails (wing/engine), tire smoke, afterburner flame and better and more modern lighting. Label feature is new to give you more on the screen information on the placement of aircraft and the phase they are in (Departures, Arrivals and Enroute) data. General Aviation also gets a major upgrade with real routes, better awareness of mountainous areas, and doing touch and go's at quiet airports. Better parking logic sorts the big aircraft out from the small ones and allocates them to the right gate or stand. Navigraph is more supported with the newer up to date data and the support of Navigraph approach transitions as well. Separation Logic both in the air and on the ground has again been revised to v3.2 and you will now get Diversions if the airport is closed to the weather. There is now also a "Follow me truck" and "ABC Camera" plugin support. Every Simulator needs a Traffic application, as the default A.I. is not going to give you the atmosphere of a busy airport to make your flying realistic. WorldTraffic is the best, better yet again in it's v3.5 refined form. It gives you the high quality in aircraft and all the custom features at a value price, it can also be easily and regularly updated with the latest Navigation and AFRE (real world routes). Overall it is as realistic with creating a real world traffic environment as you could wish for... Highly Recommended. _________________ The World Traffic 3.5 by Classic Jet Simulations (Ascend Tech Simulations) application is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : World Traffic 3.5 Price is: $29.95 (US$10 off!) This version upgrade version is free to all current WT3 users. Features v3.5 Automated Installers Flight Setup Window Auto Ground Route Generation Auto Flight Plan Generation Airport Operations File has expanded functionality Parking Assignments Window Flight Information Window Updated Aircraft Definition Improved Traffic Separation Diversions now supported Particle effects for contrails ATC supports IFR and VFR flight requires that users use valid ATC frequencies with frequencies listed on display has auto-tune option for frequencies user may be required to make speed changes or enter holding patterns to maintain separation gives taxi paths to and from runways has interface for other 3rd party ATC products allows for user-defined VFR airspace exit points so ATC can vector VFR flights to these positions SID/STAR/Approach improved Requirements X-Plane 11- Support for X-Plane 12 (when available) Windows, Mac and Linux. Standard X-Plane requirement apply Current version: 3.5 (April 29th 2022) Designed by Greg Hofer @ Classic Jet Simulations Support forum for World Traffic (and a ton of resources). _________________ Plugin Update Review by Stephen Dutton 30th April 2022 Copyright©2022: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)