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Review: MyTraffic X V5.3 Professional

Burkhard Renk has been producing My Traffic versions for several years, now culminating in this latest 5.3 version which is another milestone forward in producing a FSX world full of AI aircraft that you as a pilot have to interact with.  This FSX version has utilised all of the FSX programming possibilities giving a new sense of realism and practicality.   Anyone that has read my reviews know that I have had issues with AI traffic when I have reviewed airports and scenery and this program now populates all of my FSX airports with large numbers of planes that move, stop, go, taxi, and fly.  This is a great add-on for the Sim even for someone like me that only flies GA planes from small rural airfields.

My Traffic X V5.3 PROFESSIONAL – B. RENK  — The Rush-Hour Review

Background & Stats:  (Courtesy Simmarket & Wikipedia)

Mind Boggling Numbers of AI Aircraft in My Traffic X Professional

  • Number of Aircraft models
  • 187
  • Number of Paints (Liveries)
  • 4,709
  • Number of FSX SP2 models
  • 167
  • Paints on FSX SP2 models
  • 4,543.0
  • Number of airlines (+military units)
  • 1,600 (+400)
  • Enhanced airports
  • 2,200
  • Daily flights worldwide
  • 850,000
  • Weekly Flights
  • 6 million
  • FSX Airports with flight movements
  • 8,200
  • Additional airports
  • 14

AI Traffic is basically the simulation of other aircraft, boats, ships, vehicles, etc in FSX.  This traffic plays an interactive real role in FSX via the radio and ATC, and you can crash into AI traffic.  Real World Airline Schedules can also be built in so that if you fly the big commercial jets you can fly interacting with a real world schedule.  The default AI Traffic is fairly rudimentary and can be also a bit ‘hit and miss’ and third party AI add-ons improve the interactivity of AI traffic with you, the simmer, so that the experience appears to be more realistic.  I know that in the early days of Flight Simulator you could taxi for up to half an hour to take off, waiting your “turn” a long line of AI traffic.

The Manuals

There are several  manuals covering the various aspects of My Traffic and are located in the FSX\My Traffic\Manual folders in both htm and pdf format.  They can also be accessed from the Start\My Traffic menu manuals ie the Editor, Installation and Operation and the AI traffic compendium.  Now I didn’t explore the “Editor” in this review as this requires the FSX + SP2/Acceleration SDK’s to be installed and I don’t have those.  Concentrating on the main ‘My Traffic X Manual” this covers all aspects on how to use and get the best out of the software in FSX.  It has very good illustrations of the various AI planes both in the air and on the ground.  The main manual inexplicably called the ‘index’ manual includes amongst its topics,

  • General info about the program and concepts of AI,
  • A list of aircraft included
  • Installing & Uninstalling
  • My Traffic Communicator
  • Support
  • FAQ’s etc

One gripe is that this manual is in htm format and prints out in quite small type but I have it on good authority from Burkhard that he will produce a pdf version, and true to his word I received the pdf version the next day, and now posted on the forum.  Great customer service.  The various manuals can also be accessed from the ‘Information for You’ tab in My Traffic Communicator see below.

The Airports

For the majority of AFCADS My Traffic X uses the default FSX airports, and in a nice touch, it has added 14 major airports ‘forgotten’ by FSX and these range mainly from Russia, (11) to one in the Ukraine, one in China and one in Thailand.  My Traffic X extends the AI capabilities of the 2000+ FSX airfields even to those that had no AI traffic.  I had a couple of issues with the new airports eg trees growing through parked airplanes, but they were fixed with a patch as soon I as I reported them on the forum.  I really do not have the expertise to check the accuracy of the Airport Facilities Data, AFDs, but they seemed OK at the airports that I flew into.


The Aircraft

My Traffic X adds nearly another 170 planes to FSX displaying 4500+ airline variants  giving rise to nearly 50,000 simulated AI planes, including heavy iron, military and GA variations.

Some of the planes “spotted’ in My Traffic X — just a small selection. One tip to “spot” a large number of planes is to switch to Air Traffic View in FSX and repeatedly press the “A” key and this cycles through a huge selection of AI Planes

Figure 3 A trio of Heavy Iron

Figure 4 B Airways B767

Figure 5 Brazilian

Figure 6 Fine example of a B787

Figure 7 BX Air B767 Cargo

Figure 8 B747 full flight

Figure 9 big and small — the Jumbo Ballet

Figure 10 B737 Tunisair B737

Figure 11 3 Military an A-10 WartHog and pals

Figure 12 A gaggle of military planes

Figure 13 Twin Prop

Figure 14 Twin Prop in flight

The Editor

The My Traffic X editor is a very powerful tool that can only be used with FSX Professional (DeLuxe) editions of FSX and it needs the various SKD.s to be installed as mentioned above.  I did not use the editor, but on reading the manual you become aware that experienced users can just about modify anything to their own personal taste.  You can add planes, airports, airlines, schedules, etc even down to the parking radius of a particular plane with the Editor.

My Traffic Communicator

For the simmer like me who just wants the eye candy of AI Traffic and also at any time be able to interact with that traffic then the ‘Communicator’ makes it easy for you.  After installation you need to open the communicator (accessed via the ‘START’ menu) in order to activate My Traffic X in the scenery library.  Choosing ‘Manage FSX Settings’ gives the option to add the My Traffic X to the scenery library.  By default this will place My Traffic X in the highest priority in the scenery library and it needs to be moved to be between ‘Add-on Scenery’ and ‘Propeller Objects’.  Inexplicably my entry kept moving so it’s worth checking on a regular basis that it is in the correct position.

Figure 15 My Traffic Communicator

Figure 16  My Traffic Communicator Add to scenery library.jpg

Manage FSX settings – Update ATC sound Files

One other choice that is worth implementing is ‘The Sound Pack Update’ which is accessed via the communicator and installs the Edit Voice Pack API enhancing the realism in ATC mode.

Information, Contacts & Downloads

The manual gives great detail of all the functions of the Communicator and includes useful links and the ability to check for updates and to install these automatically in My Traffic X.

Manage FSX settings – Traffic bgl Files

Other options under the ‘Manage FSX settings’ is the ability to search FSX for traffic.bgl files that are incompatible with MTX and might interfere with the correct sighting, placement or AI operation of the My Traffic X planes. I found this to be extremely useful and it solved issues that I had with no planes being seen in KSFO.

Manage FSX settings —‘Manage dll.cfg’ and ‘View Scenery.cfg’

These are two further choices on this menu

Aircraft Schedules (aka Flight Timetables, Aircraft Movements)

There are a variety of aircraft schedules that can be installed from ‘Select Schedules’ tab of the Communicator:

Figure 17 My Traffic Communicator Schedules choices

As you can see for Direct X 9 you the choice 7 different years and in DX10 you have the choice of 2010.  Choosing one of these dates gives you the world aircraft movements for that particular year.  For the review I used the DX9 — 2010 year.

Configure My Traffic

This tab gives several options on how to configure the visual details of the My Traffic planes ranging from low resolution and animations to full resolution and animations.  You can also remove FSX default traffic (recommended) or restore it as necessary.  There is even a choice for installing planes for historic flights.

In the Sim

I have two installs of My Traffic, one on a dedicated FSX SSD under Windows 7 (i7 860; GF260GTX) with very few 3rd party add-ons and one on my other system (E8600; Vista 64; GF9800GT) with several, scenery, planes and other add-ons.  In both systems the FSX loading times were extended with the SSD much faster.  On the Vista system load times for FSX starting and then after choosing an airport were very much extended, but both loaded without incident.  On both systems under Settings\Customise\Traffic\Aviation Traffic I chose settings for both Airline Traffic density, GA traffic Density; between 10% to max 90%.  On high settings at complex busy airports eg KSEA, KORD, etc the frame rates were affected to a lesser extent on my SSD system and at low settings frame rates were only minimally affected.  For my system the optimum settings (GA & Airliners) for quantity of AI and not too much impact on frame rates the E8600 were 50 – 60%, and 70 – 80% on the i7 860, respectively.  I hasten to add that these figures would be different on any other computer, but show that by choosing the optimum density you get the quantity of AI you need without seriously impacting on performance.  It was great for me because even at the small airfields that I fly from there was no traffic that I could see and interact with.

Intelligent Placement

In the main this was excellent, and what I mean by this, is that for example at say a South African Airport I saw more African based airlines (South African predominantly) than say European ones.  I repeated this across the 5 continents and it was pretty consistent.  I’m sure it does not have 100% accuracy, so expect to see a few surprises.  For instance, at one the air force bases in the USA I spotted a foreign military plane from Russia — nice touch.

Figure 18 Johannesburg showing mainly South African planes arriving for the world cup

Figure 19 A Russian visitor to a USAF base

Aircraft Taxiing and Parking

This is excellent and I had no issues with either Aerosoft AES or DBS GPS, with the My Traffic Planes behaving themselves and keeping to the taxiways.  ATC seemed to work OK, I was warned on several occasions to stop taxiing as such and such plane was in the way.  On other occasions there was no warning so you have to keep a sharp lookout for planes and vehicles.  Flying from the busier airports after speaking to ATC, and getting permission to taxi at peak times I found myself following a gaggle airliners with several planes ahead of me before I could take-off.  Landing at the busier airports was similar with ATC giving “holding” instructions if there was a lot of traffic.  However, ATC did forget me on a couple of occasions and I was flying further and further away from where I wanted to be.  On the whole a very satisfying experience

Night Textures

The night lighting on the My Traffic planes was good with the tail and passenger windows being illuminated.  It is explained in the forum as to why night lighting similar to flyable planes would add a tremendous load to any system making it virtually unflyable.

Figure 20 Thai Night

Figure 21 B747 at night

Figure 22 Night View in flight

Figure 23 Cargo flight at night

Third Party Compatibility

Once I placed the My Traffic entry in the correct position in the scenery library, I had no issues with my third party add-on airports/scenery including, Fly Tampa LOWW, Imagine Sim KSJC or Aerosoft Monastir X,  or with Tongass X, etc

Add-ons to My Traffic

SuperTrafficBoard (STB)

A demo version of this versatile program is included in MTX.  Basically STB displays flight information as seen at any airport, and it introduces new and exciting ways of interacting with your AI traffic.  For example in STB you can monitor and control approach airspace preventing many go-arounds.  It also dynamically optimises the traffic volumes across airports for the best possible performance.    In the demo it works very well at Heathrow airport and I found it to be all in all a very useful tool to have installed with MTX.  I reckon that this would be great for all the VRS FA/18-E simmers as it would give the locations of any airborne tankers, so that you could then refuel in mid-air. (http://www.supertrafficboard.com)

Boeing 777-HD

There is a demo included available in American Airline’s and British Airway’s liveries, but it is only visible at Heathrow and I don’t think that I spotted it!!  Here is a picture of a BA B777 taken at Heathrow.

Figure 24 Possible sighting of B777 HD at Heathrow

The MTX AI Planes — visual quality

Oops!  I nearly forgot this one.  On the whole the models are nicely rendered and look realistic.  Throughout the review I used the quality-optimised planes and switching to performance-optimised only caused a minor loss of the finer detail, but affected frame rates considerably less.  More importantly they behave in pretty good realistic manner make the simming experience much more interactive.  With over 160 aircraft and over 4500 liveries there is a lot of quality images on show.

A selection showing the quality of the MTX planes:

Figure 25 A Mysterious Russian at a Military airfield

Figure 26 USAF HERC nice detail

Figure 27 B747 Purple People Eater

Figure 28 Qantas trio at Sydney — realistic

Figure 29 Air Tahiti Nui Beauty

Figure 30 Good detail in flight

Figure 31 MTX CH53 Sea Stallion Helicopter in Flight

Figure 32 BA B777 HD taxiing

Figure 33  Heavy Iron Gathering

Summing Up

In this review I am the first to admit that I only scratched the surface of the features that My Traffic X can deliver, but take my word for it, as it certainly will appeal to all types and levels of flight simmers.  For me personally, it is a great add-on, I can now fly through my GA skies populated with AI traffic displaying realistic textures and more importantly accurate flight characteristics.  This program is constantly evolving and so it will only get better as time goes by.  I only used the very simple parts of the program as all I wanted was to populate my personal simming skies, but for the advanced simmer there are features of this program in which he or she change and manipulate features to the ultimate realistic level.  Support is excellent, and the forum is full of useful information, well worth regular visits.  The developer, Burkhard Renk has put a lot of effort into creating a unique piece of software and such is his supportive nature he even welcomes the opposition (UT 2) in his forum. I will never fly without AI traffic from now on.

WOW Factor: 9½ out of 10.

Peter Hayes, Australia, June 2010

Table of the Important Bits:

Publisher:

B. RENK

Supplier:

http://secure.simmarket.com/b.-renk-My Traffic-x-pro.phtml

Download
File Size:

FSX: 1.4GB

Installed File Size:

10GB

Simulator Requirement:

FSX SP1, SP2 (Acceleration/Gold)) DX10 preview is also supported.

OS Requirements:

Win XP, Vista and/or Win 7;

Testing System:

Intel E8600, 4GB DDR 800 RAM, Vista 64 SP2, nVidia 9800 GT, 197.45 Driver;
FSX Gold; 750GB SATA II Seagate 7200 HDD. 
No Tweaks all standard and no over-clocking.

Scenery:

FSX Default; UTX USA/CAN/AK, GEXn FS Genesis, ProMesh various “BOB”, Aerosoft “AES”.

Installation:

Installation: Unzip the zip file and run the self extracting exe file.  Should be installed with Admin rights — VISTA/WIN7 right click “Run as administrator”.

Manuals / Documentation

There are several manuals in htm and pdf formats: 
htm Installation (install and Installation_Details); Operation (Index – 14pp); and Editor (Editor_Manual – 37pp)

Pdf: AI Traffic (compendium -47pp); VTBS (Thai Charts — 6pp)

There are also manuals for a “demo” version of SuperTrafficBoard v2.2 (included with My Traffic X) — not reviewed.

Uninstallation

Details for removal are published in the manual.

Support:

http://forums.simflight.com/viewforum.php?f=4

Homepage:

http://www.My Traffic2004.com/

Updates

Version 5.3 patch

About Miguel Blaufuks

4 comments to Review: MyTraffic X V5.3 Professional

  • Jim Young

    Great review Peter! This is one of my favorite programs too and I especially like the fact the developer, Burkhard Renk, continues to update this program (even as we speak! err write!). He is constantly looking for improvements to the AI aircraft and is very active and responsive on his forum. I’m happy to see you are impressed too and gave this excellent program a very favorable review. I wholeheartedly agree!

    Best regards,
    Jim Young

  • Burkhard’s support is most certainly top notch and the package is improving all the time. Just because a version is released, unlike many developers it’s not a case of “we’ll allow one patch and that’s it”, he always seems to be there, fixing something or adding something in the background.

    I don’t think any of the AI packages currently available could possibly cover what every user wants, but right now MyTrafficX probably comes closest to that mark.

  • Peter Hayes

    Jim and Ian
    I just found this piece of software so good in every conceivable way. You have no idea all of the idiotic questions and sprious comments that I asked/made to Burkhard but he always managed to answer them in a concise calm manner. Excellent support!
    MTX has made my GA flying so much better.
    Thanks for comments T303 next!
    Regards
    PeterH

  • Alaa Riad

    Hi
    Any possible conflicts with REX2 specialy textures ?
    Thank you
    Alaa