I can honestly say I have gone full circle with commercial AI add-ons. I started with the original My Traffic, moved onto FS Live Traffic, then after that I went to Traffic 2005. Now I am looking at My Traffic 2006! With that in mind, I needed to be really sold on this one as I was quite happy with the product I already had, but I found that the biggest selling points for me was the built-in time machine and the addition of military traffic. This, coupled with the reputation of the original My Traffic and the list of features, I was ready to jump in and go!
Installation and Documentation
First off, if you own any other AI package whether it be freeware or payware you need to make sure to remove it from your installation of MSFS 2004, otherwise you will experience an array of problems when trying to make MY TRAFFIC 2006 work correctly. The problem resides in not replacing the traffic.dll file properly and as each program is different, it is very important to make sure you are running only one AI dll, otherwise you may end up with unwanted default AI, or worse yet CTD’s!
I received my download from www.simmarket.com and the installation was simple and pretty straight forward. Once you have completed the install process, you will find a new folder in your start menu aptly named MY TRAFFIC 2006 and it includes the documentation and a relatively easy to use AI editor that will allow you to create your own AI flights as well as add your own aircraft to the mix and a slew of automatic features to get you up and running.
The documentation comes in two parts, one manual is in HTML format for the overall basics of My Traffic and the other being in the form of an ACROBAT file that covers the editor portion of this add-on and is roughly 44 pages long. I do recommend, if you have the ink to spare, to print it out as it will make understanding the editor much easier. The manual is straight forward and covers just about everything you need to know in detail about utilizing and taking full advantage of what MY TRAFFIC 2006 has to offer.
The Meat of the Add-on: The Aircraft!
MY TRAFFIC 2006 includes a vast array of GMAX AI aircraft; they include everything from commercial, military and general aviation. AI aircraft are typically not as detailed as flyable aircraft within the sim, but MY TRAFFIC 2006 does offer some visually pleasing aircraft. Although, I have found that some are the same models that came in earlier releases of MY TRAFFIC and the visual detail does look a little on the basic side as compared to some of the other AI programs out there. I guess the tradeoff here is detail for frame rates and I think that is an acceptable trade, as you don’t want a bunch of AI aircraft slowing your own flight experience down.
The list of features that come with this product is impressive and I will
list a few here:
As you look at all of the aircraft that are in this add-on, you will find that they are region specific. There are certain GA planes that you will see in the European countries that you won’t see in the US and this goes for the commercial and aviation traffic, though I have found some minor errors in placement of said aircraft and this really isn’t the programs fault. This can be corrected via the editor if need be.
The aircraft list is impressive and is available via the HTML documents included with this add-on. You will find yourself in awe as there are over 160 different aircraft types that range from 1965 through the present. For example, in 1965-1970 you will see mostly 727’s, 707’s, and Caravelles, as well as a nice array of General Aviation aircraft for that time period, then moving into the 80’ and into the 90’s you will find the Dash 8’s, 747’s, MD-11’s, the Concorde and the introduction of the Airbus fleet as well as newer GA aircraft. Moving into the year 2000 and beyond will introduce you to the most commonly used planes of today, the Embraer 170’s and the 190’s, 757’s, 767’s, 777’s and the occasional A380 as well as a nice array of modern GA aircraft, like the cirrus and the Piper Meridian. Each aircraft is created using GMAX, and you will find that the commercial and military jets are considerably more detailed then that of GA. In fact, when utilizing the GA aircraft you will find that My Traffic 2006 uses default aircraft, this is fine as many of them have new paints and fit in great with the surroundings.
Originally released as a separate add-on for the last version of My Traffic, was the inclusion of a military AI package and frankly this was the biggest selling point for me as products like Traffic 2005 do not offer military traffic. My Traffic incorporates this package and gives you global coverage of said aircraft. As with the Commercial and GA aircraft, you can turn the clock back on the military planes as well, but it is most impressive set to modern times. This is because the farther you go back the less traffic is available. For me, setting the clock back to 1965 and 1970 offered some satisfaction, but the military AI package is best set to 1990-2006! When you go back to 1990, the days of the Top Gun craze, you will notice the F-14 Tomcat at almost every military outlet, especially the carriers. Setting it to the year 2006, you will find that the F-14 has been phased out and replaced with the Super Hornet. I found that setting my traffic to the year 2006 gave me the best array of aircraft, as almost all of the major military bases become littered with fighters, transports, re-fuelers and bombers.
Included with this add-on is a relatively nicely done set of aircraft carriers and I have to say that to really get the most out of these carriers is to keep your time set between 1990 and 2006, as going back to 1965 or 1970 will result in empty carrier decks. I was most impressed with the carriers parked in Norfolk, Virginia; this makes a nice platform for watching military air traffic. Each carrier is equipped with a wide array of aircraft and choppers and is well worth exploring. I especially like the functioning elevator platforms and other accompanying animations on the ships, it really brings them to life!
The Carriers are not limited to the United States. You will find British ships as well as other countries that utilize naval carriers in specific regions to explore and watch, and as you would expect, the aircraft are different for each respective country.
A Virtual Time Machine
Turning back the clock is perhaps the most impressive part of this AI package; you can change the years via the 7 different batch files at the click of a mouse. This means that if you want to go back to 1965, simply go to your editor change the date and the program will automatically compile all available aircraft for that period, sadly 1965 is the earliest date you can go back to. The included years are 1965, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2005, and 2006.
From what I understand, if you select 1990, you should be able to see the Concorde at airports that it flew from, though I was never able to find it. I tried both Paris and London and was never able to locate it. However, the editor does make it easy to add it if need be.
After spending some time looking through the My Traffic Time Machine and learning to use the manager, I have to say that it does get a little on the tedious side making the necessary changes to see the correct aircraft. I strongly recommend that you read both manuals and understand the steps that are required to making said changes.
You will spend a great deal of time with this part of the program as it is the key to getting the most out MY TRAFFIC 2006. This utility allows you to add your own aircraft to the AI list, add the traffic you want to any airport and create daily schedules and routes for all of your flights. There are also a slew of automatic features that will configure the AI for you rather then having to do it yourself.
After spending a lot of time with this program I found it a little on the tedious side, as you have to know exactly what order to do everything in and if you make changes utilizing the auto configuration options, it can get rather time consuming as the “process” can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. The three hours is no exaggeration, while running the auto global traffic feature I started it at 2AM and it didn’t finish until 5AM. So, if you didn’t do something in the correct order, you have to go back and start all over again, this process can get a little on the ridiculous side. I guess the understanding here is that the process takes over 39,000 different planes and each plane has its own flight plan in your virtual world, thus the editor has to process all flights and planned flights, my total number of operations when running the editor is 538,332! So I guess I understand the amount of time it takes, I just wish I didn’t pick such ridiculous times to do it.
I decidedly didn’t like the way the designers chose to use when making the changes in the “time machine”. You need to set the date in the INI file under the drop down menu, exit out of the editor, restart it and then run “create all schedules, files and traffic”. Depending on how many flights are set up, this can take a great deal of time; I would have liked to have seen a simpler interface and if that wasn’t enough, you sometimes have to run the auto features described in the next paragraph, thus making you wait for a considerable amount of time.
Another option, and it is almost required that you do it, is that you run a three step process utilizing the auto setup functions, these are Automatic schedule My Planes, Schedule preferred traffic and schedule global random traffic. These functions are very important as it will add aircraft to just about everywhere in the world and this process does take some time, anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours if not more!
The editor also includes an airport editor which comes in handy when dealing with dead airports in MSFS and this portion of the program offers a slew of features to make changes to your airports. I would recommend against changing airports that you have with 3rd party scenery installed, as it can really complicate things with the airports AFCAD file. Always back things up!
Manipulating “dead” airports to receive AI traffic is also easily achieved through this editor. You will be able to assign parking areas to passenger, cargo, GA and military flights will with the simple click of the mouse, though once you have done this you will need to compile your new busy airport with all of the other ones, so be ready to play the hurry up and wait game again.
In the end it always comes down to performance, so with all these pretty aircraft and busy skies, they do come at a cost. With my slider for AI traffic turned all the way to 100 and flying out of Chicago-O’Hare I found that my frames went from a whopping 30 to about 10 and 12. The solution here is to turn your slider down to about 30-50 percent, as I have mine set to 40 when I am just taking the time to enjoy MSFS.
When My Traffic originally came out with military aircraft, I remember that I used to have problems with the C-17 models and ultimately had to remove them from the sim completely. This problem seems to have vanished with the inception of MY Traffic 2006 as the C-17’s look even better now and are frame rate friendly.
Try the Demo
Available at Simmarket, is a relatively small demo of My Traffic 2006. It will give you a decent idea of what to expect from this add-on. The demo includes 6 different Commercial AI planes and a pretty basic interface so go ahead and give it a shot, it’s free!
In The End
In the end, I decided that I did like My Traffic 2006 as it offers a great deal of variety within MSFS. But I doubt very much that I will use the “Time Machine” feature again simply because it takes so long to complete. Here I sit again at the end of this article and well over an hour and a half ago, I switched My Traffic back to 2006 from 1970 and I am still waiting for it to complete. Twice I have run this process and forgot a process and found that I had no traffic in MSFS at all. Why not just keep the set flight schedules and write a batch file to replace the aircraft? Alhough that would not be as realistic, it would be quicker and much easier!
If you don’t have an AI program or have the need for a military package to replace your other AI program, this is a good choice and can be had for $50.92, though there are other titles out on the market that are relatively cheaper. I must add that if you own another AI package, you can buy the military package separately and from what I have been told, it should work with other titles that are out there.
MY TRAFFIC 2006 is a giant step ahead from the original My Traffic; it is much more complex and offers a wider array of aircraft that can fill your virtual skies. With all the added features and the traffic editor, this product makes for a good investment if you like flying the crowded skies. I have to make a note that if you are a previous owner you can get this product at a discounted price from Simmarket!
I am not going to tell you to go out and buy this one. It is a good package and I really do like it, but the decision has to be yours. Do you have a need for an AI package that costs over 50 bucks? If you do, then this is for you. I really don’t think you will regret the purchase, in fact, I plan on leaving this one on my hard drive for awhile just to see what I may have missed. There is something to be said about looking out over your wing and seeing A-6 Intruders off in the distance
|What I Like About My Traffic 2006|
|What I Don't Like About My Traffic 2006|
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