An Ode to World Traffic 3
In X-Plane, things don’t often go how they’re supposed to, or the way that we think they should. In the ‘other’ sims as well, there’s an issue that we all share of having to settle for most things, whether it be price, quality, etc. This feeling that resonates with so many of us doesn’t have the same bitter taste that say, settling to marry someone might have, but it carries the same sentiment of disappointment. So many of us have invested time, energy, and money into the X-Plane community and received an amount of recognition that pales in comparison to what is right or what we deserve. Here at Threshold, we want to correct this. I want to help correct this, too. So, starting this week, I am pleased to announce that I will be writing a weekly add-on spotlight! The goal of this series is to give some small amount of recognition to exemplary freeware, donationware, and a select few payware developers in our community. This series will be wide in scope, covering everything from the most well-known aircraft to the smallest freeware sceneries. Note: these are not reviews and not all of the add-ons I cover will be the highest quality, but each and every one of them deserves recognition for something they have done to enhance the quality of the X-Plane user’s experience. To read a fantastic series by Goose Wright on this topic, start here.
I want to inaugurate this series by discussing an add-on (in this case a plugin) and a developer that I have a lot of love for: Classic Jet Simulations’ World Traffic 3. WT3 is one of those add-ons that lives in a corner that not a lot of people talk about and that people sometimes scoff at and say “Just fly online if you want to look at other planes, plus, that plugin has tons of bugs and requires hours of work to use!” While this is only partially true, I still don’t care! There’s something about this plugin that makes me want to write it a love letter, and in a way, that’s exactly what this is. That’s what this series is supposed to be: a collection of embellished thank-you notes to developers for all that they do, from a not-so-secret admirer. I feel so strongly about this plugin in particular because it’s one of the marvels of our community where several different entities have come together to make something great. The best parts of world traffic all come from different places. Bluebell supplies the models for the AI aircraft, Chopinet supplies real world schedules, and many other users supply modified airport files and ground routes. All of these things are necessary for world traffic to work, and, unfortunately, a lot of people despise that so many steps need to be taken in able to achieve the end result. For me, however, getting all of the pieces of the puzzle from different people makes it so much more rewarding when things finally start to work.
When everything’s working well, It’s beautiful. Very rarely can flying online, even during very full events with very good controllers, achieve parallel approaches and full terminals of aircraft, all operating on the real-world schedule. Honestly though, caring a lot about either AI traffic or flying online (for the sake of seeing other aircraft and populating the world, rather than training for real-world flying and air traffic communications) requires a certain amount of romanticizing on the user’s part. When I think truthfully about myself, I realize that’s exactly what I do, and I don’t have a problem with it. There’s something that makes me satisfied when I take my time to research which airlines belong at which gates at a given airport, and finally to watch that drab “generate flights” button. Watching it think for thirty seconds to meticulously place each aircraft where it should be- I can’t really explain the pride that I get from that. I mean, when I say it, it sounds like I’m lame, and I might be, but I spent hours editing the scenery file and doing research on gate assignments to get this result. It’s like a birthday gift to myself when I get to see everything start to work. It’s rare that we are able to feel those feelings from something that another person gives to us.
This isn't to discount from those who fly online in order to train, or those who are looking for a truly immersive experience. The simple truth is that I'm not always looking for immersion, but I am always looking for happiness. World Traffic 3 makes me happy. So, things that sometimes happen (which could actually be solved just by reading section 6.2.5 in this case), don't bother me. Part of what makes me so giddy about WT3 though, is that occasional weird bugs and glitches (which, again, mostly arise from not reading the manual) never last long. Classic Jet Sims is without a doubt one of the most accountable developers in our community. If I post, even about something that I could easily figure out just by reading the manual, I will get a response from him, almost always within 24 hours. If it’s a post about a serious problem, I’ll get a reply even sooner. Furthermore, he actually takes suggestions from users and implements those that are good in a lightning-quick fashion. It makes me proud to be someone who has supported him, and even more so to see the community rally around such a great individual.
I suspect that I thrive when I am able to feel like an anonymous individual within a collective whole. It is the reason why I feel more content taking the train, or flying, instead of driving where I need to go. It’s why I feel more safe in a city than in the country. World Traffic is somehow able to make me content in the same way. When I watch the airport activity, I feel as if I am apart of it. When I see a plane pop up on the radar, descending through FL20, it's like watching an old friend on the way home. Doesn't the cover image make you feel that? It deserves nothing less than a love letter.
A note: Thank you to MisterX6, now Short Final Designs, for making the fantastic KPDX that I used in this article freeware for the community to use. The User Interface Image is of KJFK V1 from Drzewiecki Designs.