At the moment I’m deeply into developing, which means that FSX needs to be as streamlined as possible to speed up testing. I’ve had to remove a few long-time favourites, including GSX (Ground Services for FSX) and Ultimate Traffic, as these have an impact on loading the sim. I guess I could have just disabled them somehow, but it wasn’t really apparent how I’d do that, so I just uninstalled them.
GSX is particularly annoying when the sim loads, as it will recompile its database whenever it sees a changed airport file, which is nearly every time I load FSX at the moment. Ultimate Traffic pauses the sim for moment to inject the AI aircraft, so that had to go.
I certainly didn’t want to go back to default AI, so I downloaded the freeware FTX AU AI package. This is very nice, especially at an airport like Wellington which I’m working on at the moment. It includes a good range of locals, including Vincent Aviation and the Life Flight aircraft, plus a great set of GA craft for the aeroclub. Each AI aircraft has a well-thought out parking code, so it’s easy enough to put them in the proper place. At the moment it actually does a better job than Ultimate Traffic, although admittedly it has been a long time since I updated the UT flightplans.
This morning I ‘sat’ at Wellington airport watching the AI, and although it’s still early days with the development of NZWN, it is certainly shaping up to be a great little airport, even if I do say so myself. The FTX AI just adds another touch towards realism. AI has always been an issue when developing airports, as there is really no easy way to add traffic to an airport, even though customers expect it. Creating a range of flightplans for a single airport can be tricky, you really need a complete, NZ-wide (and further) solution, and FTX does that.