First of all, a huge welcome to Aerosoft for joining the AI Traffic party in MSFS, Simple Traffic is a great product for XBOX users and users that just want traffic in their Sim and do not care about the details provided by the current AIG AI Manager Beta.
With the release of now two major addons for AI traffic in MSFS the number of issues inside the actual core Sim are now visible to many users and some might thing that these issues are actual caused by the addons – sadly they are not and there is mostly nothing we can do as 3rd party to fix them.
In this article I will give you guys a short summary of the biggest issues in the current Version (SU6) (the total list will be longer than anyone of you would read).
Live Traffic (Online AI Traffic – Default MSFS)
We all know that the Sim provides real world flights based on the FlightAware Data-Feed and there starts the first issue. FlightAware does not cover the whole world, so you will empty spots around the world. Besides that, FlightAware is not racking all aircraft for different reasons, they will not be visible in the Sim as well. Now to some current issues with Live-Traffic:
Missing Nose-Wheel and not talking off
Online AI spawned by the Sim at the gate will have no nosewheel and will not depart from the gate. It will just sit there, and the airport will get more crowded.
Currently (SU6) it seems that the Sim will pick a random livery if no livery for the airline can be assigned, causing US regional airlines coming up in Central-Europe.
Offline AI (SimConnect-Based)
As you all know we no longer use BGL based AI Traffic in MSFS, since our new AIGFP format provides for freedom and advantages. All reports here are only based on this kind of Ai traffic.
Flying in the wrong direction
You will see airplanes spawn enroute and then turning back to the departure airport. Observations are showing that the airplane spawned in the correct location but gets as next waypoint the last active waypoint and not the next. This is not happening inn 100% of the cases and we at AIG are not able to pinpoint it. In 90% of the cases the airplane will fly to the last waypoint and then return to the route.
AI Logic/AI System
We at AIG are not 100% sure how the actual AI system in MSFS is working, if it is shared between live and offline AI and this makes stuff quite hard to track down, below is a list of the biggest issues the Sim currently has when it comes to AI Traffic in general:
Airports are a key to get decent AI Traffic at the ground, they provide information for parking spots, taxiways, and runways. Many Airports in MSFS have been designed by an AI algorithm based on OSM Data and Satellite images, this results in quite nice-looking airports, but for AI traffic they are horrible.
Many airports are lacking the correct gates (incl. size) to park the airplanes. Compared to FSX they all get reduced by 6m radius to handle the new ground vehicles at the spot. A spot that is in real-life 18m in radius is now only 12m and can no longer handle a B737.
Best example here is Dubai, we all know the A380 fleet of Emirates, but you will not see that in MSFS, because there are only a few spots large enough to handle the A380. This causes Ai to not spawn or get removed after landing.
This issue is not only happening at default airports but on handcrafted (World Updates) and 3rd Party (freeware and pay ware) as well.
In FSX there was just one taxiway node to create a junction, in MSFS there are up to 40… Each node makes it harder for the AI to follow, because they taxi from node to node. Observations have shown some strange path-findings as well, we are not yet sure how this is working.
You will see some airports (Atlanta (WU) or Nice (WU)) where the AI will taxi into takeoff position but not depart and the next airplane will do the same, stacking up some airplanes. We tracked this issue down to some hold short nodes at the airports but are unable to solve this for all airports.
In case of a go around, the AI airplane will not be able to land at the airport. It will fly away from the airport, then tun back, perform a low flyover of the airport before heading away and returning.
AI airplanes interact with the default AI, but there are limitations. Currently (SU6) there is a bug that causes ATC to request climb/decent to AI even if they are on their correct altitude. In busy airspaces this will spam the ATC and might cause disconnects from Azure Text-to-Speech servers.
Basically, the whole modern FDE is ignored by AI airplanes, they will relay mostly on the ai.cfg files with its limitations. Most common issues because of this are:
Flying on rails, the aircraft will turn left/right without banking
Slow climb phases after takeoff
Is mostly related to the issue above and below.