Traffic Global – Adding New Aircraft

Although Traffic Global comes as standard with over 1,000 liveries there are still around 1,000 more that are referenced in the standard traffic database that are not provided. In an ideal world, every single referenced livery would be provided but the reality is that creating an additional 1,000 liveries requires a lot of time, and many of those liveries may well not be seen by the majority of people.

If you want to fill in some of these gaps, or indeed create your own entirely new schedules with different aircraft such as for a virtual airline, the simplest place to start is by copying one of the existing models. This method of adding a new aircraft type is nothing more than copying two files and making small edits to one of them.

Each aircraft type is made of two files, plus the two image files that make up the livery or paintjob. The two files are:

  • aircraft_name.cfg
  • aircraft_name.obj

The Config File

This file contains some basic information about the model that is essential for Traffic Global to work correctly. It is a simple text file that can be edited using any plain-text editor. Do not use Word or similar document editors that may change the formatting or encoding of the file!

The two lines that you must change in this file are both in the “Info” section:

[Info]
Airline=AZU
Aircraft=32A

These lines give the airline and aircraft codes that are used to fully identify this model. Although the filename is used as the first match for any aircraft referenced in a schedule, if you do not correct these two codes then your new aircraft will be used by Traffic Global’s aircraft substitution system as if it were the original type. It will therefore not be used as a replacement for similar types to your new one, and may even end up being used as a replacement for the original type you copied it from.

The airline code is a standard three-letter ICAO airline code. These are published in various places online but most sources vary quite considerably. There is a spreadsheet available for download here which contains the list that is used internally in Traffic Global.

The aircraft code is a three-letter IATA equipment type code. Make sure to use the correct one, especially if you are converting from a passenger type to a freighter type, because this code will determine what category of parking the aircraft is permitted to use.

The Model File

The second one, the .obj file, contains the 3D model data. This is in a standard, documented X-Plane format and can usually be almost entirely ignored. Unlike flyable models, the “datarefs” – named data items that are used to animate the model – are specific to Traffic Global.

If you have chosen to leave the new aircraft in the same folder as the one you copied it from, you will need to change the .obj file to refer to different image files. To do this, open it in a plain-text editor such as Notepad++ and simply change the file names in the first few lines. Usually, though, it is far easier to just use different folders for each aircraft type.

I
800 Autogenerated by MDL2OBJ by Jim Keir
OBJ
TEXTURE A320_SL.DDS
TEXTURE_LIT A320_SL_LIT.DDS

How to Create a New Type

The simplest way to create a new type is to copy an existing one. Choose the closest aircraft type to the one you want, since the model data itself won’t be changed at all.

  1. Copy the whole folder, renaming it as you like.
  2. In your new folder, rename the .cfg and .obj files. If you are filling in a gap in the supplied liveries (from the Missing Livery Report created very time X-Plane starts) then use the exact name that is listed in the “Original” column, or the correct name according to the default naming scheme, based on the aircraft type and airline or airline code.
  3. Edit the .cfg file as described above; change the airline and, if necessary, aircraft code to be correct for your new livery.
  4. Restart X-Plane.

It is extremely important that when you rename the files, you make sure that both filenames are identical to each other and, if you want to refer to the new type specifically in a schedule, that you use the same name there. Also remember that the Mac is usually case-sensitive with filenames so keep the case the same, and keep the file extensions in lowercase.

About the Author: jimkeir

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