LiveTraffic and other multiplayer Clients in parallel

How to make it work when there is not only LiveTraffic to deal with multiplayer planes

I collectively refer to "Multiplayer Clients" in case of plugins using the TCAS or multiplayer feature and dataRefs, which X-Plane offers as a standard way of displaying additional aircraft beyond the user's plane. Popular examples are XSquawkBox, X-IvAp, Swift, World Traffic, xPilot, PilotEdge...and certainly LiveTraffic itself. Last but not least, X-Plane's native "AI Aircraft" are the original. All of them draw planes into the sky.

This page

Background: What are Multiplayer / AI Planes?

The multiplayer feature, now often referred to as "AI Aircraft", was originally intended to render up to 19 additional planes so to that the simulation pilot wouldn't feel alone. X-Plane's "AI Aircraft" in the Flight Configuration are exactly that. Any plugin, however, can take over control and set the AI planes' positions, and that's what multiplayer clients usually do. If no plugin takes over, then X-Plane itself creates as many aircraft as configured as AI Aircraft on artifical routes (which might be resource intensive!).

On the other side, many plugins read the positions of such AI Aircraft to work with them. Most obviously and always available, X-Plane's internal map displays the planes' positions. External map tools like Little NavMap or FSTramp do so as well. TCAS display implementations also use TCAS Targets or AI planes' positions to compute conflicting traffic. X-Plane's standard plane "Cirrus Vision SF50" features a good implementation (which I often use for testing), as do many add-on planes. And camera tools like ABC work on them, too...and so on.

See here for a screenshots of a collection of tools.

Since v2.03 you no longer need to configure AI Aircraft, but the new way for TCAS and multiplayer support only works with X-Plane 11.50 Beta 8 updward.

Historically, right here was a recommendation to configure up to 19 AI Aircraft in X-Plane's Flight settings. With LiveTraffic v2.03 and X-Plane 11.50b8 upward, this is no longer needed as LiveTraffic implements the new TCAS Override approach. With this approach up to 63 TCAS Targets can be reported to X-Plane for display in compatible TCAS implementations. Backwards compatibility to the older 19 mutiplayer planes is given...and still without configuring AI Aircraft.

But still: Only one plugin can control TCAS or multiplayer aircraft.

LiveTraffic can and will always display planes in the sky, no matter if it is in control of AI Aircraft or not.

The Highlander Issue: There Can Be Only One

...plugin to control TCAS Targets or AI Aircraft. This is an X-Plane design limitation.

This means that only one plugin can control what plugins and tools read about TCAS targets and multiplayer planes. For example, only one plugin controls what will appear on your TCAS display. If another client, say X-IvAp for the sake of example, controls AI aircraft and then LiveTraffic tries to get control (during startup or via the "TCAS Controlled" menu item) LiveTraffic cannot and the following is seen on screen and in the Log.txt file:

Log.txt (Extract)
WARN ... X-IvAp controls TCAS / AI. LiveTraffic could NOT acquire control, our planes will NOT appear on TCAS or maps.

This can be disappointing if you have LiveTraffic and X-IvAp running, both render planes, the sky is full...but your TCAS only shows the X-IvAp traffic. But that's the way it is. We cannot change this in principle at the moment.

If you want LiveTraffic to control TCAS then you need to make the other plugin give up TCAS control. LiveTraffic will try automatically to get control if another plugin gives up...and when successful is says so in a message on the screen and in the Log.txt file:

Log.txt (Extract)
INFO ... LiveTraffic has TCAS / AI control now

Features Supporting Parallel Usage

With the menu command "TCAS Controlled" (which you could assign to a keyboard shortcut or joystick button) you specify if LiveTraffic is in control of AI Aircraft.

This is a toggle: You can switch it on or off. If it is on then LiveTraffic controls AI Aircraft and hence the blibs on your TCAS display and on map tools. If it is off then you can have another client control AI Aircraft. (How this is done is up to the other client...)

Settings Basics/Cooperation

Find some options in Settings > Basics > Cooperation:

Settings / Basics / Cooperation

Basic Setting "TCAS on request only"

By default, LiveTraffic tries to get in control of TCAS at startup. If you prefer another client to have control after startup then you may want to activate the option TCAS on request only in the Basic Settings. If set, LiveTraffic will not ask for AI control during startup. You can still use the menu command "TCAS Controlled" to switch control in case you want to.

Limit Display of Aircraft On or Near the Ground

Given LiveTraffic's limitations some people might prefer other plugins for creation of airport traffic while LiveTraffic is pretty good at high altitudes.

There are 2 options in the Basic Settings, right-hand side, which allow you to

  • hide all aircraft below a certain height above ground, or

  • just hide taxiing aircraft (while still seeing aircraft as soon as they switch to Take Off Roll and as long as they are rolling out after touch down).

Other airport traffic generators can then fill the void without interfering with LiveTraffic's planes.