Hype Performance Group is working on one of the first helicopters for Microsoft Flight Simulator even before official support came with the 40th Anniversary Edition.
Interestingly, the Airbus H145 and its Action Pack add-on are offered in early access, which is a rare business model for flight simulator add-ons.
In order to learn more about the work of the developer, Twinfinite spoke with the co-founder of Hype Performance Group, Steve Daniels.
Giuseppe: Hype Performance Group is a developer that started pretty much with Microsoft Flight Simulator. Could you tell us how the idea came about and how the studio has evolved since then?
Steve Daniels: Dave Amenta (HPG Lead Developer) and I first connected over our mutual love of the Icon A5. I had released a performance mod for the A5 and Dave contacted me to collaborate. He ended up completely overhauling the avionics and adding autopilot functionality and HPG was born. We then decided that for our next project, we wanted to take on the challenge of bringing a native helicopter to MFS despite the lack of official support.
We connected with Destroyer121, and with his help and that of other amazing developers in the community, we released our freeware H135 which is the most downloaded item ever on Flightsim.to.
As development of the H135 wrapped up, the community made it clear that they wanted HPG to deliver a paid software level project next and from there we began development of the H145. I’m so proud of the team we have in place today, Dave is brilliant and pretty much any idea you throw at him can come to fruition.
Our art team consists of Tony and GB and they both had years of professional modeling experience prior to HPG and it shows in their work (and their perfectionism). I sincerely believe that HPG is in a class of its own when it comes to the depth and visual quality of our systems and of course innovation. Obviously, we like to challenge the limits of what’s possible in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Giuseppe: A rather unique element of your studio is that you offer your H145 and now its Action Pack via an Early Access model. This is something that other flight simulator add-on developers usually don’t do. How does this work for you, and do you think there would be more room for widespread use of the model in this industry?
Steve Daniels: The Early Access program was a huge success for our team, but more importantly, it enhanced the H145 and H145 Action Pack experience for the community. One of the great things about the early access program is that we get real-time feedback from simmers who have already pledged their support for the project – these people are invested in making the H145 the best plane it can be and together we’re getting there. achieve. occur.
I think there’s enough room in this industry for developers to each have their own unique approach to aircraft development and releases, but I don’t really have an opinion on whether our strategy will specifically generalize.
Giuseppe: You personally seem to be a gamer in addition to being a flight simulation enthusiast. Does this influence you in any way on your approach to creating add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator?
Steve Daniels: Absolutely everyone on our team has played to some degree and the impact that has on our approach to development is that we want simmers to get on our planes, be impressed with the visual fidelity and depth of the system, and once they’re in the air, experience as exciting and satisfying as players get from their favorite titles.
It wasn’t enough for us to develop a beautiful aircraft, we wanted sim pilots to be rewarded by being able to learn the full depth of the systems available and now with the action pack being able to complete real activities and missions in the sim too.
Giuseppe: Yours is one of the first helicopters made available for Microsoft Flight Simulator. What are the challenges of releasing an aircraft based on principles that are not yet officially supported?
Steve Daniels: Developing for MSFS is always a challenge as you are developing for a platform that is constantly evolving (for the better, for the record), but developing an aircraft that has no supported flight model was a huge undertaking.
This is again where the H145 Early Access and H135 freeware projects benefited our team, we made many contacts with helicopter pilots, mechanics and other real-world professionals who helped us do justice to these incredible planes.
Giuseppe: With helicopters being officially supported with the 40th Anniversary Edition in November, do you expect to revisit the H145 implementation to adopt the systems that will be available natively?
Steve Daniels: Yes. Currently we plan to continue our development of the H145 and Action Pack as planned and once the native helicopter flight SDK is available to developers our team will identify if there is any opportunity to improve our own work with these new native systems.
Giuseppe: As a third-party developer, what do you think of the support provided by Microsoft and Asobo to third parties? Is there any advice you would give them on this to make things easier for everyone?
Steve Daniels: As we have not launched a product in the market yet, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to talk about Asobo and Microsoft’s relationship with third parties.
Giuseppe: As a relatively new studio that started with MSFS, did you find it difficult to approach the community and market your product in a very established industry, or maybe the fact that it’s a new simulator helped you?
Steve Daniels: Prior to forming HPG with Dave, I had spent time as a content creator, so I had worked with other flight simulator developers and had a good understanding of typical marketing cycles in this industry.
Although this is a well-established industry, I think the public is always ready to pay attention to an aircraft that shows that it was developed by a team that really wants its products to be among the best available.
Giuseppe: Prices, in general, are all over Microsoft Flight Simulator, with some developers still selling add-ons at higher prices, and some selling them at very affordable prices. You are positioned more or less in the middle, I would say. Was it difficult to find the right price for your add-ons?
Steve Daniels: We want to make our planes accessible to as many simmers as possible, but pricing needs to be balanced while ensuring the company is profitable enough to stay in business and continue to develop high-quality planes.
Giuseppe: While the work on the H145 and the Action Pack is not finished, do you have any ideas for possible new projects to create in the future?
Steve Daniels: Our team has quite a long list of planes we’d like to see in the sim, and we’d love to be the dev team behind many of them.
Giuseppe: Is there a clue you can provide, or are they top secret for now?
Steve Daniels: We are not yet ready to announce what we will be working on once H145 and the Action Pack are complete. The best hint I can give is that, as usual, we’re still listening to community feedback.
Giuseppe: I had to try. Is there anything you would like to add about your products that our readers might want to know?
Steve Daniels: We would like your readers to know first that we appreciate all of their support! Whether by supporting us in the purchase of our aircraft or by being a friend of our team in the community [Editor’s Note: HPG’s Discord Server can be found here].
Other than that I want the community to know that the H145 is more than just an aircraft at this point we have built an entire platform for users to enjoy missions such as HEMS rescues and combating Fire inside the simulation using generated missions or using our editor to create their own missions, some of which are even multiplayer compatible.
If you want to learn more about Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can check out our brand new interview with Microsoft Flight Simulator lead Jorg Neumann about the 40th Anniversary Edition, Global Update, and more.
If you are curious about Microsoft Flight Simulator add-ons, you can enjoy our recent reviews of Anchorage International Airport, Fenix Airbus A320, West Virginia Yeager International Airport, from Kansai, Toronto Pearson Airport, The Twin Otter, Auckland International Airport, Skiathos Airport, Athens International Airport, Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport, Amami Airport, Bristol Airport, Marrakech Menara, Central Britain, Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport, Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, Krakow Airport, Fukuoka City & Airport, Fort Lauderdale Airport, Chongqing City & Airport, Manila Airport, Santiago Airport, Frankfurt City Pack, Key West Airport, Okavango Delta, Bali Airport, London Oxford Airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, CRJ 550/700, PA-28R Arrow III, Kristiansand Airport, city and airport from Macau, Bonaire Flamingo Airport, Milano Linate Airport, Singapore City Pack, Tokyo Narita Airport, Yao Airport, F-15 Eagle, the Paris City Pack, Greater Moncton Airport, Tweed New Haven Airport , Santorini Airport, Sydney Airport, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Reggio Calabria Airport, Bastia Poretta Airport, Munich Airport, Paris Orly Airport, Newcastle International Airport, Sankt Johann Airfield, Dublin International Airport and Seoul City Wow.
We also recently published a review of the Thrustmaster TCA Yoke Pack Boeing Edition, which is an excellent controller for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
If you want to know more about the game itself, you can read our review which will tell you everything you need to know about the game from Asobo Studio.