Hype Performance Group is working on one of the first helicopters for Microsoft Flight Simulator even before official support arrived 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.
To learn more about the developer’s work, Twinfinite spoke with Hype Performance Group co-founder Steve Daniels.
Giuseppe: Hype Performance Group is a developer that practically started 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 because of our mutual love for the Icon A5. I released a performance mod for the A5 and Dave contacted me about collaborating. 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 their help and the help of other amazing community developers we released our free software H135 which is the most downloaded item in the history of Flightsim.to.
When development of the H135 was completed, 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 am so proud of the team we have today, Dave is brilliant and just about any idea you throw at him can come true.
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 perfectionism). I truly believe that HPG is unique when it comes to the depth and visual quality of our systems and of course the innovation. Obviously, we like to push the limits of what’s possible in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Image source: Hype acting group
Giuseppe: A rather unique element of your studio is that you are offering your H145 and now your Action Pack through an early access model. This is something that other flight simulator plugin developers typically don’t do. How does this work for you? Do you think there would be more room for widespread use of the model in this industry?
Steve Daniels: The Early Access program has been a huge success for our team, but more importantly, it has 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 committed to making the H145 the best aircraft possible, and together we’re getting there to get it into production.
I think there is enough room in this industry for developers to have their own unique approach to aircraft development and release, but I don’t really have an opinion on whether our strategy will go mainstream specifically.
Giuseppe: You personally seem to be a gamer as well as a flight simulation enthusiast. Does this influence your approach to creating plugins for Microsoft Flight Simulator in any way?
Steve Daniels: Absolutely everyone on our team has played the game to some degree and the impact it has on our approach to development is that we want simmers to jump on our blueprints, be impressed with the visual fidelity and depth system, and once that are in the air, enjoy an experience as exciting and satisfying as the one that players get from their favorite titles.
It wasn’t enough for us to develop a beautiful aircraft, we wanted simulator pilots to be rewarded by being able to learn the depth of the available systems and now with the action pack to be able to complete real activities and missions in the simulator as well. .
Image source: Hype acting group
Giuseppe: Yours is one of the first helicopters available for Microsoft Flight Simulator. What are the challenges of launching an aircraft based on principles that are not yet officially endorsed?
Steve Daniels: Developing for MSFS is always a challenge because you’re developing for a platform that’s constantly evolving (for the better, for the record), but developing an aircraft that doesn’t have a supported flight model was a huge undertaking.
This is again where the H145 Early Access and H135 free software projects benefited our team, we made a lot of contacts with helicopter pilots, mechanics and other real-world professionals who helped us do these amazing planes justice.
Giuseppe: As the helicopters get official support 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. We currently 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 an external developer, what do you think of the support provided by Microsoft and Asobo to third parties? Any advice you would give them in this regard to make things easier for everyone?
Steve Daniels: Since we haven’t released a product 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 starting with MSFS, did you find it difficult to reach out to the community and market your product in a very established industry, or did being a new sim help you?
Steve Daniels: Before forming HPG with Dave, I spent time as a content creator, so I worked with other flight simulator developers and had a good understanding of the typical marketing cycles in this industry.
Although this is a well-established industry, I think the public is always keen to pay attention to an aircraft that proves it was developed by a team that really wants their products to be among the best available.
Image source: Hype acting group
Giuseppe: Pricing, in general, is all over the place in 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 accessories?
Steve Daniels: We want our planes to be accessible to as many simmers as possible, but you need to balance prices and ensure the company is profitable enough to stay in business and continue to develop high-quality planes.
Giuseppe: Although 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 a pretty long list of planes we’d like to see in the sim, and we’d love to be the development team behind a lot of them.
Giuseppe: Are there any clues you can provide, or are they top secret for now?
Steve Daniels: We’re not quite ready to announce what we’ll be working on once H145 and the Action Pack are complete. The best hint I can give is that, as usual, we continue to listen to feedback from the community.
Image source: Hype acting group
Giuseppe: I had to try. Is there anything you would like to add about your products that our readers would like to know about?
Steve Daniels: First we’d like to let your readers know that we appreciate all of your support! Whether it’s supporting us in the purchase of our aircraft or being friends with our team in the community .
Apart from that, I want the community to know that the H145 is more than just a plane, right now we have created a complete platform for users to enjoy missions like HEMS rescues and firefighting within the simulation using generated missions or using our editor to create your own missions, some of which even support multiplayer.
If you want to learn more about Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can check out our new interview with Microsoft Flight Simulator lead Jorg Neumann on the 40th Anniversary Edition, the Global Update, and more.
If you are curious about Microsoft Flight Simulator add-ons, you might enjoy our recent reviews of Anchorage International Airport, Fenix Airbus A320, West Virginia Yeager International Airport, From Kansai, Toronto Pearson Airport, The Twin Otter, Airport Auckland International, 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 and Airport, Fort Lauderdale Airport, Chongqing City and Airport, Manila Airport, Santiago Airport, Frankfurt City Packet, Key West Airport, Okavango Delta, Bali Airport, London Oxford Airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, CRJ 550/700, PA-28R Arrow III, Krist Airport iansand, city and airport from Macau, Bonaire Flamingo Airport, Milano Linate Airport, Singapore City Pack, Tokyo Narita Airport, Yao Airport, F-15 Eagle, 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 Thrustmaster TCA Yoke Pack Boeing Edition, which is a great driver 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 Asobo Studio game.
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