Third Party Spotlight: Sim720

SIM720 was set up to develop flight simulation software for Microsoft Flight Simulator. We are a UK based developer based on the South coast of the UK and we were officially established as a company in 2012 after some preliminary earlier work. The originators of the company were all Flight simmers themselves so had strong views on what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. Looking back, some of the original ideas were a little naïve, lacking real experience and underestimating of the significant learning curve between playing the game, flying the world and actually creating parts of it for others to share.

Not surprisingly the original vision was to bring far more content to Flight Simmers on our own patch; namely the UK. So contact was made with an established company which basically provided product for Australia and the USA but not for Europe. Perceiving a gap in the market especially on the home UK patch, contact was made to offer services for the home countries and a contract was signed which resulted in the development of the England region initially, which met with much acclaim, and thereafter the regions of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire. These regions still sell today but of course not under the SIM720 banner.

Whilst this was going on, a largely separate group of people within SIM720 set about development of a number of airports within England as add-ons to run under the same brand. However, really as a natural progression, there was a desire to be recognised in its own right and so SIM720 decided to branch out with regard to airport development in its own name and has developed airports to date mainly for Scotland and the USA.

We were one of the very first companies to identify that colour blending of photoreal should be matched to seamlessly blend with other add-ons, so our airports come with a control panel which enables simmers to blend our airports with, Default, Horizon, Orbx, etc. We are constantly looking at new ways of minimising frame rate hits as we want all community members to enjoy our products, not just the lucky ones with high end rig specifications.

Led by Barry Hudson the founder and CEO, there is a community feel to SIM720 as it looks to nurture the wider Flight Simulation community with little regard to some of the commercial realities oft seen at the forefront elsewhere. The SIM720 web forum is a good example of how open companies should operate, allowing all people to pass comment, both negative and positive, as long as no one is being malicious, using bad language, etc, Forum members are allowed to share information on other products as SIM720 firmly believes that the flight simulation community will thrive on shared information with no place for parochial views.

But no one person can deliver a vision on his own and with SIM720 there is an in-house team with key members being David, Sam and Paul. Paul delivers support that we believe is second to none; in fact it appears he never sleeps. David and Sam are the engine room in creative building, from modelling to creating artwork they constantly deliver results and deliver optimisations that provide better framerates. With new stunning graphics on each new delivery we are all proud of what they have achieved; so much so that there are now initiatives in other markets to help enhance their skill base.

We believe our community is our biggest friend, with freedom to tell us what they want and where we can do better, they can help us understanding what we may do next. The flight simulation community is global, and SIM720 would like to think we are playing our part in continuing to grow the hobby and be part of the evolution. That’s why we have partnered with Dovetail Games, to bring some of our flight simulation products to Steam. This is an exciting expansion of the market and we are confident Dovetail/Steam will bring many new people into the world of Flight Simulation.

The first SIM720 product to be launched is Oban, which incidentally was the first airport launched directly under the SIM720 banner. There are many more to follow, however so we hope the community will support our mission and will like the products delivered.

Enjoy! If you are already a SIM720 community member, then thank you. If you are going to be one, well thank you too and welcome aboard.

– Barry Hudson, CEO & founder, June 2015

Main image: Screenshot from SIM720’s Catalina Airport, now available for FSX: Steam Edition

FSX Admin

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