Microsoft Flight Simulator Interview - iniBuilds CEO Discusses the Work of the Prominent Developer

Third-party developers play an important role in expanding the content of Microsoft Flight Simulator. We interviewed Ubaid Mussa, CEO of @iniBuilds, one of the game's most relevant add-on development studios.

Published: April 22, 2023 10:00 AM /


Microsoft Flight Simulator Antonov An-225 Mriya in Los Angeles by iniBuids

Third-party developers are extremely important in keeping the content of a product like Microsoft Flight Simulator fresh and vital. Aviation is such a wide topic that simulating every existing aircraft and every airport in detail is impossible even for a company as massive as Microsoft.

That's where third-party developers come in to integrate and complement what Microsoft and Asobo can't handle on their own while allowing users to deeply customize their experience. 

iniBuilds has become one of the most prominent third-party developers in the industry. Not only do they create a wide range of high-quality add-ons, but they have partnered with Microsoft itself to create the massive Antonov An-225 "Mriya" (about which you can check out a dedicated interview) and the Airbus A310, which has been distributed to all users with the 40th Anniversary Edition for free, providing everyone with the first default airliner that can be defined high-fidelity in the history of the genre. 

On top of that, iniBuilds has been creating a series of excellent scenery add-ons portraying some of the largest and most complex airports in the world, including the recent John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, which we reviewed a few days ago.

This kind of output is very rare in this industry, and to hear more about how this developer achieves such challenging feats, TechRaptor interviewed CEO Ubaid Mussa, who provided some very interesting insight about the way iniBuilds operates and the philosophy behind the developer.

Giuseppe Nelva: iniBuilds has certainly established itself as one of the most relevant developers for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Could you share some insight about the history of the company?

Ubaid Mussa: iniBuilds is a collective of thinkers and doers with a shared commitment to creating the best products for flight simulation. We created a cutting-edge simulation software company with extensive expertise in geospatial imagery, 3D modeling, texturing, and complex system simulation.

Our name stems from our inception where we started in early 2019, creating modifications for Prepar3D, with liveries being created and posted shortly after on the iniBuilds freeware library. The name comes from the .ini file of a GSX Profile, which was our first project and Builds from "building a profile." Weird, we know, but we stuck with it!

Since then, we have gone from strength to strength creating a wide range of flight-simulation products.

Microsoft Flight Simulator - A310 at New York-JFK Airport by iniBuilds
The Airbus A310 at iniBuilds' New York-JFK Airport.

Nelva: What’s your impression of the MSFS add-on market at this point in time? Are there any pain points that you think need to be addressed?

Mussa: We think that the market is booming, and it's fantastic to see. There are lots of great quality products, covering all aspects of simulation, allowing customers great choice in what they can experience within the simulator.

Nelva: Microsoft Flight Simulator brought a lot of new customers into this market. How did it affect your sales?

Mussa: When Microsoft Flight Simulator entered the arena, we were solely X-Plane developers and released our first major product a week before the release of MSFS. So, we didn’t really have any data before this period to compare. Sales have been great for all of our active products in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Nelva: You appear to have a very solid partnership with Microsoft. How did it happen, and how does it influence your studio’s workflow and resources?

Mussa: When we released our Beluga for X-Plane 11, it was accidentally added to a Microsoft newsletter, and I kindly reached out to Jorg [Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator at Microsoft] to inform him that this was not the case; although at the time we were in active development of some Microsoft Flight Simulator work of our own, we had not disclosed that to the public. Initial contact was met, and I really believed in what Jorg stood for, aims for, and his vision for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

With our views aligned, we entered a long-term partnership, which for us, has been a great success working on some very cool projects from the A310 to the Antonov An-225. It's great to be able to work with one of the largest organizations in the tech/gaming world and be part of having a significant impact in our industry!

Microsoft Flight Simulator - Los Angeles International Airport by iniBuilds
Los Angeles International Airport is another of iniBuilds' largest hubs.

Nelva: How did you feel about delivering the Antonov An-225, which isn’t just a fun aircraft to fly, but also has a deeper significance?

Mussa: It certainly does! When Jorg mentioned it to me, and we had initial meetings internally, we knew we just had to do it. Jorg was very kind and approached us first, so we were super humbled and energized that we were the selected studio to work on such a high-profile project. Flight simulation for us is all about providing great experiences to simmers, taking it to the next level – that's our company motto. What better way to do so, than re-creating such an iconic plane in Microsoft Flight Simulator, which will have such positive impacts in supporting the real-world efforts to restore the aircraft? It was truly a fantastic experience; from the development process to engaging with the Antonov team to really implement small details to provide simmers with a truly authentic experience.

Nelva: I’m fairly sure one of your most anticipated products for MSFS is the Airbus A300. How’s development going?

Mussa: Development is going really well! At iniBuilds, whilst we don’t say much publicly on active projects, we are all super hard at work, making fantastic products for our customers to enjoy. The A300 was our first payware project, so it holds a lot of significance to us all and is the aircraft we know the best. Whilst I can’t share much now, I highly recommend those visiting FSExpo in Houston visit our stand for a ‘BIG’ surprise.

London Hearthrow in Microsoft Flight Simulator by iniBuilds
London Heathrow Airport was the first of iniBuilds' large hubs for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Nelva: Your studio is producing extremely large airports at a high level of quality with an extremely impressive delivery pace. You released Heathrow, Los Angeles, Detroit, and more in just a few months, and now you’re delivering JFK. I’d say this is pretty much unprecedented. How did you achieve such an efficient scenery production line?

Mussa: It's not been a quick or easy process, but since the launch of our first product (Heathrow V1), we learned a lot of lessons and expanded the team significantly. Some of the projects we work on are truly large and therefore require meticulous organization and tight coordination with all parties involved.

To give you some insight JFK, took us 4-5 months to build from nothing to what we have today. We have established a great production line environment within the team to allow for a seamless process; research, modeling, texturing, reviews, and testing. Each team member on the project knows what they need to do, and in this manner, we can cover quite a lot of art production in a swift time. We also have 3-4 waves of review, and we always have a management review before releasing the scenery, to ensure the product is in the best position at release for customers.

I also think customer feedback really drives us to always exceed expectations from each scenery we do – we always want to provide a better experience than we previously offered, and I think customers notice that.

Nelva: So far most of your larger scenery has been focused in North America and Europe. Are you considering expanding toward less-served regions like Asia or Africa? 

Mussa:  You are correct, but we have produced some content in other regions of the world such as Fiji – NFFN, and our free Masai Mara Adventure pack. It mostly has to do with what does well for our current customers. I know in 2023, we have some other destinations planned, but most people are requesting sceneries in North America or Europe!

Microsoft Flight Simulator - Nadi Airport in Fiji by iniBuilds
Nadi International Airport serves as the main airport of Fiji, and it's one of iniBuilds' most exotic destinations. 

Nelva: You also run a store selling products by partner developers. How do you tackle the challenge of discerning between quality products and those that may not be worth carrying?

Mussa: This is a great question. I think, especially since the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator, our industry has expanded significantly in not only content, but also users. Not all these new users are perhaps looking for the experiences previously available, and therefore we now have a much larger spectrum of products. What might not be up to standard for you and I, might be just what works for someone else in both quality and price. It is certainly a challenge to get the balance right, and we always question ourselves: What do we want to offer in our add-on marketplace? It is something that is constantly under review; to allow our customers to be satisfied by the fact that the products we offer are of good standing yet cover the wider demographic that is now present.

Nelva: If there is one feature you could get Microsoft to implement that would make your job easier, what would it be?

Mussa: No sim or game is ever perfect, nor is any product we make, but I think the best thing one can ask for is good communication and continued updates, which I can say with much confidence, the Microsoft Flight Simulator team is doing: consistent Sim Updates and World updates with great content and fixes. As developers, we have a forum space to report bugs, and they are always swiftly acknowledged or discussed by their team. I don’t have any features off the top of my head, but I would say that they should keep doing what they are doing, as it's certainly going in the right direction.

Microsoft Flight Simulator iniBuilds P-40 Warhawk
The P-40F Warhawk was the first of iniBuilds' Warbird series for Microsoft Flight Simulator. 

Nelva: Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?

Mussa: I would like to really thank each and every one of you, for your support. Whether that be using our products, or simply engaging with us on social media; we wouldn’t be here doing what we do, without the support from the community, and making folks happy is truly what encourages us to make more fantastic content.

If you would like to be kept up to speed on all things iniBuilds be sure to follow us on our social media and join our Discord for all the latest and greatest news from the iniBuilds Store and product releases. Thank you for your time, and thank you Giuseppe for the interview!

Microsoft Flight Simulator is currently available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, including Game Pass. If you'd like to learn more, you should stay tuned on TechRaptor as we have daily Microsoft Flight Simulator news to keep you updated on the many add-ons coming and released for the sim.

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| Former News Editor

Started as News Editor at TechRaptor in January 2023, following over 20 years of professional experience in gaming journalism both on print media and on the… More about Giuseppe

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)
Asobo Studio
Xbox Game Studios
Release Date
August 18, 2020 (Calendar)
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