More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft
More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft

Games Lift: From one milestone to the next

In our Milestone Pitch event, our Games Lift participants presented their progress from the lessons learned in the Incubator program and pitched their development status in their games projects and concepts to mentors and the awarding committee. Find out more about our teams' progressions in our Games Lift Log #7.

The excitement was palpable. You could see tension in the faces of our teams. In their milestone pitch, the teams have to demonstrate what they have learned so far and show their project’s progress. But no worries: They were ready for their moment on the stage.

Looking from the outside in, the milestone pitch can seem irritatingly early. The teams, members of the awarding committee and mentors cram into one video conference in order to check on progress and ask critical questions. But the Games Lift Incubator just started a few weeks ago! What can there be to show already?

As it turns out, a lot. Timo from tool1 got to go first. “The Invitation is a looter shooter with a sandbox quest system”, he started. It was an effective way of showing an important step his team has taken. Being able to find the essence of your game and put it into an appetizing elevator pitch is important, and surprisingly hard. 

A first glimpse of the Invitation

“There is still so much to improve”, Timo sighed. He highlighted the help and inspiration tool1 have found in the workshops so far. He also showed the results of a critical evaluation the team has made regarding their social media strategy. They now aim to “focus on the platforms that fit where our project is” – do you want to talk to fans, or show them new assets? And finally, Timo had mentors to thank and new plans to tease.

Painting a picture

The showing was impressive, but short. Each team only gets ten minutes. Denise Koch put her timeslot to good use by setting the mood. “Picture this…”, she started, and went on to describe how her interactive rock musical Monstersongs VR opens, how it looks, what players are going to do. Then she hurried through a variety of areas in which her project has advanced – including a special thank you to mentor Dr. Christian Rauda for helpful advice about licensing music in games.

Monstersongs VR will challenge the player in a part rock concert part story game. 

Denise also set herself a new goal: To be able to present a scene from the game in the graduation pitch. Since her project is still early, the goal is an ambitious one. But making progress is what the Incubator’s all about. The audience was convinced. Plan of Attack’s Aidan Minter identified Denise’s theatre background as a big plus for the project: “She brings a lot of passion, but also a lot of knowledge”, he smiled.

Anca from Symmetry Break Games was next. Her team is developing “Prospector”, an adventure game with fresh ideas. Anca, too, showed progress on defining the game’s hook. Beyond that, she had learnings to show on aspects ranging from dialogue implementation to concept art to production management.

What game will Prospector be in the final version?

But an important lesson has stuck with her: Mentor Wolf Lang’s advice to find the fun in a game project early on. “Demo time!”, she cheered and gave a detailed outline of how an early scene plays out using animations and artworks, including detailed descriptions of game mechanics. The next goal for the team is to make a demo fully playable. Everyone was impressed. Wolf was, too: „You’re definitely getting closer”, he said.

Focussing the design

Next up was Timo from consider IT, developers of supernightshift. He quickly went through stylish animations, showed their progress on developing a social media profile and talked about their drive to get inspiration and ideas from the outside.

Timo from consider IT showed the progress of their ideas

Supernightshift is going to be a minimalist racing game for mobile. A lot of the game concept still has to be fleshed out. That is where Timo has set himself a challenge: He wants to “turn a tech demo into a game demo” – their showcase so far looks eye popping, but there are still design questions to be answered about what kind of game Supernightshift will be exactly. The demo is meant to shine a light on the question. “We are focussing heavily on it”, Timo explained.

And then it was Gerrit’s turn to present the progress he and his brother Patrick have made on their project, “The Treepoids”. Defining all the aspects of the adventure game around these friendly-looking aliens has been a challenge, and it was remarkable to see Gerrit make a slick pitch for his “plantastic” game.

The audience learnt new aspects about "The Treepoids"

Gerrit highlighted the usefulness of advice in the workshops, singling out Michael Schieben and his Product Field approach. But Gerrit made the effort to specifically show, in writing, what he had learned from which workshop. It was a lot. He followed it up with a sprint through areas ranging from his PR strategy to project management to a first glimpse on a planned crowdfunding campaign.

Seeing all the progress presented wall-to-wall is a rush. And seeing how enthusiastically the teams take up the Incubators’ various services is a great motivation for the people running the program. Gamecity project manager Daniel Hericks chimed in afterwards to show how impressed he was. Not only the eager participation in the workshops made him happy, but also the “optimal” way in which the teams applied their learnings. Directly after that, he went into reminders and planning details concerning the workshop schedule. A lot has been accomplished so far, but a milestone is just that: A milestone. We cannot wait for Graduation.


Gamecity Hamburg & four Hamburg indie game studios and developers at Nordic Game 2024

Recap: Road to Nordic - Gamecity Hamburg at the Nordic Games Conference 2024

Let's look back at our Road to Nordic program: We attended the Nordic Game Conference 2024 in Malmö, with four Hamburg indie game developers and their game projects.

Games Lift: More Successful Than Ever

It’s high time to apply for this year’s Games Lift Incubator. The next round is already gearing up. Meanwhile, the program has proven its worth: It is developing success.

Games Lift 2024: Apply now from May 2 until June 10

Applications for Gamecity Hamburg's 2024 Games Lift are open from May 2 to June 10. Five teams will receive financial support in the form of 15,000 euros, a comprehensive workshop program and access to the Games Lift Network of international industry experts. In addition, the teams can benefit from 1,000 euros in coaching budget. After a three-month workshop phase, the teams will be further supported with individual mentoring and will travel together to an international industry event until August 2025.

Games Lift Alumni: Why you should go for the Incubator

The Games Lift Incubator is a unique program offering 15,000 euros of funding, 3 months of workshops to get your game concept market-ready and a year of mentoring. Five teams per year get the chance to bring their game concept to the next level with this suppport. But if you're still not convinced that applying would be a great idea, we think it's best to see what other indie devs have to say about their time in the program: 

Games Lift: Playtests & Pizza

The Games Lift Incubator has evolved. We have plans for an entire year. That's why we've met with teams, mentors, and alumni months after the end of the workshop schedule.

Pitch Level Up 2024: Boost your pitch with expert feedback!

The Pitch Level Up is back! Join in on February 16, 11 am - 6 pm: Get individual feedback on your pitch deck from seasoned games industry professionals with different perspectives - to optimize your pitch for publishers, media, investors or funding institutions.

Games Lift: We’ll keep in touch

Is the Games Lift Incubator 2023 already over? Not exactly. But the first phase is, and on the occasion all teams presented their projects and progress: It’s the graduation pitch on December 5 at Design Zentrum Hamburg! 

Games Lift: Team Dottobeau have an eye for emotions

The game feels particularly warm and empathetic – and its team is a reflection of those values. “Dottobeau” is a game about searching and finding one’s own place in the universe. And it demands emotional intelligence.

Games Lift: Nenad Slavujevic on calculating chaos

His game idea looks like a well-tuned formula. And he can explain it like a pro. Nenad Slavujevic impresses us in the incubator with strong credentials and a clear plan.

Games Lift: Bagpack Games keep moving

They've been around for a few years now: Bagpack Games have successfully established themselves in the Hamburg scene. Now they are bringing a real eye-catcher of an idea to the Games Lift Incubator.

Games Lift: Markus Koepke stays the course

Years of experience have led him here: Alone, on an abandoned ship in the middle of the ocean. Markus Koepke's project "Journey Beyond the Edge of the World" in the Games Lift Incubator lures us in with its melancholic vibes.

Games Lift: Pipapo Games get the joke

Pipapo Games know how to make a concerted effort. The team behind "Map Map" reports to the interview in a bright mood, helps each other out on every question and still manages to take their own plans very seriously.

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