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

Games Lift: Symmetry Break on finding words and time

Making games is a team effort. Symmetry Break are our biggest team this year; they have thought a lot about what their game is, and how they want to make it as a group. “Prospector” seems to reflect that. Communication is a crucial part of the game. Talking, it turns out, is harder than picking the right option. Read more about them and their game project in this issue of our Games Lift Incubator Log!

One thing we at the Games Lift Incubator have learned is that help takes time. Workshops and advice are essential, but they have to fit into a schedule. Symmetry Break had a challenge on top of that: They are still a small group, but they grew their team size recently. Three people in the core team and two newly added contractors are working on “Prospector” right now.

„We’re getting into a good groove,” Jan smiles. Getting there took work, of course. Anca-Stefania Tutescu and Jan Barow met at HAW Hamburg university’s Games Master program, where they bonded over their shared passion. “We love games with stories, with relatable characters,” Jan explains. “And a beautiful art style,” Anca adds. She is responsible for Project Management and Sound Design; he is writing, directing, and designing the game.

Julian Heinken is part of the core team as a programmer and tech artist. “I sold him on the game idea,” Anca smiles. “It also helped that we are flatmates,” Julian laughs. Franziska Blinde and Cecilia Theophil join the team as contractors. Both are artists educated at HAW Hamburg; Franziska paints characters and environments, while Cecilia animates everything and creates visual effects. The freshly assembled team went on to produce the pitch deck for their game that got them on the Games Lift Incubator. But at first, they had to find a common language. “Everyone brings their own vision to the game,” Julian observes. It took some time getting to know each other before they could effectively work towards their common goal.

Symmetry Break Games having a team meeting in the Code Working Space | Photo: Selim Sudheimer

Right now, Symmetry Break are in full swing. Work keeps accelerating on their next big goal: “A demo to show people what the game is about,” Anca says. Understanding “Prospector” can be tricky at first, because it is not just another point & click adventure. Anca sees “Prospector” as part of a “wave of much more story driven games;” the team is inspired by “Night in the Woods,” “Oxenfree” and “Disco Elysium” among others.

In “Prospector,” talking to people is not just the usual multiple-choice affair. An indicator will always show how open the character is to someone else. Saying something difficult may mean that players literally have to squeeze the dialogue option in. “When you choose an option, it can come out differently,” Anca warns. This way, Jan adds, characterization happens “not just in the options, but also in the behavior of the options.”

What Symmetry Break are not keen on are typical adventure puzzles. In Jan’s experience, they can be “pretty arbitrary” and end up hindering what he really wants to do: “going on a journey with a character.” Anca agrees: “We don’t want to encumber the gameplay with puzzles.” Self-expression, communication and the discovery of the world and its story stand at the center of “Prospector.”

Symmetry Break have a clear idea of the story they want to tell. The setting sounds enticing: A city on the brim of a crater filled with poisonous fog. Players arrive as an outsider and engage with a world in which everyone wears a mask – and is defined by it. Off the record, he is eager to explain more. But we won’t spoil anything here. “The basic arcs are clear,” Jan says.

Anca, Cecilia, Franzsika, Jan and Julian of Symmetry Break Games together in the Code Working Space | Photo: Selim Sudheimer

Producing a demo for the Graduation Pitch is a big task. The team have found motivation in the workshops. Steffen Rühl’s advice on pitching game ideas has led to “massive improvements” in their presentation, Anca finds. She is determined not to take any shortcuts – especially when it comes to a running issue in the games industry: “We really want to avoid crunch in general as a team.” On that note, Julian is keen to highlight a „super helpful” contribution from a senior producer in the incubator: “Heather Chandler basically gave us the blueprint on how to manage our project.” Guidance and practical examples from her workshop have already found their way into Symmetry Break’s workflow.

After their time in the Games Lift Incubator, Symmetry Break hope to have a convincing demo to show around. Of course, they want to use it to attract funding for development. But they are looking further ahead. “We are not just building a game, but a studio.” Anca explains. She is not losing sight of her bigger goals – even when time is tight.

Symmetry Break Games will present their project publicly at the Games Lift Graduation on December 2 - register now to join us live via stream or on-site at Factory Hammerbrooklyn in Hamburg for the final presentations of all five teams of the Games Lift Incubator 2021!


Games Lift: ‘consider it’ get the green light

Timo Schneider and Kevin Westphal have been developing software successfully for years. Then something unexpected happened: An app of theirs was way too much fun to just be useful. With "supernightshift", they are taking the next step. Read more in our Games Lift Incubator Log.

Games Lift Graduation 2021 on Dec. 2

Five teams from Hamburg participate in our Games Lift Incubator 2021 with their promising games porjects from September to December - and now it's time to see what they have achieved and what they're up to. Join us for their final presentations on December 2 - live via stream or on-site in Hamburg!

Games Lift: Denise Koch and her wicked plans

Her project casts a big shadow. But the artist is taking part in the Games Lift Incubator 2021 on her own. Denise Koch is here to kick-start her project "Monstersongs VR" – an interactive musical for virtual reality. More about her and her project in this issue of our Games Lift Log.

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.

Games Lift: SUPERNATURAL GAMES and their little green friends

Good things come to those who start: SUPERNATURAL GAMES are Gerrit and Patrick Henschel. The brothers have been successful in their separate careers. Now, they are working together on their personal dream game. With “The Treepoids”, they are winning over even skeptical experts. Find out more in our Games Lift Log!

Games Lift: tool1 build on their community

Meet tool1: Three guys with big plans and a clear strategy. Their project “The Invitation” already found some success. But it’s still early days; tool1 are planning big things for their audience next year. More in this issue of our Games Lift Log.

Games Lift: What we do in our workshops

Good things are happening in our Games Lift Incubator workshops right now. A lot of them are confidential. But some of them are not! We got to listen in on two veterans of game marketing and pitching. One of them is a new addition. Find out more in our new Games Lift Log entry!

Games Lift 2021 - New and Improved

After our first Games Lift Incubator 2020 was a success, we worked on the program for the new Games Lift teams 2021. Find out what is new and what improved in our Incubator Log #3

Games Lift 2021 - Accelerating Now

The preparations are done. Now comes the fun part: The 2021 iteration of our Games Lift Incubator has begun in full. Workshops are in session. Read more in entry #2 of our Games Lift Incubator Log.

Kick-off for Games Lift Teams 2021!

It’s on: Yesterday, we kicked off the intensive phase of Games Lift Incubator 2021 together with the five dev teams from Hamburg. For the next three months, the teams will be able to fully concentrate on their game ideas and attend workshops and individual mentoring sessions with international industry experts.

Games Lift Incubator: these are the five teams 2021

Five up-and-coming game developer teams from Hamburg convinced the awarding committee with their project ideas, pitching their way into the Games Lift Incubator 2021. The incubator program starts on September 9 and aims to prepare the teams for the challenges of developing and marketing their games projects in the international markets – through start-up funding of 15,000 euros per team and an intensive three-month workshop and mentoring program under the guidance of international industry experts.

Games Lift 2021 application phase has started

From June 21, the Games Lift incubator program launches its application phase for 2021, supporting five games developer teams in creating concepts for digital games with high market potential.

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