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

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.

When Martin, Timo and Stephen get together, there is always laughter. The chemistry between the three of them is remarkable, even before they tell you anything about their projects. “Martin and I started working on projects 13 years ago during university”, Timo Becker explains. He is tool1’s creative director and project manager.

Co-founder Martin Kleingräber brought the vision for “The Invitation”. And while pursuing a master’s degree in Games at HAW Hamburg, he connected with Stephen Sommerfeld, now the team’s technical director. “It was evident from the get-go that Martin and I just were a good fit”, Stephen explains. “With Timo, it was similar.” The trio was assembled.

There’s lively discussion and planning between the three of them, but they swear they haven’t had a fight once. “The Invitation” is not their first or only idea, but it is close to their heart. Martin is adept at explaining exactly how and why it is ideal for “modular development” as well as a backbone for a new company. The game “The Invitation” and the studio tool1 are meant to grow alongside each other.

Martin, Timo and Stephen discussing the next steps in a conference room at the Code Working Space | Photo: Selim Sudheimer

The idea has flowered into a well-developed concept. “The Invitation” will be a looter-shooter with realistic 3D graphics and a bevy of innovations. A special emphasis lies on the interaction between players; they will be able to assign missions themselves. A Player Quest could be many things – a call for help, a bounty on a griefer or an invitation to participate in a raid.

Fans of the genre are listening already. Last year, different gaming magazines picked up the project – among them German heavyweight Gamestar, but also outlets from Poland  and India. A Kickstarter campaign drew even more attention, but failed to reach its funding goal. Money isn’t everything, though. With Kickstarter came new contacts, more eyes on the progression and, above all, a strong community. “We promised keys to all our backers”, Timo explains. Hundreds of people are eager to try out test builds.

Winning over and keeping an audience is essential for online games like “The Invitation”. Tool1 are focused on the task. They want to use the Games Lift Incubator “to think, to clear up and to consult”, Timo explains. The goal is to draw more people in, to gather them onto their Discord server. And for even closer contact, a Patreon is planned, too.

Game-Visual from "The Invitation" | Image: tool1

Tool1 are all about making connections. It’s in their DNA, since they are a small team. So far, they have worked with freelancers in order to get 3D assets or animations into “The Invitation”. It is no surprise that they do plan on growing and adding new members to the studio eventually. But they are taking one step at a time.

The Incubator is a prime opportunity for networking, and tool1 know how important that is in the games industry. They have found help and advice in Hamburg’s flourishing indie studio scene, at Kickstarter and elsewhere. The input from many different people is really valuable, explains Stephen, and that is a good motivation to keep asking.

Showing how they work and making it transparent is important to tool1. “It’s one way of standing out against established AAA studios”, Martin believes. The team wants to personally answer requests from players and to make visible what goes into major decisions. It’s going well, so far. “Our community is awesome”, Timo beams. He especially enjoys reaching out, and he was the man behind developer streams in the past. He is eager to start streaming again next year on a regular basis.

“The Invitation” still has a ways to go before hitting Early Access. Tool1 plan their steps well. But the project is on the right path. Everyone’s invited to follow on Twitter, or to visit them on Discord.

tool1 together in Hamburg's HafenCity | Photo: Selim Sudheimer


Our year 2021 - Full speed ahead

We’re looking back on an exciting and eventful year 2021, which once again presented many challenges to our methods, workflow and implementation of our programs and offers - but also brought along so many interesting encounters, new projects and opportunities! 

Games Lift 2021: Graduated!

​​​​​​​For the people behind the project, Games Lift Graduation is a cause for celebration. After three intense months, they can pause for an evening and marvel at the accomplishments of the five incubator teams. For the actual team members, celebration comes only after the presentation. Find out all about our Games Lift Graduation event in this Games Lift Log.

Live today: Games Lift Graduation 2021

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: ‘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: 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!

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: 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.

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