November 26, 2021
Games Lift: ‘consider it’ get the green light
Timo Schneider is ready to talk, but then he pauses himself: "Actually, it was Kevin's idea." It’s no wonder he has to slow himself down. His enthusiasm for his colleague's concept is always evident. Kevin Westphal is the duo's app developer. Timo and he work at consider it – a versatile software company with over 50 employees.
"Kevin is the lead developer behind our ITS tours app", explains Timo. Recently, the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) took place in Hamburg; consider it contributed an app highlighting Hamburg’s connected mobility systems. Users moving through the city could see all the truck guidance systems, car charging stations, bike-sharing stations and more around them.
One day, while Kevin watched buses traveling the map in his app, he suddenly felt reminded of earlier gaming memories: "I used to play 1602 A.D. and Rollercoaster Tycoon." The top view of a bustling world had always felt fascinating to him. Encountering it in his app piqued his playful side. But he wasn’t the only one enjoying the app more than expected: "I personally found lots of fun in the way I could interact with my environment," explains Timo. The app was able to show granular details like individual traffic light intervals and the exact positions of buses. A hidden world split open on the phone screen; it even enabled smaller cheat codes for reality, like being able to plan ahead so you always get green lights on your bike commute.
Kevin wanted to develop the idea further and use the app as a foundation for a real game. Timo had a clear answer to the suggestion: "Awesome." Until now, consider it hasn't developed any games; it is "more of an umbrella company," as Kevin puts it. Projects of different size and scope are always in development. This made finding a slot for the game feasible. No one had to quit a safe job to work on this game. "We do this in-house, as part of the company", Kevin clarifies.
Designing the concept was the next challenge: How do you combine a bird’s eye view of the city and the X-ray view of the transport network into a brilliant - and fun - game idea? The result is "supernightshift": A mobile game in which players travel as quickly and effectively as possible on a city map. They combine every means of transport from buses and bikes to electric rental cars. The trips remain virtual, but the city map is real. The game takes visual cues from "Mini Metro" and borrows ideas from board game classic "Scotland Yard". Rarely has enthusiasm for public transport looked this stylish.
Timo and Kevin came to the incubator mainly to listen and to network. "We don't have a theoretical background in game design," Kevin clarifies. That's why they appreciate the workshops and feel that direct feedback from the mentors has helped them most – from producers to games journalists, renowned experts are available to teams in the incubator. "There’s a lot to take in," Timo sums up. Kevin is busy developing an engine for the game, based on the map framework. For the Games Lift Graduation at the end of the workshop phase, they have a hard goal in sight: Presenting a live demo.
"We’ve learned that the idea holds untapped potential," explains Kevin. Together with Timo, he wants to answer the key question about their game: "What exactly is providing fun here?" The demo will be geared towards testing and sharpening game mechanics. Doing that would be hard to plan on a drawing board – it has to be tested, Kevin asserts.Timo and Kevin came to the incubator mainly to listen and to network. "We don't have a theoretical background in game design," Kevin clarifies. That's why they appreciate the workshops and feel that direct feedback from the mentors has helped them most – from producers to games journalists, renowned experts are available to teams in the incubator. "There’s a lot to take in," Timo sums up. Kevin is busy developing an engine for the game, based on the map framework. For the Games Lift Graduation at the end of the workshop phase, they have a hard goal in sight: Presenting a live demo.
With input from the incubator, Timo and Kevin have gained a clear view of where their project stands. Once they have developed their demo to the extent that it delivers on the fun part in a reliable and demonstrable way, a good plan for the next step is ready and waiting. Public transit company Hamburger Hochbahn is already a part of consider it’s network. With a partner like that, "Supernightshift" could effectively bring people closer to new means of transport. It could be a tool for promoting cities; highlighting ways of progressing quickly and effectively might be attractive to a wide audience. Maybe one day, the title will be published in an App Store. Maybe it will be introduced in various German cities with the help of regional transit companies before that happens. But "supernightshift" will probably make its first rounds in Gamecity Hamburg.
Timo and Kevin 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!