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


Games Lift 2022: These are the five teams

​​​​​​​Five teams have convinced the Games Lift awarding committee of the promising potential of their games projects with their pitch. They will start on September 12 with a three-month workshop and mentoring program with international industry experts, 15,000 euros in financial support and places in a Hamburg co-working space. Congratulation to all teams, and we are very much looking forward to seeing your projects evolve!

Games Lift: Good for you?

If things go well here, we like to keep them going. That is certainly the plan with our Games Lift Incubator. After two successful runs, preparations for the third are well underway. We are still open for teams with a strong vision and ambitious goals. But there’s only a few days left.

Games Lift Incubator - The Alumni's Experiences

The Games Lift Incubator is going into the third edition in 2022 already, so we took the opportunity to ask three alumni of the past two years about their experience with the program. These are three very different projects so we were especially curious about their impressions. You can currently apply to the 2022 edition of the Games Lift Incubator until June 14. We hope these reports on the Incubator will help you with your decision to apply.   

Games Lift Insights with Cassia Curran on May 24

Join our Games Lift Team and Cassia Curran, Founder and Strategic Advisor at Curran Games Agency, for insights into our Games Lift Incubator program and a workshop about games market analysis for indies on May 24 at 4:30 pm. The event will be held online and in English.

Apply now for Games Lift 2022

From May 9 to June 14, you can apply for our Games Lift Incubator 2022! Take the chance to bring your game ideas and concepts for digital games to the next level!

Crumbling releases first VR-demo

“It’s action time! Woosh! Bam! Pow!” – this is how the official trailer adequately announces the freshly released demo of the third-person action-roguelike “Crumbling” by Games Lift Alumnus Ole Jürgensen and his team.

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.

More News
Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Your cookie preferences have been saved.