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

Games Lift: Quick Start in Year 3

Wait – the third iteration of the Games Lift Incubator is already well underway. How is it going? Like clockwork. Bolstered by two years of experience, the program has had an intensive start. Fortunately, this time there also is a break coming up.

(Photo above: The five teams participating in the Games Lift Incubator 2022, together with the Gamecity Hamburg Team | Photo by Jan-Marius Komorek / Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft)

If it goes, it goes: Just two weeks after kick-off, the Games Lift Incubator - and the five new teams participating in this year’s program - have seen a first meet and greet, a check-in and no less than six workshops. These events are a main attraction of the program. In them, our team members get to look into a wide variety of topics and games industry knowledge. Epic Games veteran Heather Chandler has put project management on the schedule, industry expert Steffen Rühl has led the first of three pitch training sessions and Michael Schieben has again introduced Product Field, his method for business canvassing. Schieben has been with the program since its first iteration, but this time marked a premiere – for the first time, his complete workshop will be held in-person, with everyone in the same room. And we have more in-person events coming up this year.

Video conferences remain an important part of the Incubator, of course. We can save resources by letting international experts visit us via Zoom. Industry insiders like Simon Carless or Cassia Curran do not just appear on screen to give talks, they are also on hand to train and teach teams individually.

Kick-off event: The Gamecity Hamburg team shares the schedule and important info on the course of the incubator program with the five teams (Photo by Jan-Marius Komorek / Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft)

Take a breather

Working in a targeted and concentrated manner is an integral part of an incubator program. This makes it essential to look after the teams and offer support wherever necessary. Looking for ways to lighten the mood and minimize stress for the teams has been an important part of Gamecity’s mission throughout every iteration of the incubator. But this time, a new measure to reduce stress has been introduced, project manager Margarete Schneider explains: “There is a one-week break in the schedule.” The advantages are obvious. Schneider points to all the balls teams have to keep in the air. They are not just busy in the program and development of their project, they might have existing contract work to fulfill, or they might need a genuine break from work.

The timing of the break week is strategically important – in the run-up to the Milestone Pitch, the first time in the program teams are tasked with showing off their progress. Even for a well-prepared team, this situation can be stressful in and of itself.

Make a connection

And for teams that still have room for more, Gamecity Hamburg offers ample opportunities. Daniel Stehlik is part of team Godcomplex, developers of multiplayer party game Stack’em Up. He is especially happy about the networking support: “Connecting with a wide variety of people from the industry” is possible, he says. In his experience, making these connections can be hard when you are alone. At our kick-off event two weeks ago, the situation was different. Industry insiders and teams stood together chatting, enjoying snacks and cold drinks well into the evening.

The new Games Lift teams and the mentors connecting during the kick-off event in Hamburg's HafenCity (Photo by Jan-Marius Komorek / Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft)

Even award-winning creative professionals are impressed by the mood. Niko Tziopanos highlights the “high level of care and attention by everyone involved”, including the other teams. Tziopanos and his colleagues from team About Cannons + Sparrows have creatively worked in different media for over 20 years. The whole trio is “surprised by the scope and depth of the program” and is looking forward to the challenge.

The eagerness to take on challenges is mutual. Meeting new and talented people in the industry is a boon for our mentors, too. The experts holding our workshops regularly show curiosity and are thankful for the lively input they are getting back. For Gamecity Hamburg, the high rate of returning experts over multiple years is an important affirmation of their approach.

We do not want to impede the incubator’s work after this smooth and noiseless start. But we plan to introduce each team individually in the coming weeks. And we will soon get to take a peek at Gamecity’s silver bullet: the network of mentors.


Pitch Level Up 2023: Boost your pitch with expert feedback!

After the successful premiere last year, the Pitch Level Up is back on April 13, 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.

3 years of Games Lift: Getting better with age

Three successful years lie behind the Games Lift Incubator. Before we start the fourth one, we take a look back. Our alumni have a lot to show.

Games Lift Incubator: Grown together

The graduation pitch has marked the finale of Games Lift Incubator 2022. All five teams got to present what they achieved in the last three months. Not an easy task – but everyone came well-prepared. The setting was relaxed, the presentations strong.

Games Lift: Team Marty aim outside the box

The heroine may seem young and hot-headed, but there is an experienced team standing behind her: Babsi Bullet is an action-packed puzzle platformer for touchscreens. Team Marty are pouring their hearts into the game – and real craftsmanship.

Games Lift: Team ACAS get along with nuts and sledgehammers

Few games look as disarming from a distance: About Cannons & Sparrows is a metroidvania that starts with a small cannon hatching from an inconspicuous egg. The seasoned animation pros of Team ACAS may not have a finished game yet, but they do have a strong vision.

Games Lift: Elin Meinecke on sowing diversity

One person is behind farming sim RPG Evergreen Garden: Elin Meinecke is solely responsible for the art and game design of her project. She brings a degree in illustration to her work in the incubator – and inspiration from her garden.

Games Lift: Team Metacore is up for a challenge

Their hands are full. Their goals are big. But that is no reason to fret for Team Metacore. During our conversation, finding good answers comes to them as easily as sharing a laugh. The mood might make it into their project.

Games Lift: People make the Incubator

The Games Lift Incubator can only exist because many experts support it, teach and coach in it, and keep networking in it. Over 35 veterans from all areas of the games industry are with us. We have asked them why they are doing it and what keeps them coming back.

Games Lift: Team Godcomplex have thought this through

Would you have guessed that Team Godcomplex are already working on their third game? The four young professionals found each other at the university and have worked together ever since. With their party action game Stack’em up, they want to show what they have learned.

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.   

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