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EP 27 – Making Indie Games and running a Successful Kickstarter with Xin Ran Liu – Co-owner, Lead Artist and Art Director at Kitfox Games – Moon Hunters, Shattered Planet.
This episode of the Syn Studio podcast series features Xin Ran Liu, a young and dedicated entrepreneur who not only teaches at Syn Studio but is co-owner, lead artist and art director at Kitfox Games. Xin is heavily in the indie game scene and has recently been working on his new game, Moon Hunters, which was a huge Kickstarter success in 2014, raising over $150,000. It is to be released in early 2016 on Steam, PS Vita and PS4. Only 23 years old, he has accomplished a lot, having had experience working at mainstream game companies, teaching, book cover illustrations and other projects – and Moon Hunters isn’t his first video game project either! We are happy to have someone so inspiring to come chat with us in this podcast!
“I think [being self-taught] is a crucial part of being a good artist. You’re always growing. You gotta be curious and always look[ing] for new knowledge out there.”
In This Episode…
Anthony, Stephen and Bing chat with Xin about his upcoming game Moon Hunters as well as the indie game industry and the importance of crowdfunding. A lot of insight is given into how an indie game is made and what is required to do so, in terms of funding, marketing, skillsets and, most importantly, the drive and the persistence to learn. This episode includes a broad range of topics such as virtual reality, top secret technology and 3D printing, along with lots of games and art (of course). We dive head first into the geekiest of topics and Xin also gives invaluable learning tips for the aspiring artist and entrepreneur. Listen on for some special announcements as well!
Here’s what you’ll learn:
[01:20] What is Moon Hunters?
[05:50] The explosion (or implosion?) of Kickstarter and crowdfunding
[07:50] Xin’s previous game, Shattered Planet
[13:45] The funding and marketing process for making indie games
[22:00] Art in Shattered Planet vs Moon Hunters: painted vs pixelized
[28:00] Values, contrasts and elements of art and how it should harmonize
[32:00] The stories in video games: how to be innovative
[36:00] Xin’s background and the mindset behind his accomplishments
[42:30] What is required to start a video game company in the indie scene
[44:00] Being both artist and art director: how to develop an additional perspective on your own work
[47:10] The two main approaches to drawing and which is most useful for concept art
[53:10] What students should do or stop doing that would yield a lot of progress
[55:10] How do you know if you are suited for indie games?
[01:01:05] Exciting experiences with Virtual Reality
[01:14:00] The process of character design for Moon Hunters
[01:22:40] Equipment talk! Xin’s work station and Wacom tablets
[01:24:10] Xin’s favourite recent video games
[01:33:10] Cool new things going on at Syn Studio!
[01:43:45] Xin’s origin story… how he became a professional artist at such a young age
[01:51:20] Advice to a (relatively) younger Xin and closing comments
Links you’ll like…
Xin Ran Liu
Video Games Mentioned
- Golden Axe
- Fallout 4
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
- Cities XXL
- Life is Strange
- Rocket League
- Samurai Gun
- Screen Cheat
This interview is part of a series of exclusive Concept Art, Illustration, VFX, 3D and Comics Podcasts created by Syn Studio. If you enjoyed this podcast please share it with your friends. And please sign up below for our newsletter to keep informed about all of our great podcasts, interviews, tutorials, articles, videos and other material created for you: the artist.