We're all mad here.
I'm Luna Chai, a Chinese-American homeschooled pastor's kid hailing from California, USA. Weird combo, I know. And it only gets weirder.
Up until 2017, I was an ordinary college student studying to get a degree in the film program. Then, through volunteering with Lucid9: Inciting Incident, a murder mystery visual novel, I was exposed to game development.
I said to my brother, Antioch: "Hey, indie game development is just like indie film development, except you get to work in your pajamas."
He said, "Cool."
So I said, "Forget film, I'm gonna make a game. Wanna help me make an otome?"
He said, "Ew, otome. No."
I put him on the staff list anyway. And on May 11, 2016, I started working on Zodiac Axis between college courses and homework assignments. I had to do art, music, writing, design, GUI, everything—and it was my ravenous, man-eating baby child.
After a few months, my life started to reach a breaking point. Zodiac Axis was taking up more and more of my time, and I was starting to wonder: Should I go into game development full-time? I was feeling a strong pull towards game development; I wanted to drop everything and focus on this. But I wasn't sure whether that was something I was called to do, or whether I was just trying to procrastinate on the 5 papers that were due on Friday.
So I prayed and said, "God, I've got no clue what I'm supposed to do, so here's my version of Gideon's fleece. I'm gonna drop a Kickstarter. If you make it succeed, I'll drop out of school and work on it. But if it doesn't, I'll stay in school and finish my degree, like I probably should. Please have the results line up with your will, whatever it is."
I published the Kickstarter, not knowing what to expect. At the height of visual novel Kickstarters, 10K USD wasn't much to ask for—but this was when crowdfunders were declining and people were becoming skeptical of developers' ability to deliver. Furthermore, we had no previous projects and no previous connections. I'd also barely made any assets—just enough for a 3-minute demo—because I didn't want to invest a ton of time, just in case the Kickstarter failed.
In other words, for this Kickstarter to succeed, money would have to drop out of the sky.
And, for some reason—despite having no previous projects, no previous connections, a really vague plot description, and a ridiculously short demo—we were completely funded simply from the kindness (or madness) of strangers. It was a miracle of God.
I took a look at the figures. Then I looked at Antioch.
"Well, the Kickstarter actually succeeded," I said.
"I guess I actually have to make this game now."
So I told my Chinese-American parents, "Hey, I'm gonna drop out of college and not get my bachelor's degree and live at home and make a video game with zero cash flow and income. It'll take around 2-4 years of me being a deadbeat."
And for reasons unknown to this day, they said, "Cool! Go for it!"
So, May 2017 was my last formal semester in college. I dropped out, went back home, and spent every waking hour working on Zodiac Axis. With the funding, I could bring on talented artists, voice actors, and other contractors, and together, we could work on something beautiful.
And for now, that's where the story is.
It hasn't necessarily been smooth sailing. I always feel like I'm at the edge of my wallet. When we run low on money, I take up commissions and part-time jobs on the side. But, through God's grace, we're still going. And I don't know where the journey will lead, but I know that wherever it takes us, it'll be strange and beautiful.
My sister Luna earns 13k from a Kickstarter but still demands I buy her milk tea every week. What's up with that?
Creative Director Business Manager
Luna Chai handles creative tasks like art, music, and design. She also manages the business end of Studio Theophilus. She's addicted to milk tea and has loved playing games ever since she had Pokemon Yellow on the GameBoy Color.
Breath of the Wild
Mob Psycho 100
Community Manager Game Designer
Antioch hates descriptions. What a hipster.
League of Legends
My Hero Academia
We're a sibling duo of nerdy, homeschooled pastor's kids who like to play games and make pretty stuff, looking to use our talents to glorify God. We've got three core values, derived from Micah 6:8.
1. Be Just.
Treat our contractors and employees right. Work in ethical business practices, and don't cut corners. Don't compromise on injustices.
2. Be Loving.
Show appreciation and gratitude. Humbly care for our customer base with a servant's heart.
3. Walk humbly with God.
Always remember what really matters in life. Grow as people. Exercise self-care, and have proper boundaries.