Victor’s travel-book, part two: Settling into life and the indie scene in Beijing

Follow the adventures of Victor Bankler, a Game Design student from the University of Skövde, as he takes on an internship at indienova and life in Beijing.

A few weeks have now passed since I first arrived in Beijing. Things that were overwhelming and strange at first soon became natural and ordinary somehow. I live, eat, commute and in many ways behave like a local. It is funny how quickly the mind adapts.

Even the childlike curiosity with which I approached the work at indienova at first has now been replaced with the routines of a hardworking professional. But it is actually the curiosity the team at indienova wants from me – not my hard work:

“Next week Victor, will be a busy one”, Qiao says to me. She is my contact person at indienova and a diehard indie enthusiast. “We have a lot to do and people to meet, all over Beijing.” I am more than happy to take a pause from polishing my thesis and do some field work around town.

Indie devs in Beijing: Fellow video game fans and hard workers

On Monday morning, we meet at the metro and head towards the northern part of the city. We are about to visit Miaoyi Wang: CEO, lead programmer, designer, and writer of 4D Door – and creator of last year’s most acclaimed indie game in China, Will: A Wonderful World.

We meet at her apartment: Half home, half work station for high level game development. The interview goes on for hours, and we touch on topics like values, motivations, and the unique challenges that Chinese game developers have to face. I get to admire her grand collection of video games and play her game straight in Unity Engine (it is like eating the cookie dough instead of waiting for it to bake). A fellow video game fan, and a hard worker.

Miaoyi Wang is one of many talented and creative indie developers we will visit within the coming days. We meet with people like Candleman’s creators over at Spotlightor Interactive, and Anger Force’s developers at Screambox Studio. All of these people have their own, unique motivations and attitude to their work and to games in general. Passion is what unites them.

Visiting Screambox Studio

The transcripts from all these interviews will be made into articles and posted through both Western and Chinese social media. I will let you know as soon as I am finished with them!

Celebrating The Year of the Dog

The Year of the Chicken has reached its end and The Year of the Dog is about to begin. In China, this is marked with the Spring Festival, which can’t be unnoticed as the whole country is decorated with red lanterns and colorful puppies. As people travel back to their home provinces to celebrate with their relatives, the streets of Beijing empties until it almost feels as sparsely populated as home.

For the coming two weeks, the office is also shut down at indienova. This leaves me plenty of room to go exploring the place and, of course, celebrate my first Chinese New Year!

I am invited by my colleague Lin to celebrate the event with his family the old fashioned way. I get to make dumplings the traditional way, visit a New Year’s market and drink Chinese rice wine with Lin’s dad.

Spring festival: Celebrating The Year of the Dog in Beijing

As I check one fascinating place after another off my bucket list, the end of my journey draws closer.

The Chinese indie game community is a truly interesting and a unique part of the world’s largest game market, and I would have needed more time to truly get to know it and the people in it. This is a really eventful place for games right now.

If you are interested in the future of the game industry, you should consider keeping an eye on this part of the world!

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