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Derek Liu (also known as Lanzer to Gaians) was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong 15 April, 1974. He lived in China for eleven years where he found his love for manga as a kid. When he was around the age of 11 or 12, his family moved to Canada where his interests in technology and all different degrees of Japanese culture fueled his desires. At the age of 22, Derek moved to California where his interest in art led him to meet various members of Bay Area Artists Unite (BAAU).

It was through this artist community that he met Josh Gainsborough (L0cke), Kidkoum Visarutvanit (Sukinahito, a.k.a. Saka), Long Vo (VO), Charles Park (CP), and Darren Stefan Freckleton(Fanpy). These six men came together and formed Studio XD where they worked on a number of projects including X-Men: Evolution. After working in this fashion for a few years, they had been greatly influenced by the MMORPG Ragnarok and started coming up with their own ideas for an online game of sorts. On February 18th, 2003 Gaia Online was created.

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