I had always wanted to try making games, but for some reason I never got started on my own. Studying on my own is so difficult without the pressure of a group. So when I saw the invite for "everyone, even those that have not made games before" on Expa's front page, I decided to go for it. I have never regretted that decision. Expa Game Club's Back from Afar has been a great project with amazing people.
My life has been really busy because of work, school and hobbies, and I have not spent as much time on Back from Afar as I would have liked to. It did become a problem when I was really lacking the required skills to implement everything that I would have liked to, and I simply did not have the time to teach myself all of it. I have always been interested in both code and graphics, so I took the role of a "hybrid"; I was working on graphics, code and animation, as I wanted to learn it all. It has given me a nice overall look to making games. It also made me realize that there is a lot to learn before I can truly give my best to the team. It is true that the more you learn, the more you realize that you have barely started.
Honest feedback and cooperation have been the strong points of this project. Being honest really is important in a game team. When I was working on some of my first graphics for multiple days and got told that it did not follow the game's overall look, I was upset - but in the end, I really appreciated the feedback. I made more suitable graphics and they fit the style much better, and I realized that my earlier work was indeed really off. This was an important lesson and in the process I also learned how graphic makers sometime feel. And when I struggled with my coding tasks, I got help as soon as I asked for it, and learned the programmer's point of view. And most important of all, the whole team was able to report bugs to each other without holding anything back. That is also crucial to achieve good quality.
Apart from technicalities, however, I have had an amazingly fun time. Game Club has been the first place in a long time where I have actually been social. Unlike my usual shy self at work and school, in Game Club I shared my ideas, commented on others' ideas and made (terrible) jokes. It also added to my confidence outside of Game Club. A hobby that gives you confidence to be who you are is the best kind of hobby - and in a way, this is one of the ideas behind Back from Afar's story.
I have genuinely enjoyed being part of this team. I am proud of what we have achieved, and hope that I can help the team even more in the future as I learn more. Beware, game industry! I am definitely here to stay.