Learning to Pivot


Generally it’s always good to have a backup plan, right? If things go wrong, it gives you a safety net to fall into. For most of my life I’ve relied on backup plans, and it has helped me a lot, but I think it’s time for me to change my perspective.

I set out to make my first game a while ago. It was a cool concept, but the design pillars I decided to build on were a bit too ambitious for a solo game dev. That resulted in a scope that was too large, gameplay mechanics that were unrealistic, and feeling like my initial goal was too lofty to be accomplished. 

Normally I would chalk the project up as something to come back to later and transition to another project (a.k.a. My backup plan). I have been able to learn a lot about the process of game development by doing this, but ultimately all this has given me is some experience, about a dozen partially complete projects, and 0 released games. =( 

The strategy is a living ever-evolving pivoting mechanism.

Pearl Zhu

Instead of accepting things as being out of reach, I decided to try pivoting instead of transitioning to a backup plan. In this context, that meant every time a core element of my game wasn’t working the way I expected, I took a step back, re-analyzed design pillars, made some adjustments, and kept pushing through. Instead of walking away and starting a less ambitious, equally cool idea; I tinkered, tweaked, and modified enough to maintain design pillars and continued to work on the project. 

Even though the project has been scaled down quite a bit, and the gameplay loop is completely different from anything I’ve shown, I’m still very proud of the game that I have now. It is still ambitious for a solo dev’s first release, so I may have to continue to pivot but overall, the game is coming along well. Can’t wait to show you all!

Thank you for your support!


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