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Bart Stewart's Blog


Avid game design theorist; experienced programmer and software project manager; first (noncommercial) game developed was a real-time multiplayer space combat sim for IBM mainframes in 1985. Gaming-related interests include "deep" gameplay, Explorer/Simulationist gameplay, psychology of gamers, player-centered design, massively multiplayer game design, and industry trends. Personal game design blog at:


Member Blogs

Posted by Bart Stewart on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:33:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC
A month before its release, Watch Dogs is being described as having a highly dynamic world conducive to thoughtful exploration, but also as having simplified mechanics better suited to exciting action. Which impression is more accurate? Both? Neither?

Posted by Bart Stewart on Tue, 17 Jan 2012 01:41:00 EST in Design
In which we consider how the careful selection of gameplay elements can burn a game into our hearts and minds.

Posted by Bart Stewart on Sat, 20 Aug 2011 01:13:00 EDT in Design
Game developers often try to find and remove all unexpected interactions in the belief that anything not intended is likely to be a bug. But this may be unnecessarily preventing the development of games in which surprise is a necessary feature.

Posted by Bart Stewart on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 05:51:00 EDT in Design
Since Warren Spector demonstrated Epic Mickey at E3 2010, there's been a microburst of gaming media coverage of his design philosophy that "play style matters." It's about time.

Posted by Bart Stewart on Sat, 13 Mar 2010 03:41:00 EST in Design
At GDC 2010, Blizzard EVP of Game Design Rob Pardo described a number of design concepts behind Blizzard's games. While these are obviously successful for Blizzard's games, they can be seen as working only for simple action games. There are other kinds.

Posted by Bart Stewart on Mon, 01 Mar 2010 06:11:00 EST in Design
The online reaction to Jesse Schell's DICE 2010 presentation can be understood as a reaction to computer gaming becoming a mass entertainment form. Where early gamers enjoyed intangible immersion, today's typical gamer now expects tangible rewards.

Bart Stewart's Comments

Comment In: [News - 07/11/2014 - 04:03]

I 've been working for ...

I 've been working for some time on my own game that, like Elite: Dangerous, uses the Hipparcos dataset of roughly 118,000 stars visible from Earth. One of the features I added was to draw lines between stars as our known constellations. r n r nThe moment I first started ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/10/2014 - 07:40]

To use the language Raph ...

To use the language Raph offers here: if conversation is interactive play among fully simulated objects, is there a role for a game designer in that game

Comment In: [News - 07/11/2014 - 01:35]

While I appreciate Ms. Engle ...

While I appreciate Ms. Engle 's response, there is an enormous difference between should and must. r n r nShould YouTubers and anyone else, regardless of nationality disclose when they 're getting money from someone whose product they 're reviewing That seems reasonable, and encouraging it not very objectionable. r ...

Comment In: [News - 07/08/2014 - 04:24]

I 've been running Mountain ...

I 've been running Mountain for several days now. I find it enjoyable, but then I 'm one of those people who longs for the chance to get 15 minutes in a quiet room with no interruptions. Note to researchers: most people are not introverts. This is surprising to them ...

Comment In: [News - 07/01/2014 - 05:26]

4.4M seems pretty light after ...

4.4M seems pretty light after all the hysteria and thundering denunciations from Rhode Island politicians. r n r n The mountains have labored, and brought forth a mouse.

Comment In: [Blog - 06/30/2014 - 02:31]

Setting aside arguments about social ...

Setting aside arguments about social change for a moment, I 'm not seeing any question about what 's maybe the most interesting part of this essay: r n r n I want to see more women in games because, as I ve said before, many times, they can bring a ...