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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 Thu, 12 Nov 2015 12:20:00 EST in Design, Console/PC
As a game designer, what can you do with a huge open world filled with thousands of different kinds of objects? You can tell stories with the environment itself.

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.

Bart Stewart's Comments

Comment In: [News - 01/25/2016 - 03:26]

Came for the information about ...

Came for the information about a supposedly strategic game made with the direct input of a strategist. Wasn 't disappointed, other than with the usual childish selection of an unflattering photo. r n r nStayed for the inevitable I don 't care whether the game is good or not, I ...

Comment In: [News - 01/15/2016 - 03:34]

Excellent interview r n r ...

Excellent interview r n r nThese folks are at the creative center of my preferred play interests, so it 's very satisfying to get a brief but enlightening peek behind the curtain of making a game that mattered to them personally.

Comment In: [News - 01/14/2016 - 10:30]

Worry puts it too strongly. ...

Worry puts it too strongly. I 'm just mildly surprised that where a press release from, say, Zynga gets some editorial scrutiny here, the pretty blatantly odd numeric claims from Frontier units sold of players, a bogus number multiplied by average hours played to yield another bogus number are simply ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/12/2016 - 01:25]

In the context of your ...

In the context of your post, is there a meaningful difference between the truth and a truth r n r nI imagine history writers striving for the truth and being justly rebuked when they make up stuff, as in Edmund Morris 's biography of Ronald Reagan . What I 'm ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/05/2016 - 12:29]

Ah, the old no one ...

Ah, the old no one should be able to save their game state argument again, complete with scum insult. Apparently this debate will never end. :D r n r nThe short version of my dissent looks like this: r n r n1. Different people play games for different reasons. Some ...

Comment In: [Blog - 12/30/2015 - 11:51]

Why are so many people ...

Why are so many people so quick to declare that the fact that perfect objectivity is impossible must mean that attempting to provide even a modestly objective description of a game has no value r n r nAre the people who purport to offer reasonably objective reviews at Consumer Reports ...