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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: [Blog - 07/27/2015 - 03:05]

This is an outstanding article. ...

This is an outstanding article. r n r nThe value of community is enormous for people learning how to do work that is both creative and technical. Not only does it give answers, a vibrant, welcoming community helps to improve the social skills of people who otherwise might have stayed ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/27/2015 - 03:18]

I assume that Super Wargame ...

I assume that Super Wargame Adventure: Battle for Spaceworld Star Edition Quest Pack will be a thing soon. r n r nAs for replacing sequel numbers with subtitles, I wouldn 't mind seeing that stop... but it annoys me vastly less than reboots that reuse the name of the original ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/27/2015 - 03:18]

Speaking of emotional replayability... You ...

Speaking of emotional replayability... You know how long-awaited sequels to popular books or films tend to be introduced with Return to the world of... I suspect something similar is at work with games that are considered highly replayable. r n r nEven if you know all the story beats and ...

Comment In: [News - 07/09/2015 - 04:00]

I recently finished converting a ...

I recently finished converting a version of the 1970s-era Super Star Trek, which I last worked on in 1985, from PL/I to JavaScript/HTML/CSS. r n r nI mention this because SST gives you a limited number of days to rid the galaxy of the angry Klingon menace, after which ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/24/2015 - 06:24]

Welcome to Gamasutra blogging This ...

Welcome to Gamasutra blogging This was a fine start. r n r nI don 't think there 's a bright line that can be drawn between definitely-a-game and not-a-game. Those are broad areas at either end of a continuum, and there 's room for both those types of computer-based entertainment ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/22/2015 - 12:50]

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and ...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. : This is one of the best how to be a good designer pieces I 've seen in years. r n r nIf I had to pick the most important part, it would be the observation that a good designer 's attention covers both ...