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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 - 10/27/2014 - 06:09]

As a pc gamer and ...

As a pc gamer and owner of consoles, of course I have to say I feel so incredibly held back by the consoles. I 'm terrified that in 10 years we might be hamstrung by the capabilities of the machines which came out a year ago. r n r nFor ...

Comment In: [News - 10/28/2014 - 10:58]

Interesting to compare this to ...

Interesting to compare this to the current list of the Steam games currently being played: r n r nWhat I find most fascinating are, amongst all the multiplayer stuff, a handful of singleplayer games: r n r n5. Beyond Earth r n6. Civ V r n10. Skyrim r n ...

Comment In: [News - 10/27/2014 - 12:18]

Thanks for the link, Dmitri. ...

Thanks for the link, Dmitri. I 've been following this series and was looking forward to the next entry.

Comment In: [News - 10/27/2014 - 04:39]

This is another case of ...

This is another case of my theory that as gaming goes mainstream, understanding the mainstream becomes a good surrogate for questions like what do gamers want Including do they care about entertainment product previews ' r n r nIf true, then if you 're making a conventional competitive multiplayer or ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/24/2014 - 01:56]

As computer gaming goes more ...

As computer gaming goes more mainstream, the number of gamers who read fiction is more closely approximated by the number of people generally who read fiction. r n r nI suspect that means specialized marketing to gamers is less valuable than it might seem, and books about gaming will hit ...

Comment In: [News - 10/24/2014 - 04:26]

Kyle, I 'm assuming that ...

Kyle, I 'm assuming that the point is to persuade. If it 's simply to feel better by yelling one 's personal beliefs, then my comments don 't apply. r n r nIf the point really is to persuade, then any rational person has to ask, what 's an effective ...