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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 - 06/24/2015 - 06:14]

Very nice work There is ...

Very nice work There is no thrill like the thrill of creating systems that build entire worlds. : r n r nOne thing I didn 't see here that could be useful to you if you haven 't moved in this direction already is thinking of the world-information in terms ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/25/2015 - 01:25]

Clickbait for sure. : I ...

Clickbait for sure. : I 'm glad to see this project is continuing to make progress. r n r nThe games that I 'd hope to see included are already on your master list -- Darklands, Ultima Underworld, Planescape: Torment. Those all might have been part of this article, as ...

Comment In: [News - 06/23/2015 - 04:01]

A nice look back into ...

A nice look back into the working environment that produced a classic game.

Comment In: [Blog - 06/18/2015 - 07:43]

Theory is fun, but its ...

Theory is fun, but its value is mostly potential. A working game developer needs to translate the potential value of a theory into practical implementation. This essay does a fine job of that. r n r nI 'd actually say our descriptions of player styles and thanks for the reference ...

Comment In: [News - 06/22/2015 - 06:39]

I see blame being pointed ...

I see blame being pointed in several different directions here: a reduction in public funding, or consumers not being mature enough. r n r nFocusing on those externals ignores a more obvious explanation: the choice of subject matter, expressed primarily as an artistic statement and secondarily as a game. Even ...

Comment In: [News - 06/16/2015 - 11:12]

Should it be Microsoft 's ...

Should it be Microsoft 's Xbox chief speaking at E3 about PC gaming r n r nIf Phil Spencer is Microsoft 's Xbox boss, do they also have a PC gaming boss r n r nIf so, is that role coequal to Phil Spencer 's r n r nIf the ...