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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 - 02/12/2015 - 01:29]

Yes. There is a difference ...

Yes. There is a difference between reloading for utility best option and reloading for curiosity most interesting/satisfying option . r n r nIf you as a developer make your dialogue options about utility, where one clearly delivers more value than the others, then yes, maybe you do want to discourage ...

Comment In: [News - 02/12/2015 - 06:05]

Is this an example of ...

Is this an example of Apple 's left-coast Reality Distortion Field in effect r n r nOr are they trying to respond to -- or get out in front of -- federal or state legislation or regulations regarding child protection r n r nI agree that Apple can be tone-deaf ...

Comment In: [Blog - 02/13/2015 - 02:02]

I would have marginally more ...

I would have marginally more respect for the hectoring, found-guilty tone of this interview if: r n r n1. It was the same tone aimed at other developers whose games didn 't include every expected feature, such as Tim Schafer for Starbase DF-9 bypassing the beta stage or David Braben ...

Comment In: [Blog - 02/05/2015 - 01:26]

I think you may be ...

I think you may be making my point for me when you incorrectly read what I actually said -- that formalism is inherently conservative in the larger sense of that word -- as formalists are politically conservative. I said nothing of the kind, and would in fact be vastly happier ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/26/2015 - 12:52]

Wow -- what an excellent ...

Wow -- what an excellent article: informative and clearly written so that non-lawyers like me involved in game development can understand the basics. r n r nI take exception to the claim that there are rights of privacy afforded under the United States Constitution, as the U.S. Constitution, including its ...

Comment In: [News - 12/10/2014 - 05:05]

I 'm looking forward to ...

I 'm looking forward to reading more about it, too. :