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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 - 09/28/2015 - 01:25]

Emphatically yes. r n r ...

Emphatically yes. r n r nHere 's a question I 've been asking myself for a while now: what would a game look like -- what features might it have -- that could make it fun to play every day for ten years r n r nThinking about that has ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/31/2015 - 01:07]

Not to try to speak ...

Not to try to speak for him, but this is the point that Richard Bartle emphasizes about virtual worlds: they enable the exploration of identity. r n r nYou might realize something about yourself from reading a great book or watching a great film. But only a computer-based simulation -- ...

Comment In: [News - 08/25/2015 - 04:12]

Nicely-made points, George. Maybe I ...

Nicely-made points, George. Maybe I shouldn 't question the passivity of games-related video if games themselves aspire only to cinematic experiences. r n r nBut I think there 's room to hope that some game developers will push for more interesting choices, choices with plausible but not preachy consequences, choices ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/24/2015 - 02:51]

I want to think some ...

I want to think some more about the larger question here, about how to structure games at high and low levels so that they maintain the typical player 's interest. r n r nBut to add a couple more it just never got old items to Jake Forbes 's list: ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/24/2015 - 02:51]

Calling these strategy games makes ...

Calling these strategy games makes me sad. r n r nTactical action is exciting. Putting a screaming face on an icon for a tactical game properly targets the likely audience for that kind of game. r n r nBut when I think of strategy games, I think of creative planning ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/20/2015 - 12:52]

While I don 't think ...

While I don 't think I 'm ready to embrace death-positivity -- I incline more toward rage, rage against the dying of the light -- another game in which your character can pass on both possessions and genetic traits to descendants before inevitably dying is Scott Brodie 's Hero Generations ...