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March 1, 2017
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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 Thu, 12 Nov 2015 12:20:00 EST in Design, Console/PC
As a game designer, what can you do with a huge open world filled with thousands of different kinds of objects? You can tell stories with the environment itself.

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.

Bart Stewart's Comments

Comment In: [News - 02/17/2017 - 04:51]

The RPG remains a perennial ...

The RPG remains a perennial source of debate because it 's a form that naturally combines two or three distinct kinds of fun... and people are really good at believing that the kind of fun they personally prefer is more important than the others. So prescriptions for fixing RPGs almost ...

Comment In: [News - 02/15/2017 - 06:38]

Every productive organization per Charles ...

Every productive organization per Charles Handy has a structure. For most, it 's a hierarchy, where information flows up, direction flows down, and work processes are formalized as role-behaviors so that the organization survives changes in individual personnel. Over time, all organizations tend toward this structure. r n r n...unless ...

Comment In: [News - 02/14/2017 - 07:24]

Gamasutra: Please do whatever you ...

Gamasutra: Please do whatever you must to persuade Alex Wawro to keep writing for you r n r nIt 's a rare pleasure to read articles that report on not just what is said, but on what is not said when that seems relevant to a good understanding of the ...

Comment In: [News - 02/14/2017 - 11:38]

I agree with Disney 's ...

I agree with Disney 's action here. But I 'll bet they and Google eagerly work with Joss Whedon again despite his violent tweet about Paul Ryan, which Whedon also claimed was just being funny. r n r nReal moral authority is consistent.

Comment In: [Blog - 02/07/2017 - 10:21]

Maybe the problem is not ...

Maybe the problem is not with the word fun, but with the word game. r n r nDon 't call it a game and you don 't need to struggle to explain why it isn 't fun in the conventional sense of that word. r n r nAdmittedly, this takes ...

Comment In: [News - 02/06/2017 - 06:19]

I imagine PC gamers reading ...

I imagine PC gamers reading this story must be feeling just a bit of schadenfreude. They 've been dealing for years with PC games being streamlined to accommodate the limited input capabilities of console controllers. r n r nIf keyboard and mouse control were equally available for consoles, imagine what ...