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. Currently working as Community Manager for Storybricks (Namaste Entertainment): http://www.storybricks.com/ .
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: http://flatfingers-theory.blogspot.com/
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?
In which we consider how the careful selection of gameplay elements can burn a game into our hearts and minds.
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.
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.
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.
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
[Feature - 04/23/2014 - 04:00]
Everything I have read about ...
Everything I have read about Watch Dogs so far makes looking forward to it intensely frustrating for me... and this article doesn 't help. Not your fault, Christian. r n r nThe dynamic-world stuff sounds great. I personally want to play it for that, and I want more games like ...
[News - 04/21/2014 - 03:26]
Not to hit this too ...
Not to hit this too hard, but I suspect there 's a small lesson here for designers of games with interacting systems: stop being so afraid of surprising emergent effects. r n r nThis is anecdotal, but the stories I most frequently see told about Bethesda 's open-world games Elder ...
[Blog - 04/17/2014 - 01:51]
Richard Bartle suggested a similar ...
Richard Bartle suggested a similar system a couple of years ago: http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2012/QBlog080212B.html . r n r nA system like this should work well for a focused product set like games.
[Blog - 04/16/2014 - 01:01]
It 's a good question. ...
It 's a good question. You don 't want players getting stuck with one kind of gameplay just because they tested that path first. r n r nThe two general approaches I 'd suggest are what might be called explicit and loose. r n r nThat first option is about ...
[News - 04/04/2014 - 06:59]
[Blog - 03/28/2014 - 01:23]
This reads very much like ...
This reads very much like something I could have written. So I agree with every word. : r n r nI also think the middle way -- do enough world-building for you to understand why that unique world works the way it does -- is best. That 's because I ...