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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 - 09/29/2016 - 11:59]

I also encourage independent developers ...

I also encourage independent developers to read Dan Vavra 's detailed articles on his experiences pitching Kingdom Come: Deliverance to publishers. It 's by turns funny and a little depressing, but it 's also a very useful picture of the process of getting a game project funded. r n r ...

Comment In: [News - 09/23/2016 - 07:16]

Luckey has every right to ...

Luckey has every right to support whatever political group he wants, and companies have every right to not deal with Luckey based on that support. r n r nReasonable people will agree with both those things, which is why they are not the real story. r n r nThe real ...

Comment In: [News - 09/19/2016 - 08:06]

This could be the poster ...

This could be the poster child for a distinction without a difference. When players feel that abruptly ending losing as some would say a game is punitive, then that 's what it is regardless of authorial intent. r n r nThe bigger question for me is why so many game ...

Comment In: [News - 09/09/2016 - 10:32]

Are these restrictions technical Or ...

Are these restrictions technical Or on content

Comment In: [News - 09/08/2016 - 07:34]

This is just the random ...

This is just the random musing of an amateur, but I keep thinking that the way Arcen works may be incompatible with how games are sold today. r n r nArcen primarily Chris announces new games early, talks in wonderful detail about them early, and even goes into Early Access. ...

Comment In: [News - 09/02/2016 - 02:55]

I enjoyed learning more about ...

I enjoyed learning more about the origin of Steam Spy. And I agree that the game industry tends to treat sales numbers as private business data. r n r nBut I wince when I see constructions like Many question X and Most would agree that Y as these virtually guarantee ...