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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: [Blog - 05/24/2016 - 02:02]

I don 't know why ...

I don 't know why 11 of whoever responded thought the optimal number of players for a strategy game on a computer is 1. But I have my own reasons for giving the answer of 1 human player, which I arrived at long ago without help from any bloggers. r ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/23/2016 - 02:02]

Why haven 't you applied ...

Why haven 't you applied for the UK Video Games Tax Relief r n r nBecause you think long-term and you don 't want to risk building a studio that 's partially dependent on an unreliable income source r n r nLet 's say you 've added staff with the ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/20/2016 - 06:50]

It 's been interesting watching ...

It 's been interesting watching the recent collisions between roguelikes and RPGs. How do you satisfy a desire to impose permanent and thus meaningful consequences, while also delivering progress in both the material loot and narrative a person 's story realms r n r nTo put it another way: how ...

Comment In: [News - 05/18/2016 - 09:31]

It 's funny how AR ...

It 's funny how AR always seems to require some form of multiplayer. r n r nWho 's leading whom here

Comment In: [News - 05/11/2016 - 02:22]

I understand wanting to keep ...

I understand wanting to keep a game fresh. r n r nBut is it right to call this new game Civilization -- to attract the money of the people who played and enjoyed the earliest iterations -- if so many of the original game 's core mechanics are being changed ...

Comment In: [Blog - 04/29/2016 - 03:16]

And thank you for another ...

And thank you for another thought-provoking article, Lewis. r n r nI 've also butted heads more than once with people who are absolutely convinced that Challenge is the only point of games. Of course they 're correct that allowing save-anytime reduces tactical challenge... but I have the hardest time ...