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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: [News - 07/31/2014 - 09:43]

Ten years from now I ...

Ten years from now I expect all the games I play will have names like Mnrglns, Jrqfnrq Kmydkhz, and Arrhglllfief: The Pmglurgling just to avoid having to deal with this kind of nonsense.

Comment In: [Blog - 07/25/2014 - 03:36]

While I don 't object ...

While I don 't object to studies like these, they give the impression of being narrowly focused on sociopolitical interests: aggression, violent games, stereotyping. r n r n Incidentally, if a group shows a pattern of preference for something, it 's not an erroneous use of a stereotype to conclude ...

Comment In: [News - 07/30/2014 - 07:05]

I don 't mind paying ...

I don 't mind paying a subscription for something I use frequently every month. Moving to a monthly subscription was a great improvement over hourly charges back in the day of CompuServe, for example. r n r nBut who is going to get that kind of value from any game ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/22/2014 - 11:15]

I also agree with Fabian. ...

I also agree with Fabian. r n r nIn particular I think we 've barely started to explore the possibilities of mechanical and behavioral simulation that ever-more-powerful computers are only now enabling. These capabilities create opportunities for more deeply interactive worlds to play in. I can 't wait to see ...

Comment In: [News - 07/23/2014 - 08:51]

After some thought, I believe ...

After some thought, I believe I don 't mind this change. r n r nIt creates room for a new organization that will more actively advocate for the PC -- possibly including sufficiently burly laptops but excluding mobile devices -- as a platform for deeper and more varied games than ...

Comment In: [News - 07/11/2014 - 04:03]

I 've been working for ...

I 've been working for some time on my own game that, like Elite: Dangerous, uses the Hipparcos dataset of roughly 118,000 stars visible from Earth. One of the features I added was to draw lines between stars as our known constellations. r n r nThe moment I first started ...