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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 - 04/29/2016 - 03:16]

I believe what you 're ...

I believe what you 're criticizing here is, more specifically, the trend toward the elimination of negative consequences. r n r nI 've suggested before that this is indeed a Real Thing that as gaming has gone mainstream, the nature of players has changed. Specifically, the tabletop gamers who enjoyed ...

Comment In: [News - 04/26/2016 - 09:21]

I think this is yet ...

I think this is yet another confirming instance for a theory of mine. r n r nIt 's this: Blizzard do not actually care all that much about World of Warcraft. Nor do they care about Warcraft generally, or about Starcraft or Diablo or any of their other game products. ...

Comment In: [Blog - 04/19/2016 - 06:51]

This is a great idea. ...

This is a great idea. r n r nYou get more value out of your content, and game developers who didn 't see helpful/thoughtful articles the first time around get another chance to enjoy them. r n r n/thumbsup

Comment In: [Blog - 04/14/2016 - 01:54]

Some people may say this ...

Some people may say this imaginative analysis was too in-depth. r n r nThey are mistaken. r n r nThis was an outstanding look at how thoughtfully composed music deepens a game, making it more satisfying. Bravo

Comment In: [Blog - 04/14/2016 - 01:50]

The notion of distinguishing between ...

The notion of distinguishing between modeling and profiling of players is interesting, especially if you retain the distinction that profile data are what players say about themselves, while model data are what can be observed about players. r n r nProfiling is relatively cheap, easy, and fast, but it 's ...

Comment In: [News - 04/11/2016 - 06:40]

The problem with benevolent dictatorships ...

The problem with benevolent dictatorships is that benevolent dictators don 't live forever. r n r nI agree that while imperfect, Steam is generally a pretty good environment for developers and players of PC games. Probably a lot of that comes from Gabe Newell 's personal values. r n r ...