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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 Mon, 15 May 2017 09:40:00 EDT in Design
4X games often have unsatisfying endgames because their tactics-oriented mechanics get in the way of strategic fun. This article suggests several ways game designers can emphasize strategic play to keep 4X games enjoyable all the way through.

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.

Bart Stewart's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 07/21/2017 - 12:41]

This is a fun overview ...

This is a fun overview -- the list of neurotransmitters and a few stimulants is worth the price of admission. r n r nAnother resource that readers might find useful is this article by Helen Fisher describing her research findings that relate four neurotransmitter chemical groups to four fundamental motivations ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/14/2017 - 10:16]

Exactly this. There is no ...

Exactly this. There is no gamer there are people with different likes and dislikes, which means there 's no such thing as a gameplay feature that is inherently wrong for every game. r n r nWRT a minimap, it 's important to know its primary function in the game. Is ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/26/2017 - 02:02]

I compulsively read every Gamasutra ...

I compulsively read every Gamasutra article by Winifred Phillips because I know it 's going to deliver interesting knowledge clearly. This one is no exception. : r n r nSomething I read recently might add to the discussion of interactively selecting and layering MIDI tracks. r n r nJonathan Peros ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/27/2017 - 12:40]

This reminds me strongly of ...

This reminds me strongly of the old Processor Design Wars of the 1970s between Complex Instruction Set Computers CISC and Reduced Instruction Set Computers RISC . r n r nCISC designs used fewer instructions with more operating modes built around the philosophy of orthogonality hence complex , while RISC designs ...

Comment In: [News - 06/28/2017 - 08:03]

This story made me happy. ...

This story made me happy. r n r nBravo to all concerned.

Comment In: [Blog - 06/16/2017 - 09:40]

OK, fair enough, a thoughtful ...

OK, fair enough, a thoughtful perspective backed up with Reasons. Let me now offer a couple of counterthoughts. r n r n1. Your article provides detailed suggestions for addressing your premise that there are too many words. But you don 't defend your premise you just declare it and jump ...