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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 - 11/24/2015 - 04:00]

Excellent story. I 'm also ...

Excellent story. I 'm also looking forward to seeing this in action. r n r nUntil then, I wonder: r n r n1. How does this go from simply setting up associations to allowing the generation of plot and theme r n r n2. Bearing in mind that player imagination ...

Comment In: [News - 11/23/2015 - 02:02]

Wow. This is maybe the ...

Wow. This is maybe the next best thing to having a time machine that could go back and rescue the contents of the Library of Alrxandria. : r n r nTo get an Infocom infodump like this... outstanding

Comment In: [News - 11/23/2015 - 04:02]

Minigames in Fallout 4 probably ...

Minigames in Fallout 4 probably inherit some DNA from the minigames in the Looking Glass stable. r n r nThe Multi-Function Display MFD in System Shock 2 was, like the PipBoy, an in-game data management device that could play games collected by exploring the world to discover cartridges. Eleven minigames ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/12/2015 - 12:20]

I don 't disagree that ...

I don 't disagree that story-with-skeletons is eventually going to start to feel stale. r n r nBut in fairness to BethSoft, and as Ian noted above, the setting of Fallout actually is a post-apocalyptic nightmare. It 's not completely unreasonable that there 'll be some bodies lying around. Why ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/12/2015 - 12:20]

Of course I agree with ...

Of course I agree with both of you. : Middle ground -- simpler than Unity but more powerful than raw code -- is exactly what I 'm talking about. r n r nIt 's analogous to the difference between a word processor and a text editor. When you 've got ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/11/2015 - 01:46]

I really enjoy reading this ...

I really enjoy reading this kind of thoughtful conceptual article at Gamasutra. Thanks for writing this. r n r nThere 's much more that could be said in response to this article than I can express in a comment written on a smartphone. : So all I 'll say here, ...