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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 - 08/23/2016 - 04:17]

The Deus Ex franchise is ...

The Deus Ex franchise is special. It needs people who understand it. r n r nIt found them, I think.

Comment In: [News - 08/17/2016 - 02:26]

I don 't know of ...

I don 't know of any, but I would think there must have been. r n r nAs it turns out, though, my current amateur game development project is specifically about being a kind of non-violent peacekeeper. :

Comment In: [Blog - 08/15/2016 - 06:40]

This is pretty clever, and ...

This is pretty clever, and it 's already sparking some ideas. : I especially appreciate making the code available. Thanks for posting this

Comment In: [News - 08/16/2016 - 05:05]

Sonnefeld explained that PC players ...

Sonnefeld explained that PC players want to be able to tweak their games, to have the freedom to adjust a PC game to their liking. On console, the developer defines the performance and the experience. On PC, players are the ones who ought to be able to define this, as ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/10/2016 - 05:48]

Here 's a practical question: ...

Here 's a practical question: when is the best time to break out the oil can and go squeak-hunting r n r nAs new interfaces are added Once core systems are mostly working As part of a late-development polish pass Or some other time r n r nOne other question: ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/05/2016 - 10:09]

There might be a definitional ...

There might be a definitional effect operating here as well: if your game hits big enough to comfortably fund a sequel, then in the eyes of some you 're no longer indie.