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December 4, 2016
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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 - 11/30/2016 - 03:11]

Unionization is an overly-complex response ...

Unionization is an overly-complex response with entirely predictable negative side effects primarily artificial product cost inflation to a problem that has a simple and effective solution: don 't work there. r n r nUnionization made sense in an era of low job mobility. When many workers literally cannot do anything ...

Comment In: [News - 11/30/2016 - 09:56]

This is the best and ...

This is the best and most reasonable outcome for any game developer who is thinking of selling a game that emphasizes randomized procedural content generation.

Comment In: [News - 11/21/2016 - 06:14]

Most critiques of death/difficulty in ...

Most critiques of death/difficulty in Bethesda games are colored by an assumption that what most people play these games for is to be challenged, just as in most other games. r n r nBut I think the yay/boo calculation changes when you stop seeing these games in terms of mechanics ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/11/2016 - 09:42]

Ryan, have the results of ...

Ryan, have the results of this election which include the GOP keeping majorities in both the House and Senate given you any ideas for modifying the model you use r n r nI understand it 's not meant to be a hardcore simulation. It 's more that, in your shoes, ...

Comment In: [News - 11/16/2016 - 03:31]

OK... as long as I ...

OK... as long as I can always opt out. r n r nForced connectivity is rude.

Comment In: [News - 11/14/2016 - 06:55]

Outstanding Thanks for posting this ...

Outstanding Thanks for posting this -- the more information on the Deus Ex way of design, the better.