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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 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.

Posted by Bart Stewart on Mon, 01 Mar 2010 06:11:00 EST in Design
The online reaction to Jesse Schell's DICE 2010 presentation can be understood as a reaction to computer gaming becoming a mass entertainment form. Where early gamers enjoyed intangible immersion, today's typical gamer now expects tangible rewards.

Bart Stewart's Comments

Comment In: [News - 11/20/2014 - 05:15]

So let 's see... if ...

So let 's see... if you simply gave Mr. Braben money but otherwise didn 't bother him, you may be permitted a refund for a game that will no longer deliver a promised feature. r n r nBut if you were one of the fans who was so enthusiastic about ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/07/2014 - 01:25]

if you made a game ...

if you made a game to go against the grain, and it doesn t upset anyone, does it convey its critical message r n r nThis really does not seem to me to be a good measure of the effectiveness of a message game. r n r nWhat are the ...

Comment In: [News - 11/10/2014 - 01:02]

Given Microsonyntendo 's presence, I ...

Given Microsonyntendo 's presence, I won 't be surprised if the vast majority of the attention at this show goes to the well-marketed AAA console games. r n r nBut the inclusion of Valve/Steam gives me some hope that this show may not completely ignore the terrific PC games being ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/04/2014 - 08:03]

I use a different structure ...

I use a different structure for understanding motivations for play, but anything that inspires more thinking about why we play is valuable. Thanks for writing this. r n r nOne thing I 'd add is that I 'm not convinced there 's an average gamer, and thus I wouldn 't ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/03/2014 - 03:43]

I love this kind of ...

I love this kind of feedback in a game. It takes what might have been a mostly abstract mechanical exercise and links it to the world, giving more depth to both. r n r nIf in turn the kinds of changes caused to the world by the player and reported ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/31/2014 - 01:40]

I see the distinction you ...

I see the distinction you 're making, Jacob. Thanks for taking the time to provide the additional info... which leads me to more questions. : r n r nThis kind of work seems to need to build up from the bottom. I expect some are working on generating meaningful and ...