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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: [Blog - 03/27/2017 - 10:38]

I like Nick 's suggestion ...

I like Nick 's suggestion that Conflict is a better way to understand what some people want from social interaction. r n r nAs I suggested in the Gamasutra article ref 'd at the end of this comment on how many of the better-known models of play and players may ...

Comment In: [News - 03/22/2017 - 05:00]

The problem with this story ...

The problem with this story is the same as with much else published by Gamasutra over the past few years: it fails to fully serve its audience because it promotes a one-sided politics. r n r nAs with other journalism today, what 's wrong here is not what is said, ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/15/2017 - 10:07]

Amen to this in all ...

Amen to this in all respects. A couple of additional thoughts: r n r n1. Age which I 'm beginning to feel as well is not the only reason why someone might want to play a game with the kinesthetic challenge dialed down somewhat. Another reason is to enjoy the ...

Comment In: [News - 03/16/2017 - 02:48]

This seems like a positive ...

This seems like a positive action. r n r nI suppose my only question is definitional: What test does Apple apply to distinguish indie from all other game developers r n r nAt what point would Apple move your game out of the Indie group and into the general population

Comment In: [News - 02/17/2017 - 04:51]

The RPG remains a perennial ...

The RPG remains a perennial source of debate because it 's a form that naturally combines two or three distinct kinds of fun... and people are really good at believing that the kind of fun they personally prefer is more important than the others. So prescriptions for fixing RPGs almost ...

Comment In: [News - 02/15/2017 - 06:38]

Every productive organization per Charles ...

Every productive organization per Charles Handy has a structure. For most, it 's a hierarchy, where information flows up, direction flows down, and work processes are formalized as role-behaviors so that the organization survives changes in individual personnel. Over time, all organizations tend toward this structure. r n r n...unless ...