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June 29, 2017
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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 Mon, 15 May 2017 09:40:00 EDT in Design
4X games often have unsatisfying endgames because their tactics-oriented mechanics get in the way of strategic fun. This article suggests several ways game designers can emphasize strategic play to keep 4X games enjoyable all the way through.

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.

Bart Stewart's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 06/16/2017 - 09:40]

OK, fair enough, a thoughtful ...

OK, fair enough, a thoughtful perspective backed up with Reasons. Let me now offer a couple of counterthoughts. r n r n1. Your article provides detailed suggestions for addressing your premise that there are too many words. But you don 't defend your premise you just declare it and jump ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/08/2017 - 10:18]

A fascinating, thoughtful, nicely-researched article ...

A fascinating, thoughtful, nicely-researched article that sprawls much like a city does. r n r nI especially appreciated the listings of specific urban functions. That 's great stuff when thinking about how the features of a city in a game can contribute to the game 's overall design intentions.

Comment In: [News - 06/09/2017 - 04:00]

For those of us whose ...

For those of us whose attention span prohibits watching videos, thank you for this transcript r n r nExcellent questions, enlightening responses, and nobody got impregnated.

Comment In: [News - 06/07/2017 - 06:36]

Both the trailer for Everything ...

Both the trailer for Everything and the game itself are award-worthy. r n r nBut it 's the use of the term existence sim to describe Everything that got my attention. Some searching suggests that this may be the first use of this phrase to suggest a name for a ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/06/2017 - 02:35]

An excellent, thoughtful, information-rich but ...

An excellent, thoughtful, information-rich but spoiler-free description of Prey. I was already eager to get started on this once my schedule clears up in a couple of weeks this did nothing to dissuade me from that plan. : r n r nI haven 't played Dark Souls, but I suspect ...

Comment In: [News - 06/07/2017 - 09:32]

What I 'm curious about ...

What I 'm curious about is whether it 's an interest in making games that Valve has shed, or the ability to do so.