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October 21, 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 - 10/10/2017 - 10:06]

This article does a good ...

This article does a good job of critiquing open-world game design from a narrative perspective. r n r nThis perspective, however, assumes that Story is always the most important content a game must deliver. But it 's not. The assumption that constant narrative motion must be enforced is not only ...

Comment In: [News - 09/28/2017 - 07:58]

I played one of these ...

I played one of these -- in the glittery red arcade cabinet -- at the Baton Rouge State Fair in 1973. r n r nIt blew my young mind. Somehow there was an entire world being simulated in that box it reacted to my inputs it behaved differently every time. ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/28/2017 - 09:54]

I enjoyed this. In particular, ...

I enjoyed this. In particular, the state diagrams representing the major loops of particular games are fascinating. It makes me wonder: could new game styles be created by building new loop diagrams and constructing games around them r n r nIf you 're interested in models of play like this, ...

Comment In: [News - 08/30/2017 - 12:13]

As soon as I got ...

As soon as I got the notification about Nick Yee 's new story from his Quantic Foundry dataset, and read it, I was sure Gamasutra would jump on it. I didn 't expect the earlier version of Gamasutra 's report would have such a Buzzfeed/Gizmodo-like headline, but that 's been ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/28/2017 - 03:43]

Very nice work. r n ...

Very nice work. r n r nThis takes me back to the days when I wrote my own library of VGA support functions in 80x86 assembler for my amateur games, as well as to switch to the highest-density text modes for code editing. I loved the Video 7 line of ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/28/2017 - 10:19]

Another resource for perceiving ways ...

Another resource for perceiving ways in which patterns of information can be usefully organized is Metapatterns by Tyler Volk from Gregory Bateson 's concepts . A good description of these metapatterns such as spheres, sheets, hierarchies, nested layers, etc. is .