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August 3, 2020
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Mike Sellers's Blog   Expert Blogs


Mike Sellers is a Professor of Practice at Indiana University. He has spent more than twenty years working in the games industry and has been a founder of three successful independent game companies. He has been a Lead Designer, Creative Director, and General  Manager in AAA game companies, and has extensive experience in designing and producing MMO, social, and mobile games. Past titles he has led include Meridian 59, The Sims 2, and Realm of the Mad God. He has also conducted and published original research in social artificial intelligence funded in part by DARPA.

Professional interests include MMOs, virtual worlds, community formation, artificial intelligence, and emotions.

You can find his blog at, and find him on Twitter as @iugameprof and reddit as /u/iugameprof.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Mike Sellers on Thu, 19 May 2016 01:51:00 EDT in Design, Art
How do real-world production decisions affect the look of game characters? This is the subject of a new study from the Media School at Indiana University that is looking for industry participants.

Posted by Mike Sellers on Mon, 18 May 2015 06:54:00 EDT in Design
Understanding what systems are and how to construct effective game systems are vital for game designers. Game systems are an important subset of systems overall, and systemic games give us a view of a flourishing part of game design.

Posted by Mike Sellers on Mon, 04 May 2015 01:51:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Serious, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Game design shares a lot in common with other kinds of design. But it is also truly unique in a couple of important ways. If so, these may lead us to a greater understanding of design and design thinking overall.

Posted by Mike Sellers on Thu, 30 Apr 2015 01:55:00 EDT in Design, Indie
“Tabletop games are to computer games as plays are to movies.” For a game designer, I’m increasingly convinced that there are few ways to better hone design skills than by creating tabletop games. When the only computer available is in the players’ heads

Posted by Mike Sellers on Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:08:00 EDT in Design, Programming, Production
Everyone who uses a Daily Scrum or Standup meeting knows the three big questions everyone answers in each meeting. I've found that adding a fourth is extremely valuable and helps avoid a lot of pain later on.

Mike Sellers's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 12/13/2018 - 03:55]

Excellent discussion of emergent narrative. ...

Excellent discussion of emergent narrative. This is an area that I think could use a lot more work. Thanks for the shout-out on the book too

Comment In: [News - 03/29/2018 - 05:50]

This is a fundamental change ...

This is a fundamental change to how gambling has been defined. Traditionally, you had to gain win something of value -- a prize by random chance after having paid in some fee consideration . This ruling stands that on its head and says if you lose something of value, it ...

Comment In: [News - 03/29/2017 - 04:01]

There 's a quote I ...

There 's a quote I like from actor Terrence Mann, speaking to other actors: Movies will make you famous, TV will make you rich, but theater will make you good. Board games are the theater to digital games. Table top games are more immediate -- you can hide less designer ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/21/2016 - 02:20]

Good article, and one I ...

Good article, and one I 've encouraged my students to study. Solid use of Machinations too. r n r nIt 's worth pointing out that the soft waiting mechanic isn 't entirely new: it 's seen in a lot of other F2P games where you have to wait to construct ...

Comment In: [Blog - 09/16/2015 - 11:12]

You make good points in ...

You make good points in your post, but as Ryan Alban said, you 're not talking about emergence you 're talking about the difference between complicated and complex. These are important, as you point out, and are related to emergence, but they 're not the same thing and these each ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/18/2015 - 06:54]

Thanks David. I 've got ...

Thanks David. I 've got another post on emergence coming up soon too. r n r nI see systematic games as unsafe in the same way that many people in the early 2000s saw free to play as unsafe. Set aside for the moment any of the ethical considerations that ...