Mike Sellers

Professor of Practice

Contact Information

  • Office:
    FF 030A
  • Office Hours:
    Fall 2018: Tuesday 3-4pm, Friday 11am-noon, and by appt.
  • Email:
  • Phone:
  • Website:
    Online Alchemy blog

  • Research and Creative Interests

    game design, systems thinking, artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, virtual worlds,


    Michael Sellers joined IU in 2014, where he teaches courses on advanced game design and the games industry among other courses. He became the Director of the Game Design program in 2017. His textbook "Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach" came out in late 2017, published by Pearson Education. This book combines systems thinking and game design in ways that provide greater insights on both areas. 

    Sellers has been designing massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), online social, and mobile games for over twenty years. He has started and run three successful game studios, and has also worked for notable game developers such as 3DO, Electronic Arts, Kabam, and Rumble Entertainment as a Lead Designer, Executive Producer, General Manager, and Creative Director.

    His first commercial game was the award-winning Meridian 59, the first 3D MMO, released in 1996.  He was also the lead designer on The Sims 2, Ultima Online, Holiday Village, Blastron, and Realm of the Mad God.

    In addition to his work in games, Sellers has conducted and published original research in artificial intelligence and taught classes in artificial intelligence for games through Uppsala University in Sweden. His AI research, partly funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) focuses on “social artificial intelligence,” creating agents that behave plausibly in social situations. As part of this, Sellers has published groundbreaking work on enabling artificially intelligent agents to learn, form social relationships, and have and express emotions based on a unifying psychological architecture.

    Professional and teaching interests include MMOs, virtual worlds, community formation, transmedia game and story creation, multi-screen games, artificial emotions, and intelligent artificial agents. Primary game genres are RPGs, builders, and strategy games.

    Sellers has a BS in Cognitive Science, and in addition to his work in games and AI has worked as a software engineer, user interface designer, RPG miniatures sculptor, and briefly as a circus roustabout and movie extra.

    He has a Bacon Number of 2 and hopes someday to have an Erdos Number.