Lee Sheldon

Associate Professor, Communication and Media

Lee Sheldon is Associate Professor in the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has written and designed over two dozen commercial and applied video games and MMOs.
In June 2011 Lee's bestselling book, The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game was published by Cengage Learning. The Facebook page for his method of teaching classes as multiplayer games is now followed by over 700 people in 45 countries. His book Character Development and Storytelling for Games (Second Edition, 2013) is the standard text in the field.
Lee is a contributor to many books on video games including Well-Played 2.0, Writing for Video Game Genres from the IGDA, Game Design: An Interactive Experience and Second Person; as well as many books on games and education including Using Games to Enhance Learning and Teaching.
He is cited in many publications; and is a regular lecturer and consultant on game design and writing in the US and abroad.
Before his career in video games Lee wrote and produced over 200 popular television shows, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Charlie's Angels, and Cagney and Lacey. As head writer of the daytime serial Edge of Night he received a nomination for best writing from the Writers Guild of America. Lee has been twice nominated for Edgar awards by the Mystery Writers of America. His first mystery novel, Impossible Bliss, was re-issued in 2004.
Lee began his academic career in 2006 at Indiana University where he taught game design and screenwriting. At IU Lee first instituted the practice of designing classes as multiplayer games; worked on the applied games Quest Atlantis and Virtual Congress; and wrote and designed the alternate reality games The Skeleton Chase and Skeleton Chase 2: The Psychic funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Skeleton Chase 3: Warp Speed funded by Coca-Cola.
At Rensselaer Lee created the first full concentration in writing for games anywhere. He is head of the team building the Emergent Reality Lab at Rensselaer, a massive mixed reality space for research and education; and is creative director on the sequel to his alternate reality game teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture that will be the first project of the lab. Also at Rensselaer Lee is creative director on These Far Hills a game teaching engineering by following the adventures of an extended Irish family emigrating to Mars. He
Lee is lead writer and design consultant on The Lost Function, a video game teaching pre-algebra for AT< consultant on StatStar, teaching statistics for the University of Connecticut; writing and designing an online class designed as a game for Excelsior College; and writing a game teaching business ethics for Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
Lee’s most recent commercial game credits include design consultant and lead writer on Fantasia: Music Evolved, a Kinect game based on the classic Disney film for Harmonix; lead writer on Zynga’s social Facebook game, Indiana Jones Adventure World; and design consultant and lead writer on Gameforge’s casual MMO, Star Trek: Infinite Space.


MFA California Institute of the Arts (Film Direction)
BFA Boston University (Theatre Direction)

Research Focus
  • Video Game Writing and Design
  • Alternate Reality Game Writing and Design
  • Virtual Reality
  • Multiplayer Classrooms
  • Gamification
Contact sheldc2@rpi.edu
Select Works
  • Sheldon, Lee. Character Development and Storytelling for Games. Second Edition. Course Technology/Cengage Learning. 2013.
  • Sheldon, Lee. The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game. Course Technology/Cengage Learning, 2011.
  • Sheldon, Lee. “Foreign Language Learning in Immersive Virtual Environments,” with Benjamin Chang, Mei Si and Anton Hand. SPIE, 2012.
  • Sheldon, Lee. “Influencing Physical Activity and Healthy Behaviors in College Students: Lessons from an Alternate Reality Game,” with Johnston, Jeanne and Massey, Anne, in Serious Game Design and Development: Techniques for Training and Learning, Janis Cannon-Bowers and Dr. Clint Bowers (eds.), IGI Global, 2010.