14
Jan
08

Bruce Shelley

Bruce Campbell Shelley is a computer game designer who helped design Sid Meier’s Civilization and Railroad Tycoon with MicroProse and the 1997 hit real-time strategy game Age of Empires with Ensemble Studios. He now serves in an advisor role at Ensemble and recently stepped down from the board of directors of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

Bruce Shelley was born in Michigan, U.S. and grew up in Baltimore. He attended Syracuse University and the State University of New York’s College of Forestry, earning a degree in forest biology. Shelley continued his education at the University of Virginia. He had developed a fondness for strategy board games in school, playing Risk and Stratego.

The first time he thought of making games for a living came in the 1970s, but he had a difficult time finding a job. In 1980, he and several of his Univ. of Virginia friends formed a role-playing game company called Iron Crown Enterprises and acquired the license to make games based on The Lord of the Rings. It was his first job in the games industry. Strategy & Tactics Magazine became his first publisher in the early 1980s by printing a game he helped design that was based on the American Civil War. He worked for Strategic Publication Inc (SPI) briefly in 1981.

Shelley then worked for Avalon Hill designing wargames and board games. He contributed to 1830, Titan, and others. He later credited board game design with teaching him the value of prototyping and “designing by playing”. Shelley left board games for computer games after being impressed by Sid Meier’s Pirates!, created by local developer MicroProse.

At MicroProse, he was Sid Meier’s assistant designer for Railroad Tycoon (1990), Covert Action (1990), and Civilization (1991). Meier taught Shelley to think about game design more scientifically, that there are fundamental ideas that can carry over from game to game, and also confirmed his beliefs in prototyping and designing by playing. Shelley left MicroProse after five years with the company and became a freelance writer, having five strategy guides published.

In February 1995, he joined an old friend named Tony Goodman who had just started Ensemble Studios in Dallas, Texas. As a designer, he helped create the successful Age of Empires (1997) real-time strategy game. He also worked on the game’s expansion packs and sequels, which went on to sell over 15 million copies by 2007. Shelley’s role in Ensemble’s games after the original Age of Empires was more advisory than hands-on.

PC Gamer magazine named Shelley one of the 25 “Game Gods” in 1999 and GameSpy called him the 8th most influential person in gaming in 2002. Between 2000 and 2006 he served on the board of directors of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. As of 2005 he is a spokesman and part of Ensemble’s management. He shares design ideas and research, but lives away from the company.
Games Credited

Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (2007), Microsoft Game Studios
Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (2006), Microsoft Game Studios
Age of Empires III (2005), Microsoft Game Studios
Age of Mythology: The Titans (2003), Microsoft Game Studios
Age of Mythology (2002), Microsoft Game Studios
Railroad Tycoon II Platinum (2002), Global Star Software Inc.
Age of Empires II: The Conquerors (2000), Microsoft Game Studios
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (1999), Microsoft
Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome (1998), Microsoft Game Studios
Age of Empires (1997), Microsoft
Sid Meier’s Civilization II (1996), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Sid Meier’s CivNet (1995), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Colonization (1994), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Peter Pan (1993), Electronic Arts, Inc.
Sid Meier Triple Game Pack (1992), MicroProse Ltd.
Sid Meier’s Civilization (1991), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Covert Action (1990), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon (1990), MicroProse Software, Inc.
Silent Service II (1990), MicroProse Software, Inc.
F-15 Strike Eagle II (1989), MicroProse Software, Inc.
F-19 Stealth Fighter (1988), MicroProse Software, Inc.

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1 Response to “Bruce Shelley”


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