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December 29, 2010

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Excellence in Design Jury

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Design award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality of the underlying blueprint of each entered game -- component parts like its mechanic design, level design, and difficulty balancing.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Excellence in Design Award have included 2D Boy's cartoon construction puzzler World of Goo, KranX's music construction puzzler Musaic Box, and Pocketwatch Games' abstracted multiplayer heist game Monaco.

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and indie game notables including Justin Smith, Ben Ruiz, Eric Zimmerman and Wiley Wiggins) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury consists of the following:

- Dylan Cuthbert (co-founder and designer at Q-Games, creators of the PixelJunk series of games.)
- George Fan (designer of games including Plants Vs. Zombies and the IGF award winning Insaniquarium.)
- Kyle Gray (designer of Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, co-founder Tomorrow Corporation and Experimental Gameplay Project.)
- Robin Hunicke (designer and producer on games including MySims & Boom Blox, currently working on Journey at thatgamecompany.)
- Gary Penn (creative head at Denki, designer on games including Grand Theft Auto, Crackdown, Quarrel & Denki Blocks.)
- Kris Piotrowski (co-founder & creative director at Capy, creators of games including Critter Crunch, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes.)
- Petri Purho (designer of the IGF award winning Crayon Physics Deluxe.)
- Margaret Robertson (former editor of Edge Magazine and consultant, now designer and development director at Hide&Seek)
- Adam Saltsman (co-founder of Semi Secret Software, creators of Wurdle, Gravity Hook HD & Canabalt.)
- Andy Schatz (founder of Pocketwatch Games, creators of the IGF nominated Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa and the IGF award winning Monaco.)
- Mare Sheppard (co-founder of Metanet Software, creators of N.)
- Randy Smith (co-owner and designer at Tiger Style, creators of Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, former designer on the Thief series.)

The announcement is the sixth in a series revealing specific juries for each IGF Award, following the debut of the Nuovo Award jury, the Excellence in Audio jury, the Technical Excellence jury, the Visual Art jury, and, most recently, the first newly integrated Mobile Game jury, made up of independent mobile game designers like Adam Saltsman, Eddy Boxerman, Phil Hassey and Olivier Lejade.

All entries in the 2011 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also find more complete biographical information on the Excellence In Design jury.

All five finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- on January 3rd, 2011. All finalists will be playable at the IGF Pavilion on the show floor during Game Developers Conference 2011, with the winner announced on the evening of March 2, 2011, at the IGF Awards, during the Game Developers Conference 2011.

December 27, 2010

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Best Mobile Game Jury

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Best Mobile Game award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality of games for the new wave of mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, PSP, DS, and Android.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Best Mobile Game Award -- previously celebrated in the IGF Mobile sister competition but now part of the IGF Main Competition itself -- include Capy's original puzzler Critter Crunch, Hassey Enterprises' abstract strategy game Galcon, and Tiger Style's insect-snaring adventure Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and indie game notables including Damien Di Fede, Amanda Williams, Thomas Bedenk and Scott Anderson) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury consists of the following:

- Colin Anderson (co-founder of Denki, creators of Quarrel, Denki Blocks, Juggle.)
- Eddy Boxerman (founder of Hemisphere Games, creators of the IGF award winning Osmos.)
- Kevin Cancienne (game designer & developer at Area/Code, creators of Drop7.)
- Ramiro Corbetta (game designer at Powerhead Games, creators of the IGF award winning Glow Artisan.)
- Omar Cornut (programmer at Q-Games, co-designer and programmer on Mekensleep's Soul Bubbles.)
- Phil Hassey (creator of the IGF award winning Galcon)
- David Kalina (Former AI programmer behind Splinter Cell, Deus Ex: Invisible War & Thief: Deadly Shadows; owner & engineer of Tiger Style, behind IGF award winning Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.)
- Olivier Lejade (founder of Mekensleep, creative director of Soul Bubbles.)
- Adam Saltsman (co-founder of Semi Secret Software, creators of Wurdle, Gravity Hook HD & Canabalt.)
- Nathan Vella (co-founder & president of Capy, creators of Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes and IGF award winners Critter Crunch & Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.)

"The past few years have seen radical shifts in the mobile gaming landscape, to the point where handheld games are not only able to contend with the best on more traditional platforms, but serve as one of the major paths to indie success," said festival chairman Brandon Boyer.

"The debut of the Best Mobile Game category with in the IGF's Main Competition is a direct reflection of that shift, and we all look forward to seeing which finalists are leading the way to that game-anywhere future."

The announcement is the fifth in a series revealing specific juries for each IGF Award, following the debut of the Nuovo Award jury, the Excellence in Audio jury, the Technical Excellence jury and, most recently, the Visual Art jury, made up of independent artists like Craig Adams, Phil Fish, Jakub Dvorsky, Patrick Smith and Paul Robertson.

All entries in the 2011 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also find more complete biographical information on the Best Mobile Game jury.

All five Mobile finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- in early January 2011. All finalists will be playable at the IGF Pavilion on the show floor during Game Developers Conference 2011, with the winner announced on the evening of March 2, 2011, at the IGF Awards, during the Game Developers Conference 2011.

December 22, 2010

Nuovo Award Finalists Revealed for 2011 Independent Games Festival

The Independent Games Festival (IGF), the prestigious GDC-held video game industry event highlighting and awarding the talents of independent game developers, has announced the finalists for the 2011 Nuovo Award, which honors "abstract, short-form, and unconventional game development."

Some of this year's finalists include unconventional party game Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.), first-person dinner simulation title Dinner Date, Messhof's chunky 2-player fencing title Nidhogg, and zen-like tree simulation title Bohm.

The Nuovo Award, the top video game art prize, is announcing an increase to $5,000 for this year's award winner, thanks to the quality of this year's entries. The winner of the award will be revealed at the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 2, 2011 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, during Game Developers Conference 2011. In addition, all Nuovo finalists will be playable in a special section of the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor from March 2nd to 4th.

Now in its third year, the Nuovo Award allows more esoteric art games from among the almost 400 IGF entries to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles, and has been newly expanded this year to include eight finalists.

The full list of this year's Nuovo Award finalists, with links to screenshots and videos of the titles on their official IGF.com entry pages, is as follows:

- Bohm, created by Monobanda - ("Gives you control over the life of a tree. It's a game based on slow gameplay and the act of creation.")

- A House in California, created by Cardboard Computer - ("A surreal, narrative game about four characters who bring a house to life... with environments and activities drawn from a combination of memory, research, poetry, and fantasy.")

- Nidhogg, created by Messhof - ("A 2 player fencing game with football & platforming elements".)

- Dinner Date, created by Stout Games - ("You play as the subconsciousness of Julian Luxemburg, waiting for his date to arrive. You listen in on his thoughts while tapping the table, looking at the clock and eventually reluctantly starting to eat...")

- Loop Raccord, created by Nicolai Troshinsky - ("Manipulate a series of video clips in order to create... continuous movement.")

- The Cat and the Coup, created by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad - ("A documentary game in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran.")

- Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.), created by Copenhagen Game Collective - ("A one-button party game for 2-8 players. ... rather than let the computer carry out all the rules, the players are themselves responsible for enforcing (or not enforcing) the rules.")

- Hazard: The Journey Of Life, created by Demruth - ("A philosophical first person single player environmental puzzle game. The game presents no goals directly to the player, but they create goals for themselves based on what they know of the world.")

The Nuovo Award had recommendations put forward by over 150 of the IGF's Main Competition judges, and the winners picked - via active discussion and voting - by an elite jury of the video game industry's top thinkers on the future of art and the video game medium. The jury included previous winner Jason Rohrer (Between), as well as lauded game creators including Paolo Pedercini (Every Day The Same Dream), Ian Bogost (A Slow Year), Daniel Benmergui (Today I Die) and more.

In addition to the 8 Nuovo finalists, the jury also awarded honorable mentions to the following 5 outstanding Nuovo-styled titles which also deserve recognition: Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games), Faraway (Steph Thirion), Feign (Ian Snyder), Choice Of Broadsides (Choice Of Games), and Spy Party (Chris Hecker).

"This year's finalists for the Nuovo Award perfectly embody what this award was created to celebrate -- a set of games that could hardly be more different from each other than they are from the wider body of entrants in this year's festival," said IGF chairman Brandon Boyer.

"Running the gamut from quiet reflections on both nature and ourselves, to raucous new-arcade experiences designed to entertain onlookers as much as the participants of the game, each finalist showcases the unconventional approach of the indie community to new forms of play."

For more information on the Independent Games Festival, including a more detailed statement from the Nuovo Jury and many more details on entrants and finalists, please visit the official IGF website. IGF Main Competition and Student Competition finalists will be announced, as originally scheduled, in early January 2011.

For those interested in registering for GDC 2011, which includes the Independent Games Summit, the IGF Pavilion and the IGF Awards Ceremony, please visit the official Game Developers Conference website.

The 'GDC 25' Chronicles: Finalist Footage From the First IGF

As part of the festivities leading up to the 25th iteration of GDC next February & March -- which is the host for the Independent Games Festival, Awards, and Summit, of course, organizers have appointed an official GDC historian, Jason Scott.

He is presenting video, audio, photos and attendee recollections from the last twenty-four iterations of CGDC and the Game Developers Conference events in a special section of the GDC website, and his latest post has special relevance to the Independent Games Festival.

The new post puts some freshly VHS-digitized video online -- a rare showreel of the first-ever Independent Games Festival finalists, from March 1999. Go check it out now!

December 20, 2010

2011 IGF Nuovo Awards: Jury Statement About Finalists

Following the announcement of the eight finalists for the 2011 Independent Games Festival Nuovo award, which is intended to "honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which advances the medium and the way we think about games", the IGF Nuovo Jury has released an official statement explaining and expanding upon the reasoning behind this year's picks.

The Nuovo Jury's finalist statement discussing and justifying their picks - also adding a number of 'honorable mentions' for games that were just outside the finalist selection, but had fascinating characteristics - reads as follows:

"Thanks to everyone who submitted their games to the Independent Games Festival this year, all of whom were in consideration for this award. Our larger body of Main Competition judges nominated nearly 75 games for this year's Nuovo award, all of which represented an enormous breadth of boundary-pushing ideas, concepts, mechanics and viewpoints.

This year, the Nuovo Jury discussion focused on celebrating games that not only embody a strong authorial voice, but "open the eyes of the audience (and other developers), that provoke discussion... not for the sake of being contrary, but for the sake of expanding the form, of treading on unexplored terrain."

The jury also felt Nuovo finalists should make the player "feel lost at the beginning because they've never experienced such a language before, but then should feel delight when they manage to 'understand' it, and feel eager to build on it," and should "have some obscure magic that transcends analysis and picking apart of individual design choices."

Keeping these criteria in mind, the discussion focused on the games that were most-recommended by Main Competition judges, as well as our own picks from IGF entrants. We have decided (via online discussion and jury voting) on the following finalists for the 2011 IGF Nuovo Award, each of which will receive All-Access GDC 2011 tickets and the opportunity to exhibit their game in the conference's IGF Pavilion:

Finalists

- A House in California (Cardboard Computer)
As a retro-styled point-and-click adventure, A House in California was praised for taking the mechanics of that classic genre and repurposing them "in strange and touching ways to create a game that's about stuff that games are rarely about (memory, childhood, generations, and the importance of physical places to all of these things)."

- Bohm (Monobanda)
Monobanda's reflective, zen-like tree-growing experience surprised the jury with the "audio/visual follow through" to its straightforward and ambitious concept, with one juror noting how quickly they became "immersed, despite my generally cynical attitude towards games that proclaim poetic beauty."

- Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally OK Now (B.U.T.T.O.N.) (Copenhagen Game Collective)
B.U.T.T.O.N.'s raucous approach to essentially controller-less play (bar its titular set of buttons) was praised for going "programmatically in the opposite direction" of the wider industry's take on motion controls like Kinect, Move and the Wii, which "aspire to control and discipline your movement," and was called "one of the few titles here that potentially introduce a new kind of gameplay instead of adding a new twist to existing forms."

- The Cat and the Coup (Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad)
This "documentary" game of the first democratically-elected Prime Minister of Iran, told from the vantage point of his cat, was called out both for how "the physics system functions as a broad metaphor for instability," and its unique mix of "Islamic art and dada collage," and for perfectly embodying the Nuovo Award's various "abstract, shortform, authorial, unconventionally fun, meaningful" criteria.

- Dinner Date (Stout Games)
Stout's first-person/internal-monologue of a would-be romantic-encounter was noted not just for being "about something totally untouched by games", but for being a game that symbiotically manipulates both the protagonist's subconsciousness and that of the player as well, and was praised for being more "play as in theater or instrument than it is play as in sports."

- Hazard: The Journey of Life (Demruth)
Built on top of the Unreal engine but employing "abstract pseudo vector graphics", Hazard was said to be a textbook example of a 'Nuovo' game for using all the "storming through corridors" conventions of the first person shooter to create a deeper examination of personal philosophy.

- Loop Raccord (Nicolai Troshinsky)
A 'video editing game' involving synchronizing video clips, Loop Raccord was specifically noted for being a work that "would NEVER have been made by a commercial studio," and for taking on the Nuovo Award's challenge of "advancing the medium and the way we think about games" by dealing with aspects "more related to fine art than the gaming world."

- Nidhogg (Messhof)
Variously praised as "stylish, perverse, incredibly deep, elegant, compelling and joyful", Messhof's tug-of-war swordplay was most often called out for its "hip, lo-fi, punk" aesthetic, but more importantly, for "supporting players in expressing themselves in a variety of ways" and "creating a social space and a spectacle through its play."

Honorable Mentions

There were many titles that were recommended or advocated for by judges and received multiple votes in our final tally, but did not make the Finalist list due to insufficient votes. Nonetheless, we're happy to mention and recommend these titles as Nuovo 'honorable mentions', that those interested in alternative independent games should certainly check out:

- Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games) A deeply psychological, unique take on the first-person/immersive horror game.

- Choice Of Broadsides (Choice Of Games) A Royal Navy text adventure with deep consequences.

- Faraway (Steph Thirion) A fantastically stylish, joy-provoking arcade game of constellation creation.

- Feign (Ian Snyder) An "exploration of the metaphysics of virtual space."

- Spy Party (Chris Hecker) Like a Turing-test in reverse, a game of "acting as artificial intelligence," and a thrilling one-on-one battle of wits.

Thanks,
Daniel Benmergui, Ian Bogost, Auriea Harvey, Clint Hocking, Rod Humble, Jesper Juul, Frank Lantz, Paolo Pedercini, Jason Rohrer, Michael Samyn, Justin Smith, Eddo Stern, Eric Zimmerman [IGF 2011 Nuovo Jury]."

The Nuovo Award, which was previously won by Jason Rohrer's acclaimed abstract multiplayer title Between in 2009 and Tuning, the perception-warping platformer from Swedish indie developer Cactus, allows more esoteric 'art games' to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles.

As in 2010, a panel of notable game and art world figures -- spanning previous Nuovo award winners and finalists like Ian Bogost, Daniel Benmergui, Justin Smith and Rohrer, Molleindustria's Paolo Pedercini, Area/Code's Frank Lantz and more, have decided the finalists (and will decide the winner) for the Nuovo Award in discussion-based, juried form -- mirroring similar, artistically important awards in other industries.

All eight Nuovo finalists will exhibit their games at Game Developers Conference 2011 in San Francisco in the IGF Pavilion, and a Nuovo Award winner, alongside an increased prize of $5,000, will be revealed at the IGF Awards Ceremony on the evening of March 2, 2011.

December 13, 2010

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Excellence in Visual Art Jury

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Visual Art award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality in visuals for indie games.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Visual Art award have gone to entrants which featured impressive displays of the craft of games, including The Behemoth's vibrant cartoon-ish beat-em-up Castle Crashers, Polytron's 2D/3D "trixel"-based puzzle platformer Fez, Amanita Design's hand-painted adventure game Machinarium, and Playdead's equal parts soft and stark monochromatic puzzler Limbo.

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and game development notables including Jon Chey, Soren Johnson, Brandon McCartin, Miguel Sternberg and Tom Sennett) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury consists of the following:

- Craig Adams (as 'Superbrothers', art director & co-creator of the IGF award winning Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.)
- Grant Duncan (founding member & artist on Hello Games' IGF finalist Joe Danger.)
- Jakub Dvorsky (founder, Amanita Design, creators of multiple IGF award winning games like Samorost & Machinarium.)
- Phil Fish (chief creative officer at Polytron Corporation, creators of the IGF award winning Fez.)
- Kyle Gabler (co-founder of 2D Boy, creators of IGF award winner World of Goo; co-founder of upstart indie dev Tomorrow Corporation.)
- Edmund McMillen (co-creator of IGF finalists Super Meat Boy, Coil.)
- Paul Robertson (lead animator, Ubisoft's Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game, creator of short films 'Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006' & 'Kings of Power 4 Billion %'.)
- Ben Ruiz (art director, Flashbang Studios on games like Off-Road Velociraptor Safari & Minotaur China Shop.)
- Patrick Smith (as 'Vectorpark', creator of games & interactive toys like Windosill, Feed the Head & Levers.)
- Derek Yu (illustrator and designer of Spelunky & the IGF award winning Aquaria, EIC of indie community TIGSource.)

"Far more than simply a 'best graphics' award, the IGF's Excellence in Visual Art category identifies and celebrates developers who seek to create a striking, unique and signature visual style -- often our first indicator that a given game is going to be something special", said festival chairman Brandon Boyer.

"Each member of our jury panel -- many of whom are also esteemed game designers in their own right -- has found success doing just that, and we all look forward to seeing who emerges as this year's best visual artists."

The announcement is the fourth in a series revealing specific juries for each IGF Award, following the debut of the Nuovo Award jury, the Excellence in Audio jury, and, most recently, the Technical Excellence jury, made up of indie programmers and engineers like Anna Kipnis, Chris Delay, Andy Nealen and Tommy Refenes.

All entries in the 2011 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also find more complete biographical information on the Excellence in Visual Art jury.

All five Visual Art finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- in early January 2011. All finalists will be playable at the IGF Pavilion on the show floor during Game Developers Conference 2011, with the winner announced on the evening of March 2, 2011, at the IGF Awards, during the Game Developers Conference 2011.

December 11, 2010

2011 Independent Games Festival Debuts Jury For Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Seumas McNally Grand Prize, the top category which seeks to highlight the the top innovation, quality, impressiveness, and enjoyability of all games entered in this year's Festival.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Seumas McNally Grand Prize, named in honor of the late creator of 2000's IGF award-winning Tread Marks, have included Kloonigames' hand-drawn puzzler Crayon Physics Deluxe, Erik Svedang's charmingly surrealist adventure Blueberry Garden, and Pocketwatch Games' abstracted multiplayer heist game Monaco.

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and indie game notables including Alex May, Kellee Santiago, Jarrad 'Farbs' Woods, Brandon McCartin, and Miguel Sternberg) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury, made up of representatives from all the Festival's specific category jurists, consists of the following:

- Danny Baranowsky (Founder of dB soundworks and musician behind games like Canabalt & 2010 Excellence in Audio finalist Super Meat Boy.)
- Raigan Burns (Co-creator of Metanet's IGF award-winning N.)
- Ron Carmel (Co-creator of 2D Boy's IGF award-winning World of Goo.)
- Dylan Cuthbert (co-founder and designer at Q-Games, creators of the PixelJunk series of games.)
- Jakub Dvorsky (founder, Amanita Design, creators of multiple IGF award winning games like Samorost & Machinarium.)
- Phil Fish (chief creative officer at Polytron Corporation, creators of the IGF award winning Fez.)
- Kyle Gabler (co-founder of 2D Boy, creators of IGF award winner World of Goo; co-founder of upstart indie dev Tomorrow Corporation.)
- Kyle Gray (designer of Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure, co-founder Tomorrow Corporation and Experimental Gameplay Project.)
- Robin Hunicke (designer and producer on games including MySims & Boom Blox, currently working on Journey at thatgamecompany.)
- Frank Lantz (co-founder of crossmedia game company Area/Code, responsible for games like Drop7, Parking Wars and Spore Islands, and Director of the NYU Game Center.)
- Edmund McMillen (co-creator of IGF finalists Super Meat Boy, Coil.)
- Andy Nealen (Assistant professor of computer science at Rutgers University & core team member of Hemisphere Games, creators of the IGF award-winning Osmos.)
- Paolo Pedercini (game developer at Molleindustria [Every Day The Same Dream], artist and educator at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.)
- Kris Piotrowski (co-founder & creative director at Capy, creators of games including Critter Crunch, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes.)
- Petri Purho (designer of the IGF award winning Crayon Physics Deluxe
- Tommy Refenes (Team Meat engineer behind 2010 IGF Finalist Super Meat Boy.)
- Margaret Robertson (former editor of Edge Magazine and consultant, now designer and development director at Hide&Seek)
- Adam Saltsman (co-founder of Semi Secret Software, creators of Wurdle, Gravity Hook HD & Canabalt.)
- Andy Schatz (founder of Pocketwatch Games, creators of the IGF nominated Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa and the IGF award winning Monaco.)
- Mare Sheppard (co-founder of Metanet Software, creators of N.)
- Randy Smith (co-owner and designer at Tiger Style, creators of Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, former designer on the Thief series.)
- Steve Swink (co-founder, Enemy Airship, creators of the upcoming Shadow Physics.)
- Nathan Vella (co-founder & president of Capy, creators of Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes and IGF award winners Critter Crunch & Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.)
- Matthew Wegner (co-founder & CEO of Flashbang Studios, creators of Off-Road Velociraptor Safari, Minotaur China Shop & Time Donkey.)

The announcement is the final in a series revealing specific juries for each IGF Award, following the debut of the Nuovo Award jury, the Excellence in Audio jury, the Technical Excellence jury, the Visual Art jury, first newly integrated Mobile Game jury, and, most recently, the Excellence in Design jury, made up of independent game designers like Robin Hunicke, Gary Penn, George Fan and Kris Piotrowski.

All entries in the 2011 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also find more complete biographical information on each of the juries.

All five Grand Prize finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- on January 3rd, 2011. All finalists will be playable at the IGF Pavilion on the show floor during Game Developers Conference 2011, with the winner announced on the evening of March 2, 2011, at the IGF Awards, during the Game Developers Conference 2011.

December 7, 2010

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Technical Excellence Jury

2010techexc.jpgOrganizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Technical Excellence award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality in game engines and code.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Technical Excellence award have gone to entrants which featured impressive displays of the craft of games, including Dylan Fitterer's sonic-landscape racing/puzzle category finalist Audiosurf and that year's winner from 2D Boy, World of Goo, Data Realms' 2009 2D platforming-action winner, Cortex Command, and the 2010 award winning Limbo, for its finely rendered and physically reactive monochromatic world.

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and indie game notables including Jarrad 'Farbs' Woods, Alex May, Robin Lacey, Ichiro Lambe, and Erin Robinson) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury consists of the following:

- Renaud Bedard (Polytron engineer behind IGF award-winning Fez.)
- Raigan Burns (Co-creator of Metanet's IGF award-winning N.)
- Ron Carmel (Co-creator of 2D Boy's IGF award-winning World of Goo.)
- Chris Delay (Lead designer, artist and programmer at Introversion, creator of Uplink, DEFCON & the IGF award-winning Darwinia.)
- Ryan Doyle (Former programmer on Criterion's Burnout series and Geometry Wars: Galaxies; co-founder and Technical Director of Joe Danger creator Hello Games.)
- Alec Holowka (Founder of Infinite Ammo, and co-creator of IGF award-winning Aquaria.)
- David Kalina (Former AI programmer behind Splinter Cell, Deus Ex: Invisible War & Thief: Deadly Shadows; owner & engineer of Tiger Style, behind IGF Mobile award-winner Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.)
- Anna Kipnis (AI and game play programmer for Double Fine, behind games like Psychonauts Brutal Legend.)
- Andy Nealen (Assistant professor of computer science at Rutgers University & core team member of Hemisphere Games, creators of the IGF award-winning Osmos.)
- Tommy Refenes (Team Meat engineer behind 2010 IGF Finalist Super Meat Boy.)
- Ivan Safrin (Visual artist and programmer behind games like Owl Country & Bit World.)
- Dan Tabar (Founder of Data Realms, creator of 2009 Technical Excellence award-winning Cortex Command.)

"The Technical Excellence award is crucial for recognizing innovation and mastery of the underlying science of games and their design," said festival chairman Brandon Boyer.

"While these achievements may often be overlooked or misunderstood by the games-playing public at large, or even -- at their best -- so well crafted to be invisible to the player, this award is meant to openly celebrate the ways in which programmers and engineers are advancing and experimenting with code itself."

The announcement is the third in a series revealing specific juries for each IGF Award, following the debut of the Nuovo Award jury, including notables like Jason Rohrer, Clint Hocking, Rod Humble and Ian Bogost, and the Excellence in Audio jury, made up of indie musicians like Danny Baranowsky and Vincent Diamante, and audio leads like Emily Ridgway and Matt Piersall.

All entries in the 2011 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also find more complete biographical information on the Technical Excellence jury.

All five Technical Excellence finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- in early January 2011. All finalists will be playable at the IGF Pavilion on the show floor during Game Developers Conference 2011, with the winner announced on the evening of March 2, 2011, at the IGF Awards, during the Game Developers Conference 2011.

2010 IGF China Announces Asian, Australasian Indie Winners

Organizers of the second annual Independent Games Festival China have announced winners for the Asian and Australasian indie games showcase in Shanghai, with South Korean developer Turtle Cream's 2D tile-flipping platformer Sugar Cube getting the Best Game prize, and a host of other notable winners.

Following the announcement of the finalists last month, the teams attended a special awards show at the Shanghai International Convention Center during GDC China last night, where the winners of each category were revealed.

Supported by Platinum Sponsor Crystal CG and Gold Sponsor NetEase, the winners of the 2010 Independent Games Festival China announced at the award ceremony include unique modular 'tower defense'-style title The White Laboratory, which won Best Student Game, and The Voxel Agents' addictive iPhone/iPad puzzle hit Train Conductor 2: USA, which took Best Mobile Game.

The winners of the 2010 IGF China awards are:

Best Game: Sugar Cube (Turtle Cream, South Korea) [RMB 20,000, $3,000]
Best Mobile Game: Train Conductor 2 (The Voxel Agents, Australia) [RMB 10,000, $1,500]
Excellence In Audio: Skillz: The DJ Game (Playpen Studios, Hong Kong) [RMB 5,000, $750]
Excellence In Visual Arts: ButaVX: Justice Fighter (Nekomura Games, Singapore) [RMB 5,000, $750]

Best Student Game: The White Laboratory (Huazhong University of Science & Technology, China) [RMB 10,000, $1,500]
Excellent Student Award: Dead Steel (Media Design School, Auckland, New Zealand) [RMB 3,000, $450]
Excellent Student Award: Ponlai (National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan) [RMB 3,000, $450]

(The jury elected not to select an Excellence In Technology award this year.)

Along the way, high-quality submissions for the second iteration of the event -- a newly formed sister competition to the main yearly Independent Games Festival in San Francisco -- were received from multiple Chinese provinces, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Iran, India and beyond.

Winners were chosen by a panel of distinguished local judges, including representatives from Shanda Games, Tencent, IGDA Shanghai, TipCat Interactive and more. IGF China finalists were invited to Shanghai for the Game Developers Conference China event from December 5th to 7th, where they showed their games at a special Pavilion on the Expo Floor.

The Independent Games Festival's outreach into Asia is part of GDC China, which returned to the Shanghai International Convention Center on December 5-7th.

December 2, 2010

Reminder: IGF China, Independent Games Summit @ GDC China

igfchina2k10.jpgIndependent Games Festival organizers are reminding that GDC China 2010 kicks off this Sunday at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China, and there are multiple IGF and Independent Games Summit-related events happening at the show.

As the latest official news on the event explains:

- The Indie Games Summit at GDC China takes place on Monday, December 6th, and centers on discussions around successful development and marketing tactics from leading independents.

Some of the featured speakers at IGS China 2010 include a lecture from IGF 2010 Grand Prize winner Andy Schatz (Monaco), acclaimed indie Erin Robinson (Puzzle Bots), an Osmos postmortem from Eddy Boxerman and Andy Nealen, insight from Joe Danger creator Hello Games' Grant Duncan, discussion on the experimental design of Shadow Physics from Steve Swink, and a Chinese indie-centric talk from 4399.com.

- The 2nd annual Independent Games Festival China will have finalist games playable on the GDC China Expo show floor on Sunday and Monday, December 5th and 6th.

- In addition, the IGF China Awards Ceremony open to all GDC China 2010 attendees on Monday, December 6th at 7pm on the 7th floor of the Convention Center, with the best of Asian indie titles honored.

GDC China's online registration has now ended, but in-person registration starts on Saturday, December 4th, the day before the show, and is available from 1pm to 6pm in the lobby of the Oriental Riverside Hotel, Shanghai (the hotel connected to the Shanghai International Convention Center).

Registration is also possible on-site from 8am on Sunday, December 5th, the first day of the show -- for more information on all aspects of GDC China in both English and Chinese languages, please visit the official GDC China website.

 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
     
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