The 2024 IGF Awards are coming soon, and here is the first round of jurors who will be judging our incredible selection of games for GDC 2024.
Now that the first round of IGF judging is complete, the Game Developers Conference is thrilled to unveil the first group of jurors for the 2024 IGF Awards. The IGF juries are made up of experts in specific disciplines—who will play, evaluate, and discuss the standout games entered in the 2024 Independent Games Festival competition.
Here are the jurors who will be judging games in the Excellence in Audio Award, the Excellence in Visual Art Award, and the Best Student Game Award categories:
Excellence in Audio
Maxi Boch: Maxi is an associate professor in game design at the NYU Game Center. They served for over a decade at Harmonix Music Systems as a designer and creative director. They are presently working as an independent game developer and sound designer, having notably crafted the BAFTA-winning ambitious music system and sound design of Ape Out.
Simon Byron: Simon is the publishing director of Yogscast Games—the indie publisher behind PlateUp, Tales & Tactics, and Hexarchy. He was previously at Curve Digital, where he signed and launched Human: Fall Flat, For The King, and The Ascent. He is the co-host of the One Life Left podcast, which offers a friendly, accessible, easily-distracted look at games and the games industry.
Samantha Kalman: Samantha is a game designer and musician. Her game industry design work includes musical puzzle games like Sentris and Echoic Memory, as well as indie and AAA games like Astroneer and Apex Legends.
David Kanaga: David Kanaga is a composer and game designer. He has created interactive soundtracks for games such as Proteus, Dyad, and Panoramical. His dog opera Oikospiel Book I won the IGF Nuovo Award in 2017. His podcast opera Soft Valkyrie, narrated by Stephen Fry, was released in 2021-22.
Juan Orjuela: Juan is a musician and game developer from Bogotá, Colombia who specializes in interactive composition and sound design for video games and experimental audiovisual installations. Juan is now established in Cologne, Germany where he co-founded the independent game studio Ludopium.
Daniel Rosenfeld: Daniel Rosenfeld is most known for having composed the ever-present game Minecraft, and is currently working hard at Davey Wreden’s new studio Ivy Road on their debut game.
Isaac Io Schankler: Isaac is the composer for award-winning indie games like Ladykiller in a Bind, Analogue: A Hate Story, and the upcoming polyrhythm game The One-Body Problem. They are an associate professor of music at Cal Poly Pomona.
Excellence in Visual Art
aurahack: aurahack is an illustrator and designer who primarily draws girls, sci-fi, and cityscapes—often all at once. Originally a game artist, she now provides art and design work for games and music.
Noel Berry: Noah is an independent game developer from Canada and co-creator of Celeste, who is now working with the Celeste team on their next indie game, Earthblade.
Greg Lobanov: Greg is a whimsical game designer who directs colorful, storied adventure games like Beastieball, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, and Wandersong.
Gaurav Mathur: As a Creative Director for Transformational Games, Gaurav synthesizes subject matter expert input and research with art and design direction informed by decades of experience across projects such as Grim Fandango, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Psychonauts, and Skylanders Spyro's Adventure. He launched gamedevmap in 2005 as the first curated living map of game development around the world.
Gianna "Gigi" Ruggiero: Gigi is a senior concept artist at Doublefine, currently working as a lead on an unannounced project. She has been working and shipping games as an artist for over 10 years and has worked in the animation industry as well. Gigi constantly forgets where she has put things and likes to doodle dogs with hats.
Aura Triolo: Aura Triolo has been animating indie games for over a decade on titles such as Dungeons of Dredmor and Overgrowth. She's also had her advice writeups for devs submitting to IGF featured on the IGF website and Game Developer. She's currently animation lead at Ivy Road.
Jesse Turner: Jesse has been in games as an artist for well over a decade. He works in Vancouver Canada at Klei Entertainment and goes by "The Drawbarian" every chance he gets.
Best Student Game
Lindsay Grace: Lindsay is Knight Chair in Interactive Media and director of the University of Miami Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media. He is vice president for the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, 2019 recipient of the Games for Change Vanguard award, designer/developer/artist behind scores of indie games, and author of several books including Doing Things with Games, Social Impact through Design, Love and Affection in Games: A Design Primer, and Black Game Studies.
Syrenne McNulty: Syrenne is a senior producer focusing on indie games with over a decade of experience. Currently working at new publisher Astra Logical, she has also worked with Draknek & Friends, iam8bit, William Chyr Studio, and many more.
Carol Mertz: Carol is an award-winning senior game designer at Exploding Kittens, and founder of independent game studio Insatiable Cycle. Having worked for over a decade in interactive arts and media, her portfolio of work centers around creating and supporting multidisciplinary projects that expand our perspective, help us learn about ourselves and each other, and challenge the typical boundaries of play.
Andy Nealen: Andy is an associate professor of Cinematic Arts and Computer Science at USC Games. He teaches and researches in Game Design, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Graphics, and Game Engineering. His focus on minimal and accessible designs for complex systems is evidenced in the Apple-Design-Award-winning game Osmos, as well as in his Sketch-Based Modeling, Game-Space Exploration, and Game Heuristics research. Andy received his PhD in Computer Science from TU Berlin and is a regular speaker at international game and computer graphics conferences.
Richard Perrin: Richard is the creator of scifi point-and-click horror game the white chamber and exploration and puzzle-solving game Kairo.
Jeff Petriello: Jeff is an adjunct professor of Game Design at the NYU Game Center and a producer of games at The New York Times. He lives in Brooklyn, produced last year's IGF award-winning IMMORTALITY, and is eagerly awaiting a WordleBot plushie.
Ty Underwood: Ty is an associate professor of Game Development at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, with their professional background including work in games, product design, installation art, and human-computer interaction. They are an outspoken organizer for labor rights in the games industry—speaking on labor topics at GDC, Pax Dev, and more. Currently, Ty is developing Railpolitik, a counter-logistics strategy game about industrial sabotage.
José P. Zagal: José is faculty at the University of Utah's top-ranked game program. He has written numerous books on videogames, including Role-Playing Game Studies and Game Design Snacks, which was authored by students. His next book, written with Benj Edwards and available in May 2024, is a history of Nintendo's unfairly maligned Virtual Boy. José was honored as a distinguished game scholar by the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) and is a fellow in the Higher Education Videogame Alliance (HEVGA).
Head here to check out all entries in the 2024 Independent Games Festival. Competition finalists will be announced soon, with the winners announced at the IGF Awards on Wednesday, March 20 (with a simultaneous broadcast on GDC Twitch) at the Game Developers Conference, which takes place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. For those eager to see the awards for themselves, make sure to buy a pass for GDC 2024!
GDC returns to San Francisco this March 18-22, 2024—and registration is now open! For more information, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDC2024 hashtag on social media.
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