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IGF 2013 highlights initial Design, Technical Award jurors

igf-student.jpgOrganizers of the 2013 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the latest additions to its discipline-specific jury panels that will determine the finalists and winner of its various awards.

The jury announcements for this year are beginning with some of the industry professionals, independent game notables and former IGF award winners that will make up its Excellence in Design and Technical Achievement Awards, as well as high-profile additions to its Nuovo and Narrative awards, the first members of which were recently announced.

Former Journey producer and designer and current Funomena co-founder Robin Hunicke will be joining both the Nuovo and Narrative juries. Also joining the Narrative jury is Telltale writer and designer Sean Vanaman, notable for his work co-writing the recent award-winning Walking Dead adventure series. And the Nuovo Award jury will also see the inclusion of designer, curator and Kokoromi art collective co-founder Heather Kelley and Lea Schoenfelder, creator of former IGF finalist Ulitsa Dimitrova.

While the juries continue to be assembled in advance of the kick-off of our next phase of the finalist selection process, we're happy to announce the following confirmed jurists.

The Excellence in Design Award

The Excellence in Design award is 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, Pocketwatch Games' abstracted multiplayer heist game Monaco, QCF's rogue-like puzzler Desktop Dungeons and procedurally-generated platformer Spelunky.

The confirmed jury to date consists of the following:

- George Fan (freelance designer & creator of Plants vs. Zombies)
- Ricky Haggett (co-founder of Frobisher Says & Hohokum creators Honeyslug)
- Cindy Poremba (researcher, artist and curator, member of game/art collective Kokoromi)
- Edmund McMillen (creator of games including Super Meat Boy & The Binding of Isaac)
- Chelsea Howe (SuperBetter Labs & Zynga designer, creator of indie titles including The End Of Us)
- Petri Purho (designer of the IGF award winning Crayon Physics Deluxe)
- Bennett Foddy (creator of QWOP, CLOP & IGF finalist GIRP)
- Danny Day (co-creator of IGF winner Desktop Dungeons)
- Kevin Cancienne (designer of games including Drop7)
- Kevin Zuhn (creative director of IGF student showcase finalist OctoDad)
- Joel Burgess (senior designer at Bethesda on games including Fallout 3 & Skyrim)

The Technical Excellence Award

The Technical Excellence award is 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, 2010 winner Limbo, and Frictional Games' 2011 winner Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

The confirmed jury to date consists of the following:

- Brett Douville (LucasArts veteran and lead programmer at Skyrim creators Bethesda)
- Paul Du Bois (senior programmer at Psychonauts Brutal Legend creators Double Fine)
- Renaud Bedard (Capy and former Polytron engineer behind IGF award-winning Fez)
- Anna Kipnis (AI and game play programmer for Double Fine)
- Chris Delay (Lead designer, artist and programmer at Introversion, creator of Uplink, DEFCON & the IGF award-winning Darwinia
- Ivan Safrin (Visual artist and programmer behind games like Owl Country & Bit World)
- Tyler Glaiel (creator of IGF award winner Closure)
- Andy Nealen (games researcher at NYU Poly & core team member of Hemisphere Games, creators of the IGF award-winning Osmos)
- Alex May (co-creator of IGF finalist Eufloria)
- Andy Hull (programmer of IGF winner Spelunky)

All entries in the 2013 Independent Games Festival Main Competition are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also soon find more complete biographical information on all of this year's juries, as more are announced over the next few weeks. (The IGF is part of the UBM Tech Game Network, as is this website.)

Main Competition finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- on Monday, January 7th 2013, with the winner announced on the evening of March 27th at the live-streamed, multi-thousand person attended IGF Awards ceremony during GDC 2013 -- for which registration is now open.