The editors of Game Developer and Gamasutra have chosen an Advisory Committee, made up of distinguished game industry veterans, to select Special Award winners following public nominations. These advisors are as follows:
Simon CarlessGamasutra, Game Developer & Game Developers Conference (GDC)
Simon Carless is EVP of the UBM Tech Game Network, parent company of the Game Developers Conference, Maggie award-winning Game Developer magazine and the double Webby award-winning Gamasutra website, the top information sources for professional video game developers plus its Gamasutra Network of subject matter specific sites. He also functions as the Chairman of the Sundance Festival for games, the Independent Games Festival, which holds its awards at Game Developers Conference yearly. As well as being a member of the GDC advisory board, he chairs the committee for the Game Developers Choice Awards, helping to program the Independent Games Summit and several other Summits at the show. He was previously a game designer, lead game designer and team leader at companies including Kuju Entertainment and Atari/Infogrames, and has also worked as an editor of technology site Slashdot and as author of the OReilly book Gaming Hacks.
Mark CernyCerny Games Inc.
Mark Cerny has been working in game design and technology for 25 years. He designed and programmed 1984’s MARBLE MADNESS for Atari coin-op, and at Sega he oversaw the creation of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2. While president of Universal Studios' game division, he worked in a variety of production and design roles on the CRASH BANDICOOT and SPYRO THE DRAGON series on the original PlayStation. In 1998, Mark established Cerny Games as a consultancy, and has since participated in the creation of the JAK AND DAXTER and RACHET AND CLANK series on PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 3 launch title RESISTANCE: FALL OF MAN. He has also been instrumental in the creation and guidance of the ICE team, a technology group based at Naughty Dog that specializes in graphics systems and tools for the PlayStation 3. In 2004 the IGDA honored Mark with its Lifetime Achievement Award, calling him a “master collaborator” and a “jack of all trades.”
Ben is the General Manager of ngmoco Sweden, where he leads a team developing freemium mobile games aimed at core console and PC gamers. Prior to joining ngmoco, Ben was General Manager of Easy, an EA studio overseeing a portfolio of free-to-play PC games including the groundbreaking BATTLEFIELD HEROES. Mirroring the industry's transition into direct-to-consumer distribution models, Ben has been working exclusively on digitally delivered games since 2005 and he is widely regarded as one of the western-world's leading authorities on freemium game development and operation. Ben started his games industry career as a QA tester in 1999.
Clint is currently Creative Director at LucasArts. For almost 8 years, he was at Ubisoft, where he has worked as a level designer, game designer, scriptwriter and creative director on the original SPLINTER CELL, SPLINTER CELL: CHAOS THEORY and FAR CRY 2. Before games Clint worked in the web industry and experimented with independent filmmaking while earning an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.
Daniel JamesThree Rings Design
Daniel James is currently the CEO of Three Rings Design, which was founded in 2002. PUZZLE PIRATES was the company's breakthrough game, followed by BANG HOWDY and WHIRLED. He is a member of IGDA and a frequent speaker at GDC.
Clinton introduced Scrum and agile to the game development industry in 2003 as the CTO of High Moon Studios. Since then he has become dedicated to helping game developers adopt Scrum as a Certified Scrum Trainer and agile coach.
Over the course of 23 years, Clinton has gone from programming avionics for advanced fighter jets to working on video games that put one of today's hottest studios on the map. Previously Clinton worked as director of product development/lead programmer at Angel Studios, now renamed Rock Star San Diego. There, he helped the company double its staff while directing the development of their hit racing game franchises, starting with their first blockbuster MIDTOWN MADNESSs. By creating new engineering tools and production processes that improved execution rates, Clinton helped Angel become the only studio to deliver two complete titles for PS2's launch, top-ten seller0s MIDNIGHT CLUB and SMUGGLER'S RUN, followed by successful sequels to both series as well as additional hit titles.
Raph is a VP of creative design at Playdom, which acquired his startup Metaplace in 2010. In past lives, Raph was the lead designer on the seminal online world ULTIMA ONLINE, which first brought online worlds to the mass market, and chief creative officer for Sony Online Entertainment, makers of EVERQUEST, where he previously led the design of STAR WARS GALAXIES. Raph's essays and writings have appeared in game design textbooks, books on legal theory, and major newspapers, and his book A Theory of fun for Game Design is considered a classic and is widely used in universities. He is a regular speaker at game, technology, and policy conferences all over the world, and still finds time to write on his popular website, RaphKoster.com.
After years in the music industry, Lombardi decided to get a real job. Then he came to his senses and made the decision to get into the gaming industry. That started in 1994, as a freelance journalist contributing to magazines such as New Media and CD-ROM Today. He later became a launch editor on boot magazine (today known as Maximum PC) and CNET’s Gamecenter.com. In 1998 he accepted a marketing position at Sierra Online as the brand manager for two new games coming from two unknown studios; Valve’s Half-Life and Relic’s Homeworld. At the end of 1999, Lombardi accepted a full time position at Valve. As VP of Marketing at Valve, he helps manage and coordinate third-party relations, marketing, and press activities for all of Valve’s game titles and the Steam online platform.
Julien MerceronSquare Enix
Julien started developing on the Atari Jaguar in 1993 at Shen in Paris, programming on SUPER BURNOUT, a motorbike racing game, and NEXUS, a shoot-em-up. He joined Ubisoft Entertainment in 1994 and worked on programming for RAYMAN 1 (Jaguar and PlayStation), for POD (PC and M2), and became lead programmer on TONIC TROUBLE for the Nintendo 64. After having focused on RAYMAN 2 (Nintendo 64 & Dreamcast) and on the R&D for the PlayStation 2, Julien became the worldwide technical director of Ubisoft Entertainment in 1999. In this role, he played a major role in Studios creation and organization, technology and production pipeline design, multi-platform strategy, as well as AAA features integration. He also took responsibility for middleware and development strategy, communication and cooperation strategy, and hardware manufacturers and middleware relations. At the end of 2005, after having worked extensively on Next Generation strategy, Julien saw the opportunity to pursue his career at Eidos. He will be serving there as worldwide CTO. Julien is fond of hardware architectures, gaming technologies and algorithms; he loves designing engine features and production pipelines.
Bob RafeiBig Red Button
A fifteen-year veteran of the gaming industry, Bob was the art director, character animator and concept artist at Naughty Dog before co-founding Big Red Button in 2008. He joined NDI in early '95 as its first employee while in the visual development stage of CRASH BANDICOOT, which paved the way for CB2: CORTEX STRIKES BACK, CB: 'WARPED' and CRASH TEAM RACING for PlayStation, collectively selling 30 million+ units worldwide. He played a key role in establishing the look of this series and touched on all aspects of production from character rigging to animation. During development of JAK & DAXTER: THE PRECURSOR, JAK II, JAK 3 & JAK X for the PS2, he lead visual development that set the look of this award winning franchise as well as contribute to character animations. Most recently, he co-art directed UNCHARTED: DRAKE'S FORTUNE for PS3. He has lectured at GDC ('01-'04) on various VA subjects, and has served as panel leader on craft categories of animation and art direction for Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' (AIAS) achievement awards. He has also contributed writings to Animation Magazine and Animation World Network (AWN.com). His non-games credits include the album cover art for Blues Traveler's: Travelers & Thieves.
An twenty-year industry veteran, Brian Reynolds is recognized as one of the industry's most talented and productive game designers. Honored by PC Gamer magazine as one of twenty-five Game Gods, Reynolds played a principal role founding three successful game studios: Firaxis, Big Huge Games, and Zynga East. Reynolds’ videogames have sold over 6 million copies worldwide, and he has masterminded the design of several smash hits including CIVILIZATION II, ALPHA CENTUARI, RISE OF NATIONS, as well as CATAN for Xbox360 Live Arcade. Now over 6 million people a day flock to his first social game, FRONTIERVILLE.
Highly regarded as well for his mastery of the art of programming, Reynolds' dual specialty gives him the substantial advantage of being able to bring his own visions to life - and he has built a reputation for finely tuned gameplay. As chief game designer for Zynga, Brian now applies these talents to the rapidly growing world of social network games, and with his cohorts at Zynga East in Maryland he’s hard at work expanding FrontierVille and planning a new social games franchise.
Meggan ScavioGame Developers Conference (GDC)
Meggan is the General Manager of the Game Developers Conference events and is responsible for the production, content, and integrity of the event. She is the liaison between the GDC and its group of industry advisors and maintains close ties to both the developer and publisher communities. Before joining the Game Developers Conference full-time, she was director of operations for CMP Media, a division of United Business Media (UBM), managing operational production of over a dozen International event properties.
Harvey SmithArkane Studios
Harvey Smith has worked on video games since 1993 and is currently co-directing an unnanounced project with Raphael Colantonio at Arkane Studios. Previously, he was studio creative director at Midway Games (Austin), project director at Ion Storm (where he was lead designer on the BAFTA-winning Deus Ex and director of DEUS EX INVISIBLE WAR), lead designer at Multitude (a California-based internet startup), and producer/game designer at Origin Systems. Smith has spoken on numerous game design topics and won the Game Design Challenge at GDC 2006 with his concept "Peace Bomb."
Tommy TallaricoVideo Games Live
Tommy Tallarico is a veritable video game industry icon. As one of the most successful video game composers in history, he has helped revolutionize the gaming world, creating unique audio landscapes that enhance the video gaming experience. An accomplished musician, Tallarico has been writing music for video games for more than 18 years. He has won over 35 industry awards and has worked on more than 300 game titles. His score for ADVENT RISING has been noted as "one of the greatest musical scores of all time" by websites such as Yahoo, Gamespot and others. Tallarico was the first musician to release a video game soundtrack worldwide and has released seven video game soundtrack albums since. In 2002, Tallarico co-created the critically acclaimed Video Games Live which features music from the greatest video games performed by top orchestras and choirs around the world combined with synchronized video footage, lasers, lights, special effects, interactivity and live action to create an explosive and unique one-of-a-kind entertainment experience. Tommy is the founder, Chairman and CEO of the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.), which is a non-profit organization educating and heightening the awareness of audio for the interactive world.
John VecheyPopCap Games
John Vechey co-founded PopCap Games with Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka in 2000, and has been instrumental in driving nearly every aspect of the company's operations at one time or another. Vechey served as PopCap's interim CEO until 2003, heading up business development and securing some of PopCap's largest partnerships with major Web portals and game publishers. Vechey built PopCap's direct-to-consumer experience as Director of PopCap.com, overseeing all aspects of the company's Web site and online presence while directing PopCap's e-commerce, privacy/security and online games services. Vechey then worked in both the Business Development and Game Studio to establish PopCap's social games business. In 2009 he helped launch and grow BEJEWELED BLITZ on Facebook which went from zero to 25 million users in its first twelve months. Vechey manages PopCap's strategic investments and acquisitions, and helps shape and guide the global business and product strategy.