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 Hocking entered the game industry working for Ubisoft Montreal in July of 2001, when he began his career as a level designer, game designer and scriptwriter on the original SPLINTER CELL. Along with writer JT Petty, Clint was honored for his writing work on the title with the first-ever Game Developer's Choice Award for Excellence in Scriptwriting. Clint continued as lead level designer, scriptwriter, and creative director on SPLINTER CELL: CHAOS THEORY the highest rated Splinter Cell to date with an aggregate review score of 94%. Clint then worked as creative director on the innovative and acclaimed FAR CRY 2. In 2010, Clint left Ubisoft and moved to San Francisco where he worked as a creative director at LucasArts. He is currently working as a designer at Valve in Seattle.
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 was the 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.
After starting making games on the Atari Jaguar at Shen Technologies in the early 90s, Julien joined Ubisoft Entertainment, working on Rayman (Jaguar and PlayStation), Pod (PC and M2) and on Tonic Trouble (PC and Nintendo64) as lead programmer. After having focused on Rayman2, and on the R&D for the PlayStation 2, Julien became the worldwide technical director of Ubisoft in 1999. In this role he played a major part in studio creation and organization, technology, production pipeline design, multi-platform strategy, and AAA features integration for franchises such as Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia. He also took responsibility for middleware and development strategy, communication and cooperation strategy, and hardware manufacturer and middleware relations.
In 2006, after having worked extensively on Next Generation strategy around Ghost Recon and Assassin's Creed, Julien pursued his career at Eidos. He started to serve as worldwide CTO, working on the technologies behind franchises such as Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Deus Ex, as well as opening Eidos Montreal and Eidos Shanghai. In 2010, Julien became worldwide technology director for Square Enix Group, collaborating also with the teams working on franchises such as Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Dragon Quest.
Being a fan of many Konami franchises, it didn't surprise anybody to see Julien joining Konami as worldwide technology director in October 2013. He will be working with Hideo Kojima and Konami Digital Entertainment CEO, taking on the lead on the Fox Engine, driving internal technology initiatives and working on technology strategy aspects for the Group.
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 applied these talents to the rapidly growing world of social network games, and with his cohorts at Zynga East in Maryland he worked expanding FrontierVille and planning a new social games franchise. In February 2013, Reynolds left Zynga and in March 2013 he found SecretNewCo.
As part of Hide&Seek, Margaret made big games (like the city-wide 12,000 player New Year Games), small games (like the Tiny Games project), silly games (like Drunk Dungeon) and serious games (like Dreams Of Your Life). Her previous role as an independent consultant enabled her to work on a huge range of projects, from AAA console titles, through download and mobile/ handheld games, to indie and art-house projects. She's worked with brands, broadcasters, and ﬁlm studios to develop their game strategies, and was part of the team that built the Channel 4's BAFTA- and Emmy-award winning educational game slate. Previously editor-in-chief of Edge magazine, and part of the team behind the GameCity festival, she is an internationally top-rated speaker on game design theory.
Erin RobinsonIvy Games
Erin Robinson is and independent game developer whose work includes one PAX 10 finalist, two Indiecade finalists, and a PAX Indie Megabooth selection. In 2011 Fast Company listed her as one of the Most Influential Women in Technology. She's a regular speaker at GDC, and recently keynoted the Freeplay Independent Games Festival in Melbourne, Australia. She also teaches rapid prototyping at colleges, including regular gigs in Chicago and Sweden.
Robinson holds a BScH in Psychology from Queen's University, and has lectured about the intersection of games and neuroscience. In 2011, under Dr. Molly Carnes at the University of Wisconsin-Madision, and the Morgridge Institute for Research, she worked as lead designer on an NIH-funded game to reduce implicit bias in the scientific workforce. She remains interested in bridging the gap between game design and scientific research.
Erin is now a full-time independent developer. Her latest title is Gravity Ghost, a physics/puzzle game scheduled for release in 2014.
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.
Caryl ShawTower of Robots
Caryl Shaw is currently the Founder of Tower of Robots, a consulting company in San Francisco, California providing production and project management services to game and app developers.
Prior to ToR, Caryl was an Executive Producer at KIXEYE and ngmoco:) where she was responsible for building and managing iPhone and iPad applications as fun and profitable games and services. Earlier in her video games career, Caryl was a Senior Producer at EA/Maxis and worked on The Sims, SimCity and Spore franchises as the Lead Online Producer. And way back in the first dot-com boom, she worked at a variety of internet start-ups managing online communities and content websites starting back in '95. She even worked for a company that made Enterprise Business Software at one point, but what's the fun in that?
She's spoken internationally about a range of topics including: Running a Live Mobile Game, Lessons Learned Making a Social Game for Facebook and Putting User-Generated Content to Work in Video Games.
Her favorite spirit is Breaking and Entering Bourbon.
Brandon SheffieldNecrosoft Games
Brandon Sheffield is director of Necrosoft Games, and senior contributing editor to Gamasutra.com. He was editor-in-chief of Game Developer magazine for several years, and has a shipped over a dozen game titles since 2005. He has consulted for a number of companies, including Deloitte Tohmatsu, Square Enix, Kuno Interactive, and the Game Developers Conference, where he programs the Game Career Seminar.
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.