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The Community Contribution award embodies the goals of the IGDA and recognizes the significant contributions that an individual has made in building community, sharing knowledge, speaking on behalf of developers and/or contributing to the art form of game development.

7th annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2007)

George "The Fat Man" Sanger

George Alistair Sanger, aka The Fat Man, began creating audio for games with Intellivision's Thin Ice in 1983. With only one known exception, he has been in that business longer than anybody. He is internationally recognized for contributing to the atmospheres of well over 250 games, including Loom, Wing Commander I and II, The 7th Guest I and II, NASCAR Racing, Putt-Putt Saves The Zoo, and ATF.

Sanger was recording orchestral instruments for games as early as 1992, and shoving lyrics, music videos, and digital recordings into games wherever they would fit. He wrote the first General MIDI soundtrack for a game, the first direct-to-MIDI live recording of musicians, the first redbook soundtrack included with a game as a separate disc, the first music for a game that was considered a "work of art," and the first soundtrack that was considered a selling point for the game.

In 1991, Sanger's Wing Commander took the first-ever GDC audio award, beating out two other nominees –including Sanger's Loom. Sanger became IGDA's 21st member in 1994 and helped found the IA-SIG. In 1995, he was the first music producer to be accepted into the National Recording Academy based on work exclusively in games, and was later instrumental in establishing a Grammy category for games.

For years, and at various levels of secrecy, Sanger spearheaded a small group that brough instruments into GDC to jam onstage and in hotel rooms, tents or stairwells. Based on 11 successful years of influencing and galvanizing the audio and technical community at the Texas Interactive Music Conference and BBQ (Project Bar-B-Q), in 2006 Sanger hosted the first Project Horseshow, an intense think-tank aimed at solving game design's toughest problems.

Sanger remains on the board of advisors for Game Developer, as well as FullSail's Game Development Degree program. Sanger's book, The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness, is less a technical work than a treatise on the benefits of living creatively and treating people well.

6th annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2006)

Chris Hecker

Chris focuses on solving hard game design and technical problems found at the intersection of gameplay, aesthetics, and engineering. He is an outspoken advocate for pushing the current boundaries of design and interactivity, in the hope that games will achieve their full potential as an art and entertainment form. To this end he helps organize the yearly Indie Game Jam and the experimental Gameplay Workshop, and his recent work at Maxis has centered around using advanced proceduralism to enhance player creativity and agency.

Chris has been on the advisory board for the Game Developers Conference for many years and is a regular speaker at the GDC, Siggraph, and other conferences. A frequent contributor to Game Developer magazine, Chris was the technical columnist for the magazine for two years and the Editor-at-Large for three. Before joining Maxis he was an indie game developer for eight years with his company definition six, inc. He is also on the editorial board of the computer graphics research publication, The Journal of Graphics Tools.

5th annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2005)

Sheri Graner Ray

Sheri Graner Ray is senior. Game Designer with Sony Online Entertainment and author of the book, "Gender Inclusive Game Design- Expanding the Market." She has served as the co-chair for the Women in Game Development Special Interest Group of the International Game Developers Association for 4 years and has been a spokesperson for the female game player for many years.

She was the Chair of the Women's Game Conference, held in October of 2004, which was the first conference held in the US to specifically address the issues of women and games. She also founded the Austin Women Game Developers group and continues to serve as its leader.

In 2004 she was recognized by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 100 most influential women in the computer game industry and she is an internationally recognized speaker on the topic of women and computer games and the computer game industry.

Before coming to Sony, she served as President of her own studio, Sirenia Software, and before that as Director of Product Development for Her Interactive. She started in the game industry in 1990 at Origin Systems as a writer and designer on the Ultima PC series.

4th annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2004)

Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk

Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk are extremely dedicated to helping improve the development community through numerous initiatives with a variety of organizations within the industry. The IGDA is honored to bestow the Award for Community Contribution or the joint CEO's of BioWare Corp.

Ray was a co-founder of the IGDA Business Committee, which is dedicated to helping developers around the world better grasp the business aspects of the industry, while Greg is currently on the IGDA's board of directors. As prominent members of the IGDA, Ray and Greg have also attended IGDA chapter meetings around the world in such cities as Montreal and Tokyo.

Ray and Greg have both contributed to Game Developer Magazine by collaborating with BioWare staff to create numerous articles on topics ranging from how companies can move from a single- to a multiple-project studio to developer post-mortems on several titles. In addition to working with Game Developer Magazine, Ray and Greg have spoken at the Game Developers Conference, as well as at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, on a number of subjects, including how development teams can improve their production processes and better structure themselves.

Ray has spoken at the World Cyber Games in Seoul, Korea twice about how studios can develop stronger community websites; BioWare's community numbers over 1.6 million registered users and is always growing, so BioWare's experience in this area can be invaluable to fledging studios looking to expand their online fan communities.

As a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' board of directors, Ray has been involved with the D.I.C.E. summit, where he and Greg have spoken to attendees about how to better structure a growing game development studio to become more efficient and be able to consistently create stronger products.

Ray and Greg's efforts are not limited to supporting the community through education and committee participation. Since founding BioWare, Ray and Greg have been Co-Executive Producers on all of the company's titles: Shattered Steel; Baldur's Gate and the Tales of the Sword Coast Expansion; Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and the Throne of Bhaal expansion; MDK2 and MDK2: Armageddon; Neverwinter Nights and both Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark expansions; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic; the upcoming title Jade Empire, to be published for the Xbox by Microsoft; and two additional unannounced titles.

3rd annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2003)

Doug Church

The IGDA is proud to honor Doug Church this evening for his many and varied contributions to the game development community and the art form of games. A true force within the industry, Doug is emblematic of this year's call to honor the talent "behind the game". Named one of GameSpy's 30 Most Influential People in Gaming, Doug's contributions to the community also include serving on the GDC Advisory Board for the last 3 years. Doug continues to encourage and better others with his numerous articles and GDC talks on improving design methods. He is co-chair of the IGDA's Education Committee and a continual advocate for industry/academia relations.

Doug's efforts are not limited to supporting the community through education and committee participation. In his career he has inspired others by his innovative work. Most often and officially credited with the role of programmer, he ends up mostly contributing to game design and production. Doug's 10 years in the industry yields credits on Frequency, Deus Ex, Thief: The Dark Project, Thief II, Flight Unlimited, Flight Unlimited II, System Shock, Ultima Underworld and Ultima Underworld 2. Doug is now technical director of Eidos Interactive.

2nd annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2002)

Jeff Lander

Lander is honored this evening for his many contributions to the game development community. He has built his career on the core belief that sharing knowledge is crucial to the advancement of the state of the art of games, and is both the responsibility of and a benefit to all developers. He has put that into practice in a wide variety of forums, including authoring the Graphic Content column in Game Developer magazine for over three years and speaking at and organizing industry conferences. A member of the IGDA since 1997, Lander has been a champion of student outreach efforts and most recently has led the formation of the Los Angeles area chapter of the IGDA.

Jeff Lander is founder of Darwin 3D, a company geared toward a higher adaptation of real-time 3D graphics. Jeff has worked as a programmer for over 10 years in the video game, television, and film arenas where he has developed many real-time graphic applications. Darwin 3D's many game and entertainment clients include Activision, MGM Animation, QuantumWorks Corporation, and Rhythm and Hues Studios.

Note: The nomination processes changed slightly in 2002, with only the actual recipient being presented the Community Contribution award. Having nominees "lose" in this category, while being nominated for their outstanding contributions and generosity was not in the spirit of the award.

1st annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2001)


  • John Carmack


  • Chris Crawford
  • Michael Abrash
  • Robert Huebner
  • Warren Spector