2010techexc.jpgOrganizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Technical Excellence award, 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.

These have included 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, and the 2010 award winning Limbo, for its finely rendered and physically reactive monochromatic world.

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and indie game notables including Jarrad 'Farbs' Woods, Alex May, Robin Lacey, Ichiro Lambe, and Erin Robinson) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury consists of the following:

- Renaud Bedard (Polytron engineer behind IGF award-winning Fez.)
- Raigan Burns (Co-creator of Metanet's IGF award-winning N.)
- Ron Carmel (Co-creator of 2D Boy's IGF award-winning World of Goo.)
- Chris Delay (Lead designer, artist and programmer at Introversion, creator of Uplink, DEFCON & the IGF award-winning Darwinia.)
- Ryan Doyle (Former programmer on Criterion's Burnout series and Geometry Wars: Galaxies; co-founder and Technical Director of Joe Danger creator Hello Games.)
- Alec Holowka (Founder of Infinite Ammo, and co-creator of IGF award-winning Aquaria.)
- David Kalina (Former AI programmer behind Splinter Cell, Deus Ex: Invisible War & Thief: Deadly Shadows; owner & engineer of Tiger Style, behind IGF Mobile award-winner Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.)
- Anna Kipnis (AI and game play programmer for Double Fine, behind games like Psychonauts Brutal Legend.)
- Andy Nealen (Assistant professor of computer science at Rutgers University & core team member of Hemisphere Games, creators of the IGF award-winning Osmos.)
- Tommy Refenes (Team Meat engineer behind 2010 IGF Finalist Super Meat Boy.)
- Ivan Safrin (Visual artist and programmer behind games like Owl Country & Bit World.)
- Dan Tabar (Founder of Data Realms, creator of 2009 Technical Excellence award-winning Cortex Command.)

"The Technical Excellence award is crucial for recognizing innovation and mastery of the underlying science of games and their design," said festival chairman Brandon Boyer.

"While these achievements may often be overlooked or misunderstood by the games-playing public at large, or even -- at their best -- so well crafted to be invisible to the player, this award is meant to openly celebrate the ways in which programmers and engineers are advancing and experimenting with code itself."

The announcement is the third in a series revealing specific juries for each IGF Award, following the debut of the Nuovo Award jury, including notables like Jason Rohrer, Clint Hocking, Rod Humble and Ian Bogost, and the Excellence in Audio jury, made up of indie musicians like Danny Baranowsky and Vincent Diamante, and audio leads like Emily Ridgway and Matt Piersall.

All entries in the 2011 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also find more complete biographical information on the Technical Excellence jury.

All five Technical Excellence finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- in early January 2011. All finalists will be playable at the IGF Pavilion on the show floor during Game Developers Conference 2011, with the winner announced on the evening of March 2, 2011, at the IGF Awards, during the Game Developers Conference 2011.