Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Visual Art award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality in visuals for indie games.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Visual Art award have gone to entrants which featured impressive displays of the craft of games, including The Behemoth's vibrant cartoon-ish beat-em-up Castle Crashers, Polytron's 2D/3D "trixel"-based puzzle platformer Fez, Amanita Design's hand-painted adventure game Machinarium, and Playdead's equal parts soft and stark monochromatic puzzler Limbo.

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 game development notables including Jon Chey, Soren Johnson, Brandon McCartin, Miguel Sternberg and Tom Sennett) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury consists of the following:

- Craig Adams (as 'Superbrothers', art director & co-creator of the IGF award winning Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.)
- Grant Duncan (founding member & artist on Hello Games' IGF finalist Joe Danger.)
- Jakub Dvorsky (founder, Amanita Design, creators of multiple IGF award winning games like Samorost & Machinarium.)
- Phil Fish (chief creative officer at Polytron Corporation, creators of the IGF award winning Fez.)
- Kyle Gabler (co-founder of 2D Boy, creators of IGF award winner World of Goo; co-founder of upstart indie dev Tomorrow Corporation.)
- Edmund McMillen (co-creator of IGF finalists Super Meat Boy, Coil.)
- Paul Robertson (lead animator, Ubisoft's Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game, creator of short films 'Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006' & 'Kings of Power 4 Billion %'.)
- Ben Ruiz (art director, Flashbang Studios on games like Off-Road Velociraptor Safari & Minotaur China Shop.)
- Patrick Smith (as 'Vectorpark', creator of games & interactive toys like Windosill, Feed the Head & Levers.)
- Derek Yu (illustrator and designer of Spelunky & the IGF award winning Aquaria, EIC of indie community TIGSource.)

"Far more than simply a 'best graphics' award, the IGF's Excellence in Visual Art category identifies and celebrates developers who seek to create a striking, unique and signature visual style -- often our first indicator that a given game is going to be something special", said festival chairman Brandon Boyer.

"Each member of our jury panel -- many of whom are also esteemed game designers in their own right -- has found success doing just that, and we all look forward to seeing who emerges as this year's best visual artists."

The announcement is the fourth in a series revealing specific juries for each IGF Award, following the debut of the Nuovo Award jury, the Excellence in Audio jury, and, most recently, the Technical Excellence jury, made up of indie programmers and engineers like Anna Kipnis, Chris Delay, Andy Nealen and Tommy Refenes.

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 Excellence in Visual Art jury.

All five Visual Art 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.