Train2game GDCA Awards to honour Notch

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The 16th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, has revealed this year’s recipients of the Pioneer and Ambassador awards.

The Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday, March 16th at 6:30 pm at the Moscone Convention Center during the 2016 Game Developers Conference® (GDC) in San Francisco, and will be livestreamed on Twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/gdca .

The Pioneer Award, which honors breakthrough tech and game design milestones, will this year honor Markus “Notch” Persson, the famed creator of the 2011 GDCA and IGF Award-winning indie sandbox title, Minecraft. The Ambassador Award, honoring someone who is helping video games advance to a better place through advocacy or action, will be bestowed upon experimental game designer and educator Tracy Fullerton, in recognition of her work at the Game Innovation Lab, which has produced several influential independent games like fl0w and Darfur is Dying.

Pioneer Award recipient Markus “Notch” Persson is most widely known as the founder and former lead game designer at Mojang AB, the acclaimed developers behind the landmark title Minecraft, which blends exploration, survival, resource management and combat into an open-world title with literally endless content and avenues for creativity and ingenuity.  In 2011, history was made when Minecraft became the first game to win in multiple categories at both the Game Developers Choice Awards and the IGF Awards within the same year. The game and its creators  received top honors at the 2011 IGF Awards, winning both the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and Audience Award, and that same night were honored with the 2011 Choice Awards for Innovation, Best Downloadable Game and Best Debut. The title has sold a total of more than 70 million copies over console, PC, mobile and other platforms. Developer Mojang and the ownership of the Minecraft property were acquired by Microsoft in 2014 in a deal worth $2.5 billion.

As the associate professor and director of the University of Southern California (USC) Games program, Ambassador Award recipient Tracy Fullerton and her research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has played an instrumental role in the creation of influential independent games that include Cloud, fl0w, Darfur is Dying, the Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom and the Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola. At USC, Fullerton has drawn from her experience as a game designer at companies that include Microsoft, Sony, MTV and many others, to help guide aspiring developers. Her previous achievements include an Emmy nomination for interactive television, IndieCade’s “Sublime Experience,” “Impact,” and “Trailblazer” awards, Games for Change “Game Changer” award, and Time Magazine’s Best of the Web. As the author of the design textbook, “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” Fullerton’s work in and out of the classroom has established her sterling reputation as an esteemed designer and teacher in the art and craft of game development.

This year, Ashly and Anthony Burch, the sibling team behind the “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?” video series, will return to contribute original videos to the IGF Awards ceremony. These will complement a series of new videos by Mega64, the video game sketch anarchists, who are also returning to make videos for the Game Developers Choice Awards this year.

The Game Developers Choice Awards are produced in association with the Game Developers Conference® (GDC) and will take place on Wednesday, March 16th at 6:30 pm at the San Francisco Moscone Center and is open to all GDC badge-holders.

More information about the 16th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards can be found on the official website at http://www.gamechoiceawards.com – and for information about the 2016 Game Developers Conference, please visit http://www.gdconf.com .

Train2Game News Game Developers Choice Awards

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Organizers have revealed the nominees for the 16th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game event celebrating the industry’s top games and developers. The host for the ceremony will be veteran developer Robin Hunicke, co-founder of Funomena.

Winners in all categories will be honored at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, taking place on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 6:30pm at the San Francisco Moscone Center during the 2016 Game Developers Conference alongside the Independent Games Festival Awards. The ceremonies will be livestreamed on Twitch at the following link: http://www.twitch.tv/gdca.

Among the esteemed nominees, two games have earned the most nominations in four categories each. The open-world entry in Kojima Productions’ legendary action stealth franchise, Metal Gear Solid V, has earned nominations for Best Audio, Best Design, Best Technology and Game of the Year. CD Projekt RED’s vast open-world action role-playing game, The Witcher 3, received nods for Best Visual Art, Best Narrative, Best Technology and Game of the Year.

A diverse selection of additional titles received multiple nominations for the Game Developers Choice Awards, including six titles which each earned three nominations apiece. DICE earned three nominations for its action shooter  set in the beloved Star Wars universe, Star Wars Battlefront, including nods for Best Audio, Best Technology and Best Visual Art. FromSoftware’s dark and rewardingly punishing action RPG, Bloodborne, is the nominee for Best Design, Best Visual Art and Game of the Year. Bethesda Game Studios’ ambitious and massive RPG world of Fallout 4 received nominations for Best Design, Best Technology and Game of the Year. Nintendo’s breakout color-filled third-person shooter, Splatoon, nabbed nominations for Best Design, Innovation Award and Best Visual Art.

A pair of acclaimed independent games also received multiple nominations for their novel approach to game design. Her Story by Sam Barlow received accolades for the game’s unique true crime detective story and earned nominations for Best Handheld/Mobile, Innovation Award and Best Narrative. Undertale, the subversive and clever RPG that puts the fate of nearly every NPC in the player’s hands, earned nominations for Innovation Award, Best Narrative and Best Debut for developer Toby Fox.

Any video game that was released and made publicly available to customers during the 2015 calendar year, irrespective of platform or delivery medium, is eligible for nomination for the 2016 Game Developers Choice Awards. Both nominees and winners are selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is an invitation-only organization, comprised of leading game creators from all parts of the industry.

The host for the 2016 Game Developers Choice Awards, Robin Hunicke, has established a career designing, making and teaching about games for more than 12 years. Hunicke has contributed to an eclectic mix of critically acclaimed titles, including Journey, Boom Blox, MySims, The Sims 2 and several others. Recognized as an influential Woman in Games, Hunicke is an outspoken evangelist for diversity of thought and participation in game design and game culture. She co-organizes the annual Experimental Gameplay Workshop at GDC, and is also a Professor of Art, Games & Playable Media at UC Santa Cruz. A game designer and producer by training, she has a background in computer science, fine art and applied game studies. She currently serves as the co-founder of the independent San Francisco game studio Funomena, where she is working on Luna and Wattam.

The complete list of nominees, including honorable mentions, for the 16th annual Game Developers Choice Awards is as follows:

Game of the Year
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Rocket League (Psyonix)

Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

Innovation Award
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo)
Undertale (Toby Fox)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)
The Beginner’s Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)

Honorable Mentions: Rocket League (Psyonix), Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate Games) Cibele (Star Maid Games), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)

Best Debut
Studio Wildcard (ARK: Survival Evolved)
Toby Fox (Undertale)
Moon Studios (Ori and the Blind Forest)
Moppin (Downwell)
Steel Crate Games (Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes)

Honorable Mentions: Asteroid Base (Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime), Question (The Magic Circle)  Thomas Happ (Axiom Verge), Dinosaur Polo Club (Mini Metro), MidBoss (Read Only Memories)

Best Design
Rocket League (Psyonix)
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios/ Bethesda Softworks)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Honorable Mentions: Her Story (Sam Barlow), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Undertale (Toby Fox), The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt), Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)

Best Handheld/Mobile Game
Lara Croft: GO (Square Enix Montréal / Square Enix)
Fallout Shelter (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
Downwell (Moppin / Devolver Digital)
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
AlphaBear (Spry Fox)

Honorable Mentions: Prune (Joel McDonald), The Room Three (Fireproof Games), Subterfuge (Ron Carmel and Noel Llopis), Pac-Man 256 (Hipster Whale and 3 Sprockets / BANDAI NAMCO), Sage Solitaire (Zach Gage), SteamWorld Heist (Image and Form), You Must Build a Boat (EightyEight Games)

Best Visual Art
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Honorable Mentions: Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami), Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), The Order: 1886 (Ready at Dawn / Sony Computer Entertainment), Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)

Best Narrative
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)
Undertale (Toby Fox)
The Beginner’s Guide (Everything Unlimited Ltd.)

Honorable Mentions: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment), Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks), Until Dawn (Supermassive Games / Sony Computer Entertainment), Cibele (Star Maid Games), Soma (Frictional Games)

Best Audio
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios / Microsoft Studios)
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room / Sony Computer Entertainment)
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games)

Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks), The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt), Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix), SOMA (Frictional Games), Bloodborne (FromSoftware / Sony Computer Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo)

Best Technology
Metal Gear Solid V (Kojima Productions / Konami)
The Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt)
Star Wars Battlefront (DICE / Electronic Arts)
Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks)
Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios / Square Enix

Honorable Mentions: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix), Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), Splatoon (Nintendo EAD Group No. 2 / Nintendo), Super Mario Maker (Nintendo EAD Group No. 4 / Nintendo), Halo 5: Guardians (343 Industries / Microsoft Studios)

The Game Developers Choice Awards also gives out three annual Special Awards: the Pioneer, Ambassador and Lifetime Achievement awards, all of which will be announced in the near future.

For more information about the 16th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, visit http://www.gamechoiceawards.com. For information about the 2016 GDC, visit http://www.gdconf.com.

Train2Game News 15th Game Developers Choice Awards

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The 15th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, has revealed its first two special award winners for this year.

The Ambassador Award, honoring someone who is helping video games “advance to a better place” through advocacy or action, is going to game designer and academic Brenda Romero, who has been a key figure in video games throughout more than three decades of standout game design, teaching and advocacy. The Pioneer Award, honoring breakthrough tech and game design milestones, is being awarded to David Braben, the co-creator of seminal 3D space exploration title  Elite – now in resurgence with  Elite: Dangerous – and co-founder of the foundation for the popular ‘hobbyist computer revival’ Raspberry Pi device.

Ambassador Award winner Romero, whose honor was bestowed after open nominations from the game development community, and voting by the Game Developers Choice Advisory Committee (http://www.gamechoiceawards.com/advisory.html) is an award-winning game designer and academic who entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15.

She is the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry and a 2014 Fulbright fellow for her work with Ireland’s game industry, game academics and government to improve the industry overall. As a designer, she has contributed to many seminal titles, including the  Wizardry and  Jagged Alliance series. Away from the machine, her analog series of six games,  The Mechanic is the Message, has drawn national and international acclaim, particularly  Train, which has been demonstrated at GDC on multiple occasions, and  Síochán Leat (The Irish Game), which is presently housed in the National Museum of Play. Brenda’s work advocating passionately for games – and the role of women in them – over the past three decades made her a natural choice for this award. Romero co-owns Loot Drop and Romero Games, and is also program director of the UC Santa Cruzmaster’s program in Games and Playable Media.

Pioneer Award winner David Braben co-developed the seminal ‘open world’ 3D space trading game  Elite with Ian Bell while at university in the early 1980s. The best-selling, startlingly expansive title had revolutionary 3D graphics and let the player make all kinds of intriguing moral decisions as they flew the known universe.  Elite saw a number of sequels, including the crowdfunded, currently much buzzed-about  Elite: Dangerous, and went on to be a big influence on games in the genre it helped create – from  Wing Commander to  No Man’s Sky and beyond.

In addition to his work on  Elite and his more than 30 years as a game developer – latterly at his major UK studio Frontier Developments – Braben was also involved in the genesis of the Raspberry Pi, a ‘hobbyist computer’ which enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to program in languages like Scratch and Python. Braben helped to found the Raspberry Pi Foundation and guide the program through to mass production – with more than 4 million of the devices now manufactured.

Finally, as part of the awards evening that includes both the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards, the team behind the  Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?  video series, Ashly and Anthony Burch, will once again contribute brand-new videos to the Independent Games Festival this year. They augment the efforts of ceremony favorites, the video game sketch anarchists Mega64, again returning to make videos for the Game Developers Choice Awards this year.

More information about the 15th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards can be found on the official website at http://www.gamechoiceawards.com

Train2Game News 15th Game Developers Choice Award Nominees

GDC AwardsOrganizers have revealed the finalists for the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the leading peer-based video game event celebrating the industry’s top games and developers.

Winners in all categories will be honored at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, taking place on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 6:30pm at the San Francisco Moscone Center during the 2015 Game Developers Conference alongside the Independent Games Festival Awards.

Leading the pack with five nominations is Monolith Productions’ acclaimed open-world action game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – receiving nods for Game of the Year, Innovation, Best Design, Best Narrative and Best Technology. Following close behind are Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation and Destiny from Bungie, each of which were nominated for multiple awards across categories like Best Audio and Best Technology, and also nominated for the 2014 Game of the Year.

Mirroring years past, titles from smaller teams have once again received strong recognition, with nominations or honorable mentions in nine of the 10 categories. Polish independent studio The Astronauts was nominated across four categories for its work producing the atmospheric first-person mystery game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: the Innovation Award, Best Debut, Best Narrative and Best Audio. Several other games of similar scope garnered multiple category nominations, including 11 bit studios’ This War of Mine, Inkle Studios’ 80 Days and Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight.
Nintendo also showed strongly in the Choice Awards nominations across both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The latest iteration of the publisher’s flagship fighting game franchise, Super Smash Bros for 3DS picked up a nomination for the Best Handheld Game of the year, while the acclaimed puzzle-platformer Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is up for a Best Design award. The Nintendo-published, Platinum Games-developed Wii U character action game Bayonetta 2 was also nominated for multiple awards, including Game of the Year and Best Visual Art.

Additional titles with multiple nominations included Blizzard’s free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone (three nominations), Bungie’s ambitious online first-person shooter Destiny (three nominations) and Yacht Club Games’ love letter to NES platformers Shovel Knight (two nominations),

The 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards are freely open to any video game that was initially released and made publicly available to customers during the 2014 calendar year, irrespective of platform or delivery medium. Both finalists and winners are selected by the Game Developers Choice Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN), which is an invitation-only organization, comprised of leading game creators from all parts of the industry.

The complete list of nominees, including honorable mentions, for the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards is in the pdf below

Choice Developers Nominees

The Game Developers Choice Awards also gives out three Special Awards yearly: the Pioneer, Ambassador and Lifetime Achievement awards, all of which will be announced in the near future. The Audience Award for the Choice Awards – open to all finalists for this year – will also return and will open for online voting in February.

For more information about the 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, visit http://www.gamechoiceawards.com.