The editors of Think Services' Game Developer magazine, a sister publication to Gamasutra, have named the winners for the 2008 Front Line Awards, honoring the best tools used to make video games.
This is the magazine's much-revered eleventh annual evaluation of the year's best game-making tools in the categories of programming, art, audio, game engine, middleware, and books.
As well as the regular award-winners, revealed below, the magazine has chosen the Unreal Engine series, Epic Games’ popular multi-platform game engine, as this year's inductee to the Front Line Awards Hall of Fame.
Each year, the honor, which makes that product ineligible for regular categories in that year, is bestowed upon a product that has made an outstanding contribution to the game development industry for five years or more. Previous inductees have included Autodesk's 3D Studio Max and Microsoft's Visual Studio.
The complete list of winners of the 2008 Game Developer Front Line Awards, derived from a Game Developer/Gamasutra reader poll of this year's finalists, is as follows:
Hall of Fame: Unreal Engine
Art Tool: Photoshop CS3
Audio Tool: FMOD
Firelight Technologies Pty, Ltd
Middleware: Havok Physics
Engine: Torque Game Engine Advanced 1.7.1
Programming Tool: Visual Studio 2008
Book: 'The Art of Game Design' by Jesse Schell
All winners will be profiled in the January 2009 issue of Game Developer, available to subscribers in early January.
Game Developer's mission for more than fifteen years has been to provide game developers with information, news, and articles that pertain directly to them. The Front Line Awards are an official way of recognizing one specific aspect of the industry: the tools that developers need to do their jobs better.
As for the Front Line Awards' methodology, Game Developer looks at the powerful lineup of new products and new releases of favorite tools for professional game developers – from game engines to books.
Following an open nomination period and consultation with the magazine’s editors, finalists were selected based on criteria such as utility, innovation, value, and ease of use.
For the first time, both Game Developer magazine subscribers and Gamasutra.com community members were then polled to ultimately decide the best game development-related products this year.
"We’re happy to finally announce the winners of the 2008 Front Line Awards," said Brandon Sheffield, editor-in-chief of Game Developer. "These awards show developers’ appreciation for tools companies of all sizes, provided they’re useful and well-supported. Congratulations to both the winners and the finalists, and good luck for next year."