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Front Line Award Winners

Like the Oscars, but for game development platforms.

SAN FRANCISCO — Jan. 5, 2011 — The editors of United Business Media’s industry-leading Game Developer magazine -- Gamasutra's sister publication -- have named the winners for the 2010 Front Line Awards, the twelfth annual ranking of the best tools enabling game development for professional video game creators.

Front Line Awards are given every year in the categories of programming/production, art, audio, game engine, middleware, networking, and the Hall Of Fame.  This year, Game Developer is pleased to honor Adobe Systems’ Flash as its inductee to the Front Line Awards Hall of Fame. Flash’s steady evolution of features and easy extensibility has made it a cornerstone of the game industry.

The Front Line Awards Hall of Fame is reserved for those landmark tools that have served developers mightily over multiple iterations and multiple years, including past winners such as Microsoft DirectX, Adobe Photoshop, Epic's Unreal Engine series, and Rad Game Tools’ Bink Video.

Overall, the Front Line Awards represent the best tools in the game industry, as nominated on and voted for by Game Developer’s expert readership.

Following the announcement of the finalists in December, all winners have been profiled in the January 2011 issue of Game Developer magazine, available now in print and shortly in digital editions.

The editors congratulate the following winners of the 2010 Front Line Awards:

Hall of Fame:

Adobe Flash

Adobe Systems

The Flash platform’s speed, graphical prowess, and easy development language make it simple to start building games quickly. Because the Flash Professional IDE is also very extensible, it’s entirely possible to write custom panels, controls, and scripts to automate repetitive tasks during development. Combined with Adobe AIR, Flash can access most points of interest on the desktop, such as the file system.

Art Tool:

Photoshop CS5 (Adobe)

With its broad feature set and overall flexibility, Adobe Photoshop CS5 improves upon the established Photoshop suite by adding features that include the content-aware fill, HDR imaging, and puppet warp to supply artists with even more image manipulation tools.

Audio Tool:

FMOD Designer 4.32 (Firelight Technologies)

FMOD Designer offers a suite of options to help create high quality game audio. The software is fully integrated into several popular game engines, including Unreal Engine 3, Unity, and Scaleform, and allows bulk editing of multiple sound files at once.


Havok Physics 2010.1.0 (Havok)

Havok Physics has been used in a multitude of titles across a wide range of platforms, and has proven to be flexible and according to Havok, it’s designed “based exclusively on customer requirements.” Havok Physics can be seen in a number of high-profile titles including Uncharted 2, Demon’s Souls, Halo: Reach, and Just Cause 2.


Unreal Engine 3 (Epic Games)

Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 has played a prominent role in multiplatform development over the past several years, powering a range of titles across a variety of genres. The engine builds upon previous iterations of the Unreal Engine, and supports features that include High Dynamic Range lighting, per-pixel shading, and dynamic shadows.

Programming/Production Tool:

XNA Game Studio 4 (Microsoft)

Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio builds upon previous versions of XNA and allows developers to use Visual Studio to create games for Windows Phones, Xbox 360, and PC, allowing indie developers to easily publish their games on popular platforms using the simple, yet flexible toolset.


Facebook SDK (Facebook)

Facebook’s SDK allows developers to easily integrate the popular social networking service into a variety of apps and games, on platforms including mobile devices and Facebook itself. The Facebook SDK encourages social network integration and allows developers relatively easy access to player metrics.

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.

The resulting Front Line Award winners represent the most innovative, user-friendly, and useful products from behind the scenes of the world’s best video games. Nominations for this year’s Front Line Awards were open to all new software products (and new versions of software products) related to game development that were released between September 1, 2009 and August 31, 2010.

"As ever, these awards allow developers to honor those tools that actually make their lives easier, and represent the best in the industry,” said Brandon Sheffield, editor-in-chief of Game Developer. “We would like to congratulate both the winners and the also-notable finalists for 2010's Front Line Awards, and wish the industry a prosperous 2011.”

For more information and a full list of finalists, please visit the official Front Line Awards at or visit Game Developer magazine online at

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