- Aha, over at Game Developer we've just announced the Front Line Award finalists for this year - important awards for game tool manufacturers. As noted below, the winners will be announced in the January issue, and the magazine's cover is always a mash-up between the postmortem and the award.

In previous years, my favorite is Stubbs The Zombie trying to eat an award, though The Sims 2 characters catfighting was also a fine one. We have something v.neat lined up for January 2008's cover too - more info as soon as I can spill it:

"The editors of CMP's Game Developer magazine have named the finalists for the 2007 Front Line Awards, the magazine’s tenth annual evaluation of the year’s best game-making tools in the categories of programming, art, audio, game engine, middleware, and books.

Game Developer’s mission for more than ten 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.

Each year, Game Developer looks at the powerful lineup of new products and new releases of favorite tools, from game engines to books, and selects the top five in six different categories. After a comprehensive judging process, one winner is chosen in each category. Front Line Award recipients represent the most innovative, user-friendly, and useful products from behind the scenes of the world’s best video games.

The finalists by category are as follows:

Engine

CryEngine 2, Crytek
Gamebryo 2.3, Emergent
Hero Engine, Simutronics Corporation
Unreal Engine 3, Epic
Vision Game Engine, Trinigy GmbH

Books

Game Design: From Blue Sky to Green Light, Deborah Todd, AK Peters
Game Writing Handbook, Rafael Chandler, Charles River Media
GPU Gems 3, ed. Hubert Nguyen, Addison-Wesley Professional
Second Person, ed. Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin, MIT Press
XNA Unleashed, Chad Carter, Sams

Middleware

Euphoria, Natural Motion
Gameface Studio, Anark
Havok Complete, Havok
Kynapse, Kynogon
PathEngine SDK, PathEngine

Programming/Production

Hansoft 5.0, Hansoft AB
NVIDIA PerfHUD 5, NVIDIA Corporation
Perforce 2007.2, Perforce Software
ReplayDIRECTOR, Replay Solutions
XNA Game Studio Express, Microsoft

Art

3ds Max 9, Autodesk
modo 301, Luxology
Mudbox 1.06, Autodesk/Skymatter
Softimage XSI 6.01, Softimage
Zbrush 3.1, Pixologic

Audio

Fmod, Firelight Technologies Pty, Ltd.
Miles Sound System, RAD Game Tools, Inc.
Vivox Precision Audio, Vivox, Inc.
Voice-O-Matic, Di-O-Matic, Inc.
Wwise 2007.2, Audiokinetic

The final award winners, plus one inductee to the Front Line Awards Hall of Fame chosen for its outstanding contribution to the game development industry for five years or more, will be announced in the January 2008 issue of Game Developer, available to subscribers in early January."