[As well as the >$50,000 we're giving out at the IGF Awards next week, download partner Direct2Drive are kicking in another $10,000 for their own special award, which is nice of them.

Oh, and check out their indie games section if you haven't seen it, we helped A&R games for it and it has pretty decent stuff in it.]

IGN's digital retail store Direct2Drive announced the four finalists for the Independent Games Festival's D2D Vision Award, which seeks to celebrate independent developers exemplifying innovation in design coupled with excellence in game-play.

The sponsored award will be presented at 2009’s Independent Games Festival on March 25 in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco.

The team behind the winning title will take home a $10,000 cash prize and will be recognized during the 11th Annual IGF Awards show taking place in conjunction with the Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC.

The four finalists include Data Realms' Cortex Command, an offbeat real-time strategy 2D title featuring fully destructible terrain; Hemisphere Games' Osmos, an elegant "orbital osmosis simulator"; Rudolf Kremers and Alex May's Dyson, an RTS/colonization game where players try to gain control of an entire asteroid belt; and Pieces Interactive's Puzzlegeddon, a "puzzle brawler" with action and strategy elements.

IGN insiders voted on the winning game based on five criteria: game design, innovation, visual arts, audio and overall enjoyment. Three of the four finalists have already signed agreements to make their respective games available to consumers through Direct2Drive.

"Indie games and the developers that are creating them are incredibly important to the future of the games industry, and with that in mind, we can’t wait to reward one of these deserving developers with a $10,000 prize to help them continue to build new and unique games," says IGN Entertainment Digital Content VP Sutton Trout.

"Our independent games channel on Direct2Drive, partnership with the IGF, and D2D’s Vision Award are testament to our commitment and support of the independent game development community," he continues "We expect these games to continue to become increasingly popular with gamers and thus we will continue to promote indie games via Direct2Drive."