Level Up 2014 Judges

Judging Panel

To win fortune, glory, and opportunity, your game demo must impress this year’s panel of game-industry luminaries.

We are currently finalizing this year’s panel. Check back soon to find out which prominent figures will be scrutinizing your demo.

Chris Avellone › Wolfgang Engel › Rami Ismail › Marc Saltzman ›
Tim Schafer › Chris Taylor › Nathan Vella › Tyrone Rodriguez ›
Chris Avellone
Creative Director and co-owner of Obsidian Entertainment, Chris started his career at Interplay's Black Isle Studios division. There, he worked on Planescape: Torment (Lead Designer), Fallout 2, the Icewind Dale series, Dark Alliance, and Baldur’s Gate 3 and Fallout 3 (both cancelled). At Obsidian, Chris has worked on Knights of the Old Republic II (Lead Designer), Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer, the Aliens RPG, Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, and FNV DLC: Dead Money, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road. He just finished working on inXile’s Wasteland 2 and the FTL: Advanced Edition and is currently doing joint work on Obsidian’s Kickstarter: Project: Eternity and inXile’s Torment: Tides of Numenera.

Wolfgang Engel Wolfgang Engel
Wolfgang Engel is the CTO/CEO and co-founder of Confetti Special Effects Inc., a think-tank for advanced real-time graphics research for the video game and movie industry. Previously he worked for more than four years in Rockstar's core technology group as the lead graphics programmer. He’s also a noted speaker on graphics programming and has written and edited several books. He serves on multiple industry advisory boards and has been a Microsoft* MVP for DirectX* since July 2006.

Rami Ismail Rami Ismail
Rami Ismail is the Business & Development Guy at Vlambeer, a Dutch independent game studio known best for IGF 2011 'Excellence in Design'-nominee Super Crate Box, LUFTRAUSERS, Ridiculous Fishing, GUN GODZ, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter & Radical Fishing. Through his work at Vlambeer, Rami has come to realize that the marketing & business facets of many independent game developers could use some help. As such, he created the free presskit-creation tool presskit() and is working on releasing its first add-on, release().

Marc Saltzman
Marc Saltzman is one of North America's most recognizable and trusted tech experts, specializing in consumer electronics, business technology, interactive entertainment and Internet trends. Marc has authored 15 books since 1996 and currently contributes to nearly 50 high-profile publications in North America, including USA Today, MSN, Yahoo!, Costco Connection, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, TheLoop.ca, Telus Talks Business and Rogers Connected. Marc hosts various video segments, including "Gear Guide" (seen at Cineplex movie theaters and sister chains across Canada) and is a regular guest on CNN, CNN International and CTV's Canada AM. Marc also hosts "Tech Talk," a radio show on Montreal’s CJAD 800, part of Bell Media.

Tim Schafer
Tim Schafer is the President and CEO of Double Fine Productions, makers of the critically acclaimed games Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, Costume Quest, Stacking, Iron Brigade, Middle Manager of Justice, The Cave, and the upcoming Spacebase DF9, Hack N Slash, and Massive Chalice. Tim's most recent project, the point-and-click adventure Broken Age, was funded by a record-setting Kickstarter project that heralded a new era in crowd-funded games. Prior to Double Fine, Tim was a Project Leader at LucasArts Entertainment Company, where he was responsible for several classic PC adventure games, including Grim Fandango and Full Throttle. Tim also co-designed Day of the Tentacle, and served as a writer and assistant designer on The Secret of Monkey Island 1 & 2.

Chris Taylor Chris Taylor
A 26-year industry veteran, Chris Taylor has worked at Electronic Arts, Humongous Entertainment, Gas Powered Games (GPG) and Wargaming.NET. He served as the CEO and Creative Director at GPG for 15 years before selling the studio to Wargaming.NET (makers of World of Tanks) last year. GPG’s titles included the critically acclaimed and best-selling Dungeon Siege role-playing game series; the genre-defining, real-time-strategy game Supreme Commander; the innovative online RTS game Demigod; and, most recently, the history-based RTS game Age of Empires Online. Chris is now the General Manager and Creative Director of the Wargaming Seattle studio where he and team are working on an unannounced title.

Nathan Vella
Nathan is co-founder & president of Toronto-based independent studio Capy (short for Capybara Games), developer of the upcoming games Super Time Force & Below. Perhaps best known for collaborating on Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Capy also developed Might & Magic Clash of Heroes and Critter Crunch.

Nathan is also a partner in Indie Fund, who's goal is to help indie developers get financially independent and stay that way.

He enjoys good food, fighting games, traveling and of course, animated gifs (preferably of people falling and/or animals doing human things).

Tyrone Rodriguez
Tyrone Rodriguez is the founder of Nicalis, Inc., a developer and publisher that collaborates with other famously talented indie designers. Alongside Edmund McMillen, Tyrone is finishing development on highly anticipated The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and '90s Arcade Racer with Antonis Pelekanos. Previously he produced NightSky (nominated for IGF Seamus McNally Grand Prize, Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Design) as well as indie posterchild, Cave Story. Before founding Nicalis, he was a designer, journalist and product consultant. Tyrone loves working with talented developers and hates writing in third person.

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