We profile Havok Mobile, Kinect, Kinect Sports, Path of Go AI, PlayStation Move, Razor for Vita and the Unreal Engine

Develop Awards 2011: The finalists for Technical Innovation

The ninth annual Develop Industry Excellence Awards is just around the corner, with more than 90 studios competing for top honours at the July 20th event in Brighton.

In the run up to the big night, Develop is running a series of profiles of all the nominees in each category.

We continue here with the finalists for Technical Innovation. To be eligible a studio or company will need to have had a technology released or updated and used since July 2010, that excels in sophistication and intelligence of design.

The final choices, chosen by Develop’s editorial team, are found below. The ultimate winner will be decided by a 100-person-strong judging panel of industry pros, and announced at the awards show on July 20th.

To watch the event live, email Kathryn.humprey@intentmedia.co.uk to book your seat.


Havok Mobile (Havok)

The physics tools made by Havok have made the company the closest thing middleware has to a household name, and now it has taken its industry-defining tech to mobile. In supporting systems like the Xperia Play, Havok has granted mobile developers access to the kind of functionality that was once the reserve of high end PCs.

Kinect (Microsoft Research Cambridge)

Currently home of 100 researchers, Microsoft’s Cambridge lab was pivotal in creating the technology that allows Kinect to track a moving human body without markers. As such, the team are behind the triumph of one of the most successful consumer electronic devices of all time, and have contributed significantly to the academics harnessing the potential of Kinect.

Kinect Sports (Rare)

Rare has never been scared of working with new technology and pushing it to its limits. That considered it is little surprise that the studio was trusted by Microsoft to create one of the seminal launch titles for Kinect. Rare’s creation – Kinect Sports – continues to serve as one of the most popular demonstrations of the potential of the controller-free device.

Path of Go AI (Microsoft Research Cambridge)

Microsoft Research Cambridge’s second nomination is for an achievement so subtle it may pass many by. In fact, through their work on XBLA game Path of Go, the team beat one of the most longstanding programming challenges in game design. They did so by crafting the AI for an ancient board game so complex many had deemed it impossible.

PlayStation Move (SCEE Vision R&D/User Testing Team/Creative Development Group)

The PlayStation Move technology may not offer the controller-free allure of Kinect, but its precision is perhaps unbeaten, and it has subsequently breathed new life into the PlayStation 3. Tucked away under the striking casing that is Move is a wide range of technological wizardry that assured Sony a place in the motion control revolution.

Razor for Vita (SN Systems/SCE R&D)

Razor is a profiling tool created by Sony-owned development environment specialist SN Systems. Co-developed with SCE Worldwide Studios Advanced Technology Group and SCEE R&D, the tool allows Vita game developers to analyse and profile code to ensure performance. Fully integrated into Visual Studio, it is the product of a team that have worked closely with the new Sony handheld since its inception.

Unreal Engine (Epic Games)

In increasing its effort to support the increasingly profitable mobile space with Unreal Engine 3, Epic has done much to reshape the sector. It’s support for an increasing number of devices including iOS has allowed studios globally to consider creating what Epic has coined ‘triple-A on mobile’, bringing the polish of console quality to handheld devices. In the same period, Epic gave a tantalising glimpse at what UE4 may offer with its DirectX 11-bolstered Samaritan demo.

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