Caves by Matthew Gatland, Sky Noon by Lunar Rooster, Ten Thousand Coins by Tough Love Productions, and Ultra Break by Autotelic are the finalists in this year's Kiwi Game Starter competition.

(Here's a piece we did on Matt, and here's one on Sky Noon.)

The annual event is organised by the New Zealand Game Developers Association, which tasks individuals or teams with submitting business plans and playable prototypes to its a selection panel.

This year the panel was Leaping Tiger's Amy Potter, Itsfine Games tech artist Claire Barilla, Magic Leap senior game programmer Jordan Ewen, Digital Confectioners game programmer Keegan Gibson, Skilltree NZ CEO and director Mike Porter, RocketWerkz producer Steph Hall, and Rush Digital senior producer Trevor Gamon. You can read more about them all here.

The finalists will be evaluated by Dinosaur Polo Club co-founder and engineer Peter Curry, Renegade PR director Tim Ponting, and Runaway Play managing director Zoe Hobson.

Originality, technical and creative innovation, and commercial prospects are the key judging criteria; the judges will be looking for the game and team with the best chance to succeed commercially, and for whom the prize may make the most difference.

First prize is a monetary award, software, and services, and the runner-up will receive a some cash as well.

The winners will be announced during the opening of NZGDC17 on September 7.