Searching for the next big thing at GDC 2011 (photos)

At the hub of the game developer industry, artists, designers, and producers come together to share ideas on what comes next in gaming.

James Martin
James Martin is the Managing Editor of Photography at CNET. His photos capture technology's impact on society - from the widening wealth gap in San Francisco, to the European refugee crisis and Rwanda's efforts to improve health care. From the technology pioneers of Google and Facebook, photographing Apple's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to the most groundbreaking launches at Apple and NASA, his is a dream job for any documentary photography and journalist with a love for technology. Exhibited widely, syndicated and reprinted thousands of times over the years, James follows the people and places behind the technology changing our world, bringing their stories and ideas to life.
James Martin
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Nintendo President

This week in San Francisco, big thinkers in gaming are convening to share ideas of craft and coding.

A comprehensive hub of the game developers industry, this week is a time for artists and producers to share their ideas, show off their talents, and make the connections and collaborations that will lead to the next big thing in video games.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, during his keynote Wednesday, "Video Games Turn 25: A Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future," looked back to the start of what he called the "modern" era of gaming, and the advancement Nintendo has made and what's to come.

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Octodad - Independent Games Festival

Octodad, the lanky octopus character created by students from Chicago at the University of DePaul, wanders the expo floor at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.

The motion-controlled Octodad games, which requires players to use their arced arm to mimic waddling flipper movements, was a finalist in the Student Showcase at GDC's Independent Games Festival.

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Inside the Career Pavillion at GDC

Inside the Career Pavillion, artists, illustrators, coders, and game designers lined up Thursday afternoon for a portfolio review from Activision employees, who critiqued the work, giving advice while searching out new talent at GDC.
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Dozens of companies hiring

Lists of open positions at gaming companies were posted around the floor in the Career Pavilion, and everyone seems to be hiring for just about every position, from level artists designer to project managers and sales.

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Killzone 3

Programmer Daniel Rohrlick uses the motion-controlled weapon to play Killzone 3 inside the pavilion at GDC 2011 Thursday.

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What started as a personal hacking project has developed into a forward-thinking application for development of robotics beyond gaming, Move.me, just announced this week at GDC 2011.

This new software application is designed for "academics, researchers, students, and hobbyists" and will allow developers to use their PlayStation 3 consoles to create PC applications that use the PlayStation Move controller as an input device.

Using the Move's motion-tracking PlayStationEye camera and motion sensor controllers, Sony envisions potential applications such as integration with medical applications and research on human-computer interaction.

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The Insight VCS is a steadycam-like virtual camera system that gives game developers the ability to shoot cut scenes and demos from within game worlds with unprecedented creativity.

Shot from within the game, Insight VCS integrates real-world cinematography into the virtual environment.

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Google booth

The Google booth inside the Career Pavilion at Moscone Center in San Francisco.
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Illustrator Amanda Keifer Nvidia Sketch Match

Illustrator Amanda Keifer creates a character during the timed drawing sessions at Nvidia's Sketch Match on Thursday at GDC 2011.
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Costumed patrols

Costumed characters roamed the floor. We narrowly talked our way past the HALO checkpoint just inside the doors of the main hall at Moscone South.
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Doom creators John Romero and Tom Hall shared their experiences in the early days of developing what would come to be one of the classic video games which influenced many to come after it for years.

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Hundreds gather to see early Doom

Hundreds came out to the Thursday afternoon session "Classic Game Postmortem--DOOM" at Moscone West, where along with anecdotes on concept and coding, attendees were able to see early versions of Doom, including this Pre-Alpha dated February 4, 1993.
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Showing off speed

Showing off graphics support speed on the dirt track with Vision Black Technology from AMD, and kicking up a little dust in Dirt 3.
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Next big thing

Everyone is looking for the next big thing in gaming, and from fortune telling to fortune making, the Game Developers Conference, you have a good chance and finding what your looking for amongst these designers and developers from around the world.
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Midgets with funny heads

From midgets with funny heads to cute girls with fake mohawks, the floor at GDC has something for everyone, and they want you to buy it all with Zeevex virtual currency.
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Independent Games Pavilion

Checking out a few of the nominees for game design at the Independent Games Pavilion.
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Using just the power of thought

Using just the power of thought to move an air-levitated ball around an obstacle course, NeuroSky is leading commercial gaming applications of simple mind control devices.
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NeuroSky's brain controller devices adapted to movie making give the audience the chance to control the direction of a film with this concept that asks viewers to think certain thoughts at certain points throughout the game to determine the next scene.
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With around 20,000 attendees expected from around the world

With around 20,000 attendees expected from around the world, the Game Developers Conference has become known as the hub for gaming industry professional to meet and exchange ideas.

This market-defining conference has more than 400 lectures, panels, tutorials, and round-table discussions on a every facet of game development topics taught by leading industry experts.
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Playstation booth at GDC

The PlayStation booth at GDC, just inside the Career Pavilion.
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Nintendo at GDC

The Nintendo booth at GDC. Nintendo announced a new 3D Super Mario game is in the works. In addition to announcing the May launch of a video service offering movies in 3D, the 3DS will also get access to Netlifx movies.

Partnering with AT&T, any Nintendo 3DS owner will also automatically get free Internet access at more than 10,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots beginning in late May.
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Playing with 3DS

Playing with the 3DS at the Nintendo booth. The 3DS will soon get access to Netflix, AT&T WiFi, and its own 3D movie download service from Nintendo.
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Developers check out some 3D modeling software from Unity, a development platform for creating games and interactive 3D training simulations and medical, architectural, and modeling visualizations, on the Web, iOS, Android, and consoles.
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With all the development resources coming together at GDC, and with major industry players convening on San Francisco, it's a very exciting time for developers, and the Independent Games Festival, seen here, is a great place to find out who's doing what and get a peek at what coders are coming up with in their dorm rooms and basements.

Like Nintendo's Satoru Iwata said during his keynote this week, it's all about innovation and finding the next big thing, and wandering the floor, I'm sure that it's here somewhere.

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