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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Hands and keys

Gaming in 3D

Heather Lund

Virtusphere

Virtusphere

Palm at GDC

Power Gig

CryEngine 3

PlayStation

Guerrilla Games

Terra

Intel at GDC

More than 400 lectures

Umbra

Online gaming

Much like the video game industry itself, the Game Developers Conference has evolved from a subset of geeks into an entertainment behemoth.

GDC started in 1988 as an informal gathering of about 25 developers in gamer Chris Crawford's living room in San Jose, Calif. Today, it is the world's largest meeting of video game professionals, a forum where artists, designers, producers, and developers exchange ideas and network in the realm of computer, console, handheld, mobile, and online games.

More than 17,000 attendees and dozens of major game publishers this week are taking part in the lectures, panels, tutorials, and discussions that are part of this year's show, which is running in San Francisco through Saturday.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

A major theme at this year's show was three-dimensional gaming. As the 3D trend continues to spread beyond movie theaters, 3D technology is increasingly being incorporated into home entertainment. 3D was the talk of CES this January, and TV manufacturers Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic all made 3D TV announcements in the last week. At this year's GDC, it's clear more and more companies were working on 3D video games.

Here, on the opening day of GDC 2010 in San Francisco, a crowd watches a 3D off-road racing game.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Artist Heather Lund sketches a character design at the Nvidia booth, which is hosting an artist search and drawing competition during GDC.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The Virtusphere, made by 360 Virtual Venture, is an orb-like cage in which the player is immersed in a virtual reality environment, allowing the player to walk, moving freely through the game.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Spectators surround the Virtusphere watching the immersive virtual reality demonstration.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Palm announced the Palm Develop Kit at CES, and at their booth at GDC, Palm is again reaching out to game developer.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Seven45 Studios says its "Power Gig: Rise of the SixString" is the next evolution in the musical game genre, allowing people to play the game with real guitars.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
CryEngine 3 is being shown in stereoscopic 3D (known as S-3D) at GDC; its producers also demonstrated CryEngine 3 LiveCreate, a real-time game editor.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The PlayStation booth at GDC is front and center, just inside the doors to the South Hall at Moscone Center.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Peeking eerily around a corner of the Guerrilla Games booth are characters from the game developer's Killzone series. The Sony subsidiary is using its booth at GDC to draw in potential future employees.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Fighting to protect the Valkyon Federation in the graphically stunning MMORPG Tera.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Looking down into the GDC Expo in the South Hall of San Francisco's Moscone Center on Thursday March 11.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
In addition to the expo floor, press conferences, and keynotes by major developers, GDC features more than 400 lectures, panels, tutorials, and round-table discussions by industry experts.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Testing out some of the gameplay on Umbra software at GDC.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Hopeful developers fill out applications inside the career pavilion.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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