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GDC 2012 details first batch of GDC Play exhibitors

With GDC 2012 a couple of weeks away, the show's first-ever GDC Play showcase is starting to take shape, and organizers are highlighting some of the creators showing new games or studios there.

As outlined previously, GDC Play is a new program that gives emerging game developers a chance to show off their games to a host of specially invited industry decision makers, in addition to the 19,000-strong GDC attendee base.

The showcase itself will take place Tuesday March 7th through Thursday March 9th in the Esplanade Ballroom in the South Hall of Moscone Center in San Francisco, and all GDC attendees are welcome to check out the products and companies on display at specially designed IGF Pavilion-style kiosks and meeting rooms.

In addition, GDC 2012 All-Access Pass holders and exhibitors can also sign up in the recently announced GDC Business Matchmaking software and book meetings with GDC Play companies right now, or can turn up on site to check out the kiosks.

The GDC Play hall will also be home to the recently announced 'History Of 3D Games' exhibit from the Bay Area-based Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, also free to all GDC attendees.

Here are the first set of organizer-highlighted companies at the first-ever GDC Play showcase:

- The intriguing Australian indie gaming firm Current Circus will host a booth at GDC Play to demonstrate its commitment to developing games for the Kinect hardware and other depth-sensing cameras. With body-controlled projects such as Beat Booster, the firm is looking for game publishers and investors to help it distribute and expand.

GDC 2012 highlights Sims Social, F2P design panel, Naughty Dog talks

As part of a continuing series of updates for the 2012 Game Developers Conference, show organizers have revealed three new sessions within the Game Design track, featuring a panel with notable speakers such as David Edery (Spry Fox) and Ben Cousins (Ngmoco Sweden), and presentations on EA's The Sims Social and Naughty Dog's approach to psychologically-led design.

As part of the discipline-specific Game Design track, these talks will feature some of the industry's top designers, who will offer insight on using new technologies, designing gameplay systems, refining in-game mechanics, and much more.

The sessions will take place alongside the rest of GDC 2012's Main Conference, which will be held Wednesday, March 7th to Friday, March 9th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Those interested in checking out any of the content within the Main Conference can do so by registering for an All Access or Main Conference pass on the official GDC website passes page.

The following are some of the newest lectures to be added to GDC 2012's Main Conference:

- In a major panel dubbed, "Designing for Free: How Free-to-Play Games Blur the Line Between Design and Business," four talented game designers will discuss how to blend fun game design with the business needs of this emerging free-to-play model.

The session will be moderated by Quarter to Three's Tom Chick, and will feature Spry Fox's David Edery (Triple Town), Ngmoco Sweden's Ben Cousins (Battlefield Play4Free), Dragon Age Legends and Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson, and LucasArts' Matthias Worch, all of whom will discuss the inherent design challenges that come with free to play games

- Elsewhere, Ray Mazza, creative director at EA's Playfish, will look back at the studio's recent Facebook hit, The Sims Social (pictured). During his talk, "Life is a Social Game: Lessons Learned Bringing The Sims to Facebook," Mazza will outline how the team adapted the popular big-budget franchise to social platforms, and he will discuss the game's emphasis on player-to-player interaction, an essential factor in its eventual success.

- Finally, noted Naughty Dog lead game designer Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted franchise) will discuss how to improve game design by focusing on the psychological forces that drive a player's attention. The talk, "Attention, Not Immersion: Making Your Games Better with Psychology and Playtesting, the Uncharted Way," will pick apart the overlapping phenomena of entrancement, compulsion and depth, offering insight on how to better hold a player's attention and, hopefully, make games that are more fun to play.

GDC 2012 details newest Localization Summit talks

Game Developers Conference 2012 show organizers have unveiled a trio of newer sessions for the Localization Summit, featuring Square Enix on multi-language development, Crytek on minimizing risk, and a series of microtalks on the key issues surrounding game localization.

These sessions join a number of other exciting talks for the event's Localization Summit, which will cover topics ranging from emerging translation strategies, tips for maximizing ROI, and how to expand a game's global reach.

As one of GDC 2012's eight specialized Summits, the Localization Summit will take place during the first two days of the show -- from Monday, March 5 through Tuesday, March 6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Those interested in checking out any of the Summit content can do so by registering for an All Access or Summits & Tutorials pass on the official GDC website.

Here are the newest localization-focused talks to be added to GDC 2012's lineup:

- In "Audio Localization Done Right: Simultaneous Scripting and Recording," Square Enix audio programmer Hikaru Taniyama and localization translator Masaharu Shibayama will showcase the Final Fantasy creator's internal localization tool to demonstrate how to enable simultaneous audio script translation and multi-language recording. Through this presentation, the speakers will demonstrate some key tips for streamlining the localization process and allocating developer resources.

- Elsewhere, Crytek localization manager Judith Matz will shed some light on what localization entails, and what other developers should take care of before the process takes place. The talk, titled "Crysis Management: Localization from a Developer's Perspective," will pinpoint critical localization risks that arise during game production, and will offer some strategies to prevent these risks from turning into real disasters.

- Finally, the Localization Summit will host its very first series of microtalks on the key issues facing the discipline. During "Localization Microtalks: Around the World with Five Topics in Sixty Minutes," speakers from U-Trax, NekoNeko, GamersFirst, Quirkat, and Monotype Imaging will discuss marketing, typographic considerations, indie adaptations, and much more.

GDC 2012 debuts 'Poster Sessions' on game jams, smart builds, more

For today's update on the 2012 Game Developers Conference, show organizers have detailed this year's series of "Poster Sessions," which offer small-scale, intimate presentations from BioWare, Crystal Dynamics and others on new programming techniques, design strategies, production tips, and much more.

As the name implies, the GDC Poster Sessions are presented in front of a physical poster, and speakers will outline their thesis to a small group of attendees, often engaging in one-on-one discourse throughout the session.

These half-hour talks will be held three or four at a time in the second floor overlook of the West Hall of San Francisco's Moscone Center, where GDC is being held. They will repeat twice over the course of an hour, giving attendees a chance to check out multiple sessions, even if their time slots overlap.

All Poster Sessions will take place between during lunch hours on Wednesday to Friday, March 7th to 9th, as part of GDC's Main Conference. The following are some of the standout Poster Sessions for the upcoming show:

- BioWare software developer Dave Schaefer will offer some programming-focused tips to help streamline development and prevent unexpected errors. His talk, "No Broken Builds: Increasing Team Velocity with Preflight," will detail how BioWare revamped its pipeline for Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2 to implement automated preflight tests, allowing programmers to easily test their work and maintain momentum.

- Game jams can prove an excellent opportunity to flex your creative muscles and experiment with new ideas, and Tagged Inc. junior game designer Auston Montville argues they can be useful even to full-fledged game studios. In "Game Studios Can (and Should) Jam Too!," Montville will outline Tagged's internal game jams, noting how they can inspire employees and spark renewed creativity.

- Elsewhere, Seth Gibson, a senior technical artist at Crystal Dynamics, will host "You Got Art In My Test Suite!" Here, he will explain how to develop test suites for Python based tools interfaces, and how to incorporate unit test content into existing test suites using a series of useful Python features.

- Game designer Joshua DeBonis of Sortasoft will present an interesting design strategy to help spark new ideas with a talk dubbed "Game Design in Parallel." DeBonis will argue that by designing two games around a similar subject or idea, developers can more easily solve design problems by looking at two complementary concepts.

GDC 2012 details first-ever Games for Change @ GDC Summit

Today, Game Developers Conference 2012 show organizers have chosen to detail the brand-new Games for Change @ GDC Summit, which features talks with Eidos life president Ian Livingstone, Sojo Studios on its charity-focused WeTopia, a panel of designers on how games can explore love as a thematic focus, and more.

This new Summit, scheduled for Tuesday, March 6th, and organized in partnership with the non-profit group Games for Change, will examine how video games can serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts.

In addition, the Summit gives funders, NGOs, government agencies, and educators a chance to meet and collaborate with some of the leading developers from the independent and commercial sector to further the development of games that promote social good.

Those interested in checking out the notable content within Games for Change @ GDC can do so by registering for an All Access for Summits & Tutorials pass on the official GDC website passes page.

The following are some of the major talks on offer at Games for Change @ GDC:

- In "From Dungeons to Downing Street - How Games are Growing Up for Good!," Games Workshop co-founder and Eidos life president Ian Livingstone will outline how video games can help players learn about solving puzzles, making decisions, and more. He will also discuss his efforts to demonstrate the positive elements of video games, and improve the perception of the industry within the UK government.

- Elsewhere, Sojo Studios founder and CEO Lincoln Brown will detail WeTopia, a recent social game that donates much of its profits to charitable organizations around the world. The talk, "WeTopia: Game Companies & Nonprofits Creating New Business Models," will examine the game's hybrid business model and its numerous relationships with private investment partners and non-profit charity groups.

- In the panel, "How Designing for Love Can Change the World," six notable game designers will explore how video games can explore love as a primary thematic element. Within this session, speakers such as Social Chocolate's Jane McGonigal and Chelsea Howe, Zoonami's Martin Hollis, Heart Shaped Games' Scott Brodie, The Tiniest Shark's Mitu Khandaker, and Namco Bandai's Michael Molinari will work with UC Santa Cruz's Jane Pinckard to explore how game mechanics can revolve around love and affection, how these games can affect a player's emotions, and more.

- According to Jan L. Plass from NYU's Games for Learning Institute, even the most educational-focused video games need finely-tuned mechanics to capture a player's attention. In his talk, "AAA Game Mechanics Inspiring Learning and Assessment Mechanics," he will consider what educational games can learn from blockbuster, AAA releases, and will showcase some strategies for designing game mechanics based on the learning sciences.

GDC 2012 debuts Game Design Challenge, Skylanders, Deus Ex sessions

This week, Game Developers Conference 2012 show organizers have announced new talks, including Activision on the innovative Skylanders, this year's Game Design Challenge participants, and a Deus Ex: Human Revolution design postmortem, as well as a talk on IGF Grand Prize nominee Frozen Synapse.

All of these talks fall within the show's Game Design track, one of the seven main tracks at the jam-packed Main Conference taking place Wednesday, March 7th to Friday, March 9th. Here, the industry's top designers will share their techniques for getting the most out of modern technologies, defining new gameplay systems, refining in-game mechanics, and more.

Those interested in checking out all of the notable content within the Main Conference can do so by registering for an All Access or Main Conference pass on the official GDC website passes page.

The following are some of the newest lectures to be added to GDC 2012's Main Conference:

- Activision's Skylanders transmedia franchise has recently taken the toy and video game industries by storm, and senior design specialist Mike Stout will detail its development in "Reaching Into the Toy-Chest: A Look into Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure's Design."

This talk will outline the highs and lows of Skylanders' creation (pictured), detailing how Activision developed a game with 32 playable characters, integrated the experience with a full line of toys, and reacted to the game's overwhelming success.

- In addition, GDC's classic Game Design Challenge will return to give developers a chance to showcase their best designs based on a given theme. Last year, participants were asked to create a game that was also a religion, a stand-out talk that was so fascinating that it became a Wired magazine article.

This time, they will be asked to design a game that has a measurably positive impact on its players -- and can be played in 60 seconds or less. Last year's champion, indie developer Jason Rohrer (Passage, Between), will take on two new challengers - Uncharted franchise lead game designer Richard Lemarchand and Sinistar and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis co-creator Noah Falstein. GDC attendees will vote to determine which one comes out on top.

GDC 2012 reveals Super Mario 3D Land, Resident Evil Revelations postmortems

Game Developers Conference 2012 show organizers have revealed major new Japanese-helmed talks giving postmortems of Super Mario 3D Land and Resident Evil Revelations, also detailing the other translated talks for the event.

Once again this year, GDC is the only Western conference to feature a series of Japanese-language talks from some of the region's most influential developers. In order to bring this content to GDC's English-speaking attendees, the show has partnered with prominent localization firm 8-4, which has sourced speakers and will provide simultaneous English translations for all of these Japanese talks.

With this expanded partnership, GDC has ramped up the amount and quality of the simultaneously translated Japanese and English presentations. These talks will all take place between March 7 through March 9 in the San Francisco Moscone Center's North Hall, Room 132, and are part of GDC's robust Main Conference.

Here are the latest Japanese-language talks to be featured at GDC 2012, including two major new announcements:

- As part of GDC's Game Design track, Nintendo game director Koichi Hayashida will detail the use of stereoscopic visuals drove the design and development of the recent 3DS hit Super Mario 3D Land. In his talk, "Thinking In 3D: The Development of Super Mario 3D Land," Hayashida will share his insight on developing for and understanding the fundamentals of 3D-enabled devices. In addition, he will share several key development philosophies learned from Mario creator and legendary Nintendo designer, Shigeru Miyamoto.

- Elsewhere in the Game Design track, Capcom producer Masachika Kawata will host "Revealing the Truth About Resident Evil Revelations." Here, he will explain why Capcom chose to bring this major franchise to Nintendo's newest 3DS handheld, and will delve into how the team made some key changes to the game's controls and design, while maintaining the series' classic survival horror feel.

- In yet another Game Design talk, Mikio Watanabe, the vice president and COO of shoot 'em up game developer Cave, will host "Retro and Japanese Social Games on Smartphones." This session will detail how Cave adapted several of its classic bullet-hell shooters to modern smartphones, while simultaneously exploring the current Japanese mobile game business, and what Western developers should be careful of when bringing their games to Japan.

In addition to the above sessions, GDC 2012 will also feature translated Japanese-language talks featuring Groove Coaster and Space Invaders Infinity Gene creator Reisuke Ishida on unique game design, Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune on the future of Japanese development, Sony's Yoshiaki Yamaguchi on developing Gravity Rush for the PlayStation Vita, and a special Classic Game Postmortem from Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada.

GDC 2012 brings back popular Classic Game Postmortem series

The Game Developers Conference will continue its examination of the industry's most influential landmark titles as the Classic Game Postmortem series returns to the show's Main Conference for a second consecutive year.

After its acclaimed debut as part of GDC's twenty-fifth anniversary celebration last year, the series returns to GDC 2012 with postmortems of the original editions of seminal games such as Alone in the Dark with designer Frederick Raynal, Fallout with producer, lead programmer and designer Tim Cain, Gauntlet with creator Ed Logg and Harvest Moon with producer and co-designer Yasuhiro Wada.

As part of GDC 2012, these talks will take place March 5 through March 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. The following are the notable Classic Game Postmortem talks to be featured at the upcoming show:

- Infogrames' atmospheric 1992 action-adventure title Alone in the Dark is widely considered the forefather of the survival horror genre, establishing conventions like claustrophobic areas, stories revealed through expository items, and giving players limited ammunition to deal with hordes of monsters.

Its cinematic presentation and fixed third-person camera angles went on to influence many non-survival horror releases, too. Alone in the Dark's designer Frederick Raynal will share how he and his team crafted the seminal game and helped spawn a genre that still scares millions today.

- The Fallout series has changed development or publishing hands a number of times (most recently to Bethesda Softworks), switched perspectives, and jumped from turn-based to real-time gameplay, but the series' survival and consistently high quality games are a testament to the strengths of the original.

Interplay Entertainment's first Fallout in 1997 offered players a post-apocalyptic open world filled with distinctive characters, moral dilemmas, and quests that could be solved in multiple, oftentimes-unconventional ways. Tim Cain, producer, lead programmer, and one of the primary designers for the beloved game who is now at work at Obsidian on the new South Park RPG, will deliver a talk on how he helped create a franchise that set a new standard for open-world RPGs and still resonates with players.

- Atari's 1985 title Gauntlet was the first video game to bring the now-pervasive multiplayer feature of class-based heroes to arcades and later to consoles. The game also was one of the pioneers of the co-op dungeon crawling/looting game.

Ed Logg, designer of Gauntlet who was also responsible for helping to design ground-breaking games including Super Breakout, Asteroids, Centipede, and Millipede, will share his thoughts on creating the game that popularized the phrase "Wizard needs food badly" and paved the way for class-dependent experiences like World of Warcraft, Phantasy Star Online, and others.

GDC 2012 adds Epic, DeNA, Uncharted talks to programming track

The 2012 Game Developers Conference is about a month away, and the event's lineup is still rapidly growing. Today, show organizers have revealed a trio of new programming-focused talks, featuring Epic Games on data analysis, DeNA on server optimization, and Naughty Dog on the effects in Uncharted 3.

These talks fall within the show's Programming track, one of seven main tracks at the show's jam-packed Main Conference. Here, industry leaders will examine the newest challenges presented by next and current gen development, detailing strategies for working on consoles, mobile, the web, and beyond.

Like the rest of the Main Conference, the Programming track sessions will take place Wednesday, March 7 through Friday, March 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Those interested in gaining access to all the notable sessions within the Main Conference can do so by registering for an All Access or Main Conference pass at the official GDC website.

Here are the newest talks to be featured in GDC 2012's Programming track:

- In "Gameplay Data Analysis: Asking the Right Questions," Epic Game's senior web developer Ian Thomas will provide an in-depth look at how the studio collects and analyzes data to inform and improve its development pipeline. Along the way, he will showcase examples from Gears of War 3 and Infinity Blade 2, demonstrating how Epic uses game data to manage scalability, make post-launch decisions, and more.

- Elsewhere, Yoshinori Matsunobu, principle infrastructure architect at Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA, will host "Scaling and Stabilizing Large Server Side Infrastructure." Here, Matsunobu will pick apart the idiosyncrasies of managing and optimizing online game servers, offering insight on the latest technologies that can help developers improve server performance, streamline maintenance, reduce costs, and leverage cloud-based computing.

- Finally, Naughty Dog programmer Marshall Robin will detail the technologies and tools the team used to create the numerous particle effects in Uncharted 3. The talk, dubbed, "Effects Techniques Used in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception," will showcase the studio's data-driven system and node based shader editor, offering a detailed overview of the tool pipeline behind one of 2011's biggest console releases. In addition, Robin will provide some technical insight to lift the veil on how Naughty Dog gets the most out of its visually stunning console titles.

GDC 2012 details Google, Facebook, Unity dev days

For today's update regarding the 2012 Game Developers Conference, show organizers are revealing initial information on a series of sponsored Developer Days, showcasing numerous talks from major companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Unity, and more.

Taking place on the first two days (Monday, March 5th and Tuesday, March 6th) of the San Francisco show, these full-day sponsored developer events offer GDC attendees a chance to learn about key development tools and platforms directly from the companies that make them.

These events are open to attendees with Summits & Tutorials and All Access passes -- to register for your own, please visit the official GDC website.

Without further ado, here are a selection of the sponsored Developer Days to be featured at GDC 2012:

- Offering a robust lineup on its latest game-focused tech, Google will host two separate Developer Days, going in-depth with web- and Android-based development, respectively. Each of these events will help attendees become even more familiar with Google's game platforms and technologies, and will feature some key development tactics for leveraging Google+, YouTube, mobile platforms, and more.

- Elsewhere, engine developer Unity Technologies will host a number of case studies, tutorials, and other sessions to help attendees better make use of the company's popular development tools. Along the way, the event's speakers will help developers focus their Unity-based projects and better position their games in front of their target audiences.

- At Microsoft's dedicated event, the company will present numerous sessions on the latest developments with Xbox Live, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and more. These presentations will detail new and upcoming services for these platforms, including new APIs, cloud-based storage, asynchronous gaming, and much more.

- With Facebook gaming quickly becoming one of the industry's most influential markets, the company behind the social networking giant will host a series of talks detailing how to better integrate social apps with Facebook's newest services. Throughout these sessions, attendees will learn the fundamentals of social game development, and will get an in-depth look at how to better leverage Facebook's new Timeline and Open Graph features.

Halfbrick, Bejeweled, Pocket Gems talks added to GDC 2012 Smartphone Summit

With the 2012 Game Developers Conference inching ever closer, show organizers are highlighting new talks within the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, featuring Halfbrick on Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, PopCap on Bejeweled Blitz, and Pocket Gems on post-release development.

These talks join an already jam-packed lineup for the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, which will feature sessions covering the latest and most influential practices in mobile development, spanning platforms from iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and more.

All eight of GDC 2012's specialized Summits will take place during the first two days of the show -- from Monday, March 5 through Tuesday, March 6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Those interested in checking out these Summits can do so by registering for an All-Access or Summits & Tutorials Pass on the official GDC website.

Here are some of the newest talks for the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit:

- In a postmortem-style presentation, Halfbrick chief creative officer Luke Muscat will examine the ever evolving efforts to update and maintain some of the studio's most popular titles. His talk, "Iterating Design and Fighting Fires: Updating Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride," will cover some of Halfbrick's key lessons learned from updating its hit mobile titles, with anecdotes covering patches that crippled performance to updates that benefited millions of players.

- Elsewhere, PopCap's franchise business director Giordano Bruno Contestabile will host, "Setting Bejeweled Blitz Free: Lessons Learned Moving From Premium to Freemium on iOS." Throughout his presentation, Contestabile will pick apart how PopCap turned Bejeweled Blitz into a free to play game, detailing the studio's primary challenges, the game's integration with iOS and Facebook, and the most important elements of cross-platform social gaming.

- In an effort to examine the importance of post-launch support, Pocket Gems co-founder Daniel Terry will offer a session titled, "Hit Reset: Release is Day One of Development Cycle." Drawing examples from his studio's own Tap Zoo and Tap Pet Hotel, Terry will explain how consistent, long-term development efforts can breathe new life into a given title, and help it maintain its success for weeks, or even months at a time.

Respected designer Warren Spector to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at GDCAs

Deus Ex game director and producer, and Disney Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCAs) for his contributions to the art and science of games. The Game Developers Choice Awards, held at GDC yearly, are the leading peer-based video game industry awards celebrating the industry's top games and developers.
With a career in games spanning nearly 30 years, Warren Spector has earned a reputation in the industry as a seminal designer and a champion for the proper execution of ideas in video games.
His work on the career-defining Deus Ex took place while he was serving as a partner at development company Ion Storm and running their Austin-based office. Upon its release in 2000, Deus Ex received wide critical and industry acclaim and in 2009 was named "Best PC Game of All Time" among a list of 100 other titles in PC Gamer magazine.
In 2004 Spector left Ion Storm and the following year established Austin-based video game development firm Junction Point. Junction Point was acquired by Disney Interactive Studios in 2007. Immediately following, Spector began leading the design of Disney Epic Mickey, which released in 2010 and marked his first title as part of Disney Interactive Studios.
The game featured Spector's hallmark style of choice and consequence gaming, which he refers to as "Playstyle Matters," and was praised for its unique storyline, charming art design and tribute it paid to 80 years of rich Disney history.

Since beginning his gaming career at Steve Jackson Games in 1983, Spector has played a key role when it comes to redefining genres. As a producer and designer on titles like TSR, Inc.'s Top Secret/S.I. and Marvel Super Heroes, ORIGIN's award-winning Ultima game series, including Ultima Worlds of Adventure: Martian Dreams, Ultima VII: Serpent Isle and Ultima Underworld, as well as Looking Glass Technologies' critically-acclaimed System Shock, Spector demonstrated his ability to open up new avenues in the role-playing arena and provide players with a fresh gameplay experience.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the career and achievements of a developer who has made an indelible impact on the craft of game development and games as a whole, and Warren Spector, who has earned a sterling reputation as an innovator able to merge the deep gameplay elements of multiple genres, stands as a shining example of those principles.

"Warren, whose rarified 'big picture' thinking and ideals have done a great deal for the games industry, exemplifies the exact qualities that a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient should possess," said Meggan Scavio, general manager of GDC Events at UBM TechWeb. "In presenting him with this honor, we continue a tradition of highlighting individuals whose work stands as a benchmark for the next generation of developers."

GDC 2012 reveals Star Wars: The Old Republic postmortem, Notch Q&A, more

With less than 48 hours left until the early registration deadline for the 2012 Game Developers Conference, the show's organizers have debuted some major new talks, featuring a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic, a fireside chat with Markus "Notch" Persson, and an exciting rant panel featuring notable game developer moms and dads.

All of these sessions will join the major lineup for the show's Main Conference, which features six specialized tracks, covering Audio, Business, Marketing & Management, Game Design, Production, Programming, and Visual Arts.

To check out all of the notable talks within the show's Main Conference, make sure to purchase an All Access or Main Conference pass on the official GDC website (a specialized Audio pass is also available).

In addition, early registration for the show ends Thursday, February 2 at 11.59pm ET, so interested parties should act soon to save up to 35 percent on full price passes.

Here are the newly announced lectures for GDC 2012's Main Conference:

- Over in the Game Design track, the creator of Minecraft will take part in a rare on-stage Q&A dubbed, "A Fireside Chat with Markus 'Notch' Persson." Speaking to former Maxis veteran Chris Hecker (SpyParty), Persson will discuss Minecraft itself, indie game design, and much more. Questions for Persson will be solicited via Twitter in the coming weeks, so please watch the official GDC Twitter feed for more information.

- In the show's Production track, MMO veterans and BioWare Austin leads Richard Vogel and Dallas Dickinson will discuss how Star Wars: The Old Republic positioned itself to break into the World of Warcraft-dominated MMO market. Throughout the talk, "SWTOR - Creating A True Competitor in the AAA MMO Space," Vogel and Dickinson will discuss the numerous internal strategies the team used to prepare the game for a strong debut.

- Also in the Game Design track is the latest in GDC's long-running series of "rant" panels. This year, the panel will give game developer parents a chance to vent their frustrations about topics of their choosing. The session, "BURN THIS MOTHERFATHER! Game Dev Parents Rant," will be co-hosted by Jason Della Rocca and Eric Zimmerman, and will feature developers and industry figures including Ubisoft's Jade Raymond, Zynga New York's Frank Lantz and his son James, 1st Playable Productions' Tobi Saulnier, and Zebra Partners' Perrin Kaplan.

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