GDC 2014: our top 5 moments from this year's gaming conference

Our favorite gadgets and top headliners

We're still chugging along on the Expo floor, and with only one more day left, we've still seen quite a bit.

From Valve's new Steam Controller design to more on indie game developing, you can catch up and read about it all below.

Goodbye touchscreen, hello buttons

Valve showed off its latest touchscreen-less Steam Controller and we dove in with a hands on.

Valve has been busy tweaking its controller since we last saw it at CES 2014. With a focus on getting the peripheral to market by holiday 2014, so it can be bundled with every make and model of Steam Box, and sold separately at a "competitive" price point.

The controller is still highly programmable mostly thanks to those dual touchpads. By default they're used for moving your character about, and like the stick of an Xbox or PlayStation controller, they can be clicked.

While it's disappointing to see Valve ditch a unique feature like the controller's touchscreen, the company has a history of going back to the drawing board to much success.

Next-gen graphics

DirectX 12 was previously announced by Microsoft but wasn't detailed until its GDC panel. In addition to DirectX 12, the company also revealed graphics toolset Direct3D 12 - both of which are promise to take gaming graphics to the next level.

For consumers, the developer-focused API translates to PC, console and mobile games with richer scenes, a higher on-screen object count and full use of their modern graphics cards.

Foza 5

DirectX 12 is intended to work across all of Microsoft's platforms including Windows 8, Xbox One and Windows Phone 8.

An official release date hasn't been set, though a preview version should be out later this year.

Taking social seriously - social gaming, that is

Facebook is really getting into the social gaming scene.

"It's a great time to be working on games at Facebook," said Dan Morris, head of North American & Mobile Games Partnerships at Facebook during a media roundtable Wednesday. "We are increasingly understanding thanks to user data coming back to us that games are a fundamental human interest."

As we reported Monday, Facebook's own studies have found that cross-platform gamers generate 3.3 times the revenue as those who stick to desktop. Engagement is also higher for those who game on both mobile and desktop as opposed to one or the other.

Facebook seems committed to getting games on both mobile and desktop, not preferring one to the other. Brady noted the company aims for parity between the services and tools it provides game developers for both platforms.

Nintendo takes on indie gaming

Nintendo has been known to be quite selective about sharing its games. In fact the whole company has always been intent on remaining shrouded in mystery, which makes it difficult if you're an indie developer trying to create a game for the Mario masters - but Nintendo says that's actually not so.

According to Nintendo's Dan Adelman, the company has "always been friendly with indie devs."

During a presentation at GDC, Adelman detailed the process of joining the Nintendo Web Framework - its dev program for the Wii U platform - and pointed out that several steps have been simplified to make it easier to join.