Valve's Steam Controller Demonstration... 001... .avi?

Subject: General Tech, Systems | October 11, 2013 - 06:36 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Machine, Steam Controller

Jeff Bellinghausen, former Chief Technology Officer at Sixense, currently works for Valve with their hardware initiative. He will be provide the voice over for today's controller walkthrough video. Four very different games are shown with very input configurations.

As a little background, Sixense partnered with Valve and Razer to develop the Hydra motion controller. I had a strong feeling that this technology would form the basis of the Steam hardware experience when first rumors of "The Steam Box" circulated. Clearly, either I was wrong or Valve dumped the prototype for their current (slightly more standard) gamepad.

Yet at least one of the engineering minds behind it kept with Steam OS.

The first and third games shown are Portal 2 and CounterStrike: Global Offensive, respectively. Portal 2 is operating in keyboard and mouse "legacy mode" where sliding your right thumb emulates the movement of a mouse and the left thumb activates a virtual D-Pad. This input method seems to have some sort of throw velocity when you quickly swipe your thumb across the pad and release although I obviously have not directly experienced it.

On the other hand, CounterStrike does not require auto aim.

Civilization V has the left thumb pad bound to map scroll and the right thumb pad controlling mouse movement. While precise, I could see speed being a problem for a game such as Starcraft 2. It seems to be slightly slower than a mouse. I would like to see someone learn the controller and attempt to ladder for a relevant amount of time.

Speaking of speed to complement precision: Papers, Please blends both thumbs into a single mouse movement. This highlights what, at least I guess, is the entire point of the new controller: allow new schemes to be tested.

Certainly, there are a bunch of possibilities even before the design leaves Valve's hands.

Source: Valve

October 12, 2013 | 10:15 AM - Posted by mLocke

This just makes me wonder what kinda software we're going to have to run to change between input profiles. The Civ V example profile is laughable from this veteran Civilization player's eyes.

Instead of focusing on solutions to mouse and keyboard, I'd rather see why I should use this over a traditional dual-analog-thumb-stick controller, an arcade stick, steering wheel, or even a flight stick, all of which are currently at my disposal. This notion that personal computing gamers only use mouse and keyboard is just lunacy.

I have no desire to relive the nightmarish experience that was Starcraft 64. Something like Trine 2 or Noitu Love 2 would be very difficult with this controller.

October 12, 2013 | 01:56 PM - Posted by Branthog

I've had my doubts, but I realized this might have potential when, while watching the demo, I couldn't help but giggle. I definitely wonder if blisters and callouses are going to be an issue, though. I mean, some of us have the hands of UNIX engineers; not longshoremen.

October 12, 2013 | 07:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

* Playing my first FPS's in a long time on the PC, I came to realize that a joysticks ability to aim at targets quickly was not as efficient as I once had been used to on the Xbox console> and I found myself drawn to using my mouse to more acuratly and quickly shoot targets successfully without missing> I also discovered that without a joystick to control movements( Front/ back ~ Left / right etc), it was just as difficult to employ my character to my desired location quickly.

What I needed was a joystick with a mouse trackpad on the left to shoot more acuratly but as well as be able to utilize standard trigger buttons and other non keyboard mechanical controls to utilize my character in the game.

Steam has finally found a solution to fullfill both needs that can IMO move the hard core gaming culture thats become complacent to the keyboard mouse structure, to a new level of game play experience.

October 13, 2013 | 10:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have the same requirements and simply use a mouse and a Razor Orbweaver..Owned variations of that type of device and this is by far the best iteration. Thumb stick is just sublime didn't think much of those cherry mx blue switches but they do make amazing difference. I can aim using mouse and stick in a complementary way the improved my accuracy (quicker aim and way more accurate say lobbing a cooked nade on the move. Movement is the most accurate ever from me.

As i said, I've owned most even several MS dual strikes, Saitek PCGU's, n52s, Nostromo, Logitech g13 etc and the Orbweaver combined with my Rat7 mouse...make it easy to be fraggin at 40... FatherTime on cod4 broadcast free for all aka dathmatch maps is a testament to all i've said.

October 14, 2013 | 09:09 AM - Posted by mLocke

You can swap the switch type to something that's more geared for gaming quite easily, I have always found double tapping to be extremely hard with blue switches. I guess if you only play one game (why are you PC gamer if you only play one game, rofl) and it doesn't require any double tapping of any keys ever then you're probably already golden. You could even do something like only swap the switches for the movement keys and leave the rest as blues so you get better movement but more tactile response from the other keys you're not constantly mashing. Personally if I owned one of those things I'd probably swap all the movement keys with red or black switches along with all the keys surrounding it, leaving the 01-05 buttons as blues.

Wish I could get one myself but those things are never made for people who thought the original Xbox controller was an acceptable size.

October 12, 2013 | 07:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

* Also...the controler should be user configerable in terms of mechanical add ons.

Such as: the option to snap on a full joystick controller over top the existing trackpad!

October 12, 2013 | 10:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The controls are horrid.

I can see most games on SteamOS having an Auto-Aim. Where as long as your in the vicinity of an object or target you get the hit.

Consoles FPS where bad this just dummying it down to the next level.

October 13, 2013 | 04:59 AM - Posted by Daniel Nielsen (not verified)

No one is forcing you to use that controller with SteamOS. Just like no one is forcing you to use a 360 controller for Steam right now.

October 13, 2013 | 07:32 AM - Posted by mLocke

Considering that auto-aim is something that is controlled by the game, not the controller, I think you are stressing about nothing. It's not like there isn't auto aim options in some games already. For example the PC version of Rainbow Six 3 shipped with auto-aim enabled by default.

Console FPS was just an adaptation of an already popular genre that was going strong for over a decade on PC, but there's still plenty of PC oriented FPS games to this day. No one is making you play Zombie-Ghost-War-Duty of Field-Ops-Battle 2014. Most of all, FPS is not the only genre of game that exists.

Register a username.

October 13, 2013 | 02:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

* Auto aim is an option in most games> Ghost Recon doesn't have that neither does Sniper adding a track-pad type mouse instead of a joystick would better option> I tried using my trackpad mouse as an aim device and it worked far better for getting targets IMO.

As for non FPS games like Trine 2, DMC, and most racing games, I can say that it would get some getting used to.

But...since... Steam have already gone as far as to create a completely new concept of joystick design> then why would they not be able to create a joystick with a mechanical mod...that allows you to snap an actual STICK controller over top of the track pads? I'm think a mini knoby type joystick that serves a simple function of arcade type Trine, DMC, and Need for speed and such.

October 13, 2013 | 10:45 PM - Posted by biohazard918

Looks cool but the real question is how does this compare to the couchmaster. Ryan must answer this question as soon as possible.

October 14, 2013 | 09:11 AM - Posted by mLocke

When I first saw the couchmaster I wished it was something that was made ten years ago. I used to have a EDTV (480i\480p\1080i) and a card table dedicated to playing Steel Battalion because I couldn't figure out how to comfortably use the controller in a normal situation. Shame the mecha genre had to go and die with Mechwarrior Online. Joystick is sitting around waiting for the next 6DOF game since MWO was such a failure. X-Rebirth, please be awesome.

October 15, 2013 | 02:55 AM - Posted by Irishgamer01

You can do all that with a keyboard.
Why the Fu*k would you want to use that gizmo

Most gamers game on their PC not on the TV.
(Tried it but didn't like the experience)

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