Valve Reveals the Steam Controller

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 NEXT
 

Valve Reveals the Steam Controller

Steam controller

The third and final big announcement out of Valve is the Steam Controller, a gamepad that forgoes thumbsticks for two high-resolution trackpads.

This is what it's all built up to: The Steam Controller, a device Valve calls "a different kind of gamepad" that will work with every game on Steam, even those that don't offer controller support, by emulating mouse and keyboard operation. While the basic shape is that of a conventional controller, it's unquestionably unusual: in place of the sticks you'd normally bop around with your thumbs, the Steam Controller offers a pair of high-resolution trackpads that Valve says will make everything accessible from the couch.

"The Steam Controller is built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators," the controller page states. "These small, strong, weighted electro-magnets are attached to each of the dual trackpads. They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement."

And what exactly does all that mean? Apparently this: "This haptic capability provides a vital channel of information to the player - delivering in-game information about speed, boundaries, thresholds, textures, action confirmations, or any other events about which game designers want players to be aware. It is a higher-bandwidth haptic information channel than exists in any other consumer product that we know of. As a parlour trick they can even play audio waveforms and function as speakers."

There's also a touch screen located between the trackpads, which will automatically overlay its display on the big screen so you won't have to look down from the game, and course buttons - 16 in all. Support for older games will come by way of the "legacy mode" configuration tool, with which the Steam community can create and share button bindings for any games they like.

And that wraps up Valve's announcement extravaganza week! An operating system, some boxes and a controller - was it everything you'd hoped? Full details about the Steam Controller, and everything else Valve talked about this week, can be found at steampowered.com/livingroom.

Permalink

I eagerly anticipate someone showing off their beta controller, only to have it begin screaming lines from The Exorcist.

It would be so worth it.

lacktheknack:
I eagerly anticipate someone showing off their beta controller, only to have it begin screaming lines from The Exorcist.

It would be so worth it.

Now I'm going to be disappointed when I get mine and it doesn't do that the first time I pick it up.

Thanks a lot, jerk. :P

Yeah, I honestly see no way this thing is going to effectively emulate a mouse and keyboard setup without being awkward or clunky, even if it does have 16 buttons.

That has got to be the ugliest controller I have ever seen.

Other than that, if it works, great, and if it comes out cheaper than the xbone controller for windows, then I might check it out.

Agayek:

lacktheknack:
I eagerly anticipate someone showing off their beta controller, only to have it begin screaming lines from The Exorcist.

It would be so worth it.

Now I'm going to be disappointed when I get mine and it doesn't do that the first time I pick it up.

Thanks a lot, jerk. :P

It'll be pretty effortless to make it happen, I bet.

"Guys, check out the beta Steam Controller!"

"YOUR MOTHER SUCKS COCKS IN HELL!"

"It needs a bit of work, I think."

We have controllers with nonfunctional or insufficient inputs, lack of controllers replaced by waving your arms like an idiot in front of an NSA spy camera....Steam brings the best of both worlds with a controller with no input. Well done.

There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback, granted my example below is old but it's the same issue tablets/phones have with games today. No physical sensation of buttons clicking/pressing or stick angles and you're making it very challenging to play.

EDIT NUMBER 2: I say no physical feedback because the haptic feature HAS TO BE PROGRAMMED for it to be implemented. Valve states all games will work with the controller, meaning the controller by default will attempt to emulate a 360/PS3 controller when there is no haptic functionality programmed into the game. So AN INTERESTING IDEA, however in the end it BOILS DOWN TO when people, not devs or people who'd not be inclined to critque the controller are using it to play games at their house then we will have a better idea.

Yes second edit because I'm still getting quoted as there's no feed back, and that's an assumption when there's no haptic programming, it will likely default to a fall back so the controller is still usable, but that is emulating feeling vs using a stick or button...or the lack of a freaking dpad.

image

We'll have to wait to see how it feels I guess to know for sure but it's REALLY hard to imagine it being anything better than playing a game on a touch screen

I'm going to edit my post here since I'm sure I'm going to be spammed by everyone telling me about the haptic feedback.

Okay great a function 90% of us haven't touched before we can only hope it's awesome, but then there's complications here:
-The thousands of games already on steam will likely not update to meet this functionality.
-Devs barely let you edit your controls and you're telling me they're going to go out of their way to allow for this? Maybe for a while but in the end more will have 360/ps3/logitech controllers and that will likely still be the default.

It's an interesting idea but it's flawed in that there's already a large standard and most devs don't want to cater to 1 guy on a new system. How many games support that logtitech LCD display on keyboards? How many games support 3D?
I'm interested to try but I'm also very skeptical I'm not against it I just think this controller has a large wall to get over and I've always been one to hope for the best, but expect the worst. I hope it does well, but in the end I think it's going to fade away.

Ugliest thing ever. There is no way gamers would use this over a mouse and keyboard. But will be waiting to see vids showing how it controls games. Maybe its the lack of beauty and genius of design that makes it work well. lol

Snotnarok:
There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback, granted my example below is old but it's the same issue tablets/phones have with games today. No physical sensation of buttons clicking/pressing or stick angles and you're making it very challenging to play.

Nope. "Haptic feedback", right there in the article.

The touchpads push back.

Also, buttons are all over the controller.

It's hard to see how a controller will feel until you hold it in your hands, I'll reserve judgement until then.

Snotnarok:
There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback

Actually, there is, just not in the form of actual buttons. That's what they mean with haptic feedback. And that's some advanced technology right there. Or at least in a consumer product like a gamepad.

I'm interesting to see how this plays. I've done some theoretical work with haptic feedback and it's a very very interesting field of technology, something I really want to see in practice. It seems such an odd controller as well in terms of ergonomy. Yes, very interesting.

For one tiny second there I saw the HL3 tag and my heart leapt.

Then I looked twice and the darkness came back...

Ah well, as to the controller I like the idea, but I'm not sure I can see it just yet. I don't see how the pad will allow mouse like control, it looks like I'm just going to be playing FPS's with a laptop mouse. Still though this is Valve, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt till we see some actual games being played with it.

Legacy mode sounds like a great move. The risk with non-standard controllers (A la Nintendo) is having trouble convincing developers to design for it. If it can just be built for like a mouse and keyboard ports shouldn't be a sticking point for third party.

lacktheknack:

Snotnarok:
There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback, granted my example below is old but it's the same issue tablets/phones have with games today. No physical sensation of buttons clicking/pressing or stick angles and you're making it very challenging to play.

Nope. "Haptic feedback", right there in the article.

The touchpads push back.

Also, buttons are all over the controller.

Okay great a function 90% of us haven't touched before we can only hope it's awesome, but then there's complications here:
-The thousands of games already on steam will likely not update to meet this functionality.
-Devs barely let you edit your controls and you're telling me they're going to go out of their way to allow for this? Maybe for a while but in the end more will have 360/ps3/logitech controllers and that will likely still be the default.

It's an interesting idea but it's flawed in that there's already a large standard and most devs don't want to cater to 1 guy on a new system. How many games support that logtitech LCD display on keyboards? How many games support 3D?
I'm interested to try but I'm also very skeptical.

Looks like this'll be one of those things you have to try to understand. I hope the feedback works as well as they think it does in replacing physical feedback from a stick.

Snotnarok:

lacktheknack:

Snotnarok:
There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback, granted my example below is old but it's the same issue tablets/phones have with games today. No physical sensation of buttons clicking/pressing or stick angles and you're making it very challenging to play.

Nope. "Haptic feedback", right there in the article.

The touchpads push back.

Also, buttons are all over the controller.

Okay great a function 90% of us haven't touched before we can only hope it's awesome, but then there's complications here:
-The thousands of games already on steam will likely not update to meet this functionality.

http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamController/

Read that. Right at the top, it states "All Steam games, past present and future, will support this".

-Devs barely let you edit your controls and you're telling me they're going to go out of their way to allow for this? Maybe for a while but in the end more will have 360/ps3/logitech controllers and that will likely still be the default.

Again, read the above.

It's an interesting idea but it's flawed in that there's already a large standard and most devs don't want to cater to 1 guy on a new system. How many games support that logtitech LCD display on keyboards? How many games support 3D?
I'm interested to try but I'm also very skeptical.

Fair enough.

Just read the source articles before you attempt criticism in the future, k?

I can't tell if this is insane or insanely brilliant. It's out there for sure, and I'll give it more credit than the Kinect or Wii-mote because it's primary goal seems to be functionality instead of "aren't motion controls sooooo cool?"

It just seems that controller design had hit a sweet spot with the current Playstation/Xbox setups, so departing from that is a big gamble, but then this whole week of Steam OS/Machines was already a big gamble, wasn't it?

I'm still skeptical about how good it is compared to mouse and keyboard but I guess it's one of those "you have to try it out yourself" things, I'll definitely keep an open mind about this. Can't wait for more information on the Steam Machines next week though.

This is glorious. The touchpads are basically analog sticks and mice in one. Haptic feedback is really impressive. And the ability to use it with ANY Steam game is nothing short of astounding.

I really hope I get into that beta. It's looking like my odds might be as good as 1/1000, so.

image

Honestly though, I'm not entirely sure what to think of it at the moment. Looks weird as hell, although I did think the same when I saw the Gamecube controller all those years ago, and that was a fantastic controller.

I'll have to hold it first, before passing any sort of concrete judgement on it, I think.

Using touchpads instead of analogue seems brilliant, at least on paper. And putting buttons under the grips is smart. It just makes sense now that I've seen it.

But the A/B/X/Y buttons give me pause. In order to get to B and Y, you have to reach across the touchpad, which is something I wouldn't prefer doing. More to the point, X and Y are on the left side, preventing movement while simultaneously using whatever function is bound to those.

Like I said: reserving judgement, but the button layout is curious. I hope it works out for them.

Snotnarok:
There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback, granted my example below is old but it's the same issue tablets/phones have with games today. No physical sensation of buttons clicking/pressing or stick angles and you're making it very challenging to play.

You clearly didn't read the announcement closely there is this huge section on haptic feedback you know in case you missed it.

As for my opinions on the controller I got to say I'm impressed with valve having the balls to release such a radical controller design. I'm more than a little eager to try it out. I wish the announcement would of had more details, like how long before we can expect to see it in stores, maybe a video of it in use a 360 rotational view of the controller. All of that would of been nice, for now I just hope I get accepted into the beta.

That doesn't look all that comfortable, plus touch pads. I have never found a touch pad that works well for me. Not even the one on my laptop, so inaccurate, so much movement for little on screen movement.

lacktheknack:

Snotnarok:

lacktheknack:

Nope. "Haptic feedback", right there in the article.

The touchpads push back.

Also, buttons are all over the controller.

Okay great a function 90% of us haven't touched before we can only hope it's awesome, but then there's complications here:
-The thousands of games already on steam will likely not update to meet this functionality.

http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamController/

Read that. Right at the top, it states "All Steam games, past present and future, will support this".

-Devs barely let you edit your controls and you're telling me they're going to go out of their way to allow for this? Maybe for a while but in the end more will have 360/ps3/logitech controllers and that will likely still be the default.

Again, read the above.

It's an interesting idea but it's flawed in that there's already a large standard and most devs don't want to cater to 1 guy on a new system. How many games support that logtitech LCD display on keyboards? How many games support 3D?
I'm interested to try but I'm also very skeptical.

Fair enough.

Just read the source articles before you attempt criticism in the future, k?

I did read the article, I can't however say I or many have tried this feedback so you can't really make a comment on how good it is.
"All games will feature it" No, all games will WORK with it but I have a feeling it will not work with this haptic feedback function and maybe, maybe will just try and emulate how a PS3/360 controller feel by default.

But then the question stands: What's the point if 90% of the games out on this will emulate the feel of a controller that's prexisting? Why use this when those are probably already in your house and could likely work better.

^ Yes this is assumed, totally, but that's pretty much all we got. Again I hope this thing is awesome it's just REALLY worrying when someone kicks down the door and says: New way to play your games.
Eye Toy was an entertaining tech demo you had to pay for
Wii got half assed ports with forced controls
3D was supported with a few games then now most don't bother.

This could infact be the next analog stick jump for console gaming, but I'm the skeptical type, it's neat tech, totally will admit that. But everything I'm saying is assumed ..minus the bits about previous tech yadda yadda.

Let's hope it's awesome then eh?

synobal:

Snotnarok:
There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback, granted my example below is old but it's the same issue tablets/phones have with games today. No physical sensation of buttons clicking/pressing or stick angles and you're making it very challenging to play.

You clearly didn't read the announcement closely there is this huge section on haptic feedback you know in case you missed it.

As for my opinions on the controller I got to say I'm impressed with valve having the balls to release such a radical controller design. I'm more than a little eager to try it out. I wish the announcement would of had more details, like how long before we can expect to see it in stores, maybe a video of it in use a 360 rotational view of the controller. All of that would of been nice, for now I just hope I get accepted into the beta.

You clearly didn't read my edit because I said I'm aware of it but most haven't played with this haptic tech so we don't know how good it is. There could be input lag, it could feel stupid and at the end of the day the support could be nil and the 'support' they speak of all games having may just be the controller emulating a 360/PS3 pad and that isn't innovating it's just emulating while some take advantage, and if you're willing to buy a controller based on a few games supporting it then good on ya. I'm just being skeptical and if you want to have your hopes up that's fine.

I was hoping for Source 2 and a game. Aw well. Not sure about how it will feel with trackpads but I'll still buy one.

EDIT: To people saying it will suck, I don't think that Valve would built so much hype for some trashy, awkward, uncanny valley of input devices controller if it didn't suck.

X and Y couldn't be in a worse place.

I'm not sold at the moment. Will be sticking to KB+M and my 360 pad.

I like the overall look of it, but I have to say, those pads look too large to comfortably move your thumbs around in efficiently. From the dimensions of the thing, it looks like my thumbs (and I have large hands at that) would be at full stretch towards the top of them. Same goes for those Y and B buttons, they kind of look inaccessible without taking your thumbs off the pads.

I have my doubts about it replacing the good ol' keyboard and mouse with current PC gamers, but I can see it helping to bring current console gamers over towards PC/Steambox.

It's interesting, no doubt, and I'll definitely be checking it out, so I'll reserve any further judgement until I have one in my hands.

eeeyeah...ya might wanna go back to the drawing board with this, Valve. It just looks like they made a clumsy attempt to look cool or revolutionary and instead came off looking silly

I'm not going to dismiss it based on how it looks. I really want to see how it works. I want to experience it.

Phrozenflame500:
It's hard to see how a controller will feel until you hold it in your hands, I'll reserve judgement until then.

Le gasp! Can it be?

You may very well be the first, and possibly only, person I've seen post a rational, reasoned comment on this reveal so far.

It's been either "greatest thing ever" or "worst thing ever".

Because, you know, to hell with reserving judgement on anything until you actually get to try it.

I mean, it seems so many are up in arms about how "stupid it looks" and how it'll be a worthless piece of shit because it doesn't have "thumbsticks, buttons, or a d-pad". Or, saying it's just dumb because it has touchpads; citing how useless laptop touchpads are.

It's like the internet at large just looked at the picture, completely glossed over the description of the controller and it's features, and jumped to the conclusion that "lol it doesn't look like an Xbone/PS4 controller, therefore it sucks".

Because, you know...to hell trying something different. Remember back in the Nintendo64 days when Nintendo had the audacity to put a thumbstick on our controllers? What the hell were they thinking; ruining a perfectly good controller?! All you need is a d-pad and some buttons. Not some stupid plastic stick poking up in the air. Who would ever use that?

Cowabungaa:

Snotnarok:
There's no dpad and there's no physical feedback

Actually, there is, just not in the form of actual buttons. That's what they mean with haptic feedback. And that's some advanced technology right there. Or at least in a consumer product like a gamepad.

I'm interesting to see how this plays. I've done some theoretical work with haptic feedback and it's a very very interesting field of technology.

This is the part that has me most interested. I'm curious what advances Valve's made in haptic feedback.

Well....that and the clickable touchscreen that responds to touch input by popping up a small display of the screen on the main monitor.

'Course, I'm sure it's no where near as advanced as Microsoft's incredible new technology wherein they put rumble motors in the triggers[1].

[1] What a joke. Seriously? Rumble motors in the triggers has people hyped? Ugh...

I know its a way to play steam games on your tv. BUT. I really dont think it will be better than a mouse and keyboard. An i also doubt pc gamers will use a controller if they have a choice of a mouse/keyboard as well.

I'll need to use because looking at it my mind can barely get around how i'd use it.

The track pad is...pretty unique to say the least. Haven't seen something that left field since the N64 controller.

Honestly it reminds me of a boombox more than anything. Probably because of the track pads.

ScrabbitRabbit:
X and Y couldn't be in a worse place.

I'm not sold at the moment. Will be sticking to KB+M and my 360 pad.

To be fair, if you go into the Steam article, they make it pretty clear that the face buttons are meant to be secondary controls.

image

The "real" controls are the clickable trackpads, the shoulder buttons, and the buttons on the back of the grip. The design they seem to be going for is that you won't take your thumbs off the pads except in unusual circumstances and/or the game is paused.

Vigormortis:
Snippage.

First impressions weigh far, far more than the average person wants to admit.

Just some food for thought.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here