Valve Reveals the Steam Controller

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We waited all week for this. This is all they had to give us. Seriously, this should have been the first announcement, it's like having a major band touring with a garage band, and the major band is headlining. Yeah, it's cool to see them, but they make you think the final guys will be amazing, when they're just meh at best. That was this week, a build up of pretty cool things in such an order that it leaves you feeling meh.

lacktheknack:

Haptic feedback. Read the article. It works, man.

Haptic feedback is not a get-out-of-jail card, nor is it an adequate replacement for analogue control.

Different-than-normal controller components? It worked when Nintendo did it.

Because Nintendo didn't forget the basic like having analogue sticks, d-pads, and buttons within easy reach of the thumbs.

You can reach eight different buttons/triggers with your fingers.

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

READ.

And guess what? I don't have eight fingers to press those buttons with. Standard controller design means that I can have four fingers resting on the triggers/bumpers, have my right thumb near the face buttons, and any of those commands are not only readily accessible, they can be used in combination with any other button. Four fingers, a thumb, Over eight methods of input covered.

Thought exercise: how would a fighting game work on this controller? Would my fingers have to be tap-dancing over the different triggers in order to pull of Hadoukens? How would I pull off a Stinger in Devil May Cry with those trackpads?

which automatically overlays on the screen when used

Implying... you know... confirmation prompts, etc.

You... you don't actually read, do you?

Overlays on the screen or not, I want to feel a d-pad beneath my fingers. An overlay is useless if my eyes are on the TV. A d-pad, I can keep my eyes on the action and feel where up, down, left and right are.

Also, how are 2d/16-bit style platformers supposed to work without an actual physical d-pad? You're not going to suggest that gamers actually use the touchscreen for four-way movement?

<

I dunno... by clicking the eight damn buttons your fingers can reach.

All at once? How many fingers do you have? How am I supposed to hold the controller steady if all my fingers are placed on various triggers and bumpers?

I want you to actually lay out for me how a game like Devil May Cry, Street Fighter or Metal Gear Rising is supposed to play with this thing. Because all I see is a clusterfuck waiting to happen.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Also, how are 2d/16-bit style platformers supposed to work without an actual physical d-pad? You're not going to suggest that gamers actually use the touchscreen for four-way movement?

You can program either of the trackpads to be a D-pad and using their new haptic feedback technology it will give the same feedback as a regular D-pad.

I'm not claiming to know exactly how this thing works but you are totally ignoring everything valve is explaining about the controller in favour of comparing it to a laptop trackpad.

Whether it works like they explain or not is another question entirely but while we are all squabbling about how this thing works, how about we at least give valve the benefit of the doubt that it works like they have outlined it does in the article that you clearly haven't read.

This actually looks kind of interesting.

It's refreshing to see a control try something genuinely different instead of just throwing in the latest popular gadget. And from the quotes in the article it sounds like they know what they're talking about and not just spouting a bunch of rhetoric.

Now whether the console is going to be worth something is another matter.

Whatislove:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Also, how are 2d/16-bit style platformers supposed to work without an actual physical d-pad? You're not going to suggest that gamers actually use the touchscreen for four-way movement?

You can program either of the trackpads to be a D-pad and using their new haptic feedback technology it will give the same feedback as a regular D-pad.

I'm not claiming to know exactly how this thing works but you are totally ignoring everything valve is explaining about the controller in favour of comparing it to a laptop trackpad.

Sorry, but viration is not the same feedback. When I press left or right on the d-pad, I can feel the exact shape and layout of the button under my fingers, I can gauge its sponginess, how far inwards it is pressed. No amount of 'haptic feedback' will offer that same kind of response.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

lacktheknack:

Haptic feedback. Read the article. It works, man.

Haptic feedback is not a get-out-of-jail card, nor is it an adequate replacement for analogue control.

If it works right, then it totally IS.

Different-than-normal controller components? It worked when Nintendo did it.

Because Nintendo didn't forget the basic like having analogue sticks, d-pads, and buttons within easy reach of the thumbs.

You can reach eight different buttons/triggers with your fingers.

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

READ.

And guess what? I don't have eight fingers to press those buttons with. Standard controller design means that I can have four fingers resting on the triggers/bumpers, have my right thumb near the face buttons, and any of those commands are not only readily accessible, they can be used in combination with any other button. Four fingers, a thumb, Over eight methods of input covered.

...?

<looks in perplexion at my eight fingers>

...???

...?!?!?!!?!?!?

Thought exercise: how would a fighting game work on this controller? Would my fingers have to be tap-dancing over the different triggers in order to pull of Hadoukens? How would I pull off a Stinger in Devil May Cry with those trackpads?

side trigger = heavy
rear button = medium
front bumper = heavy

left = punch
right = kick

second bumpers = EX and grapple

secondary front button = taunt

Wasn't hard.

which automatically overlays on the screen when used

Implying... you know... confirmation prompts, etc.

You... you don't actually read, do you?

Overlays on the screen or not, I want to feel a d-pad beneath my fingers. An overlay is useless if my eyes are on the TV. A d-pad, I can keep my eyes on the action and feel where up, down, left and right are.

Also, how are 2d/16-bit style platformers supposed to work without an actual physical d-pad? You're not going to suggest that gamers actually use the touchscreen for four-way movement?

...They use the clickable trackpads. I'm referring to the d-pad and touchscreen crossover for inventory management.

I dunno... by clicking the eight damn buttons your fingers can reach.

All at once? How many fingers do you have? How am I supposed to hold the controller steady if all my fingers are placed on various triggers and bumpers?

wat

Um

Two bumpers for index fingers, middle finger stabilizing (can be moved to rear buttons), index/pinkie on trigger, remaining finger for permanent stablization.

How many fingers do YOU have? Four?

I want you to actually lay out for me how a game like Devil May Cry, Street Fighter or Metal Gear Rising is supposed to play with this thing. Because all I see is a clusterfuck waiting to happen.

See above.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Overlays on the screen or not, I want to feel a d-pad beneath my fingers. An overlay is useless if my eyes are on the TV. A d-pad, I can keep my eyes on the action and feel where up, down, left and right are.

If you had looked at the page you would have found this picture of the prototype. It appears that the touch screen will have four clickable buttons that I assume will be programmable. You would feel for the corner of the screen you wanted to press instead of a D-pad. It would be a simple thing to get used to.

You're a Nintendo fan, so I figured you would be super excited by new control schemes. I guess it's only ok when they do it.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Whatislove:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Also, how are 2d/16-bit style platformers supposed to work without an actual physical d-pad? You're not going to suggest that gamers actually use the touchscreen for four-way movement?

You can program either of the trackpads to be a D-pad and using their new haptic feedback technology it will give the same feedback as a regular D-pad.

I'm not claiming to know exactly how this thing works but you are totally ignoring everything valve is explaining about the controller in favour of comparing it to a laptop trackpad.

Sorry, but viration is not the same feedback. When I press left or right on the d-pad, I can feel the exact shape and layout of the button under my fingers, I can gauge its sponginess, how far inwards it is pressed. No amount of 'haptic feedback' will offer that same kind of response.

"They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement."

Straight from the article, delivering Force implies that it will be able to emulate an actual button, the shape and feel you love so much, this haptic feedback technology is, like they have said in the damn article, not just some "vibration".

I have seen live demos of new touchscreen technologies, like tactus, that can actually make physical buttons/shapes rise from the touchscreen in order to give traditional haptic (tactile) feedback.

Both you and I have no idea what the haptic feedback will actually turn out to be;
But like I said earlier, can we at least assume that it works like they have explained in the article.

lacktheknack:

Because Nintendo didn't forget the basic like having analogue sticks, d-pads, and buttons within easy reach of the thumbs.

You can reach eight different buttons/triggers with your fingers.

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

READ.

And guess what? I don't have eight fingers to press those buttons with. Standard controller design means that I can have four fingers resting on the triggers/bumpers, have my right thumb near the face buttons, and any of those commands are not only readily accessible, they can be used in combination with any other button. Four fingers, a thumb, Over eight methods of input covered.

...?

<looks in perplexion at my eight fingers>

...???

...?!?!?!!?!?!?

When I'm holding a controller, I need to use at least my third and fourth finger on each hand to actually hold the thing stable. If all my fingers are resting on buttons, then that means the weight of the controller is also resting on those buttons.

Thought exercise: how would a fighting game work on this controller? Would my fingers have to be tap-dancing over the different triggers in order to pull of Hadoukens? How would I pull off a Stinger in Devil May Cry with those trackpads?

side trigger = heavy
rear button = medium
front bumper = heavy

left = punch
right = kick

second bumpers = EX and grapple

secondary front button = taunt

Wasn't hard.

No. Hack and slash gameplay doesn't work with triggers or bumpers. Slower-paced games like Dark Souls get away with it, bit not fast paced games like DMC. The right thumb is an intrinsically better method of input, as you're able to co-ordinate attacks using that one thumb making small movements from face button to face button.

Pulling off an extended combo with the right thumbstick and face buttons is easy, because you're moving one finger from X to Y to X to Y to B to A to B to A. The timing is more precise, as it is being dictated by one appendage. Co-ordinating five different fingers to try and input the different combat moves using very specific timing is a logistical nightmare. There's a reason games like DMC never took off on the keyoard, despite the wealth of buttons available. One thumb + face buttons is far easier for the brain to keep track of during high speed button inputs than five fingers all on separate buttons.

wat

Um

Two bumpers for index fingers, middle finger stabilizing (can be moved to rear buttons), index/pinkie on trigger, remaining finger for permanent stablization.

How many fingers do YOU have? Four?

It takes more than the pinkie on each hand to hold a controller stable. You need your third and fourth fingers holding things steady, otherwise the controller will just pivot over your pinkies.

You said there were eight buttons within easy reach of the fingers. I hope you weren't meaning that the clickable trackpads counted. Because having the same point on the trackpad count as both analogue left/right/up/down and as an input button is asking for trouble. Analogue sticks have functions that can be clicked even when sat in neutral. What happens if you click the left part of the trackpad, but the controller instead recognises it as you wanting to move your character left?

I CAN'T FEEL THE MOVEMENTS. AUTOMATIC F. AUTOMATIC DECIDING FACTOR ITS WORST THAN EVERY- good god this is literally all I have read so far? Really? Come the fboop on. The page even said they'd be completely hackable. Even THEN, things may change from feedback, or heck, this may be just a unique controller. But nope. It's the exact thing I've come to hate about what console gaming has done to me over the years and others.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Whatislove:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Also, how are 2d/16-bit style platformers supposed to work without an actual physical d-pad? You're not going to suggest that gamers actually use the touchscreen for four-way movement?

You can program either of the trackpads to be a D-pad and using their new haptic feedback technology it will give the same feedback as a regular D-pad.

I'm not claiming to know exactly how this thing works but you are totally ignoring everything valve is explaining about the controller in favour of comparing it to a laptop trackpad.

Sorry, but viration is not the same feedback. When I press left or right on the d-pad, I can feel the exact shape and layout of the button under my fingers, I can gauge its sponginess, how far inwards it is pressed. No amount of 'haptic feedback' will offer that same kind of response.

Haptic systems often function through audio or electrostatic vibration as a medium of transferring energy, but can simulate the experience of both resistance and friction as of generation 3. Based on the claims Valve is making I would guess they are using either generation 3 or 4, more than likely 4th generation based on the claims of force sensitivity.

Haptic feedback is not simply "rumble", hasn't been since the first generation.

Church185:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Overlays on the screen or not, I want to feel a d-pad beneath my fingers. An overlay is useless if my eyes are on the TV. A d-pad, I can keep my eyes on the action and feel where up, down, left and right are.

If you had looked at the page you would have found this picture of the prototype. It appears that the touch screen will have four clickable buttons that I assume will be programmable. You would feel for the corner of the screen you wanted to press instead of a D-pad. It would be a simple thing to get used to.

You're a Nintendo fan, so I figured you would be super excited by new control schemes. I guess it's only ok when they do it.

When Nintendo showed off the Wiimote in action, it made sense. It still had regular button inputs where you expect them, it still had an analogue stick for movement and a d-pad where you expect them. The Gamepad is a regular controller with a touchscreen.

This thing is indecision manifested in a controller. It has neither the full range of control of KB+M (a trackpad is not a valid alternative for a mouse), nor does it have the full range of control that a console pad has for things like fighting games, platformers and the like. It's trying to be both, and it has none of the benefits of either.

Sorry, HOW does it emulate the mouse again?

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
When Nintendo showed off the Wiimote in action, it made sense. It still had regular button inputs where you expect them, it still had an analogue stick for movement and a d-pad where you expect them. The Gamepad is a regular controller with a touchscreen.

This thing is indecision manifested in a controller. It has neither the full range of control of KB+M (a trackpad is not a valid alternative for a mouse), nor does it have the full range of control that a console pad has for things like fighting games, platformers and the like. It's trying to be both, and it has none of the benefits of either.

I understand doubting it's capabilities to completely replace a full keyboard (just not enough buttons), but without using the controller for yourself, I don't think you are in the best position to declare it terrible. Everyone gave Nintendo shit about adding the analogue stick to a console controller, and now it's not only an industry standard but most companies went further and added two sticks. If Valve has made advances with haptic feedback, then trackpads like these may become the new industry standard.

On the other hand they may turn out to be shit, we won't know until we get our hands on them. In either case, you personally have no idea what they are really bringing to the table, so your confidence in declaring it shit at first glance seems rather foolish to most of the people in this thread.

Hmmmmmm... i guess they have tested this (and it at least functions in some capacity) but right here right now it looks like a slightly dubious proposition. I guess I'll have to hold the thing i suppose. Looks more ergonomic than the Wii-U monstrosity tablet though, then again so does a particularly jagged rock.

Games industry, stop trying to innovate controllers. Sony gave us two thumbs ticks and the only real innovation anyone wanted after that was weather the placement was better on PS or Xbox. Nobody wants them gone. And stop making our consoles emulate phones, its the worst way to play a game and it always will, we humans have nerves in our fingers for a reason, so we can feel things and have those things give us feedback.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

lacktheknack:

And guess what? I don't have eight fingers to press those buttons with. Standard controller design means that I can have four fingers resting on the triggers/bumpers, have my right thumb near the face buttons, and any of those commands are not only readily accessible, they can be used in combination with any other button. Four fingers, a thumb, Over eight methods of input covered.

...?

<looks in perplexion at my eight fingers>

...???

...?!?!?!!?!?!?

When I'm holding a controller, I need to use at least my third and fourth finger on each hand to actually hold the thing stable. If all my fingers are resting on buttons, then that means the weight of the controller is also resting on those buttons.

Well, thank goodness you don't need to hover over EVERY button at all times, then!

Also, I can support a controller with just my pinkies. I'm not sure why you need so much support.

Thought exercise: how would a fighting game work on this controller? Would my fingers have to be tap-dancing over the different triggers in order to pull of Hadoukens? How would I pull off a Stinger in Devil May Cry with those trackpads?

side trigger = heavy
rear button = medium
front bumper = heavy

left = punch
right = kick

second bumpers = EX and grapple

secondary front button = taunt

Wasn't hard.

No. Hack and slash gameplay doesn't work with triggers or bumpers. Slower-paced games like Dark Souls get away with it, bit not fast paced games like DMC. The right thumb is an intrinsically better method of input, as you're able to co-ordinate attacks using that one thumb making small movements from face button to face button.

Pulling off an extended combo with the right thumbstick and face buttons is easy, because you're moving one finger from X to Y to X to Y to B to A to B to A. The timing is more precise, as it is being dictated by one appendage. Co-ordinating five different fingers to try and input the different combat moves using very specific timing is a logistical nightmare. There's a reason games like DMC never took off on the keyoard, despite the wealth of buttons available. One thumb + face buttons is far easier for the brain to keep track of during high speed button inputs than five fingers all on separate buttons.

Sorry, I was caught up with "Hadouken" and explained how a fighting game would work.

Also, every statement of multiple buttons being a "logistical nightmare" is hyperbole at best, and outright wrong at worst. I play Street Fighter on a keyboard, and it's easy (unless you play Zangief).

That said, why CAN'T speed-combo heavy games work on the PC? In these games, thumbstick precision isn't a major issue, so boom - you have two buttons in the trackpads at use again. Add in the bumpers and you should be entirely fine.

wat

Um

Two bumpers for index fingers, middle finger stabilizing (can be moved to rear buttons), index/pinkie on trigger, remaining finger for permanent stablization.

How many fingers do YOU have? Four?

It takes more than the pinkie on each hand to hold a controller stable. You need your third and fourth fingers holding things steady, otherwise the controller will just pivot over your pinkies.

Uh. Not when I use them.

Also, middle-finger stabilization. You're not going to need to press those buttons all the time.

You said there were eight buttons within easy reach of the fingers. I hope you weren't meaning that the clickable trackpads counted. Because having the same point on the trackpad count as both analogue left/right/up/down and as an input button is asking for trouble. Analogue sticks have functions that can be clicked even when sat in neutral. What happens if you click the left part of the trackpad, but the controller instead recognises it as you wanting to move your character left?

...WHY DID YOU NOT READ THE PAGE?

It said "half of [the sixteen buttons] are accessible to the player without lifting the thumbs from the thumbpad, including two buttons on the back".

Four bumpers, two rear buttons, two triggers.

I've only said this TWICE before...

I have large hands with large fingers to match. I foresee some issues with this controller when it registers that I'm touching the pads in more than one place at once.

Looks awesome, I really cant wait to get my hands on one and try it out! I cant say if it will BE awesome until I have tried it though, pushing buttons on the back seems like it will be a little awkward at first...

Hell I would buy one to beta test it for steam!

Hrm, considering I only ever use my index fingers to access the bumpers and triggers on ps3/xbox controllers, I don't see a problem with this controllers layout. The trackpads are the biggest concern, but untested tech is untested and I will therefore reserve judgment. All in all, an interesting design using interesting tech, only time will tell if it pans out.

In order to avoid forcing players to divide their attention between screens, a critical feature of the Steam Controller comes from its deep integration with Steam. When a player touches the controller screen, its display is overlayed on top of the game they're playing, allowing the player to leave their attention squarely on the action, where it belongs.

I'd be surprised to learn that this wasn't an intentional shot at the Wii U on top of simply being a smart design decision. Speaking of which, possibly the most enjoyable part of reading Valve's blurb was imagining the gigantic smirks on all its employees' faces when Sony and Microsoft were so proudly unveiling their "revolutionary" next-gen controllers.

Really, the only complaint I can make (apart from the aforementioned issue of not being able to press A or B/X or Y and use the right/left touchpad at the same time, respectively) is that I restrained myself from buying a 360 gamepad up until only four months ago. Though I guess even that will continue to see some limited use in the case of a few games like Super Meat Boy that were specifically designed for use with it, or thumbsticks in general. Regardless, I think Valve may have just knocked this whole Steam-in-the-living-room endeavor out of the park, especially if they also sell these controllers separately from the Steam Machines (which they'd be fools not to) so that people who are content with their living room PC setup can use them without having to buy a Steam Machine.

EDIT: Aaaaand nevermind the supposed drawbacks I mentioned; this blog post explains it all. I officially can't wait for this thing.

Valve has clearly put a lot of work and tech into this thing trying to have the benefits of analog sticks and a mouse.

Not to be cynical, but it looks to me like all they have there are really expensive analog sticks. I seriously doubt this Steam controller will be any more useful than a 360 controller.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

When Nintendo showed off the Wiimote in action, it made sense. It still had regular button inputs where you expect them, it still had an analogue stick for movement and a d-pad where you expect them.

It did?

image

Tell me: which inexplicable, superfluous extra thumb must one have to be able to reach those +, -, and Home buttons[1] without feeling painfully awkward?

The Gamepad is a regular controller with a touchscreen.

You mean this one? The one that I totally don't have to move my entire hand over to use?

image

Yeah, sorry... No matter how unorthodox this Steam controller looks, it's still a sight better looking than that brick-y monstrosity.

[1] Not even going to bother pointing out how incredibly stupid the 1 and 2 buttons are.

It looks horrible and all the buttons are in the wrong place..... try to play Batman AA or AC with it.....

Trackpads should be interesting to emulate mouselook in fps games faster than thumbsticks.
You should be about as precise as with a trackball once you're used to it which is way better than a thumbstick but I'm not sure if you can rival kb+m with that.

So... pray tell, WHERE are these 16 buttons? Cause I only count 8 at most...

It ahhhh... Okay,I can't play the devil's advocate on this one. VALVe, that is undoubtedly one of the ugliest designs in console history. And that's a pretty ugly history.
I really expected more but when you are gonna try to push a keyboard on to a controller I guess it is gonna look a bit freaky

Simalacrum:
So... pray tell, WHERE are these 16 buttons? Cause I only count 8 at most...

Seems like the shoulder buttons as well as the trackpads count as a button and the touchscreen counts as 4.

ZippyDSMlee:
It looks horrible and all the buttons are in the wrong place..... try to play Batman AA or AC with it.....

I'd be more than surprised if they've not already done in house testing on both those games. Seriously everyone is jumping on the "omg different, must suck" bandwagon way to fast. Can we at least reserve judgement until after we get more than 3 pictures and 1 whole release article on it?

I wondered what would happen when a hardcore Valve fanboy and a hardcore Nintendo fanboy got into a war. It's amusing, since neither side is listening to the other in the slightest.

OT: The controller seems terribly cluttered, and if it works at all, it will take people quite some time to get used to. Doesn't seem worth it as this junction.

loa:

Simalacrum:
So... pray tell, WHERE are these 16 buttons? Cause I only count 8 at most...

Seems like the shoulder buttons as well as the trackpads count as a button and the touchscreen counts as 4.

Don't forget the ones that are under the controller. Those would probably be really awkward to use at first.

loa:

Simalacrum:
So... pray tell, WHERE are these 16 buttons? Cause I only count 8 at most...

Seems like the shoulder buttons as well as the trackpads count as a button and the touchscreen counts as 4.

7 face buttons, 2 clickable trackpads, 4 shoulder buttons, 2 bottom buttons that is 15 + however many buttons the touch pad ends up being.

Looks ugly and quite uncomfortable to use and I hate the idea of gaming using a touch pad... Maybe it'll pleasantly surprise if and when I try it but my gut reaction is "hell no."

Simalacrum:
So... pray tell, WHERE are these 16 buttons? Cause I only count 8 at most...

A, B, X, Y, left trackpad click, right trackpad click, four shoulder buttons, two rear buttons, three lower face buttons, and a clickable touchscreen.

So that's, let's see...yep! Sixteen.

Of course, that's not counting the near limitless keying options with the touchscreen nor the ability to code the touchpads to function as several buttons.

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