Valve Reveals the Steam Controller

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That looks.... horribly uncomfortable to hold. I'll reserve final judgment until I actually hold one, of course, but damn, that looks unwieldy. I'm trying to picture how I'd hold that for the trackpads and either way it just does not look comfortable.

Also, I get that they're going for the binding of buttons... but at the same time, this will lead to a confusing experience. None of those buttons are labeled in any way. What the hell do the 3 black bars at the bottom do? Are those buttons? What happens if I press one?

I'm open to trying it, but for now, color me skeptical. Looks like an ergonomic disaster.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Secondly, where are the face buttons? Where are the buttons which will readily allow me to input various commands?

...

The other image you released suggests that Valve only have four bumper buttons, same as regular controllers:

...

So this thing is literally only going to give you four bumper buttons to play with while using the trackpads, and is going to demand that the rest of your action inputs are done with the weird facebuttons which don't fall within easy reach of the right thumb? How the hell are you supposed to play something like (for argument sake) DmC? Or any sort of game which requires rapid input of various combat buttons?

...

Since reading comprehension seems to fail you, allow me to quote the big section from http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamController/ called "Buttons":

"Every button and input zone has been placed based on frequency of use, precision required and ergonomic comfort. There are a total of sixteen buttons on the Steam Controller. Half of them are accessible to the player without requiring thumbs to be lifted from the trackpads, including two on the back."

dafuq is dat? I can't even think in english because that controller is so wonky... I'm mixing cultural euphemisms in my head trying to express the incredulity and... and... state of confusion I feel looking at that controller. To be honest I don't like the idea of trackpads and this design is just wrong in my head.
It feels like the first time I saw a wii controller, though the wii seemed less daunting. Hell the Razer Naga looks less daunting and I still won't use it.
Even the N64 and Gamecube controllers somehow seem better by comparison...
I'll stick with analog sticks or wired mice and keyboard thank you.

EDIT: If I could express in one word the face you make when you smell the most rancid fart... thats what this "Steamcontroller" made me do when I first saw it. Ugly, unwieldy looking and generally seeming like a bad idea.

i'm guessing it'll use a program something like xpadder for older games.
i play with a G13 and G600, so assigning fucntions is that scary to me.
hope the final version doesnt have that ugly touchpad/steam logo and goes for something more subtle

Andy Shandy:
image

Funny, that's the face I made when I first saw the pictures for this goofy-looking thing.
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The fanboy reaction has been humorous -- "Revolutionary design!", "It will change the industry forever!", "I'm going to buy one and shove it up my ass for pleasure!", etc. etc.

Valve can't even be bothered to confirm whether it will work outside of the confines of the Steam environment. If it's incompatible with my extensive library of non-Steam games, I've got absolutely zero fucking use for it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our worst official controller of the decade!
You can tell just by looking at it that it'll be good for only a few genres. It was a stupid move not to have logically placed face buttons or a Dpad.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
An overlay is useless if my eyes are on the TV.

The overlay is on the TV, where your eyes are.

Read the fucking announcement next time.

Didn't people learn from the iPhone games that virtual buttons don't work?

I love the idea. The haptic feedback sounds like technobabble, but if it provides information to your thumbs, like Braille letters, then it's pretty revolutionary. Also, my first impression was "WHERE ARE THE BUTTONS", but then I realized at least 8 buttons are right beneath your fingers at all times (4 shoulder + 2 back + 2 trackpad clicks) with another four (ABXY) just by the trackpads. In a typical controller, you'll get less immediately available, and you'll have to let go of the sticks if you want to access more. Thank Christ somebody finally realized I shouldn't have to use my thumbs for every action if I have 8 more fingers gripping the controller.

As for the "trackpads are always bad and clumsy", I don't think Valve would promise, erm, "higher fidelity input than has previously been possible," and then deliver cheap laptop trackpads from the previous decade that everyone hates.

In any case, I appreciate the attempt, even if it turns out to be unplayable.

I don't judge controllers until I actually hold them, so I won't be too critical. Buuuuut it looks kinda off putting to me. I probably won't be getting it anyway so what do I care.

This looks absolutely terrible, but ironically I'm going to buy one simply because you can't properly hate something until you've tried it. And I'm going to need to be able to properly hate this thing for the inevitable arguments with the Valve fanboys declaring it "REVOLUTIONIZED TEH IND-DUS-TREE". On the plus side it should be fun devastating people in multiplayer games with they fumble around with this piece of crap.

CAPCHA: jerk store. I think I might start calling steam that. Thanks capcha.

I don't know about trackpads but I have to say that the design looks really neat.

It looks like a 360 controller that has been raped by a gang of cows and is not sitting sad on a chair looking out the window.

SonOfVoorhees:
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.

Exactly, but that's it isn't it, all Valve are doing with this stuff is giving more choices, no one will be forced to use the gamepad with a Steam Machine and PC gamers, a good chunk of them will prob just stick with things as they always have. So no harm done.

As long as this doesn't impose on what people already use, then it's all good. Valve know what they;'re doing, I'd be willing to at least try one.

Robot Number V:
OK, can someone please explain to me how those trackpads are supposed to be better for mouse-based games then an analog stick? I mean, you're still just moving your thumbs around, right? It SEEMS exactly like an analog stick, but with less physical feedback.

I'm gonna reserve making final judgements until I get a chance to use the thing, but right now...It kinda seems like they're trying to get the best of both worlds and ending with neither. But, again, I have no idea. Maybe the thing works great.

Your mouse cursor moves in the direction you move your hand on the mouse, at the speed you move your hand. You can move your hand nice and slow or as fast as you want.

You're controller pointer moves as you hold your analogue stick at x degrees with the speed dependent on how deeply you tilt it, though it only has a limited range. Also there's going to be a very small degree of lag because when you release it's going to keep the cursor moving a few miliseconds/pixels at a decreasing speed until it's back to center.

Now obviously the trackpads you get on a laptop aren't very good, but they lean more towards the former type of control rather than the latter. So a lot here will depend on how the tactile feedbook and the ergonomic design (an indented oval or circle rather than a flat rectangle) works out, but I don't think Valve is going to release this thing if it isn't very damned good.

This controller really looks quite revolutionary. Every since the earliest days, console makers have put the directional control to your left hand and the button input on your right. Which doesn't necessarily mesh too well with keyboard & keyboard+mouse control. And ever since then, while newer consoles make heavy use a left hand analogue stick they still place most of the buttons to the right. The Steam controller on the other hand, not only does it take a lot of balls to do away with the analogue stick, and I outlined the difference between mouse and dpad controls above, it's also completely symmetrical.

The thing looks beautiful to me, and I can't wait to try it out... though I guess that means I wasted $10 buck at the Chinese Night Market this summer buying a knock off PS3-like usb controller for my PC that I only attempted to use once then quickly went back to keyboard (for Y's Origin). My gripe with traditional controllers is ever sense the NES days I've never belonged to the cult of the thumb, I've always liked having my fingers on the buttons.

The thing I like most about this is that the touchpad in the middle only clicks when you push it down rather than randomly thinking that I want to click when I press on it (I don't get on with touchpads)

Potentially good, hopefully the finished thing will be less dull looking. If the haptic feedback thing is as good as they seem to claim then this could be the next big advance in controllers... maybe.

inidu:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
An overlay is useless if my eyes are on the TV.

The overlay is on the TV, where your eyes are.

Read the fucking announcement next time.

The overlay tells you what button was pressed. After you press it. That really doesn't help things at all. You need to know what button you are going to press before you press it. That is the problem.

I mean, I don't even really agree with jeffers and I can see the terrible problem with that one.

They made a controller with no sticks...

This completely misses the point of it being a controller.

AAAHHH!!
Something different! Take it away! Take it awaaay!!

Looks interesting for sure.
Gonna need more than fancy pictures and words before I start getting actually excited though.
But yeah it's definitely interesting.

Seneschal:
8 buttons are right beneath your fingers at all times (4 shoulder + 2 back + 2 trackpad clicks) with another four (ABXY) just by the trackpads. In a typical controller, you'll get less immediately available, and you'll have to let go of the sticks if you want to access more. Thank Christ somebody finally realized I shouldn't have to use my thumbs for every action if I have 8 more fingers gripping the controller.

I'm really liking this idea, and I agree.
Having to stop moving to perform various actions is always an (admittedly minor) annoyance I've had with standard controllers.
If they can make it work without killing my hands it's definitely a huge plus.

chozo_hybrid:

SonOfVoorhees:
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.

Exactly, but that's it isn't it, all Valve are doing with this stuff is giving more choices, no one will be forced to use the gamepad with a Steam Machine and PC gamers, a good chunk of them will prob just stick with things as they always have. So no harm done.

As long as this doesn't impose on what people already use, then it's all good. Valve know what they;'re doing, I'd be willing to at least try one.

Will PC mouse & keyboard users scorn it? Definitely there will be some, but from my perspective the problem comes when some developers try to shove a console controller down your throat on games that could use keyboard & mouse just as well. Now keep in mind these are games that you are intending on playing at your computer not on your couch.

But a controller that's designed to replicate the keyboard+mouse (though I'd actually say it leans way heavier on the mouse here) that they intend you use on your couch? Like I said there will always be some but I don't think there will be that much complaining. So far the raging seems to be coming more from people who like the Xbox controller design.

Gott in Himmel! That thing is hideous!

I was really hoping for something more like this thing in the picture below, but seems like we're stuck with something that looks like it was stolen from the props department from the film Prometheus.

I give this thing a week in the hands of "snack while we play" gamers before the track pads look like Chester Cheetah used them to wipe his ass.

image

klaynexas3:
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.

They already said all announcements were about the living room. Were you really expecting Half Life 3?
I was hoping for it but what does it have to do with a living room?

And for once, I don't like Valve. I fucking hate trackpads. Maybe this will be good, maybe this will be great, but I don't think it'll be for me, but I still hope it does well.

Psychobabble:
Gott in Himmel! That thing is hideous!

I was really hoping for something more like this thing in the picture below, but seems like we're stuck with something that looks like it was stolen from the props department from the film Prometheus.

I give this thing a week in the hands of "snack while we play" gamers before the track pads look like Chester Cheetah used them to wipe his ass.

image

Valve is the master of usability engineering, they have probably tested against that scenario and several others and if all else fails, the controller is modifiable and you can still use you old controller or mouse and keyboard.
The entire theme of the three announcements was "openness" and "flexibility".

From Steam Page:
The Steam Controller was designed from the ground up to be hackable. Just as the Steam Community and Workshop contributors currently deliver tremendous value via additions to software products on Steam, we believe that they will meaningfully contribute to the design of the Steam Controller. We plan to make tools available that will enable users to participate in all aspects of the experience, from industrial design to electrical engineering. We can't wait to see what you come up with.

Considering one of my final college projects was making a full size model of a PS3 game controller altered to be more comfortable in the hands and printing it out in a 3D printer (making a note here, huge success!) and my current plans to make my own rapid prototyping lab in my garage, I can not wait for this. Custom cases, triggers and buttons. Oooooooh YES!

Not sure about forgoing the ye olde analogue stick. I like me some tactile feedback. But, I do like what it can do, or rather what the say it can do. I'm going to have to wait and see before I start throwing shit or roses.

shephardjhon:

klaynexas3:
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.

They already said all announcements were about the living room. Were you really expecting Half Life 3?
I was hoping for it but what does it have to do with a living room?

I never said that, just that the order was bad. They started with two really cool things, then ended with a controller that most people are skeptical at best about. Couldn't that have been the first announcement? Especially since the steam box thing was what most people were anticipating, that should have been the final announcement.

shephardjhon:

Psychobabble:
Gott in Himmel! That thing is hideous!

I was really hoping for something more like this thing in the picture below, but seems like we're stuck with something that looks like it was stolen from the props department from the film Prometheus.

I give this thing a week in the hands of "snack while we play" gamers before the track pads look like Chester Cheetah used them to wipe his ass.

image

Valve is the master of usability engineering, they have probably tested against that scenario and several others and if all else fails, the controller is modifiable and you can still use you old controller or mouse and keyboard.
The entire theme of the three announcements was "openness" and "flexibility".

I'm not trying to pick a fight here, for once, but what exactly have these guys done like this before? Because I can't think of anything. Feel free to take it on faith that they have thought of every contingency if you like. Me I'll keep my skepticism intact until I actually see proof.

Personally I think this controller desgin is a bad idea considering the biggest Steam fanatics are computer keyboard and mouse users. This just smacks of them trying to be "just another console". Which I don't feel is what the market needs.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
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.

He hasn't come back. D:

I'm not even a die-hard Valve fanboy as much as I'm an increasingly aggressive innovation-shover.

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.

Well, that's a different sentiment. Most are complaining that there isn't enough to see on the controller.

That said, try learning to use a trackball mouse. With no experience, it takes less than half an hour to use it without errors, and a couple hours or so to start playing games with it (although your thumb will get sore). I doubt the learning curve on trackpads (which we have experience using, even if laptop trackpads are pretty low quality) will be much more painful than that.

Psychobabble:
Gott in Himmel! That thing is hideous!

I was really hoping for something more like this thing in the picture below, but seems like we're stuck with something that looks like it was stolen from the props department from the film Prometheus.

I give this thing a week in the hands of "snack while we play" gamers before the track pads look like Chester Cheetah used them to wipe his ass.

image

You obviously have no idea how disgusting trackballs get even in washed hands.

lacktheknack:

NameIsRobertPaulson:
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.

He hasn't come back. D:

I'm not even a die-hard Valve fanboy as much as I'm an increasingly aggressive innovation-shover.

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.

Well, that's a different sentiment. Most are complaining that there isn't enough to see on the controller.

That said, try learning to use a trackball mouse. With no experience, it takes less than half an hour to use it without errors, and a couple hours or so to start playing games with it (although your thumb will get sore). I doubt the learning curve on trackpads (which we have experience using, even if laptop trackpads are pretty low quality) will be much more painful than that.

I've used a thumb-trackball mouse for over a decade, love the blasted things, especially for gaming. And yes there is a learning curve with both them and trackpads. If the ones on the steam controller are anything like the ones I've used on laptops, I'm thinking getting used to using two of them is going to be like trying to masturbate using chopsticks.

loa:

Psychobabble:
Gott in Himmel! That thing is hideous!

I was really hoping for something more like this thing in the picture below, but seems like we're stuck with something that looks like it was stolen from the props department from the film Prometheus.

I give this thing a week in the hands of "snack while we play" gamers before the track pads look like Chester Cheetah used them to wipe his ass.

image

You obviously have no idea how disgusting trackballs get even in washed hands.

Uh yes I do as I stated above that I've used a trackball for years. It takes less than 20 seconds to pop the ball out, wipe it clean and put it back. It's hard smooth plastic, easily cleanable, nothing like ribbed rubber pads that are hardwired into the game pad.

I have my doubts about it, though I am glad to see somebody has finally worked out you can put buttons on the underside of a controller.

I still think I'd prefer thumbsticks, or better still a thumbstick on the left and a trackball on the right, but I'll need to try one of these controllers out before I dismiss it.

And hey, at least it's not got it's thumbstick equivalents located at different bloody heights like the Xbox controller insists upon having.

Really like the fact that they came up with something entirely new. The button layout looks like it'd be hard to cover more than 1 at a time, unless the trackpad will convert different moves into combinations (which would be pretty cool).

Hoping this takes off, as it looks like Steam is going about the console deal the right way....so far....

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