Valve Reveals the Steam Controller

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KungFuJazzHands:

Vigormortis:
...in place of class action suits, the user and Valve agree to use 3rd party arbitration instead. And, so long as your claims are less than $10,000, Valve will pay the entirety of the plaintiffs legal fees. Whether you win or lose the case.

I'm wandering off-topic with this, but here it goes: that 3rd party arbitration clause is a bit of a hollow gesture, because Valve get to chose the arbitrator. That gives them a pretty blatant advantage, and it's why they're so willing to pay the fees.

That kind of "comfort clause" is SOP for larger companies these days, but it doesn't really make the rest of it any easier to swallow as far as I'm concerned.

I believe the 3rd party arbitrator is selected by both parties, but I could be wrong.

Even so, I agree in that I wish Valve had found a better solution to the problem. As it stands, it's a systemic and cyclical issue that only seems to be getting worse.

The legal system is messed up, and many companies are making varying degrees of anti-consumer decisions to protect themselves from those problems. Which, in turns, often causes new laws to be passed which compound the problem by making even worse issues within the legal system.

PoolCleaningRobot:

Fo sho bro. At first I saw the picture and was like "oooo uhhh..." but then I read the description and now I'm hype as shit for it. I mean, it could suck but if Valve's haptic feed back works it could be amazing. I want to try this more than the OS or the Steam Boxes. But I just knew though that there was going to be massive amounts of butt hurt from people with a keyboard and mouse obsession and dismissal from people who are too lazy to read a few paragraphs. And with that, I leave this comment thread cause I can already guess half the responses

That was basically my first reaction as well. Essentially, "What the hell is this thing? Was someone high when designing it?"

But the more I read about the promised features and performance capabilities, the more intrigued I became. And, the more I thought on it, the more other possibilities started coming to me.

Honestly, this thing could either be a huge step in a new direction, or a complete and utter failure. I would hope the former, given the general stagnation in the industry right now, but I'm not naive enough to think the latter isn't possible.

The only thing that's been more surprising to me than the listed features is the general lack of animosity towards the thing from many gamers and the absolute disregard for any info about it beyond the pictures and the fact that it doesn't "look like my other controllers".

I see a lot of people reacting negatively because this controller isn't exactly the same as every other controller ever released. I was under the impression this wasn't meant to emulate standard controllers but provide a middleground between controllers and keyboard and mouse setups. I assumed that if I was using the steam box say, and wanted to play a fighting game, I'd use my arcade stick, not this controller. This isn't meant to be the end all be all of controllers, I figured.
Anyway, I am interested to see how it shapes up. I still prefer a keyboard and mouse and have no real plans to game in my living room. However I still am interested to see what Valve does with it.

Vigormortis:

Uh huh. So basically you're implying

No.

I'm implying I've tried touch technology before and it was a poor replacement for actual analog controls and buttons. The concept of using touchpads when they could have placed sticks(or d-pads if you prefer them), is an unappealing idea.

Shadowstar38:

No.

I'm implying I've tried touch technology before and it was a poor replacement for actual analog controls and buttons. The concept of using touchpads when they could have placed sticks(or d-pads if you prefer them), is an unappealing idea.

But you're comparing modern analog sticks to antiquated, older touch pads. It's hardly a fair comparison.

You're previous post made it sound as though you meant a controller without an analog stick wasn't a controller.

The analog sticks of yesteryears were far worse than todays. So by that comparison, analog sticks are bad and we should go back to d-pads only.

Just because a piece of technology didn't work in the past doesn't mean it's doomed to fail forever. Sometimes technology is used in the wrong way. Sometimes it takes a while for it to advance to a point where it's usefulness can be realized. To simply dismiss these SteamController touchpads because "touchpads sucked in the past" is misguided.

All I'm saying is, there's been some very big advances in touchpad/touchsensing technology in recent years. As well as in haptic feedback technology.

As a result, it isn't that much of a stretch to think that they can, when combined, offer a more responsive, more precise, and faster input method than analog sticks can. Not to mention far more robust and detailed sensory feedback than simple rumble motors.

Also: you seem to be implying that the SteamController has no buttons. It has sixteen of them. So I don't follow the issue in that...

Huh, it kind of looks like a bigger version of my phone. I have an Xperia play, which is essentially a PS3 controller and a phone combined. I can play PS games and shit on it.

The two sticks are replaced with really compact touchpads that look weird, but then when you use it, it's actually really good. I'm glad they tried this. I mean, yeah, it's fun to use the sticks and hear them click and such, but the trackpads allows for more control and when you are trying to move for a long time, it's easier than holding down a stick.

Vigormortis:

Also: you seem to be implying that the SteamController has no buttons. It has sixteen of them. So I don't follow the issue in that...

Sentence structure mother fucker! Do you understand it!

I meant buttons in relation to current stuff. Easy mix up though.

I'm only going to say that it looks interesting. And when it comes out in 2020, I look forward to seeing how well it works.

Maybe I'll get to play Ep 3 on it.

That thing looks incredibly awkward to use. I'm not sold.

Shadowstar38:

Vigormortis:

Also: you seem to be implying that the SteamController has no buttons. It has sixteen of them. So I don't follow the issue in that...

Sentence structure mother fucker! Do you understand it!

I meant buttons in relation to current stuff. Easy mix up though.

I do. "Also:" was used as a caveat lead in to a side thought. An 'aside', if you will. (you will? great!)

But anyway, I still don't follow. Are you alluding to the layout of the SteamControllers buttons or some other aspect of the thing I'm not quite grasping?

If it's the layout, I think I can clear that up.

A lot of people are operating under the assumption that the four radial buttons; the ones bordering the touch screen; are the primary action buttons. An easy mistake to make given they are labeled A, B, X, and Y, respectively.

However, a quick glance at their sample configuration for Portal 2 shows that those buttons are going to likely be relegated to secondary functions for most games. In fact, I'd wager there's a good chance they won't be labeled with their current lettering upon the final builds release.

Most key actions will likely be mapped to the four shoulder/trigger buttons, the two under-slung buttons, and the touchpad clicks.

This was the topic of my thesis for my final English class in college.

I got raised from a B to an A. I proved very well that the industry was in an unsustainable state and that a crash was incoming if publishers/developers didn't do certain things. However, whenever I talk about it anywhere else, people seem to think I'm full of shit.

Guess this further confirms I was right. And once again I can do this:

This controller is instantly far, far better than any other in my mind (Xbox, PS3/4, etc.) because "it's made to be hackable". If there's anything that can make a half-decent idea succeed, it's Valve's willingness to embrace custom modifications to both the hardware and software of their products.

It looks....interesting!
Obviously it looks very strange, but I have no intention of judging this thing until I can hold it in my hands and see f 'haptic technology' is the same as 'blast processing'.

I'm a little disappointed, I was expecting a glass ampule that I break under my nose and inhale deeply to lodge the nanites deep into my brain that will control the system.

If the actuators on the controller are precise enough to form a waveform that reproduces music, I'd say we've never even seen anything like this before. It can deliver textures? By vibrating in different directions and at different frequencies? So it's like a holodeck for my thumbs? What in Odin's beard is this going to feel like?

I must know.

synobal:

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?

That iss not your normal steam game though. Its going to work fine for all the simple 2D stuff and most of the simple 3D stuff but most of the AAA games it will be worthless on.

After years of gaming and owning different pads, some with almost no buttons...the tactile feeling of pressing a button is kinda needed even without that you can not do better than the classic dual shock design(limp analog sticks aside) if that were not the case Nintendo would have never adopted it for their classic controllers on the WII and the layout for the WIIU pad is rather close to it.

I do not mind the lack of sticks its the button placements that are silly as most 3d games the left thumb is rarely off the stick and for this you have 2 or 3 main buttons right by it, if they were extra buttons it would not be a problem..

Then again dose this thing have 3 trigger/bumber buttons? If it dose then it should work fine, hell it should work better than most if it has functional 2 bumbers and 4 triggers.

It looks interesting like fuck, i mean i won't buy one but i would love to atleast try it out. It seems nice, it probably won't be close to KB+M in precision and speed but more options is good. But still i don't think you will be able to play dota on that joystick unless it's the same as KB+M which i highly doubt.

The stupidest thing Valve did with this controller reveal is naming those four buttons ABXY. Huge number of humans are not smart enough to understand that those four buttons are NOT ABXY from Xbox controller. THEY ARE NOT.

Looks promising, but I have to judge the feedback thingy with my own hands.

It doesn't seem like it requires specific support from games to emulate Xbox360/PS3 controller. Assigning two separate shift functions to two back(pinkie) buttons to switch the functions of the pads from dpad to left stick and from face buttons to right stick(including feedback) should do just fine.

*wonders what's wrong with analog sticks*

I feel like I would be comfortable with this for Portal, but I'm really not sure I'd be comfortable with this for something like Super Meat Boy that requires ridiculous amounts of precision.

I'm definitely curious, though, and would like to give it a shot.

Overquoted:
*wonders what's wrong with analog sticks*

Nothing? Well not exactly.
Sticks have limited functionality. In addition to sucking at FPS games. Valve's pads look like they can do much more.

captcha: you win
All arguments are pointless. I win.

Edit:

BrainWalker:
I feel like I would be comfortable with this for Portal, but I'm really not sure I'd be comfortable with this for something like Super Meat Boy that requires ridiculous amounts of precision.

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TommyRefenes/20130928/201219/My_time_with_the_Steam_Controller.php
He(the SMB dev) played SMB with this controller.

Holy wow did this thread blow up!

Relax guys. I figure this was the same reaction to the likes of the N64 controller no?

On that front, I love quite the few hypocrites on here.

They yell at suspicious console/PC fans for judging a control as shit before they even tried it, yet they then link the Wii U Gamepad as shit because it looks like shit.

Like, can you not see the hypocrisy there?

I thought the same thing too...until I tried the thing. Basically if you can hold a regular DS with ease, you can hold the game pad with ease. Which is to say, it's pretty darn comfortable.

On that note, this controller can either blow up in their face, or it might be a step in an interesting direction.

Either way, I'm not going to judge unless I have personally used the thing.
No. I don't trust reviewers on gaming websites to tell the truth.
Especially Escapist- seeing as how anything Valve does on here is worshipped to high heaven and any thread that so much as criticizes Valve is locked before it hits page 2.

Assuming a standard controller setup where the left sensorthingy controls movement, this controller seems to have only two buttons accessible (outside two possible buttons) without taking your hands off your movement pad. That... doesn't seem like a good idea to me, the controller already has too few buttons compared to a keyboard.

Honest to god I thought that were pulling some sort of joke on us. Good luck playing a rts game on that. The thoughts of attempting to play Dota 2 on that thing makes me shudder.

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

^

the controller has haptic feedback, you feel whatever the programmer wants you to feel. so for example you want to play a game where you pop bubble-wrap? you guessed it 'pop' 'pop' under your finger. emulating a button push would be impossible but communicating to the player they've pushed the button is easy it's basically like touching a speaker, so yes there can be feedback, you could even be a smart-ass and program several levels of feedback and one for 'the limit' of activation, similar to mechanical keyboard keys

I applaud valve for trying something new, frankly these technologies will never be accepted until someone puts them out there, hell the first 'standard' 16 button controller raised a few eyebrows from the crowds of arcade game button-mashers so only time will tell, I personally think it will work solidly as a controller, but the average gamer just wont want it on principal because they've used dual sticks for half their lives.

ZippyDSMlee:
I do not mind the lack of sticks its the button placements that are silly as most 3d games the left thumb is rarely off the stick and for this you have 2 or 3 main buttons right by it, if they were extra buttons it would not be a problem..

They are extra buttons. It's the right trackpad that'll take the place of a standard controller's A, B, X, and Y buttons, as clicking the top of the pad will function like pressing Y, clicking the bottom will be A, and so on. What the Steam controller calls "ABXY" are really more like its equivalents of Start and Back (I wouldn't be surprised if they were renamed 1, 2, 3, and 4 or something upon release to make it less confusing), useful primarily for mapping hotkeys to.

Vrach:
Assuming a standard controller setup where the left sensorthingy controls movement, this controller seems to have only two buttons accessible (outside two possible buttons) without taking your hands off your movement pad. That... doesn't seem like a good idea to me, the controller already has too few buttons compared to a keyboard.

Without moving your thumbs from the trackpads, you can use the four triggers with your index fingers, the back two buttons with any of your other fingers, and the clicking function on the trackpads with (of course) your thumbs, for a total of eight. And since, as described, each trackpad is really four clickable buttons instead of just one, the total is really more like eleven or even fourteen, depending on how you view it. Then removing your thumbs from the pads gives you eight more buttons to relegate less crucial functions to, not to mention all the options the touchscreen opens up.

The Lugz:

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

^

the controller has haptic feedback, you feel whatever the programmer wants you to feel. so for example you want to play a game where you pop bubble-wrap? you guessed it 'pop' 'pop' under your finger. emulating a button push would be impossible but communicating to the player they've pushed the button is easy it's basically like touching a speaker, so yes there can be feedback, you could even be a smart-ass and program several levels of feedback and one for 'the limit' of activation, similar to mechanical keyboard keys

I applaud valve for trying something new, frankly these technologies will never be accepted until someone puts them out there, hell the first 'standard' 16 button controller raised a few eyebrows from the crowds of arcade game button-mashers so only time will tell, I personally think it will work solidly as a controller, but the average gamer just wont want it on principal because they've used dual sticks for half their lives.

I'm glad you didn't finish reading my post where I had written I know there's haptic feedback, but I'll explain this anyway; the ability to 'let the programmer make you feel what he wants you to feel" is a interesting idea idea, the problem is this never works, it's a gimmick that few games take advantage of then it's just thrown in at the last minute because the console creators 'would prefer' you use it. Look at; the Wii's entire library or the six-axis, PSV's rear touch panel 3D. It's a forced feature that typically hurts gameplay. To top it off many devs rarely let you even change controls the most basic and easy thing they could implement and you think they're going to take the time to add in these features for a controller that won't be the majority on steam or steam box?

This is how it'll likely go, a few games in the first year will use it and likely be impressive in their own right, then they will default the haptic to emulating the current controllers in some way. Because that's what everyone has keyboard and mouse and a controller and this isn't likely to be a standard because everyone who has a PC has their preferred control method, those who do get this aren't going to be close to the majority so that will likely end that.

Again: it's a very interesting idea that fits little into games currently and I can't see it wedging it's way into the normal game pad world.

GodzillaGuy92:

ZippyDSMlee:
I do not mind the lack of sticks its the button placements that are silly as most 3d games the left thumb is rarely off the stick and for this you have 2 or 3 main buttons right by it, if they were extra buttons it would not be a problem..

They are extra buttons. It's the right trackpad that'll take the place of a standard controller's A, B, X, and Y buttons, as clicking the top of the pad will function like pressing Y, clicking the bottom will be A, and so on. What the Steam controller calls "ABXY" are really more like its equivalents of Start and Back (I wouldn't be surprised if they were renamed 1, 2, 3, and 4 or something upon release to make it less confusing), useful primarily for mapping hotkeys to.

Vrach:
Assuming a standard controller setup where the left sensorthingy controls movement, this controller seems to have only two buttons accessible (outside two possible buttons) without taking your hands off your movement pad. That... doesn't seem like a good idea to me, the controller already has too few buttons compared to a keyboard.

Without moving your thumbs from the trackpads, you can use the four triggers with your index fingers, the back two buttons with any of your other fingers, and the clicking function on the trackpads with (of course) your thumbs, for a total of eight. And since, as described, each trackpad is really four clickable buttons instead of just one, the total is really more like eleven or even fourteen, depending on how you view it. Then removing your thumbs from the pads gives you eight more buttons to relegate less crucial functions to, not to mention all the options the touchscreen opens up.

Nope, the right track pad is for looking its not for buttons.

ZippyDSMlee:

GodzillaGuy92:

ZippyDSMlee:
I do not mind the lack of sticks its the button placements that are silly as most 3d games the left thumb is rarely off the stick and for this you have 2 or 3 main buttons right by it, if they were extra buttons it would not be a problem..

They are extra buttons. It's the right trackpad that'll take the place of a standard controller's A, B, X, and Y buttons, as clicking the top of the pad will function like pressing Y, clicking the bottom will be A, and so on. What the Steam controller calls "ABXY" are really more like its equivalents of Start and Back (I wouldn't be surprised if they were renamed 1, 2, 3, and 4 or something upon release to make it less confusing), useful primarily for mapping hotkeys to.

Vrach:
Assuming a standard controller setup where the left sensorthingy controls movement, this controller seems to have only two buttons accessible (outside two possible buttons) without taking your hands off your movement pad. That... doesn't seem like a good idea to me, the controller already has too few buttons compared to a keyboard.

Without moving your thumbs from the trackpads, you can use the four triggers with your index fingers, the back two buttons with any of your other fingers, and the clicking function on the trackpads with (of course) your thumbs, for a total of eight. And since, as described, each trackpad is really four clickable buttons instead of just one, the total is really more like eleven or even fourteen, depending on how you view it. Then removing your thumbs from the pads gives you eight more buttons to relegate less crucial functions to, not to mention all the options the touchscreen opens up.

Nope, the right track pad is for looking its not for buttons.

When the Super Meat Boy dev tested the controller, the right trackpad was the jump button.

Snotnarok:
I'm glad you didn't finish reading my post where I had written I know there's haptic feedback

It's called Netiquette, and forum rules dictate that an entire post should not be copy/pasted so the Op can see exactly what you're commenting on and not take up the entire forum with a wall of text.

My Specific point was:
The hardware as presented is perfectly capable, and yes you're quite correct developers will have many and varying levels of use and acceptance of the technology some will doubtless ignore it entirely but that is not an intrinsic flaw of the technology itself it's lazy programming.

gimmicks are a different kettle of fish, 3d is a gimmick, because it's appeal soon fails when you move your head or gives people headaches or becomes overused, and the fourth wall is broken, rendering the feeling of immersion moot. whereas something that gives you tactile response to your actions gives you many benefits including: improved timing, feeling the 'drop spot' of a physical key allows you to split second time a key press with muscle memory, you could easily program that in to this device and it is not lacking in that regard, in fact quite the opposite.

lacktheknack:

ZippyDSMlee:

GodzillaGuy92:

They are extra buttons. It's the right trackpad that'll take the place of a standard controller's A, B, X, and Y buttons, as clicking the top of the pad will function like pressing Y, clicking the bottom will be A, and so on. What the Steam controller calls "ABXY" are really more like its equivalents of Start and Back (I wouldn't be surprised if they were renamed 1, 2, 3, and 4 or something upon release to make it less confusing), useful primarily for mapping hotkeys to.

Without moving your thumbs from the trackpads, you can use the four triggers with your index fingers, the back two buttons with any of your other fingers, and the clicking function on the trackpads with (of course) your thumbs, for a total of eight. And since, as described, each trackpad is really four clickable buttons instead of just one, the total is really more like eleven or even fourteen, depending on how you view it. Then removing your thumbs from the pads gives you eight more buttons to relegate less crucial functions to, not to mention all the options the touchscreen opens up.

Nope, the right track pad is for looking its not for buttons.

When the Super Meat Boy dev tested the controller, the right trackpad was the jump button.

So? I am thinking beyond simplistic 2D and 3D I am thinking about AAA FPS and AAA action titles like Batman and fighting games.

Whats the point in making a controller that's limited to only some games even if it's the majority?

ZippyDSMlee:

lacktheknack:

ZippyDSMlee:

Nope, the right track pad is for looking its not for buttons.

When the Super Meat Boy dev tested the controller, the right trackpad was the jump button.

So? I am thinking beyond simplistic 2D and 3D I am thinking about AAA FPS and AAA action titles like Batman and fighting games.

Whats the point in making a controller that's limited to only some games even if it's the majority?

Ask the people who made every controller ever, despite RTSs not being playable on them.

That said, the trackpads are buttons. You said they weren't, but they are. They can be used as a full button, or divided into directional input.

ZippyDSMlee:

I do not mind the lack of sticks its the button placements that are silly as most 3d games the left thumb is rarely off the stick and for this you have 2 or 3 main buttons right by it, if they were extra buttons it would not be a problem..

Then again dose this thing have 3 trigger/bumber buttons? If it dose then it should work fine, hell it should work better than most if it has functional 2 bumbers and 4 triggers.

The thing that seems to be confusing many is the labeling of the four orbital buttons around the touchscreen.

Though they are labeled A, B, X, and Y, respectively, they are NOT meant to be used as the primary action keys.

Those functions are likely going to be relegated to the touchpad clicks, the four trigger/shoulder buttons, and the two underslung buttons underneath the controller.

The rest: the four orbital buttons, the three lower face buttons, and the touchscreen are more likely to be used for secondary or system functions. I.E. inventory selection, start/back buttons, etc, etc.

Try to keep in mind this thing has sixteen buttons. Eight that can be pressed without ever removing your thumbs from the trackpads.

ZippyDSMlee:

Nope, the right track pad is for looking its not for buttons.

No, that's just demonstrably wrong.

The trackpads can be programmed to register presses in different zones. Essentially allowing it to function as a series of extra buttons.

Likewise, as part of a suggestion made by the dev behind Super Meat Boy, Valve plans to add small dimples to the trackpad surfaces so it feels more natural when the pad is used as separate buttons.

Don't just assume the trackpads are used only for one thing. That's like assuming the A button on an Xbox controller is only ever used for jump; no matter the game.

Vrach:
Assuming a standard controller setup where the left sensorthingy controls movement, this controller seems to have only two buttons accessible (outside two possible buttons) without taking your hands off your movement pad. That... doesn't seem like a good idea to me, the controller already has too few buttons compared to a keyboard.

I don't know how many times it needs to be repeated until people understand this, but eight of the sixteen buttons on the controller are able to be pressed without removing your thumbs from the trackpads.

Four trigger/shoulder buttons, two clickable trackpads, and the two underslung buttons on the back of the controller.

And, this isn't even counting the possibility of coding one of the trackpads to function as a series of extra buttons.

Also, with the touchscreen, one can theoretically have a near limitless number of extra buttons.

Snotnarok:

I'm glad you didn't finish reading my post where I had written I know there's haptic feedback, but I'll explain this anyway; the ability to 'let the programmer make you feel what he wants you to feel" is a interesting idea idea, the problem is this never works, it's a gimmick that few games take advantage of then it's just thrown in at the last minute because the console creators 'would prefer' you use it. Look at; the Wii's entire library or the six-axis, PSV's rear touch panel 3D. It's a forced feature that typically hurts gameplay. To top it off many devs rarely let you even change controls the most basic and easy thing they could implement and you think they're going to take the time to add in these features for a controller that won't be the majority on steam or steam box?

This is how it'll likely go, a few games in the first year will use it and likely be impressive in their own right, then they will default the haptic to emulating the current controllers in some way. Because that's what everyone has keyboard and mouse and a controller and this isn't likely to be a standard because everyone who has a PC has their preferred control method, those who do get this aren't going to be close to the majority so that will likely end that.

Again: it's a very interesting idea that fits little into games currently and I can't see it wedging it's way into the normal game pad world.

So you're saying haptic feedback is a "gimmick" that will almost never be used by developers?

You know that rumble motors are a form of haptic feedback as well, right? Generation 1 and 2, in fact. And unless someone's been sticking solely to games from the early 90's, rumble has been a common inclusion in almost every console game released within the last decade or so. So, if nothing else, the gen3 or gen4 haptic feedback tech Valve's put into this controller can simply function as more efficient rumble motors. Assuming the dev is too lazy or disinterested in trying anything more with them, that is.

So...I don't see where you're going with your assumption...

I can honestly say I've never seen more petty and ill-informed complaints over a single gaming product release in my life.

So, if nothing else, thank you Valve for showing us all the true nature of the internet and gaming communities.

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