Steam Controller Trades Touchscreen for Buttons

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Steam Controller Trades Touchscreen for Buttons

Valve's unique Steam Controller just got a little more approachable, after ditching its central touchscreen.

In case you didn't know, the Steam Controller is really weird. Valve made a lot of changes to the traditional controller layout, including a somewhat awkwardly-placed touchscreen and an alarming lack of conventional buttons. Well, after receiving feedback from the controller's beta phase, it seems like the company has decided not to reinvent the wheel quite so much: the touchscreen is getting the axe in a new design, and it looks like we'll be getting some buttons and maybe a d-pad instead. Chalk one up for tradition.

The redesign is much closer to the PlayStation and Xbox layouts that have become the norm, for the purpose of backwards compatibility. However, the two trackpads that replace traditional analog sticks (arguably the controller's most defining feature) still dominate the face of the controller. The final position and layout of the buttons and/or d-pad is still undecided, so don't be surprised if Valve sends out another wave of beta controllers before settling on the definitive retail version.

As an added bonus, ditching the touchscreen might mean a lower price tag on the final controller, but of course it's far too early to say for sure.

Source: Engadget

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Always nice to see a company responding to feedback..

...So how about picking up that same 30 day return policy that EA beat you to Valve? ~.^

Christ it looks boring as fuck now. Its time gaming took this design of putting shitloads of buttons on the side of the controller with the least number of available fingers out behind the shed and put two shells through its head. It needs to fucking die.

Desert Punk:
Always nice to see a company responding to feedback..

...So how about picking up that same 30 day return policy that EA beat you to Valve? ~.^

They are incapable to do that, think on the amount of cheap, short, or campaign only titles that will be bought to play trough the whole game and after 30 days will be asked for refund and thus enjoying all the features the game has to offer and ultimately paying nothing.
EDIT;
MATRIX2509 IS MEAN BUT RIGHT, this means the thumbs will do all the work, THE NEW BUTTONS MUST BE PLACED BEHIND, HUMANS HAVE 5 FINGERS, MAKE US USE THEM, THERES ALREADY CONTROLLERS WHO TACKLE THE THUMB PROBLEM (see Razer's Sabertooth), WHY SHOULDNT VALVE DO THE SAME?
THIS IS A STEP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION VALVE, DONT YOU DARE TO KEEP HEARING YOUR FANS....USE YOUR BRAINS GUYS.

Thank god. It looks actually usable now.

I'm not sold. Granted, I haven't held the controller at all but, in the mock up at least, it looks like the newly added buttons are not in a very user friendly location. Particularly given that the outer edge of the controller appears fairly thick, the buttons look placed way too far inward to allow for comfortable use. It's sort of like saying "Yeah, we've got traditional buttons now!" without actually really thinking about where those buttons are.

Much improvement. Now the thumbs don't have to push buttons in stupid places.
Also, to the ragers, just because the front of the controller has been improved, it doesn't mean that the buttons on the back were removed. The article & source don't mention anything about the back of the controller. You have no reason to complain yet.

I like it better than before, but it's still got the same basic problem the other controllers have. You have to take your hands off the D-Pads (screens/whatever) to press buttons.

Desert Punk:

...So how about picking up that same 30 day return policy that EA beat you to Valve? ~.^

You're funny.

reiniat:

They are incapable to do that, think on the amount of cheap, short, or campaign only titles that will be bought to play trough the whole game and after 30 days will be asked for refund and thus enjoying all the features the game has to offer and ultimately paying nothing.

Wait, so big bad evil EA can do it, GoG can do it without a significant rise in claims, but Valve, the mighty altruistic company run by God-King Gabe Newell can't?

A more reasonable assessment would be "won't" because they're still lacking in the customer service department.

I need a working D-Pad for my fighting games. So close Valve, so close....

yeah, fuck that now.

the only feature that made the controller interesting is out of the window.

now i have no real reason to buy one since you can just buy a xbox controller for your pc. and that controller seems to lean more on the xbox design.

Zachary Amaranth:
I like it better than before, but it's still got the same basic problem the other controllers have. You have to take your hands off the D-Pads (screens/whatever) to press buttons.

Desert Punk:

...So how about picking up that same 30 day return policy that EA beat you to Valve? ~.^

You're funny.

reiniat:

They are incapable to do that, think on the amount of cheap, short, or campaign only titles that will be bought to play trough the whole game and after 30 days will be asked for refund and thus enjoying all the features the game has to offer and ultimately paying nothing.

Wait, so big bad evil EA can do it, GoG can do it without a significant rise in claims, but Valve, the mighty altruistic company run by God-King Gabe Newell can't?

A more reasonable assessment would be "won't" because they're still lacking in the customer service department.

and 30 also includes a 3.

and we all know that number doesnt exist.

Well hey look at that, it now looks like any other controller out there on the market but with trackpad tech.

I'm still on the fence with wanting to try one but I can see why they wouldn't want to gamble with a TS interface.

Zachary Amaranth:
I like it better than before, but it's still got the same basic problem the other controllers have. You have to take your hands off the D-Pads (screens/whatever) to press buttons.

Desert Punk:

...So how about picking up that same 30 day return policy that EA beat you to Valve? ~.^

You're funny.

reiniat:

They are incapable to do that, think on the amount of cheap, short, or campaign only titles that will be bought to play trough the whole game and after 30 days will be asked for refund and thus enjoying all the features the game has to offer and ultimately paying nothing.

Wait, so big bad evil EA can do it, GoG can do it without a significant rise in claims, but Valve, the mighty altruistic company run by God-King Gabe Newell can't?

A more reasonable assessment would be "won't" because they're still lacking in the customer service department.

GOG only does it on games that physically won't run on your computer and all their support options dont work.

EA's only works on EA games (I think)

So yeah it makes sense that Valve wouldn't offer it the same way...

Zachary Amaranth:
I like it better than before, but it's still got the same basic problem the other controllers have. You have to take your hands off the D-Pads (screens/whatever) to press buttons.

I was complaining about that, but then i noticed it still has 8 buttons behind, so no, you dont really have to. You may have to do it in very complex games, but it will be the same as in the keyboard you cant obviously press more than 8 buttons without removing your hand from the WASD :D

Zachary Amaranth:

reiniat:

They are incapable to do that, think on the amount of cheap, short, or campaign only titles that will be bought to play trough the whole game and after 30 days will be asked for refund and thus enjoying all the features the game has to offer and ultimately paying nothing.

Wait, so big bad evil EA can do it, GoG can do it without a significant rise in claims, but Valve, the mighty altruistic company run by God-King Gabe Newell can't?
A more reasonable assessment would be "won't" because they're still lacking in the customer service department.

Sure, because failing to deliver virtually free games for 30 days to the biggest and most uncontrollable hub of gamers in the world risking your entire operation when you already have the cheapest prices on the market is a horrible failure.
30 days refund is just a drop in a sea of EA bullshits (they do it just to avoid expensive lawsuits), and GOG kindness, god bless GOG.
So no big deal, at least for me, ive never ever in my life had to ask for the refund of a game anyway :)

rhizhim:

now i have no real reason to buy one since you can just buy a xbox controller for your pc. and that controller seems to lean more on the xbox design.

The trackpads still make you plain better in FPS, it still has 8 buttons behind, it still has the haptic feedback, and it has now 8 buttons more instead of a touchscreen that so far we've never seen working well for hardcore games (im interested in Infamous: Second Son tough).
So, this controller is still plain better than any other controller in the market, and possibly even better than a M&K (specially if the damn thing gives you wrist pain).
I alo have a rage post above, and here im recognizing that i was wrong :)

I'm kinda torn in this. The touch screen controller does have it's cons and pros. It's possible to customize the number of buttons you want with a touch screen controller, but it's harder to get the feedback that lets you know you're touching specific buttons. There's also the cost of making it which would be quite high for a touch screen controller, this will probably be a little cheaper to make.

Still, I was kinda intrigued when they tried to do something new, now we just get more of the same. Maybe it's for the best though.

I really like the cool owl-eye buttons on the controller. I look forward to trying one out. Don't care about touchscreen or the other buttons.

reiniat:

Desert Punk:
Always nice to see a company responding to feedback..

...So how about picking up that same 30 day return policy that EA beat you to Valve? ~.^

They are incapable to do that, think on the amount of cheap, short, or campaign only titles that will be bought to play trough the whole game and after 30 days will be asked for refund and thus enjoying all the features the game has to offer and ultimately paying nothing.
EDIT;
MATRIX2509 IS MEAN BUT RIGHT, this means the thumbs will do all the work, THE NEW BUTTONS MUST BE PLACED BEHIND, HUMANS HAVE 5 FINGERS, MAKE US USE THEM, THERES ALREADY CONTROLLERS WHO TACKLE THE THUMB PROBLEM (see Razer's Sabertooth), WHY SHOULDNT VALVE DO THE SAME?
THIS IS A STEP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION VALVE, DONT YOU DARE TO KEEP HEARING YOUR FANS....USE YOUR BRAINS GUYS.

You mean those ones that make you use your ring and pinkie fingers?! That would be horrible. I already have massive trouble using both my index and middle fingers for the back buttons and triggers like a couple of games require, and I've been gaming since I was 3.

While I'm saddened to see it go[1] I understand why they're removing it.

And no, it's not just from user feedback. During testing they've noticed that players spent an inordinate amount of timing looking at the controller's screen instead of the game. Something they'd like to avoid causing.

Now, I'm convinced part of that tendency is the beta users unfamiliarity with the controller; which is something that could be rectified with continued use. But if the consensus is that it be removed, so be it.

Still, I wish they'd include, in the very least, a third touchpad where the touchscreen was. Perhaps a smaller, rectangular one that utilizes the same haptic feedback tech as the two primary pads. That way, they could still implement the same or similar features as the touchscreen was to have but without the added price and "awkwardness".

matrix3509:
snip

AzrealMaximillion:
snip

StriderShinryu:
snip

Just for clarity's sake, the image in the OP isn't the finalized build, nor even the current working mockup. It was simply a quick mock-up to be shown at the Valve Dev Days conference. Something they "whipped together" to emphasize their design changes rather than showing the actual new design.

=[edit]=
I stand corrected. Upon further info being revealed, it seems the image is a rough approximation of the current, working test model. Still subject to change.

[1] Because really, even the basic ideas they had in mind for the feature sets built around the touchscreen sounded absolutely fantastic. Feature sets even Sony hasn't considered for the DualShock 4.

Now it looks like an insect's head.

I dunno, seems like a step closer to a tradition controller style, making it's purpose even less well defined. If they add thumbsticks in the next update...

Ah well. At least it doesn't look like a distant relative of WALL-E anymore.

God damn it. One step forward and two steps back; I was seriously looking forward to the touchscreen.

Which bright-ass chucklehead told them it didn't look enough like a 360 controller or something?

So we're going with the SNES button layout yet again? Oh well, you know how gamers are:

But seriously, this looks lame. This controller was clearly designed so the thumb is on the track pad most of the time. Shouldn't we lay out the buttons so that they're most easily accessable from that position? Something more like this:

AzrealMaximillion:
I need a working D-Pad for my fighting games. So close Valve, so close....

Then just use a regular gamepad. This controller is designed to be a more livingroom friendly alternative to the mouse and keyboard. It wasn't meant to be the ultimate controller for all types of games.

Wow, the fact that everyone in this thread is severely misinformed, including the writer of the article is saddening. Yes, it was a touchscreen. But it was never planned to be just a touchscreen. It said right on the official release that it was a touchscreen where each corner square was an actual button underneath the screen. Press down, and the screen button would click. You still had your buttons, but you'd have the ability to quickly swipe between what each of those 4 buttons did,which gave the ability for cool things like macro sets or 1-9 weapon sets in games you carry weapons Doom style. My interest has now gone from piqued to apathetic, good job general population, being too stupid to adjust to the future, as usual.

Vigormortis:

And no, it's not just from user feedback. During testing they've noticed that players spent an inordinate amount of timing looking at the controller's screen instead of the game. Something they'd like to avoid causing.

Then that was entirely Valve's fault for not having the software ready when testing, because they said when they announced it the touchscreens display would be overlayed onto the game to avoid THAT EXACT ISSUE. Just because some people are too stupid to understand how something like that was necessary to make a proper pc controller doesn't mean we all are.

Yes a touchpad/screen is horrible for a quick responsive interface in games. I only use the screen in 3DS games for menus and non-time-critical things. A really good controller should have plenty of face buttons, shoulder triggers AND some that can be pressed by middle, ring and pinky finger. It should also have drivers for Windows OS X and Linux to let the user fully configure them they way they want if they don't like using buttons on either side, and if the shoulders are analog, they should be on separate axises so you can program then into games that otherwise would register simultaneous trigger presses as both being neutral. You reading this, Gabe?

Also, it would be nice if they made a corded version. The ones with USB charging ports don't count. You can buy USB extensions online for dirt cheap if you rather have a cord instead of feeding it batteries. I had to buy a cordless Logitech trackball because they discontinued the awesome corded version. Now I forget where I put it, my PS3, wiimotes and 360 controller sometimes.

Well, Valve tried something new, and it turns out that you have to leave some of the old in when reinventing the wheel. I guess the people who said the original looked dumb and wouldn't work were right XD Hmm, I wonder, if you were one of the lucky few who got to be in the Beta, do you have to send in the old controller back? Since they're scrapping it and all, plus the agreement WAS that Valve can callback the machines whenever they want.

Ok, I'm more interested now.

I'll admit it's a shame to loose the screen for the sake of the physical buttons - but those are probably going to be a lot more useful - and used.

That said, I'm still nowhere near convinced by the thumbpads - but as I've said before, I'll reserve judgement till I can actually try it out.

I wanted to try this, but I just don't get what's with the "let's put buttons on the front" I can't use a Dualshock because the sticks cramp my hands AND I have to move them between those and the buttons, why put more on the front when you have FOUR fingers on the back of the controller if you're not using the shoulder buttons. (of which two are more comfortable to use but still)

Lillowh:
Wow, the fact that everyone in this thread is severely misinformed, including the writer of the article is saddening. Yes, it was a touchscreen. But it was never planned to be just a touchscreen. It said right on the official release that it was a touchscreen where each corner square was an actual button underneath the screen. Press down, and the screen button would click. You still had your buttons, but you'd have the ability to quickly swipe between what each of those 4 buttons did,which gave the ability for cool things like macro sets or 1-9 weapon sets in games you carry weapons Doom style. My interest has now gone from piqued to apathetic, good job general population, being too stupid to adjust to the future, as usual.

When I read about this, I thought that the trackpad was the one that had that "it's also buttons" thing, I didn't even know it had a touchscreen.

Cognimancer:
Well, after receiving feedback from the controller's beta phase, it seems like the company has decided not to reinvent the wheel quite so much: the touchscreen is getting the axe

I wonder how much of this is due to actual beta feedback, and how much is simply from looking at the feedback the PS4 and WiiU controllers have had. It seems pretty clear that extra awkward bits in the middle of a controller that you can't use while holding it normally just isn't something people want.

Good on Valve, no point making a gamepad different just for the sake of it. If it doesnt work, then it doesnt work. From what i remember couldnt the whole pad be reprogrammed? Im guess everyone changed the buttons to what is more comfortable, and that is the PS/MS design of pad. Not a surprise, with had that standard layout since PS1.

People moaning because of the changes, thats the point of beta, of why they sent the pad out for people to try and give feed back on. Or do people expect Valve to keep a touchpad that the people said they didnt like it, after all, these are people that actually used it to play games. Also seems Valve agreed also.

I liked the first version better and it's possibilities. The new version looks like can keep my old 360 controller.

Looks alot better now, thou id still like to try one out to see how it is next to pc controls.

rhizhim:
yeah, fuck that now.

the only feature that made the controller interesting is out of the window.

I don't know, the primary point of interest I had was the dual track pads.

and 30 also includes a 3.

and we all know that number doesnt exist.

I think you may be on to something here.

Sight Unseen:

GOG only does it on games that physically won't run on your computer and all their support options dont work.

And Steam doesn't even offer that. But aside from that, GOG is aware people can simply, you know....Lie.

EA's only works on EA games (I think)

And Steam doesn't even offer that, either.

So yeah it makes sense that Valve wouldn't offer it the same way...

Or at all.

reiniat:

I was complaining about that, but then i noticed it still has 8 buttons behind, so no, you dont really have to. You may have to do it in very complex games, but it will be the same as in the keyboard you cant obviously press more than 8 buttons without removing your hand from the WASD :D

I don't know, I can hit more than eight buttons with just my pinky and thumb. Besides, the left hand only accounts for four of the buttons.

Sure, because failing to deliver virtually free games for 30 days to the biggest and most uncontrollable hub of gamers in the world risking your entire operation when you already have the cheapest prices on the market is a horrible failure.

Let's go easy on the strawman, dude. What did he ever do to you?

Steam really only has the best prices if you take their sale prices and ignore the sale prices of other sites or the depreciation of retail games. People would get better deals if they shopped competitively rather than just assumign Steam was the best because ponies.

30 days refund is just a drop in a sea of EA bullshits (they do it just to avoid expensive lawsuits), and GOG kindness, god bless GOG.

EA's not doing it for fear of expensive lawsuits. Their terms already protected them like Valve.

The point being, the good and altruistic Valve doesn't really care about customer support. Or the customer, really.

So no big deal, at least for me, ive never ever in my life had to ask for the refund of a game anyway :)

The "it's never happened to me, so it's okay" routine. Fine. You've never had a game fail to work, so that justifies no returns policy. Meanwhile, EA will refund games if you're unsatisfied (not even defective), a much bigger risk given they're EA games.

Sight Unseen:

GOG only does it on games that physically won't run on your computer and all their support options dont work.

And Steam doesn't even offer that. But aside from that, GOG is aware people can simply, you know....Lie.[/quote]

As a note, not true. Steam do refund games that do not work, that do not run or (games like War Z) games that lie about what they are or what they offer.

The thing is, when you buy a game on steam, say, Metro 2033. That game is I don't know how much, but it can defiantly be completed within 30 days. You then finish and go, "Well, that was a fun game but I am done now." You look at the refunds and see if it is bought and you request a refund within 30 days, you get it!

So, you refund Metro. Then you go and play some Walking Dead. Then refund it. Then you play some Skyrim and refund it.

Hell, you play some Spelunky, and refund it. Then you buy it again. And refund it.

Any gains made by the system would quickly be lost. For example - people will exploit it, and so Steam will stop it. They might even make it so each request has to be viewed individually and then you might as well just use the system they have now. As cute as the idea of being able to trade back something that isn't a real object, but rather data, it just won't work.

The middle of the controller looks so boring now, i dont really see why they cant just implement the touch screen anyway, it looks like there is a decent amount of room for it.

Lil_Rimmy:

Sight Unseen:

GOG only does it on games that physically won't run on your computer and all their support options dont work.

And Steam doesn't even offer that. But aside from that, GOG is aware people can simply, you know....Lie.

As a note, not true. Steam do refund games that do not work, that do not run or (games like War Z) games that lie about what they are or what they offer.

The thing is, when you buy a game on steam, say, Metro 2033. That game is I don't know how much, but it can defiantly be completed within 30 days. You then finish and go, "Well, that was a fun game but I am done now." You look at the refunds and see if it is bought and you request a refund within 30 days, you get it!

So, you refund Metro. Then you go and play some Walking Dead. Then refund it. Then you play some Skyrim and refund it.

Hell, you play some Spelunky, and refund it. Then you buy it again. And refund it.

Any gains made by the system would quickly be lost. For example - people will exploit it, and so Steam will stop it. They might even make it so each request has to be viewed individually and then you might as well just use the system they have now. As cute as the idea of being able to trade back something that isn't a real object, but rather data, it just won't work.

Your quote broke and ended up quoting me instead of the person who quoted me. But I agree with you :P

Olas:
So we're going with the SNES button layout yet again? Oh well, you know how gamers are:

But seriously, this looks lame. This controller was clearly designed so the thumb is on the track pad most of the time. Shouldn't we lay out the buttons so that they're most easily accessable from that position? Something more like this:

That's my biggest gripe about this too. I played Okami on the Wii, and the controls never got in the way because I got used to the completely different layout of the Wii controller on a conventional game. I got so used to it in fact, that I had a hard time playing a few other games because I kept lashing out with the motion waggle without thinking about it, even though the game didn't use that feature.

Returning to the tired and true form just tells me that gamers in general have no adaptability.

I'm okay with this. All those buttons and the touchscreen between the trackpads just looked like they'd be awkward as hell to use. Touchscreens shouldn't be on controllers anyway--you need to be able to use them without having to look down at them to see which parts of the screen do what. So yeah, now they just have to convince me that the trackpads work as well as analog sticks, and I'll have no reason not to spring for the iBuyPower Steam Box.

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