Valve Just Gave its Steam Controller a Facelift

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Valve Just Gave its Steam Controller a Facelift

Steam Controller Revision 310x

Goodbye touchpad, hello traditional button layout.

Valve has released some photos of it's latest, and seemingly final, Steam Controller design.

The new design, announced in January but not seen until today, does away with the touchpad, seen here on the first version, while adding in some replacement buttons. The Steam logo is a home-style button, flanked by Play and Stop buttons (for media playback, no doubt). The A-B-X-Y buttons, while present on the original Steam Controller, have been moved down into a traditional diamond-square pattern.

As Kotaku points out, the new design will undoubtedly make the controller more Windows-friendly, as the button layout should play nice with the same XInput drivers used by the Xbox 360 controller.

No word on when the controller will go on sale, but it will be available for demoing at next week's GDC.

Check out this image of the controller assembly, boards and all.

Permalink

So close and yet so far... I like the new design, but dat D-pad... If I can even call it that.

Captcha: yadda yadda yadda. Shut up captcha.

Not gonna lie, I liked the old design a lot better. At least the touchscreen was trying to do something new and interesting and customizable. This just seems too standard and the button placement seems awkward to me. I prefer the staggered analog sticks of the Xbox 360 controller over this symmetrical layout and the dpad not actually being a dpad seems weird to me.

I'll still probably try one out if the touch pads review well and are as good as they claim but consider my excitement for this product considerably decreased.

Sight Unseen:
Not gonna lie, I liked the old design a lot better. At least the touchscreen was trying to do something new and interesting and customizable.

The WiiU and DS Say hello!

OT: I think this is old news, but regardless, it looks much better now with the buttons. Now if only we can get some traditional analog sticks instead of those touch pad things...

Works for me, just get it in my hands already.

I'm going to buy one, but more as a curiosity rather than a "I really need this because of reasons" thing. If anything, it'll look neat displayed on the mantel (yes, I collect video game hardware to display. So what?)

Mr.Mattress:

Sight Unseen:
Not gonna lie, I liked the old design a lot better. At least the touchscreen was trying to do something new and interesting and customizable.

The WiiU and DS Say hello!

OT: I think this is old news, but regardless, it looks much better now with the buttons. Now if only we can get some traditional analog sticks instead of those touch pad things...

The WiiU tablet and DS touch screens were very different from what the Steam Controller was going to offer. Arguably they may have been better, but their purposes were very different from Steam's Controller touchscreen.

Mr.Mattress:

Sight Unseen:
Not gonna lie, I liked the old design a lot better. At least the touchscreen was trying to do something new and interesting and customizable.

The WiiU and DS Say hello!

OT: I think this is old news, but regardless, it looks much better now with the buttons. Now if only we can get some traditional analog sticks instead of those touch pad things...

No offense but this is why Valve shouldn't listen too closely to general gamers here, keep listening and before we know it rather than something innovating we'll just have another PS/Xbox controller. I mean if you're so intent on using analogue sticks just plug in one of those and you're already set.

I'm not really a fan of the new array of diamond buttons, it just seems like it would be awkward to actively use them. I can't be sure until I use it but it seems like they'll be even farther away than using the touch pad screen would have been. If they were going to do away with that and go back to straight buttons I'd rather they did something like the Nintendo Gamecube controller did. Remember that the active use buttons are meant to be on the back of the controller, the front ones should have been complementary which was why they started with a touch screen.

This is the first controller that looks like it'd be good for RTS games on consoles but beyond that I would never use it for FPS titles. Seeing as AAA games are pretty much a sea of FPS titles or at least first person titles I shant be going this route.

SupahGamuh:
So close and yet so far... I like the new design, but dat D-pad... If I can even call it that.

Captcha: yadda yadda yadda. Shut up captcha.

its designed that way to keep symmetry

i think it makes it more flexible for different control schemes and allows left handed people to play more confortably

Lightknight:
This is the first controller that looks like it'd be good for RTS games on consoles but beyond that I would never use it for FPS titles. Seeing as AAA games are pretty much a sea of FPS titles or at least first person titles I shant be going this route.

isnt it more precise for FPS than a regular controller tough?

Mr.Mattress:

Sight Unseen:
Not gonna lie, I liked the old design a lot better. At least the touchscreen was trying to do something new and interesting and customizable.

The WiiU and DS Say hello!

OT: I think this is old news, but regardless, it looks much better now with the buttons. Now if only we can get some traditional analog sticks instead of those touch pad things...

then we would get the exact same controller everyone else is using that is almost completely worthless for the vast mayority of PC games

Is the middle of the circle pads able to be clicked? Does anyone know?

RandV80:
Remember that the active use buttons are meant to be on the back of the controller, the front ones should have been complementary which was why they started with a touch screen.

I'm so glad that you said this. So so so so SO many gamers are just looking at the screenshot of this and thinking that's all there is to it, and entirely missing the fact that it had buttons on the back. Now taht I think about it, buttons on the back of a controller would be a good idea (since your middle, ring, and pinkie finger do jack shit with an original controller). I mean, one of the great things about a keyboard is that all five fingers on one of your hands are used, allowing for a greater degree of control.

Blaugh to all those people that hated on the original design. It was at least attempting something new.

RatherDull:
Is the middle of the circle pads able to be clicked? Does anyone know?

yup, they are clickable, also i THINK (dont quote me on this) they are pressure sensitive

Brian Tams:

RandV80:
Remember that the active use buttons are meant to be on the back of the controller, the front ones should have been complementary which was why they started with a touch screen.

I'm so glad that you said this. So so so so SO many gamers are just looking at the screenshot of this and thinking that's all there is to it, and entirely missing the fact that it had buttons on the back. Now taht I think about it, buttons on the back of a controller would be a good idea (since your middle, ring, and pinkie finger do jack shit with an original controller). I mean, one of the great things about a keyboard is that all five fingers on one of your hands are used, allowing for a greater degree of control.

Blaugh to all those people that hated on the original design. It was at least attempting something new.

new doesnt nessesarily mean good, they gave sound arguments for scrapping the controller screen, it distracted from the main screen (this BTW seems to be a also a problem with many wiiu games), plus these buttons will make mapping much easier for certain games, such as 2D platformers and games that require a ton of buttons (like a lot of PC games really)

is still a very original design

SupahGamuh:
So close and yet so far... I like the new design, but dat D-pad... If I can even call it that.

It's not a D-pad. Not sure why anyone would even want one when those track pads look like they'd be the best D-pads not attached to a Sega controller.

And considering the D-pad on most controllers sucks and gets used as buttons in most modern games anyway, we're not losing anything by being given a better alternative and dispensing with the illusion that anyone cared about the D-Pad to begin with.

NuclearKangaroo:

Lightknight:
This is the first controller that looks like it'd be good for RTS games on consoles but beyond that I would never use it for FPS titles. Seeing as AAA games are pretty much a sea of FPS titles or at least first person titles I shant be going this route.

isnt it more precise for FPS than a regular controller tough?

Based on video demos and what people who've used it have said, it is more precise than analog sticks, and that's without any optimization for the controller. Just straight porting of the mouse function to it's inputs which isn't exactly ideal I'd imagine.

Not sure why people have this idea in their head that analog sticks are anything more than a passable input for FPS games. I'd still take a mouse over this, but it looks a lot better than sticks.

I don't know. It doesn't look to me like I could reach the buttons with my thumbs comfortably.

Vivi22:

NuclearKangaroo:

Lightknight:
This is the first controller that looks like it'd be good for RTS games on consoles but beyond that I would never use it for FPS titles. Seeing as AAA games are pretty much a sea of FPS titles or at least first person titles I shant be going this route.

isnt it more precise for FPS than a regular controller tough?

Based on video demos and what people who've used it have said, it is more precise than analog sticks, and that's without any optimization for the controller. Just straight porting of the mouse function to it's inputs which isn't exactly ideal I'd imagine.

Not sure why people have this idea in their head that analog sticks are anything more than a passable input for FPS games. I'd still take a mouse over this, but it looks a lot better than sticks.

indeed this seems like the best way to play PC games on the couch

can you imagine playing Civ 5 on the couch?, id never stand up again

Vivi22:

It's not a D-pad. Not sure why anyone would even want one when those track pads look like they'd be the best D-pads not attached to a Sega controller.

And considering the D-pad on most controllers sucks and gets used as buttons in most modern games anyway, we're not losing anything by being given a better alternative and dispensing with the illusion that anyone cared about the D-Pad to begin with.

Hear-fucking-hear.

I'm kind of sick of hearing people bitch about the Steam Controller not having a "d-pad" or standard analog sticks. Beyond the bit you pointed out in regards to the d-pads, the complaints about the analog sticks ignore the whole purpose of this controller. Namely: it's to be an alternative for controller and keyboard/mouse users. It's designed to bridge the gap in the varied control-input methods for PC games. It's not a replacement of current controller configurations.

What fascinates me most is that so many gamers want this thing to be just another Xbox or Playstation controller. You know, the same controllers whose designers thought gen-1 rumble motors in the triggers and a shitty, unresponsive touch-pad (respectively) were the epitome of "innovation"?

Yeah, those.

Come on people. Valve's trying something new with controller design. Let's at least try it before we decide that it should be "standardized" down to antiquated tech from the 90's.

I'm not saying their efforts are guaranteed to be fruitful, but dismissing any new idea is ridiculous.

Besides, if you don't end up liking the final product, you can just go back to your standard Playstation or Xbox controllers.

Or, as in my case, back to a keyboard and mouse.

Still looks stupid to me. Looks more like it's supposed to be a speaker system for an iPod.

Brian Tams:

RandV80:
Remember that the active use buttons are meant to be on the back of the controller, the front ones should have been complementary which was why they started with a touch screen.

I'm so glad that you said this. So so so so SO many gamers are just looking at the screenshot of this and thinking that's all there is to it, and entirely missing the fact that it had buttons on the back. Now taht I think about it, buttons on the back of a controller would be a good idea (since your middle, ring, and pinkie finger do jack shit with an original controller). I mean, one of the great things about a keyboard is that all five fingers on one of your hands are used, allowing for a greater degree of control.

I've been thinking about this a lot... one of the things I've thought would be a good addition to the back of a pad is a pair of tilt scrollwheels. Two-directional scrolling, and 3 button functions each(one for pressing it, and one for each tilt direction).

D-pads are another possibility for the back of the controller, since they each have 4 buttons and are so easy to distinguished by feel, very tactile. Not necessarily for movement(though it's possible this could work well), but for an easily accessed set of buttons for hotkeys, menus, etc.

Oh, balls. That button layout looks uncomfortable to say the least. Curse you large hands! CURSE YOU!

yeah, i'm not sure if i can reach all the way

do they have a smaller gripsize for girlyhands

Brian Tams:

RandV80:
Remember that the active use buttons are meant to be on the back of the controller, the front ones should have been complementary which was why they started with a touch screen.

I'm so glad that you said this. So so so so SO many gamers are just looking at the screenshot of this and thinking that's all there is to it, and entirely missing the fact that it had buttons on the back. Now taht I think about it, buttons on the back of a controller would be a good idea (since your middle, ring, and pinkie finger do jack shit with an original controller). I mean, one of the great things about a keyboard is that all five fingers on one of your hands are used, allowing for a greater degree of control.

Blaugh to all those people that hated on the original design. It was at least attempting something new.

Honestly one of the reasons I've never gotten too attached to the classic 'SNES' controller (which PS and Xbox control designs evolved from) is that while I played nothing but consoles growing up in my family we played NES/SMS/SNES/Gensis with our fingers on the buttons, not our thumbs. For a game like Street Fighter 2 where all buttons were used we'd just map the most useless button (light punch) to the R button and play with fingers on the rest. Personally I liked the Sega control design the best, for the Genesis and the Saturn, that laid the buttons out in an easy manner to rest your 3 fingers on. All you other stupid kids with your 'Nintendo thumbs' just had to go and ruin everything!

naaaa, the touchschreen version was cool, this look like shit. Could get a XBone controller just as well.

Vivi22:

It's not a D-pad. Not sure why anyone would even want one when those track pads look like they'd be the best D-pads not attached to a Sega controller.

And considering how often the D-Pad isn't even used as a D-Pad these days....

Looks like a helmet designed for Family Guy's Stewie dressing up as Darth Vader.
I'm quite interested in seeing how this turns out. I prefer controllers while playing on PC.

Vigormortis:

Hear-fucking-hear.

I'm kind of sick of hearing people bitch about the Steam Controller not having a "d-pad" or standard analog sticks.

People complain about the Steam controller not having a D-Pad because fighting games and technical brawler games exist. If those 4 directional diamond buttons were a D-Pad instead I think a lot more people would be ok with the design. Fighting games and couch brawlers are showing up on Steam a lot more often now so a D-Pad just makes sense.

AzrealMaximillion:

People complain about the Steam controller not having a D-Pad because fighting games and technical brawler games exist. If those 4 directional diamond buttons were a D-Pad instead I think a lot more people would be ok with the design. Fighting games and couch brawlers are showing up on Steam a lot more often now so a D-Pad just makes sense.

Which is a fair point. However, it's marred by several factors.

1: Most of the people I've met or seen who love fighting games constantly lament the "shittiness" of the d-pads on the Xbox and Playstation controllers. Many yearn for classic, "OG" d-pads as seen on the old Nintendo controllers.

2: Save for their rounded shape and lower location, the left buttons on the Steam controller very closely resemble the Playstation d-pad; in so far as they're effectively four separate buttons.

3: The trackpad, with the inclusion of tactile nubs, can be programmed to behave just like a d-pad.

So for point one and two, at worst, we end up with a controller that has an equivalent "awful" d-pad as any of the standard controllers. At best, we get a better alternative.

And for point three, I've been hearing some positive feedback from fighting game players who've had hands-on time with the controller. Specifically, the speed and ease with which one can do numerous quarter/half turns or similar movements.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm not saying the desire for a d-pad is stupid. I'm just saying that the controller can, and indeed does, have or at least simulates a d-pad. On either side, in fact.

So dismissing the thing outright simply because it doesn't have a "traditional looking" d-pad just seems ludicrous to me. At least, until one tries it and verifies whether or not it works as intended.

AzrealMaximillion:

People complain about the Steam controller not having a D-Pad because fighting games and technical brawler games exist. If those 4 directional diamond buttons were a D-Pad instead I think a lot more people would be ok with the design. Fighting games and couch brawlers are showing up on Steam a lot more often now so a D-Pad just makes sense.

I don't see why either genre would mandate a D-Pad and in fact, most of the time I see people lamenting the D-Pads they do have. It would seem that in the general sense, the trackpad would be good in most cases.

What ....what the hell is that? Is that supposed to be a dpad? I've seen better dpads on tiger electronic handhelds, what the hell happened Valve?? :|

I don't think much of the haptic feedback trackpads, I know there's many that have this hope of it being good but I've not ever had any kind of positive experience with either trackpads or haptic feedback.

Vigormortis:
-snip

It's puzzling.
I mean, I've barely read anything about this controller and yet I know exactly what it is and it's intended function.
I just don't get why people are so against this thing, it doesn't even replace anything that was already good.
All the other controllers are still there.
It actually adds a new (hopefully) good option for controlling games.
What's there to dislike here.

People... The amount whining on this topic is staggering.
When someone tries to innovate anything you just whine and complain why it isn't like the old technology.
20 years ago you could innovate, design new technology. Because back then there wasn't insanely massive wave of whining and complaining when ever someone demoed something.

I personally think this seems interesting and better suited from someone like me who can't use a regular controller due to physical issues on my right hand.

I'm surprised at all of the negativity about this. Honestly, I'm excited for the thing and hope to have a viable pc controller for the first time in years (I'm not a fan of the 360 controller and that stupid XInput pretty much killed any variation in the market).

I'm planning to get one after they've had a bit of a shakedown period, but if they end up being really good I'll get one even sooner.

What a fuck-ugly controller. I'm skeptical, but if it works, it works. We'll see.
Just doesn't look ergonomic or comfortable on the hands to me.

I love Valve, I love Steam and if the funds are available, I may end up with a Steam Box at some point. That said, good goddamn that controller looks chunky as all hell! I mean look at the thing! It's huge!

I suppose I can't really say much until I get a chance to actually use one, but for now, that thing looks like its set to go down in history alongside the original Xbox controller. You know the one, this bloody great lump of plastic:

The face buttons and d-pad look awkward to use in tandem with the control pads, perhaps even impossible at times, depending on what you're doing; the handles are way too fat, meaning you'll probably have to move your hand across them to reach aforementioned buttons; I'm not convinced your thumbs are going to be able to sit properly on the pads without being chafed by that nonsensical ridge on the handles, never mind actually sitting comfortably...

I guess I'll just have to wait until I can get my hands on one, but for now, I don't think this is a particularly good design. :/

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

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