Steam Controller Redesign Includes Analog Thumbstick

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Steam Controller Redesign Includes Analog Thumbstick

steam controller redesign

The Steam controller is looking more and more like a traditional controller with each redesign.

Pretty much every single video game controller since the N64 has featured analog "thumb sticks", that making moving in 3D spaces considerably easier than other alternatives. So, you can understand the bemusement fans had when Valve first unveiled its Steam controller, which featured touch panels and trackpads instead of face buttons and analog sticks. The last redesign saw face buttons return, and now, though it still features its dual trackpads, a new redesign for the controller includes a traditional thumb stick.

The image to the right, which was fished out of the Steam database by the folks over at SteamDB, shows the thumb stick in place of what was the d-pad in the prior design. Other than this addition, and a few "streamlining" changes, the controller is more or less the same as what we saw before.

The controller was initially set to debut in November of this year, but was pushed back to 2015 so Valve could make further improvements to it. "[The Steam Machines hardware beta is] generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we'll be able to make the controller a lot better. Of course, it's also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements. Realistically, we're now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014."

The controller was met with somewhat mixed reviews from most of the outlets that managed to get their hands on it, with its signature trackpads being rather hit and miss. The addition of a thumb stick could be an appeal to the more traditionalist crowd.

What do you think? Have you tried a Steam Controller? Do the trackpads work or should Valve have taken its cues from the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" adage?

Source: PC Gamer

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First thing to keep in mind when trying to innovate: Everything that exists has a reason to exist. If you want to improve it, find that reason first, then think about how to make the thing better. Not the other way around.

Ok, who would wanna' buy this thing?Every single game that requires a certain degree of precision is out the window, so who is it met for?

What is a Seam controller? Methinks you have a typo in the title there!

They seem to be trying to reinvent the wheel here...It would be sad to see their consoles flop because of the controller

Because one thumbstick worked so well for PSP.

I think this is kinda cool because I definitely would rather use the track pad rather than a thumbstick for mouse movement, but not wasd movement. Everyone just hates on the Steam controller because it's not an exact fuckin' copy of the Xbox or PS controller. And when they said "if it's not broke don't fix it", that's stupid because the xbox/PS controllers are broke, thumbsticks for looking around is terrible especially for FPS. But replacing the Dpad doesn't seem like a very good idea, I think they should keep the Dpad and replace the left trackpad with an analog stick because a trackpad isn't really better than an analog stick when it comes to wasd movement (in fact I'd say it's worse) so replacing it with an analog stick would be better for those who are used to it, which is most people, it would look stupid, but I think it would be best.

It's so inelegant now. There's no way a person can use the left trackpad and the left thumbstick at the same time, so one of them is just going to be serving as the worlds worst (and most overcomplicated) d-pad ever.

Plus it's worrying that they seem to have decided that actually their trackpads can't completely replacement the movements of an analogue stick.

At least we're getting proof that the modern controllers are really well designed, if someone has spent years and years trying to innovate it and every time they make an improvement it's to make it look more like a traditional controller.

Sgt. Sykes:
Because one thumbstick worked so well for PSP.

Worked better than the Vitas two thumbsticks going by current numbers and sonys own predictions for the coming year.

Oh dear, incoming dogmas, misconceptions and other delusions about innovation management ...

They tried something new, they tried to find the next radical innovation. It would have made them a fortune and change the way we see controllers if it had worked out (not saying trackpads are the next thing, just generalising). To use a contemporary example; Much like how just regular mobile phones early on were considered useless, clunky and expensive; A toy for the rich and famous to show off .. And now every 12 year old I see has a smart phone and considers it a necessity, while sleeping in an IKEA bed and eating crappy food because proper, fresh produce is too expensive for their pauper parents; Because fuck logic and priorities.

But no, now we got internet know-it-alls proclaiming they shouldn't try reinventing the wheel, staying ahead of the curve, the bloody disgusting 'I told you so attitude'. Do you even have a solid foundation for your opinion other than the standard "my e-peen is bigger than yours" attitude?

I for one wish more companies tried to think outside the box. I want to see the next big thing. Why would anyone not want to go forward? Do you really enjoy your xbox one/ps4 so much? Do you really enjoy how every game is practically the same uninspired mess with questionably better visuals? How every movie consists of the same big tits, muscles and explosions?

Anyway, if you're seriously interested in innovation management, I can highly recommend the following books:

Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value, McGraw-Hill Professional (2010) (by George S. Day and Christine Moorman)
Strategic management of technological innovation 3rd edition (2010) McGraw Hill New York (by Schilling, Melissa A.)

And these 2 articles:

Profiting from Technological Innovation: Implications for Integration, Collaboration, Licensing and Public Policy (1986) Research Policy, 15: 285-305 (by Teece, D.J.)
How firms capture value from their innovations (2013) Journal of Management, 39(5): 1123-1155 (by James, S.D., Leiblein, M.J. and Lu, S.)

/end rant

Have a nice day

Wow that is a lot of people now very embarrassed by this news, don't worry I'll not publicly embarrass you as you know who you are. If the trackpads are supposed to be so accurate than why not drop the D-pad for another stick if you're going to have sticks?

FFMaster:

Sgt. Sykes:
Because one thumbstick worked so well for PSP.

Worked better than the Vitas two thumbsticks going by current numbers and sonys own predictions for the coming year.

Sales figures have nothing to do with the matter of sales (well that comparison anyway). The two sticks the Vita has is far better than the one the PSP had.

Monsterfurby:
First thing to keep in mind when trying to innovate: Everything that exists has a reason to exist. If you want to improve it, find that reason first, then think about how to make the thing better. Not the other way around.

Simple but brilliant philosophy. Strange that it seems so hard to follow.

Sgt. Sykes:
Because one thumbstick worked so well for PSP.

PSP didn't have trackpads that worked as thumbsticks.

-----

Valve, valve, valve... Just make into a DualShock already!

Terwo:

tzimize:

Monsterfurby:
First thing to keep in mind when trying to innovate: Everything that exists has a reason to exist. If you want to improve it, find that reason first, then think about how to make the thing better. Not the other way around.

Simple but brilliant philosophy. Strange that it seems so hard to follow.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the finest of wisdom the internet has to offer. If only product designers and innovation managers took 10 minutes a day to browse fora and google for such jewels and other old adages. The world would be a better place and we'd be flying space cars and have sex with robots. Dear god, why would anyone spend years slogging it out at uni, and then spend another decade researching unproven technologies to try and find the next best thing, only to fail over and over, while the internet contains everything one could ever hope for.

Please refrain from spouting nonsense; This should have been basic knowledge. Never ask the consumer what they want; Never assume the consumer knows what they want. Consumers are clueless. Never assume technology is only useful in one specific application, field or context (refrigerators, GPS, combustion engines, x-ray machines, ..)

Mankind would still be trying to rub sticks together to make fires if we adapted your dogma. People would just keep improving on their sticks, technique, whatever. Sure, we'd have the best frigging sticks possible, make the fastest and most reliable fire ever. They'd be shiny, polished, symbols of wealth. We could have an entire economy basic on manufacturing and exporting sticks. You could be the kind of sticks, sitting on your throne, being envied by the plebs. God himself would be jealous of your stick mastery. But for fuck's sake; I'd rather use the world's crappiest lighter or matches compared to the greatest pair of sticks mankind has ever known. Because PROGRESS!

Not quite sure what to make of this post. If its sarcastic, honest or what.

Progress is great. But sometimes a limit can be reached. There are limits to what we can do physically as human beings. There are limits to how precise we can be with different tools. Some tools are better than others for certain tasks. Doing something new, does not mean doing something better. I'd rather use a shovel for digging than a fork, even if a fork seems more original.

Same principle applies to controllers. We have an abundance. D-pads, mouse, analogue stick etc. Some things work better for certain tasks than others. Imagine playing street fighter with a mouse. Wouldnt work so well. I applaud Steam for trying something new, but all it seems to be to me (granted I have not actually tried the controller) is an attempt to make the gamepad more like a mouse. And I really dont think it will work as well. In the end it doesnt matter much though. The Steam machines will be PCs at heart. Which means all peripherals are available. So I'll just stick with the one best suited to the game I am currently playing.

I just think that progress means more than doing something new. It means doing something new that is BETTER than what came before.

I was excited for the controller as a replacement for the lackluster 360 controller I currently use on PC games. But if they don't have a decent D-pad then I'm not interested. Track pads? Sounds cool and different, I'm willing to give that a shot. But I need a decent D-pad for 2D games. The biggest reason I want to replace the 360 controller is because of the dreadful D-pad, after all.

Why an analog stick? I guess that gives someone the choice of either touch pad or thumbstick for the left hand. It would be better, though, if this thing was modular like those third party console controllers from a few years back that let you swap out the positions of the buttons/d-pad/thumbsticks. A customizable PC controller that let me choose where and what kind of inputs it had would have me throwing gold bullion at my screen.

Jeese, at the current rate, someone at Valve probably called one of the designs the "Steam Controller 3" and suddenly Gabe's eyes lit up, then he said "We can never release this now." If this ever reaches stores, it'll be bundled with Half-Life 3: Episode 2. /jk

For now, I'll stick to KB/Mouse(which I can use at my recliner with the magic of usb extentions and an MDF board) and the xbone controller I just bought. That thing has a really damn good d-pad[1]for 2D games, which Steam has a fairly high amount of. (Valve, you paying attention to your own store? Don't tell me touchpads work good with that kind of game.) The only thing that needs work is the bumpers are kinda funky like others have said but you can get used to them and, just like the 360 controller, the driver treats the triggers as a single axis, so forget using them in a game with generic button mapping options unless you will never use them simultaneously.

[1] I think it's got tactile switches for the d-pad! MS, drop that dumbass media box you've been tripping over and downsize the "services" horseshit and get back to making awesome computer accessories and games like the good ol' days. At least update the drivers to what is the proper successor to the Sidewinder gamepads.

Rozalia1:

Sales figures have nothing to do with the matter of sales (well that comparison anyway). The two sticks the Vita has is far better than the one the PSP had.

Well sales figures have everything to do with the matter of sales, as they are proof of sales and the amount of them, but i'm going to assume there was a typo/word you didn't mean to write somewhere in there.

But if two thumbsticks is better than one then as this has a thumbstick and 2 things that work as thumbsticks it has 3 so is even better!!!

(if your not getting it yet, I'm pointing out that saying that number of thumb sticks was a problem is stupid hence my reply to the first person. It was only a problem on the PSP because people kept on making games that really needed two thumbsticks on a console with only one. That's not a problem with the console, that was an issue with the idiots making the games)

I thought the point of the trackpads was to emulate mouse movement, not WASD movement. Why does it need two trackpads? One would work perfectly fine, and not way up the controller either. That would be like moving someones foot pedal in their car.

So they discovered two pads that don't offer tactile feedback aren't going to work well, but they're trying to save face by keeping them even though sticks and a proper d-pad get the job done better in most cases and they're going to try and get devs to shoehorn in elements that require them just like that stupid pad on the PS4.

The fuck? I thought the trackpads are the replacement for analog sticks. If they are not good enough then DITCH THE FUCKING TRACKPADS.

Sgt. Sykes:
Because one thumbstick worked so well for PSP.

Made me laugh :)

The main thing that struck me is just how uncomfortable it looks to hold. It feels like Valve are trying to create something that is both like a keyboard & mouse and a controller when, really, each of those do very different things.

goddamit, they ruined it, the last design that perfect

also why are you people asking for the trackpads to be removed? if you want an xbox 360 controller, just buy an xbox 360 controller and plug it into your PC, or an Xbox One controller

Nurb:
So they discovered two pads that don't offer tactile feedback aren't going to work well, but they're trying to save face by keeping them even though sticks and a proper d-pad get the job done better in most cases and they're going to try and get devs to shoehorn in elements that require them just like that stupid pad on the PS4.

wow, a d-pad and an analog stick are nowhere near appropiate for most proper PC games out there, they are less than aprropiate for shooters as well, thats why autoaim exists

Having an analogue stick as well as trackpads seems kinda counterproductive considering what they are trying to achieve here. The problem that arises from this is that you will end up with one useless input method. Whether it is the analogue stick that cannot be used for anything, or a trackpad where buttons can be assigned to it, but a set of physical buttons would be superior. Whilst I have not used a Steam controller, I don't really see what they are trying to achieve here. Sure, analogue sticks aren't very good for precision, but trackpads aren't exactly the pinnacle of accuracy either, and in the cases where a trackpad would be superior to a traditional analogue stick (FPS?, mouse controlled UI, etc), the trackpads would still suffer where analogue sticks work well (Driving and brawler games), and even if trackpads worked somewhat well, there is no way in hell that I would want to bring a Steam controller into a competitive environment against someone with a mouse and keyboard. Nonetheless, I would like to try one out for myself, but as it stands, it doesn't really look like something that will catch on.

tzimize:

Terwo:

tzimize:

Simple but brilliant philosophy. Strange that it seems so hard to follow.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the finest of wisdom the internet has to offer. If only product designers and innovation managers took 10 minutes a day to browse fora and google for such jewels and other old adages. The world would be a better place and we'd be flying space cars and have sex with robots. Dear god, why would anyone spend years slogging it out at uni, and then spend another decade researching unproven technologies to try and find the next best thing, only to fail over and over, while the internet contains everything one could ever hope for.

Please refrain from spouting nonsense; This should have been basic knowledge. Never ask the consumer what they want; Never assume the consumer knows what they want. Consumers are clueless. Never assume technology is only useful in one specific application, field or context (refrigerators, GPS, combustion engines, x-ray machines, ..)

Mankind would still be trying to rub sticks together to make fires if we adapted your dogma. People would just keep improving on their sticks, technique, whatever. Sure, we'd have the best frigging sticks possible, make the fastest and most reliable fire ever. They'd be shiny, polished, symbols of wealth. We could have an entire economy basic on manufacturing and exporting sticks. You could be the kind of sticks, sitting on your throne, being envied by the plebs. God himself would be jealous of your stick mastery. But for fuck's sake; I'd rather use the world's crappiest lighter or matches compared to the greatest pair of sticks mankind has ever known. Because PROGRESS!

Not quite sure what to make of this post. If its sarcastic, honest or what.

Progress is great. But sometimes a limit can be reached. There are limits to what we can do physically as human beings. There are limits to how precise we can be with different tools. Some tools are better than others for certain tasks. Doing something new, does not mean doing something better. I'd rather use a shovel for digging than a fork, even if a fork seems more original.

Same principle applies to controllers. We have an abundance. D-pads, mouse, analogue stick etc. Some things work better for certain tasks than others. Imagine playing street fighter with a mouse. Wouldnt work so well. I applaud Steam for trying something new, but all it seems to be to me (granted I have not actually tried the controller) is an attempt to make the gamepad more like a mouse. And I really dont think it will work as well. In the end it doesnt matter much though. The Steam machines will be PCs at heart. Which means all peripherals are available. So I'll just stick with the one best suited to the game I am currently playing.

I just think that progress means more than doing something new. It means doing something new that is BETTER than what came before.

He(?) is right.
How is one supposed to know how far "too far" is or where the "limits" lie, if everyone just sticks to what they know?
Let's face it: A lot of people seem to hate changes (whether they affect them or not).

So far I've yet to see one solid argument that speaks against the Steam controller. The reason for this is really simple:
Only very few people have one. Funnily enough, those who have own a prototype all seem to agree that the controller is by no means bad, just unfamiliar.
I think companies all over the world should start recruiting the geniuses from the YouTube comment section and similar places, since they seem to posses the magical ability to evaluate a product and accurately predict its future by simply looking at a drawing of the prototype.

I, for one, am really eager to get my hands on a Steam controller. Just so I can form an educated opinion.

TheSniperFan:

tzimize:

Terwo:

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the finest of wisdom the internet has to offer. If only product designers and innovation managers took 10 minutes a day to browse fora and google for such jewels and other old adages. The world would be a better place and we'd be flying space cars and have sex with robots. Dear god, why would anyone spend years slogging it out at uni, and then spend another decade researching unproven technologies to try and find the next best thing, only to fail over and over, while the internet contains everything one could ever hope for.

Please refrain from spouting nonsense; This should have been basic knowledge. Never ask the consumer what they want; Never assume the consumer knows what they want. Consumers are clueless. Never assume technology is only useful in one specific application, field or context (refrigerators, GPS, combustion engines, x-ray machines, ..)

Mankind would still be trying to rub sticks together to make fires if we adapted your dogma. People would just keep improving on their sticks, technique, whatever. Sure, we'd have the best frigging sticks possible, make the fastest and most reliable fire ever. They'd be shiny, polished, symbols of wealth. We could have an entire economy basic on manufacturing and exporting sticks. You could be the kind of sticks, sitting on your throne, being envied by the plebs. God himself would be jealous of your stick mastery. But for fuck's sake; I'd rather use the world's crappiest lighter or matches compared to the greatest pair of sticks mankind has ever known. Because PROGRESS!

Not quite sure what to make of this post. If its sarcastic, honest or what.

Progress is great. But sometimes a limit can be reached. There are limits to what we can do physically as human beings. There are limits to how precise we can be with different tools. Some tools are better than others for certain tasks. Doing something new, does not mean doing something better. I'd rather use a shovel for digging than a fork, even if a fork seems more original.

Same principle applies to controllers. We have an abundance. D-pads, mouse, analogue stick etc. Some things work better for certain tasks than others. Imagine playing street fighter with a mouse. Wouldnt work so well. I applaud Steam for trying something new, but all it seems to be to me (granted I have not actually tried the controller) is an attempt to make the gamepad more like a mouse. And I really dont think it will work as well. In the end it doesnt matter much though. The Steam machines will be PCs at heart. Which means all peripherals are available. So I'll just stick with the one best suited to the game I am currently playing.

I just think that progress means more than doing something new. It means doing something new that is BETTER than what came before.

He(?) is right.
How is one supposed to know how far "too far" is or where the "limits" lie, if everyone just sticks to what they know?
Let's face it: A lot of people seem to hate changes (whether they affect them or not).

So far I've yet to see one solid argument that speaks against the Steam controller. The reason for this is really simple:
Only very few people have one. Funnily enough, those who have own a prototype all seem to agree that the controller is by no means bad, just unfamiliar.
I think companies all over the world should start recruiting the geniuses from the YouTube comment section and similar places, since they seem to posses the magical ability to evaluate a product and accurately predict its future by simply looking at a drawing of the prototype.

I, for one, am really eager to get my hands on a Steam controller. Just so I can form an educated opinion.

Valid point about the knowledge, however it seems you both decide to pit any opinion in the extreme. I'm not saying that we shouldnt try new things, I'm just saying we shouldnt necessarily hail new things as the BEST things just because they are new. Some things actually work well because they have developed to be like that over time. And sometimes something reaches its peak.

To my knowledge the steam pad functions more or less like the touchpad of a laptop. How anyone could manage to use that for anything worthwhile is beyond me. It simply seems to me to be:

1: Not as fast/effective as a dpad for fighting games. (You lack the tactile feedback of finger positioning and button pressing)
2: Not as precise at pin-point control as a mouse. (Compare a touchpad to a mouse, mouse wins easily)
3: Not as good for controlling something in a 3D environment (3rd person game) as an analogue stick. (Granted there is an analogue stick now.

Of course, I reserve the right to be proven wrong on any of these points, but I've been hardcore gaming for 20 odd years on more or less every platform there is, so I've got SOME experience with different peripherals. What it seems like to me, is a gamepad that wants to be a mouse without being a mouse. Which seems silly to me, as if you actually need a mouse you just USE one.

Thats my reasoning. This is the problem with consoles (which really is the market the steam machines are aiming at). They are a jack of all trades but king at none. If I'm gonna play 3rd person games I prefer the xbox360 controller, but I wouldnt DREAM of playing street fighter with it. The Dualshock is my go to choice for fighting games. If I'm gonna play strategy games or shooters I use keyboard+mouse. It seems to me that Valve is trying to make a controller that has the strengths of both and the weaknesses of none. If they manage to do it I'll be very glad as it means less clutter on my desk. But until its tried and tested by someone other than a fanatic I'm skeptical.

Untill any of us gets to use the controler i dnt know why everyone is bitching and doing the "told ya so" and it should just make a ps4 controler ....the fuck is the point in that. They doing somthing new and it looks alot smooth and better to aim then any game pad ive used. Being a pure PC gamer i would love to see how well it would do on an fps for example. Gotta try it out first to see for sure.

I could have told you that. Analog exists because its hard to break. The steam Controller's D pad was prone to breaking because gamers had a death grip on the fucking thing. So now they have replace the D pad or find a way to make it more resilient. As it is, the majority of the older steam controllers are broken for that very reason.

The people who got the 300 steam boxes are sitting on a gold mine if their controller still works. Its a collector's wet dream.

Can anyone give me a reason why the face buttons for all controllers are on the same fucking side of the controller with the least amount of digits available to press them? Its time people laid to rest this stupid fucking notion that modern controllers are somehow teh best evar. Virtually every game without a fixed camera angle runs into this bullshit. You can't press the face buttons and operate the camera at the same time.

Game devs have to implement cludges just to work around this stupid damned layout, and now gamers have gotten used to it and fucking cling to it religiously.

Its broken from a design perspective, its broken from an ergonomic perspective, and now that devs have to design games around this insipid fucking layout, its broken from a game design perspective.

This stupid shit has only been around since the PS2, and its obvious whoever designed it has no fucking clue what human hands look like.

Wow, this is disappointing.

Major_Tom:
The fuck? I thought the trackpads are the replacement for analog sticks. If they are not good enough then DITCH THE FUCKING TRACKPADS.

I'm beginning to think they should ditch the idea.

NuclearKangaroo:

wow, a d-pad and an analog stick are nowhere near appropiate for most proper PC games out there, they are less than aprropiate for shooters as well, thats why autoaim exists

Given the responses about the trackpads and the addition of an analogue stick, it's looking more like the trackpads are going to be no more "appropriate." Another revision or two, and you really might as well plug in a 360 controller.

Zachary Amaranth:
Wow, this is disappointing.

Major_Tom:
The fuck? I thought the trackpads are the replacement for analog sticks. If they are not good enough then DITCH THE FUCKING TRACKPADS.

I'm beginning to think they should ditch the idea.

NuclearKangaroo:

wow, a d-pad and an analog stick are nowhere near appropiate for most proper PC games out there, they are less than aprropiate for shooters as well, thats why autoaim exists

Given the responses about the trackpads and the addition of an analogue stick, it's looking more like the trackpads are going to be no more "appropriate." Another revision or two, and you really might as well plug in a 360 controller.

from the people who have used the controller, the trackpads havent received more negative feedback than analogs

Steven Bogos:
Steam Controller Redesign Includes Analog Thumbstick

Oh for fuck's sake, this isn't even a confirmed change! PC Gamer and Ars Technica are the only ones I've seen that are acknowledging that nobody at Valve has actually said this change is going to go through. Literally the only source for this is a picture in the Steam beta files, that could mean anything: a proposed redesign, a redesign under consideration, a hypothetical redesign, or somebody just put it there for another reason.

But... I can already plug Microsoft and Sony controllers into my PC. Why would I want to buy a steam controller? Maybe for RTS games?

In my opinion, they should take out the left touchpad completely and place the joystick there for comfort and place a D-pad on where the joystick is right now.

You have to think about the games first when you design a controller, the joystick is great for movement, that's been tried and tested. The D-pad is great with 2D games and fighting games.

The only issue with the joystick is precision aiming in fps games and that's where the touchpad comes in on the right. But this is all educational guesses, we really have to try out the controller for ourselves before we can make any meaningful input.

First thought:
What the fuck are you doing, Valve? This, if real, is the worst redesign idea you've had since announcing this thing. The previous build was dramatically better. Especially if you're still aiming for an ambidextrous design. Adding a superfluous analog stick on one side is counterproductive to this goal.

Here's hoping it's just one among many proposed redesigns.

Second thought:
Oh internet, you never fail to disappoint. Still makes me laugh (and cry, a little) to see so many people saying, "I haven't actually tried the controller yet, but I can just tell it's a dumb idea that won't work. Being different or trying to innovate is stupid. Valve should just make a [insert shitty console controller utilizing two decade old technology]!"

Yeah. That's exactly what we need. More of the same.

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