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Post by Dan @ 06:06am 28/09/13 | 15 Comments
Rounding out the third of its three major announcements, following SteamOS and Steam Machines, Valve Software has revealed the Steam Controller, its own take on a physical input device, intended to offer game players an interface that aims to offer the strengths of both a keyboard and mouse experience and a conventional console controller.
Traditional gamepads force us to accept compromises. We’ve made it a goal to improve upon the resolution and fidelity of input that’s possible with those devices. The Steam controller offers a new and, we believe, vastly superior control scheme, all while enabling you to play from the comfort of your sofa. Built with high-precision input technologies and focused on low-latency performance, the Steam controller is just what the living-room ordered.
The most prominent new feature of the device are the dual circular trackpads, which take the place of a conventional controller's analogue sticks and promise an input resolution approaching that of a desktop mouse. The trackpads are described as "light touch" devices with high fidelity haptic feedback that will purportedly be much more targeted than traditional rumble motors, and even function as rudimentary speakers.

The other key feature is a touchscreen in the centre of the control, which looks to be similar to that seen in the upcoming PlayStation 4, or the OUYA controller, but appears to be an actual digital display, that can also be overlayed over the game action with Steam integration.

There's a total of sixteen clickable buttons, with the four conventional triggers of the top, and an additional two in the lower finger position on the device's rear.

The Steam controller has been designed to support all past, present and future Steam games, and will offer players the ability to customise every binding on the pad to their preference and share those configurations among the Steam Community.

Valve has also promised that the design will be completely open and hackable, inviting others to contribute, which seems to imply that they'll be publishing full schematics and allowing third partys and general users alike to manufacturer their own versions of the device.

The Steam Controller will be dished out for public beta testing along with the previously announced prototype Steam Machines, with 300 lucky Steam users getting one shipped to their door before the end of 2013 -- although prototype versions as said to include a four button panel in lieu of the touchscreen display, and will be wired, rather than wireless. More details and an in-depth description of each aspect of the device can be found on the announcement page.

Valve has also promised to share more about its design process, and the specifications of its prototype Steam hardware "next week".




valve softwaresteamsteam controllersteamossteambox





Latest Comments
carson
Posted 07:27am 28/9/13
To be expected. Going to be interesting though. I like that they are supportive of anyone who wants to mod any bit of it. That's probably the best thing about all of this. That Valve support anyone's decision and right to do whatever they want with their Steam OS/Machine/Controller.
Lithium
Posted 07:48am 28/9/13
It looks weird.. and unconventional. But is valve so I've got faith.
ravn0s
Posted 09:37am 28/9/13
i'm really interested to see how those track pads go. they may actually make fps games with a controller, bearable.
ph33x
Posted 09:52am 28/9/13
Re: Modding. I wonder if they'll come out with a set of sticks you can add to it if you liked.
BoDGie
Posted 10:22am 28/9/13
i'm really interested to see how those track pads go. they may actually make fps games with a controller, bearable.


Like playing an FPS on a laptop trackpad?
ctd
Posted 11:23am 28/9/13
I think it will be easier than a trackpad.

Interested to see how this goes. Originally when it was thought that a new controller was the third announcement I wasn't very excited because I thought it would just be generic third party controller #51532225 but this is actually different and could possibly go a way to bridging the gap between control and mouse.
Khel
Posted 12:21pm 28/9/13
The trackpads look interesting, but the button layout on it is absolutely awful. I'm assuming those four buttons around the screen in the middle are what would traditionally be the X, Y, A, B buttons on an xbox controller, but they're just in the s***tiest spot possible.
ravn0s
Posted 01:06pm 28/9/13
I'm assuming those four buttons around the screen in the middle are what would traditionally be the X, Y, A, B buttons on an xbox controller, but they're just in the s***tiest spot possible.


i don't think they are. i think those buttons translate to the 2 track pad buttons and the 2 buttons on the backside of the controller.

this is how valve has mapped out the portal 2 bindings



last edited by ravn0s at 13:06:31 28/Sep/13
Eorl
Posted 07:12pm 28/9/13
Yeah reading from CTD's links it seems the controller will take some getting use to, but may just be different enough to be revolutionary. I'm like the buttons, especially the back ones where your hands would normally grip, a lot of PC games can utilise those extra buttons quite well.

The most obvious question is to ask why would Valve design a controller that just didn't flow/work naturally? It'd be social/business suicide and I'm sure they have stupidly high amounts of testing to get it just right. Going by one of CTD's links it sounds like the customisation is easily changeable on the fly so that shouldn't be too big of a worry. Besides, not like you couldn't just plug a wireless keyboard/mouse into the box or better yet use a stationary desktop in office/study (if you have that option of course).

Guess we'll just play the wait and see game. Oh also Valve mentioned in the first announcement that they'll have more announcements on the 2014 AAA titles later during the year, so keep the hope up for HL3!
Bah
Posted 07:57pm 28/9/13
why would Valve design a controller that just didn't flow/work naturally?
Thats a stupid question really, of course they wouldn't purposely design something s***, but there are plenty of controllers (and other things) sitting in landfill that people for one reason or another thought would work great and sell.

Also why did the portal guy swap the left and right mouse button sides.
fpot
Posted 09:11pm 28/9/13
I always thought a trackball would make a good controller for console fps games.

G2US2snl.jpg

Something like that.
d0mino
Posted 09:41pm 28/9/13
Does it support kb+mouse?
konstie
Posted 08:37am 30/9/13
Does it support kb+mouse?


stolen from FAQ

I’m a happy Steam customer happily using my happy mouse and keyboard. I don’t want a controller?

You can’t make a sentence into a question by just putting a question-mark at the end. But we’re happy you’re happy, and by all means keep using whatever input method makes sense for you. Rest assured, we won’t abandon you. We love mice and keyboards, too.
Hogfather
Posted 08:42am 30/9/13
You can’t make a sentence into a question by just putting a question-mark at the end.

Ahahah wp Valve
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