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Steam Controller Announced

The Steam Controller is the third and final announcement in Valve's promised three-prong assault on the living room. They say their goal was to create "a new kind of input technology," which has them proposing a haptic, dual-trackpad controller they say is "driven by the player's thumbs" (what will they think of next?). They also invite the community to get cracking on this when it is released, saying it "was designed from the ground up to be hackable." Here are details on the major new feature, the touchscreens:

In the center of the controller is another touch-enabled surface, this one backed by a high-resolution screen. This surface, too, is critical to achieving the controllerís primary goal - supporting all games in the Steam catalog. The screen allows an infinite number of discrete actions to be made available to the player, without requiring an infinite number of physical buttons.

The whole screen itself is also clickable, like a large single button. So actions are not invoked by a simple touch, they instead require a click. This allows a player to touch the screen, browse available actions, and only then commit to the one they want. Players can swipe through pages of actions in games where thatís appropriate. When programmed by game developers using our API, the touch screen can work as a scrolling menu, a radial dial, provide secondary info like a map or use other custom input modes we havenít thought of yet.

In order to avoid forcing players to divide their attention between screens, a critical feature of the Steam Controller comes from its deep integration with Steam. When a player touches the controller screen, its display is overlayed on top of the game theyíre playing, allowing the player to leave their attention squarely on the action, where it belongs.

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80 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 2.
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60. Re: Into the Black Sep 28, 2013, 09:33 Dmitri_M
 
It looks like a testicle warmer.  
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59. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 09:32 Redmask
 
When you're dealing with humanity you have to remember as a group we tend to be shortsighted and afraid of change in general.  
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58. Re: Into the Black Sep 28, 2013, 09:13 HoSpanky
 
Jesus, Steam explicitly states that if none of this interests you, just use steam like you always have. They're expanding our options, and you're crying about it. Isn't pc gaming all about the choices you have available?

For some games, I don't think any of Valve's new offerings will make a difference for, like RTS titles. Others, like Grid 2...man, I love the idea of streaming that out to my living room to play on the big tv. I only have to keep one computer swimming in new parts, the occasional jaunt to the living room magically upgrades as my tower does. The only catch is making sure the Steambox I chose supports wireless Xbox 360/180 controllers. Hate the Xb180 all you want, but I'll likely be picking up one of the controllers to see if I like it better than the current one I use. The upside to the Steam controller is every Steambox will support it. Dunno if I like the button placement but that could change before release.

Several posters in here are flat out TERRIFIED that Valve is abandoning traditional pc gaming. They aren't. Calm down. Ignore all three announcements if you want. SteamOS is a big win for Linux gamers, as it justifies making versions of games that run on it. The Steambox is another OPTION, and a nice one for being able to play your games anywhere in the house without running extra wires or moving your tower around. The controller is currently the weakest of the 3, just because it doesn't seem like a big improvement. Hands-on may change opinions drastically, or cement them. I'm merely interested/curious right now.

So please stop crying. Valve may appear to be sneaking into Console territory, but it's more of a way to bridge the gap from console to pc. That gap is frightening to a lot of people. Make it easy, and we get more pc gamers, which, as has been pointed out, is only a good thing for us.
 
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57. Re: Into the Black Sep 28, 2013, 08:41 Numinar
 
I'm interested! I have my steam hardware beta badge thingo.

I hate action controls on the iphone. These haptics better be on the level of a GOOD controller or they are done. Think about how lame the X360 d-pad is, and it's not like they havn't been trying. It's REALLY hard to get a good controller.

In other news, those Crusader Kings 2 and Civ 5 screenshots on the Steambox screenshots make a lot more sense. I won't write them off yet, those late 90's trackballs were not too bad for FPS if I remember right. Maybe not for pros but whatevs, I enjoy Halo and Skyrim on conrtoller so my opinion means nothing here on that front.
 
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56. Re: Into the Black Sep 28, 2013, 07:04 DG
 
The Half Elf wrote on Sep 27, 2013, 21:45:
The pads IF they work are great, but they fucked up majorly with button location. Going all the way back to the NES, you keep the buttons on the right so they are easily accessible with your right hand, and that way your not taking your hands off the movement stick/pad to click buttons.
most of the important buttons are on the rear. Also I would have thought that it mattered a bit less because on d-pad/analogue stick it is important to have your thumb precisely positioned whereas on a track pad "centre" is effectively wherever you first contact it, all that matters is the direction and speed of the movement.

Not trying to praise the controller, I have doubts that Valve could possibly pull off a major coup on something which is critical for the console makers whom have spent vast amount of money for each of several generations.
 
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55. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 06:25 Ray Marden
 
Currently, I have no intention of buying any portion of Valve's living room setups. Also, I think they timed this really poorly with the PS4 and Xbox 180 only two month away.

Having said that, though seemingly alien in design, I applaud Valve for trying this. PCs no longer lead the market, monitor size and resolution are stagnating, and the upcoming consoles are mini PCs.

I still prefer the PC for a collection of reasons (uprgradeability, game modability, strong indie market, multi-tasking, work functionality, graphical excellence, genre depth and maturity, etc.,) but the consoles are starting to take on some of those items.

All those items aside, one of my personally most beloved items of PC gaming is the mouse and keyboard input, though I have a 360 controller because some game types play better with it. On the console side, there is little to no appreciation for non-gamepad controllers, even if the reverse is true - the keyboard and mouse are superior to gamepads for some of the most popular game types.

From that perspective, if you're Valve and want to move the PC to the living room or move a console-only gamer towards PC gaming, you have to broach a new a shared input, either giving multiple options or coming up with a radically new style that attempts to offer benefits of both styles.

Again, I don't see myself picking this up anytime soon, but I certainly applaud them for trying to come up with the new controller style.
Meanwhile, stick to PC to TV streaming options.
Just waiting for Valve to announce the HL3 exclusive ,
Ray
 
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54. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 06:06 saluk
 
Bold move valve! Linux, game streaming, steam boxes, and a new super weird controller. Love it or hate it, you can't doubt that valve are making a major play. If they had got this rolling before this year it might have made a serious dent... coming after xbone and ps4 launches, I dunno. It's not going to sway many console types, and pc gamers are pretty happy where they are.

Wesp5 wrote on Sep 28, 2013, 03:05:
As has already be mentioned here, this just look like the usual shooter controls of a smartphone to me, to which I have two comments: 1) Why can't we just use our smartphones instead by using a dedicated app and Bluetooth or WiFi or IR to connect to the console? Isn't this already planned for the XBox One? 2) I never could get the hang out of this way to play a FPS, so there is no way I will ever use one! Mouse and keyboard are still a necessary requirement for me.

Looks aren't everything. Smartphone fps controls suck because there are no ridges to tell where you are on the pad, and it covers the screen. Your thumbs get in the way all the time. It looks like the touchpads here have regions in them so you can feel where you are. If it was only as good as holding a phone I don't think they would even put it out.

Can't wait for a dev to release a steamos exclusive game and forget to add the keyboard controls. I kind of hope that happens just to see all of you guys complain
 
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53. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 05:06 Julio
 
Well it worked for the WiiU didn't it? This controller is going to be voted "most likely to be a doorstopper".  
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52. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 04:57 Luke
 
Fantaz wrote on Sep 28, 2013, 02:56:
so much Blues News'er rage in here...

I'm interested to see how the trackpads control the mouse cursor for RTS games.

and ppl need to get over the fact that Steam is not just some annoying thing needed to install HL2, it has become a big platform and lots of ppl love to buy games on it too.

Well Steam sniffin is needed to install and sadly they are to big ,

but then Again peps today are just so F..lazy to move there ass out the door to get the games they want ...
they rater use 3,4,5 6 devices to install there games

lets close everything all we need is a chair , pc/ipad/iphone/and smartwatch...ohh and that spyware program steam
 
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51. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 04:24 netnerd85
 
Cutter wrote on Sep 27, 2013, 21:26:
Ahh yes, the PC console no one asked for. Fuck you Gabe. Just give someone else the rights Half Life already if you're not making anymore games with that IP. They should have done that years ago.

Yeah like Gearbox... oh wait... no... hrmmm! Flying Wild Hog? The Farm 51?
 
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50. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 04:22 netnerd85
 
Fugly device.  
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49. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 03:10 mag
 
This thread is hilarious.  
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48. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 03:05 Wesp5
 
As has already be mentioned here, this just look like the usual shooter controls of a smartphone to me, to which I have two comments: 1) Why can't we just use our smartphones instead by using a dedicated app and Bluetooth or WiFi or IR to connect to the console? Isn't this already planned for the XBox One? 2) I never could get the hang out of this way to play a FPS, so there is no way I will ever use one! Mouse and keyboard are still a necessary requirement for me.  
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47. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 02:56 Fantaz
 
so much Blues News'er rage in here...

I'm interested to see how the trackpads control the mouse cursor for RTS games.

and ppl need to get over the fact that Steam is not just some annoying thing needed to install HL2, it has become a big platform and lots of ppl love to buy games on it too.
 
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46. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 02:50 Fletch
 
Fuck you, Valve. What's next? Making HL3 a Steambox exclusive? I guess if it ever comes out, I won't want it, as it will just be another consolized pile of shit. This is good for Valve, but bad for PC gamers. Just another damn console with limited controls that will encourage developers to keep their games simplistic and boring, and much less likely to develop for kb/mouse.
"Rest assured, we wonít abandon you. We love mice and keyboards, too."
As far as I'm concerned, they already did. I'm not concerned about Valve. I'm concerned about all the other developers having even less incentive to develop for kb/m, and all the subsequent features of a PC game that naturally follows (UI, depth of gameplay, no over-the-shoulder pespective and cover system bullshit, etc).
 
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45. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 02:37 El Pit
 
This is my personal opinion: SteamOS doesn't interest me, because I won't be able to run Windows games (most likely because of DirectX) DIRECTLY on it. The gamepad doesn't interest me, because this kind of controller is the reason I don't buy consoles, so why should I use one instead of keyboard/mouse controls and turn my pc into a console by doing so? So, only their Steam machines might be of interest to me, but that depends on the price, the hardware, and whether I can run Windows on them instead of SteamOS.
It's obvious: I am not their target audience anymore. Valve, never forget: there are millions of pc gamers out there that don't like consoles. Don't scare them away by trying your best to turn pcs into consoles and by catering to the console gamers!
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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44. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 02:33 jdreyer
 
Ladron3dfx wrote on Sep 28, 2013, 01:26:
http://imgur.com/JnEhx3U

It sure is ugly and I'm being kind. Trackpads? WTF? Button placement is atrocious.

Don't want!

Gamasutra - Steam Controller
SuperMeatBoy dev review of the controller.

Thanks for that article Ladron. Shorter Tommy Refenes:

TL;DR; Great Start, needs some improvements, but I could play any game I wanted with it just fine.

Here's the thing. He played Super Meat Boy and Spelunky, two games designed for controllers. The entire point of the controller is to use it to play games that AREN'T typically played with controllers. I wanted to how it was to play Skyrim or Supreme Commander or Diablo or Defense Grid or Civ. So, waiting for that article.
 
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43. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 02:20 OldTimber
 
So this week we've had another waste of a OS to install because I always love to leave space unused on my systems just to reinstall or install some OS again to a clean slate. A prebuilt coming soon PC errr console errr living room system and then this to complete the trifecta in a useless controller since playing on touchscreens/sensors is so fun.

Look if you want to be a console player so badly Valve just go up to the other 3 with your hands out and ask can we be on your platform. I don't forsee people standing online outside of stores waiting for midnight launches of these as you try to become a console player. So just do what you do best, sit on your hands about any new engine related titles and continue to push alpha programs onto Steam for early access over actual finished products. Now you all can excuse me as I need to go check what early access titles were added today while I was out.....
 
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42. Re: Steam Controller Announced Sep 28, 2013, 02:08 Stolk
 
I was just thinking earlier today how much I love touchscreen analogue controls on smartphones and wishing there was a gamepad that would recreate this functionality for PC games. Mouse and keyboard and Xbox 360 controllers... hah! If only someone could come up with technology that would stream my Windows gaming to my smartphone. The pinnacle.  
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41. Re: Into the Black Sep 28, 2013, 01:47 jdreyer
 
Cutter wrote on Sep 28, 2013, 00:07:
Redmask wrote on Sep 27, 2013, 23:38:
This isn't for console gamers really. This is for people like us if we decide to stop buying a desktop for whatever reason.

Then we'll just play on consoles instead because why would I play an FPS - or other game that's better played with a kb/m - with a controller? Valve is way off base with this one. The majority of their customer base are PC gamers first and foremost. If they do console game they'll be buying a PS4. Why would they need or even want SteamOS and a new controller? Honestly, I hope this fails miserably otherwise things are going to get even worse for PC gamers.

Not sure why you're so against this. Everything on Windows remains as it was. You could click the ignore button for this whole project and are free to carry on and keep gaming.

But I'd like to be able to play more games on my big TV without having to balance a tray on my lap to hold the keyboard and mouse. And if Windows 9 locks down external apps, there's an alternative. This appeals to me IF they've gotten in right.

EDIT: Redmask said it better.
 
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