Home News This is how the Steam Machine console controller works

While no controller will ever directly replace the mouse and keyboard for precision and flexibility, Valve’s prototype Steam Machine controller does a wonderful job of bridging the gap. With tons of buttons and dynamically controlled dual trackpads, players can switch between digital, ananlog, relative, and fixed-position input for movement, mouse-look, or direct cursor control. In this video, it’s even demonstrated that both trackpad inputs can be combined for greater cursor precision and speed.

For many, many games, this is probably going to push Steam Machine controls into the “better than good enough” category for couch-based input. And the possibilities for games that switch between analog and console controls (Battlefield infantry to vehicle transitions or Splinter Cell FPS to TPS transitions) make this a potentially superior solution to juggling multiple devices.

I’m impressed… what do you think?

2 replies to this post
  1. You know of what this thing reminds me?

    Literally any controller produced in my lifespan that wasn’t made by Nintendo.
    Hate me for being critical, but look at it; The touchpads are little more than two perhaps slightly more accurate, but also more expensive. The thing looks uncomfortable for anybody with bigger hands than intended (like I). There are fewer buttons that can really be used than with other layouts since most games won’t like it if you take your finger off the left stick and punish your insolence. Speaking of which, clicking the pads is nice (albeit not new), but it’ll likely have to serve as another heavily used means of input rather than just camera resetting which means that you’ll often have to stop controlling to click them. Don’t even get me started on the center screen. To top it off, it will require completely new muscle memory, making gaming awkward and tough to learn even on games made for controllers.

    *Draws breath*
    Aside from that, it looks decent, if a bit… unnecessary. How often will you forsake the actual accuracy of keyboard and mouse or waste the potential of the controller by using it with console titles whose control aids make yours completely equal to the console native?
    Don’t tell me about Steam Box only games, we all know there will never be such a thing except for a few tiny arcade games made by Valve themselves.

  2. The following Copypasta is from my G+ page:

    “Based on the first review video that Valve just released of the controller, I’m sold on it’s potential and usefulness already. The KB/Mouse is sweet, but the “Mouse Blending” feature is a godsend if not revolutionary.

    To control a mouse cursor is more than just moving one’s hand, but a real-time thought process on “How much motion is required to finish the x:1 equation”? A big failure on many games that use a Stick motion -> mouse feature is that either the motion has no acceleration, or that acceleration is limited to a timed event. (ie, mouse speed x2 x3 x4 the longer it’s held at max position.) Being able to control a mouse with two “sticks” at once would make things much easier for mouse based games as you can better add acceleration on top of moment.

    All of this and we’re not even getting to the other parts of the controller which has lots of promise.

    Now funny enough, How is this thing going to perform on platformerers?”

    After that posting though, I’ve found out that Team Meat were highly positive on the controller with their game. It’s one thing to have a trackpad turn into buttons, but for a game like Super Meat Boy which requires precision on every aspect of movement and timing; it’s a safe bet that the Steam Controller will meet just about every genre possible.

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