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Valve Shows Off Steam's New Controller

See how Portal 2, Civilization 5, and Papers, Please currently work on their crazy new idea.

Oct. 11 2013

Posted by: Patrick

In This Episode:

Steam

199 Comments

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DonPixel

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Edited By DonPixel

look at that dude playing portal: constantly swiping the right thumb so it can actually make a turn 0.o yeah: makes me not wanna play with that control.

I know its early to make judgments: Valve is awesome and we all love it, but this looks like a bad idea.

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limpbishop

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I could be in for this Controller..

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Lazyaza

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Edited By Lazyaza

Interesting.

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Stimpack

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Edited By Stimpack

Ooooh.

Guys, I don't know. I just don't know. I hope it's not crap.

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NathanXplosion

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I really want to get my hands on this to see what it feels like.

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Drekly

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Edited By Drekly

@donpixel:

Couldn't it just be about sensitivity options? I hope it is.

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Waffley

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@donpixel: He very clearly does a swipe motion to do the same degree of turn seconds after that.

Though I really hope these have an option to control as analog sticks, such as being able to "hold" a position on the pad and have your character continue to pan in that direction. The swipe motion reminds me too much of a trackball and makes me think that the player doesn't have much control over the Y-axis camera when they do that motion.

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roninenix

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Edited By roninenix

@donpixel: from the video, I get you can configure it to do that or to be like another analog stick.

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chiablo

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Edited By chiablo

Looks great so far. I do think they need to put little bumps at the 4 or 8 primary directions so that your finger knows when you're pushing exactly in a direction.

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joshwent

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Edited By joshwent

@donpixel said:

look at that dude playing portal: constantly swiping the right thumb so it can actually make a turn 0.o yeah: makes me not wanna play with that control.

I know its early to make judgments: Valve is awesome and we all love it, but this looks like a bad idea.

I had a similar impression, although it seems pretty ecquivalent to the many little motions you'd make on an analog stick without realizing it. Or maybe like how you already move a mouse, except just with your thumb.

The important thing for me is that, from the Civ demo specifically, it seems like using this controller to move a standard mouse pointer actually might work. Which is pretty damn huge.

Who'd have thought the most revolutionary next gen hardware is coming from the company that's never made hardware before.

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mbr2

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That jab at console FPS's. ^^

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tclangham

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This is really cool.

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DonPixel

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Edited By DonPixel

@drekly said:

@donpixel:

Couldn't it just be about sensitivity options? I hope it is.

I'm wondering the same myself... traditional thumbs work because they auto-center mechanically, this looked like me trying to play TF2 with my laptop's track pad, swipe swipe swipe, really not fun.

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Tennmuerti

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Re-posting my 2c from the forum thread:

  • Portal demo looked similar to someone using a standard controller proficiently
  • having to use several thumb movements to control what would have been a single instant fluid mouse move in Civ does not look pleasant at all, and this is a turn based strategy, never mind rts games
  • that CS:GO test .... hooooly shit that was painful to watch

So far all I'm seeing is an alternative to existing controllers, not to K&M.

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triviaman09

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It looks possible to play PC games using this controller, but the question is whether or not it will feel as good as using a mouse. That Civ demo looked pretty worrying to me. It reminded me of trying to play Civ on a laptop without an external mouse attached, which is not the best experience

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Mr_Skeleton

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This controller does not look comfortable.

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Icemo

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That looks way more accurate than analog sticks, so I'm in for that. But you can't really tell how it feels before you try it yourself.

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pentara

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I really like how that looked, most of the stuff seemed pretty natural looking

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CaLe

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I am interest for this input machine.

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SharkMan

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looks good, not sure why people are thinking this is a replacement for k&m, they never said it would be.

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simkas

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Re-posting my 2c from the forum thread:

  • Portal demo looked similar to someone using a standard controller proficiently
  • having to use several thumb movements to control what would have been a single instant fluid mouse move in Civ does not look pleasant at all, and this is a turn based strategy, never mind rts games
  • that CS:GO test .... hooooly shit that was painful to watch

So far all I'm seeing is an alternative to existing controllers, not to K&M.

That's what it's supposed to be, where the hell did you get the idea that they're trying to make something that's a better alternative to K&M? It's supposed to be a controller that's good for playing games that wouldn't normally be very good with a regular controller if you want to play it from a couch or something, no one's looking to replace K&M with it.

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Falx

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Edited By Falx

@waffley: He is holding his thumb with left one for movement, so it might be just how he's playing with it, or sensitivity options.

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PimblyCharles

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Edited By PimblyCharles

hmmm..... not really impressed. If anyone can make a controller like this work right though, it's Valve.

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The_Vein

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I don't like swiping around the right thumb to turn. He said that was the "legacy" mode so I hope there's a way to configure it to behave more like a analog stick. The mouse controls for the Civ thing looked alright.

@tennmuerti What was so "painful" about it? Looked fine to me.

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kablui

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Edited By kablui

I'm gonna go with "huh" and "still waiting and seeing".

That dual-mousing thing with papers please was the only thing I could immediately recognize as good, because I use a smartphone keyboard app that allows swiping alternately with both thumbs to write a single word, and that works so much better (really surprisingly good) than it should when you first see it.

That's totally gonna work great with the steam controller too, I'm sure.

The Civ demo otoh looked just clunky.

1) he always had to switch his grip to use the "mouse" button after moving the cursor (well, in this case just because the key binding was stupid.. use the left back-button to leftclick and you are fine.. hm).

2) That scrolling-by-repeatedly-swiping looked, as someone mentioned above, as uncomfortable as using a classic trackpad for the same application.

Typing this I realize that for both of these there seem to be better possible implementations with that exact devices capabilities - which makes me wonder even more why they demoed it with the controls they did, half the stuff looked.. overall better than trackball/-pad for sure, but still clunky.

Still really want to try it out (and be completely proven wrong) though, and I am so ready to love a new piece of dumb tech ;)

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BasketSnake

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I've been using my Dualshock 3 with Diablo 3 since day one using xpadder. Left joystick moves the pointer. I mapped the right joystick to the four special abilities. Since I played a warrior I could hold the shoulder button and move the pointer in any general direction and click the other shoulder button to hit. That said I've had little problems targeting single enemies and hitting them. A lot of people will find this hilarious but it's worked great for me. Now the console version is out and I don't even play it any more. I'm interested in this gamepad.

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notdavid

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Edited By notdavid

I'm super interested in this, but I think it's going to compliment my wired 360 controller more than replace it. I could see myself using it for Civ V like in the video, but I doubt it's going to replace M&K for first person games, or the 360 controller for third person stuff. It'll probably occupy some space in between the two.

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Tychoid

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This pretty much deepens my fear that the controller will basically be a glorified trackpad. Trackpads are bad for games. Even while using your most dexterous finger (your index finger), trackpads are still sluggish and innacurate compared to a mouse. Using a huge thumb worsens this.

Still, it remains to be seen what can truly be done with this controller.

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ViciousBearMauling

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interesting but I'm not sold on it.

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christilton

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Edited By christilton

This is the kind of controller that might finally get me to switch from Inverted.

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Edited By ADAMWD

@donpixel: That's because he is keeping his thumb lightly on the trackpad so that the aim doesn't hold. If you apply pressure while holding your thumb in a direction, the aim will move in that direction indefinitely like a traditional controller. It's just a preference thing, this guy is playing Portal so he wants to be more precise I guess.

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Bombzinski

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@donpixel said:

look at that dude playing portal: constantly swiping the right thumb so it can actually make a turn 0.o yeah: makes me not wanna play with that control.

It seems that he could make a big turn with a quick swipe. But yeah, looks like if you want to move the camera in the same direction a second time you will have to reposition your finger. After all, there's only so much real estate on the pad.

Let's hope it so easy that it becomes second nature. Hard to imagine without trying for yourself.

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Plipster

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The argument of "It's not got sticks!" is hardly something I can get excited over. Sticks are the only thing that give me any kind of tactile feedback

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Edited By vorsic

Looks a lot more precise than an analog stick.

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Murdoc_

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I dont get how it's any different then what I already use at home with Xpadder. If its controller support, I use my ps3 controller, if it is mouse controller, I use Xpadder that has the mouse and keyboard mapped to it.

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Bollard

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Edited By Bollard

You need a keyboard to play Civ? For what? You can play Civ with just a mouse. Hardly counts as showing off playing a proper strategy game...

It's not really that novel, and it playing FPS games with it looks only marginally better than using a touch screen, which is hardly praise.

@simkas said:
@tennmuerti said:

Re-posting my 2c from the forum thread:

  • Portal demo looked similar to someone using a standard controller proficiently
  • having to use several thumb movements to control what would have been a single instant fluid mouse move in Civ does not look pleasant at all, and this is a turn based strategy, never mind rts games
  • that CS:GO test .... hooooly shit that was painful to watch

So far all I'm seeing is an alternative to existing controllers, not to K&M.

That's what it's supposed to be, where the hell did you get the idea that they're trying to make something that's a better alternative to K&M? It's supposed to be a controller that's good for playing games that wouldn't normally be very good with a regular controller if you want to play it from a couch or something, no one's looking to replace K&M with it.

Wat. No one is looking to replace keyboard and mouse, except that's exactly what Valve are trying to do? Make keyboard and mouse games playable without a keyboard and mouse?

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Mezmero

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The thought of moving in an FPS without a stick seems crazy. Your character should feel like it has some gravity to it. However it looks kind of neat for something like Civ V or Papers por favor. I still don't know what to make of this thing just yet.

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Wuddel

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Edited By Wuddel

@donpixel: It really seams like to be a "strategy game controller". I guess you are supposed to attach a console controller for action games.

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Sin4profit

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@donpixel said:

look at that dude playing portal: constantly swiping the right thumb so it can actually make a turn 0.o yeah: makes me not wanna play with that control.

It seems that he could make a big turn with a quick swipe. But yeah, looks like if you want to move the camera in the same direction a second time you will have to reposition your finger. After all, there's only so much real estate on the pad.

Let's hope it so easy that it becomes second nature. Hard to imagine without trying for yourself.

Unless i'm misinterpreting his meaning, Chris Remo mentioned "flinging" motions with the track pad. In theory (i haven't used it) the right thumb control could work like looking through a webpage on an iphone; fling/grab for speed, touch/move for precision.

But yeah, i think this was a lukewarm presentation for the thing.

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tyler1285

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@chavtheworld: Valve has also said numerous times that they were looking for the next step up from keyboard and mouse.

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Wuddel

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You need a keyboard to play Civ? For what? You can play Civ with just a mouse. Hardly counts as showing off playing a proper strategy game...

It's not really that novel, and it playing FPS games with it looks only marginally better than using a touch screen, which is hardly praise.

@simkas said:
@tennmuerti said:

Re-posting my 2c from the forum thread:

  • Portal demo looked similar to someone using a standard controller proficiently
  • having to use several thumb movements to control what would have been a single instant fluid mouse move in Civ does not look pleasant at all, and this is a turn based strategy, never mind rts games
  • that CS:GO test .... hooooly shit that was painful to watch

So far all I'm seeing is an alternative to existing controllers, not to K&M.

That's what it's supposed to be, where the hell did you get the idea that they're trying to make something that's a better alternative to K&M? It's supposed to be a controller that's good for playing games that wouldn't normally be very good with a regular controller if you want to play it from a couch or something, no one's looking to replace K&M with it.

Wat. No one is looking to replace keyboard and mouse, except that's exactly what Valve are trying to do? Make keyboard and mouse games playable without a keyboard and mouse?


Civ: Shortcuts man! And escape button. Seriously.

And YES! This is EXACTLY what Valve is trying to do (they said so). This controller is meant to be a K&M replacement, likely predominantly for strategy/adventure games (the preview page showed EU IV, total war etc.). For shooters likely you are supposed to plug in a PS3 controller or something.

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Nardak

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Why not just use a mouse and a keyboard. The perfect way to play most of the games available.

I can understand if you mainly play on consoles that this kind of a controller could be a viable choiche but for a person who mainly plays on pc this isnt an improvement.

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rasko_the_brave

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Meh. It's a controller. Looks like your thumbs will get a workout.

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simkas

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You need a keyboard to play Civ? For what? You can play Civ with just a mouse. Hardly counts as showing off playing a proper strategy game...

It's not really that novel, and it playing FPS games with it looks only marginally better than using a touch screen, which is hardly praise.

@simkas said:
@tennmuerti said:

Re-posting my 2c from the forum thread:

  • Portal demo looked similar to someone using a standard controller proficiently
  • having to use several thumb movements to control what would have been a single instant fluid mouse move in Civ does not look pleasant at all, and this is a turn based strategy, never mind rts games
  • that CS:GO test .... hooooly shit that was painful to watch

So far all I'm seeing is an alternative to existing controllers, not to K&M.

That's what it's supposed to be, where the hell did you get the idea that they're trying to make something that's a better alternative to K&M? It's supposed to be a controller that's good for playing games that wouldn't normally be very good with a regular controller if you want to play it from a couch or something, no one's looking to replace K&M with it.

Wat. No one is looking to replace keyboard and mouse, except that's exactly what Valve are trying to do? Make keyboard and mouse games playable without a keyboard and mouse?

When did they say that? The controller is part of their whole steambox thing and the whole point of it is to make playing PC games easy to play on your TV while sitting on your couch. Normally, you'd use a 360 or whatever controller, but you can't really play all PC games with that. That's where this controller comes in, it adds an alternative to normal controllers that is more designed to play games that wouldn't normally work on a regular controller. Valve isn't looking to replace anything, they're just make that alternative more convenient, that's the whole goddamn point of this whole plan.

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Blu3V3nom07

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Did they ever push the face buttons?

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Pixeldemon

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Edited By Pixeldemon

It didn't "show" particularly well in that video, but I'll wait to try it before I make any decision.

Also, to those complaining about multiple swipes in FPS games, he specifically says that the controller is emulating mouse and keyboard. If you think about how you use a mouse in an FPS, it's not that different.

The controller will also function as a normal gamepad with virtual sticks and a center deadzone. It will definitely be interesting to see how a stickless design works in that case. Presumably better than iPad-style "virtual joysticks".

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Edited By mikemili

People who actually tried it already said you can use it like a classic gamepad, so no swiping required (e.g. the blog post written by the guy who made Super Meat Boy). Also the auto centering and physical borders mushrooms on classic gamepads have are simulated trough haptic feedback. But that I have to try for my self to see if it works.

And the guy in this video clearly said he is playing in legacy mode that simulates K/M controls for compatibility with games that don't support gamepads. So yes, in legacy mode you basically get a trackpad instead of a mouse. But that was expected, at least for me.

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Julmust

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Looks... super weird. Still.

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Edited By alibson

Playing an FPS on this would be like playing on a laptop's trackpad but just using your thumb. That's crazy, your thumb would go numb after 10 minutes.