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The Steam Controller Update

The Steam Controller Update

The Steam Controller Update

The Steam Controller Update

 

When Valve created their Steam Controller one of the thing which Valve held at the core of it's design was to enable both developers and the community to be able to use the hardware to it's fullest, delivering the best possible controller experience.  

Valve also wanted to build the controller as accurately and as reliably as possible, so they have built the controller from start to finish by machine. Valve assures us that this high level of automation will not result in the creation of AI or a real life version of GLaDOS as they have humans overseeing the operation of the entire assembly line. 

 

When we first started designing hardware at Valve, we decided we wanted to try and do the manufacturing as well. To achieve our goal of a flexible controller, we felt it was important to have a similar amount of flexibility in our manufacturing process, and that meant looking into automated assembly lines. It turns out that most consumer hardware of this kind still has humans involved in stages throughout manufacturing, but we kind of went overboard, and built one of the largest fully automated assembly lines in the US. Our film crew recently put together a video of that assembly line, showcasing exactly why robots are awesome.

Here's that showcase, where you can watch controllers being built entirely by robots. We aren't crazy though, so humans are still on hand to keep the robots from becoming sentient.

 

The Steam Controller has had a lot of updates since it launched and it will continue to be improved over time thanks to a very active community of both gamers and developers alike. 

When I first used the Steam Controller I found it difficult to play PC centric games like Civilization and Total War with the controller, mostly because I found it difficult use my mapped PC controls on the controller. This problem will be alleviated by Steam's Controller HUD, which will remind you in-game what you controls are mapped to. 

One of the other innovations that have been made is the ability to use the controller built in Gyros to fine tune your aiming when using the controllers track pad, which is something that can will really place the Steam controller aiming ability above controllers that use traditional joysticks.  

Below is some of the improvements that have arrived or are coming soon to the Steam Controller. 

 

Gyro

One of the community's biggest discoveries was how well FPS aiming worked when you combined trackpad and gyro input. Relying on the trackpad for large scale turns, and the gyro for fine tuning, community members found they were much more competitive than they were expecting.

Gyro support for leaning makes it easy to naturally lean around corners simply by tilting your controller.

Mouse-Like Joystick mode

Many games with full controller support expect a joystick for camera control, but PC gamers like their mouse for good reason. We did ship with a method for emulating joystick cameras, but thanks to NEOGAF user mntorankusu's suggestion, we now have a much superior method, such that it feels like you're aiming with a mouse when playing a first or third person game.

Some games don't support simultaneous mouse and gamepad input. With Mouse-Like Joystick you can play with gamepad input and still enjoy mouse accuracy.

Non-Steam Game support

Another thing the community has asked for is the ability to share configurations for games bought somewhere other than Steam. The next Steam Beta client will add that as well, so add your favorite non-Steam game to your library, and we'll automatically find configurations that other users have published.

* Available in next Steam Beta client

Controller HUD

With the community rapidly creating and sharing so many different ways to use the Steam Controller, we wanted to make it easier to learn how your controller is operating. The new Controller HUD allows you to easily see exactly what input your controller is generating.

This is great for visualizing some of the more complex ways the trackpad can mimic joystick and mouse movement.

 

 

The Steam controller is something that provides a great controller experience but is by no means a replacement for your mouse and keyboard a lot of PC games. 

The improvements that are coming to Valve's Steam Controller will certainly bring the Steam Controller a lot more versatility, especially when compared to traditional controllers like the PS4 controller or the Xbox One controller. Right now it is hard to tell how well the Steam controller will be adopted by the PC gaming community, but from personal experience I have no problems recommending it.  

 

You can join the discussion on the Steam Controller on the OC3D Forums

 

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