In anticipation of this year's Game Developers Conference, Valve unveals new pictures of progress on its controller
Valve has been slowly but surely revealing details of its Steam Machines, SteamOS, and Steam Controller. Originally, the Steam Controller prototype showed a touchscreen featured at the center and can still be seen as such on the Steam Controller website. However, new designs show that Valve looks to be forgoing the touchscreen for a somewhat more familiar layout. In the released pictures, the touchscreen has been replaced by home, start, and select buttons, an Xbox-reminiscent X, Y, A, B button layout, and directional arrow buttons. The flat trackpads have been perpetuated throughout all designs, and look to be one unique feature that will stay with the Steam Controller throughout testing. Valve seems to be very proud of this design, and for good reason. It is unique to their controller and helps bridge the gap between console and PC gamers. Since they realized that the lack of thumbsticks would take away some feedback from the game, Valve also plans on a haptic feedback feature:
“The Steam Controller is built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators. These small, strong, weighted electro-magnets are attached to each of the dual trackpads. They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.
This haptic capability provides a vital channel of information to the player – delivering in-game information about speed, boundaries, thresholds, textures, action confirmations, or any other events about which game designers want players to be aware. It is a higher-bandwidth haptic information channel than exists in any other consumer product that we know of. As a parlour trick they can even play audio waveforms and function as speakers.”
Valve plans on showcasing 10 hand-built versions of the Steam Controller at this year’s Game Developers Conference. They will be play-testing variations and likely changing the design as more player feedback is given. Valve is well known for listening to players’ wants and evolving their products accordingly, so when the final Steam Controller hits the market we can look forward to an innovative new design that is hopefully everything gamers have ever wanted.
Steam Controller Designs