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Hands-on with Steam Controller at CES 2014

by • January 25, 2014 • OtherComments (0)478

At this 12 months’s Shopper Electronics Convey, Valve’s Steam Machines are king. The Half of-Existence developer and Steam creator held a press convention that that everybody needed to attend, however flipped the script when it committed nearly all of the adventure to its hardware companions. However despite the fact that Gabe Newell gave the briefest of briefs, some Valve-handiest content material used to be nonetheless to be had: The corporate’s press house incorporated six Steam Laptop prototype stations, giving the clicking a possibility to check out some common video games with the fabled Steam Controller.

For me, this was once a primary likelihood to check how Valve’s haptic-powered trackpads hang up in first-individual video games equivalent to Metro: Remaining Mild and Portal 2. I got here away within the know-how, however no longer impressed sufficient to be totally bought on the idea that.

The controllers on show had been hooked as much as forty” televisions thru prototype Steam Laptop hardware—ostensibly the identical packing containers despatched to beta testers late final 12 months. Each and every take a look at station had a comfy sofa to sit down on, emulating a highest-case front room gaming setup. Eagerly, I sat down at a station and began enjoying Metro: Final Gentle, sliding my thumbs alongside the controller’s inflexible trackpads to maneuver and seem. The Steam Controller prototype—this is not remaining hardware whatsoever—makes use of its haptic remarks capabilities to vibrate underneath your thumb as you slide throughout its trackpads. It is an peculiar sensation: I used to be conscious about every transfer or twitch I made on the controller’s floor, however I am no longer positive what it delivered to the tactile expertise.

The trackpads had been additionally extremely delicate, as a minimum on the default settings. This is not essentially dangerous: many avid gamers crank their mouse sensitivity so as to maximize motion. On first choosing up the controller, on the other hand, it used to be extraordinarily stunning. I’ve performed shooters on a twin analog joystick setup ahead of, and am used to a made up our minds lack of quickness on hand—the aiming stick will steadily float alongside slowly, and in lots of instances, a sport will throw in some aiming help to compensate. There used to be none of that with the Steam Controller, which means that you are getting a purer expertise. Nevertheless it was once at the beginning so much more difficult to try than I might hoped, and I by no means reasonably tailored to the accelerated aiming in my 10 minutes of playtime.

Clicking the twin trackpad controls was once additionally extremely straightforward, now and again to my detriment. I might crouch once I wasn’t anticipating to, since the clickiness of the left trackpad was once a lot more uncomplicated than I am used to on a thumbstick. I might wish to assume which is one thing to which you’ll be able to adapt with sufficient time.

So far as extra buttons, the Steam Controller has lots for the standard shooter setup. Two units of triggers on the shoulders might intention and fireplace, and the buttons on the underside of the controller have been responsive and did not get in the way in which. The face buttons have been straightforward to achieve, although the non-same old setup supposed I needed to suppose extra about what buttons I needed to push. Configuring the buttons appeared straightforward, with a constructed-in interface that allows you to alternate buttons on the fly.

Video games equivalent to Metro: Closing Gentle and Portal 2 make intuitive feel on the Steam Controller, whereas my restricted expertise with Starbound proved to be quite extra irritating, as Evan envisioned in his editorial closing week. The trackpads’ sensitivity failed to lend itself to motion on a 2D airplane, although this might be as a result of Starbound is not relatively optimized in its controls—the sport is Early Get entry to, finally. The final word check for Steam Controller, for my part, shall be video games with unbiased digital camera and personality motion, like Dota 2. Unfortunately, I did not get to play one.

I no doubt need Steam Controller to prevail—I like the speculation of a brand new controller usual, even supposing it might want to are living alongside keyboard and mouse controls for different PC capabilities. And I am hopeful after an admittedly quick playtime with a Steam Controller prototype that the sort of tool might be incredible. However I would like extra time to guage if the sort of controller may also be achievable, and I would wish to see if it truly is imaginable to adapt to such aggressive sensitivity controls.

It would not appear like Valve will expose any unencumber dates or pricing at this 12 months’s adventure–both for the controller or any of the Steam Machines–however I am assured that Valve’s software generally is a considerably higher expertise than current controllers.


Tags:   Valve, Portal 2, Trine 2, Fingers On, Metro: Closing Mild, Starbound, Steam Machines, Steam Controller, Steam OS, CES 2014,

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