Geeklife: 3rd Surprise Level Valve

So Valve kicked up the third announcement today, and what a surprise it was! Ii can honestly say that we -somewhat- saw this coming, not this way, not like this, NOT AT ALL!

The third announcement Valve had in store is the controller for SteamOS and the fan-named Steambox. At first we had the OS, then the box and now the controller. That my lovely readers is called genius. The three announcements were one console, but they made us know and appreciate each of what it has at separate times and separate ways.

Steam Controller

The Controller

Point 1: If you’re playing Mass Effect, Call of Duty or such games on a tablet, the first thing that comes in mind is how horrible it to move with virtual analog sticks, and click on virtual buttons because most tablets have none. When a console comes in mind, it’s great to play this way because you can feel how you’re moving when you’re actually touching the analog sticks and feeling the press of the button.

Point 2: Take simulation and strategy games like Sims or Dota. When it’s a touch screen, it is still kind of good, but when you’re playing using a controller, it kind of bugs people (like me) to change the view using the analog sticks to what is… The other base, or the other side of town. Here the mouse comes in handy because the precision and comfort it gives is much more satisfying when looking exactly at the pointer and where it is.

Steam is used for gaming on a PC, so this means that you can use the controller or a mouse, and its trusty keyboard whenever you want, but here Valve wants to make the move to the living room and they want ALL games there, and they want you to feel super comfortable so that you can use your controller, and of course the mouse and keyboard, but if you want to go to the living room… Are you really going to take your keyboard and mouse with you? Even if wireless? Well that’s a big fat no for me. That is where Valve’s new controller comes in handy for me, and YOU!

Steam controller schematic

Trackpads: The two big things are clearly supposed to be the analog, but in a different way. These are trackpads (clickable). If we look closely at them, we’ll see the middle having somewhat a place for your thumb to stick (that sounded good), and the space around it is circular so that you can feel how you’re moving exactly. Then to take it to the technological level, these trackpads are between having an analog and a mouse at the same time. Even though they work as a touch device, they have a twist, a super-precise haptic feedback which gives you the feeling of using the analog when playing games that are best with it. Then if we take them to the second point, when playing a strategy, or a simulation game, you’re really using your finger which is pretty damn precise that way.

Touch screen: In the middle lies a big touch screen. Now this one made me read it twice to have a better way to understand the idea. When you put your finger on the touch screen, a menu is displayed with different commands, while your finger remains on the touch screen, you scroll through the things you want to choose (keeping in mind you’re looking at the T.V screen or whatever you’re using this on), and once you reach the order you want, click on the touch screen without removing your finger because the scroll menu will disappear, meaning the touch screen is clickable.

Buttons: Now the buttons are the most things that blew my mind, I couldn’t figure out how it works to put the four usual buttons that way, the shoulder buttons are placed good, but the usual four are weird. Only then I grabbed my controller, looked at the image and imagined playing games from both points… I think it actually works.

Portal 2 bindings Steam Controller

I think Portal 2 bindings give a clearer explanation for point 1 games, but the majority of those who haven’t played the game won’t so I hope my past words did. Another thing to is that you can hack the controller as you like, just like picking which buttons on a keyboard to use for games like Fifa, here you can choose which buttons do what, you can even switch what each trackpad does if you’re a lefty.

prototypes Steam controller

Keep in mind: As I said in the last article, Valve is giving 300 random gamers the hardware they’re making at its beta phase later this year, and the prototype controller of this living room device (console let’s say) is of course coming with it, but be aware that the features I listed above are not all in the controller because Valve still needs to make further upgrades. For more information check the official website page.

I for one am doing the following when SteamOS comes and the boxes are out. If I don’t afford any of the devices manufacturers have in store, my move will be installing SteamOS, buying the controller (if it is as good as we all hope), and keep the gaming going on my PC. Are you going to do the same?

Now that the three announcements are over, from now on everything else will be posted, on Steam Universe group so make you sure you join it. Thanks for reading gamers, make sure you add my Steam ID gamerguy321 and follow me on twitter @GameOnGamerGuy.

I should probably tell you that in the coming month nGeekLife is making a strong return to YouTube with videos different than those we used to have before, make sure you subscribe from now for a chance to get a surprise game download code for Steam! Until next time…

GAME ON!

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