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Valve Demos Steam Controller with Portal 2, CS:GO

On Friday, Valve designer Greg "Gregori" Coomer posted a Steam controller demonstration on the Steam Universe Community website, showing how the device can handle input across a wide range of game types using the two trackpads instead of analog sticks. Titles featured in this demo include Portal 2, Civilization 5, Counter-Strike: GO and Papers Please.

"One of the most important features of the controller is that the two trackpads are fully configurable," he says. "What we're showing here is what we call 'Legacy Mode', which is playing a game that hasn't been modified at all to support the controller. So this is just standard keyboard and mouse style Portal 2, but the controller is acting like a mouse and keyboard, and is mapped to output keyboard events that Portal 2 expects."

The right trackpad is configured to a 1:1 view control mode, meaning the thumb can move a fixed amount of distance on the pad that translates into a small movement on the screen, unlike a joystick that uses a velocity or relative-based movement. Meanwhile, the left pad is configured like a D-Pad where up is mapped to the "W" key, down is mapped to the "S" key, and so on. Naturally, lefties may want to reverse this setup and map the Arrow keys.

In Civilization 5, the right trackpad is used as a 1:1 mouse pointer, the left trackpad used to control the camera, and the bottom buttons for zooming in and out of the virtual city. In Counter-Strike: GO, he seems to use the same configuration seen in Portal 2, but comments that the tech allows gamers to aim and shoot without any kind of auto-aim help. In Papers Please, he uses both trackpads as mouse pointers.

"We can use both trackpads to control the mouse alternately," he explains. "The two mouse movements get blended together so I can move with my left thumb and then my right thumb, and it allows you to do a really quick walk across the screen. It's a very comfortable way to control games that need to move the mouse very precisely and get over large distances on the screen."

To see the gamepad in action, check out the video below.

  • sp00
    Real time strategy games please!
    Reply
  • ohim
    You`ll get eaten alive in fps games vs mouse users... Still don`t get it why they take a perfectly accurate device like the mouse and try to make it something else... This pad is similar to what you currently have on touch screen phones while playing FPS games.. tried it once and totally hated it
    Reply
  • Gerry Allen
    Note that it took two swipes to do a 360...a great way to get killed early and often. Still, early days yet; it might get better with further optimization.
    Reply
  • bombebomb
    Always trying to reinvent the mouse, sometimes an item from the early days is already perfected.
    Reply
  • sp00
    This is better than a traditional game pad, but it won't beat a mouse and keyboard setup.
    Reply
  • chaospower
    Try playing an FPS using your laptop's trackpad as a mouse if you want to know what aiming with this will feel like.
    Reply
  • dudewitbow
    11705311 said:
    Note that it took two swipes to do a 360...a great way to get killed early and often. Still, early days yet; it might get better with further optimization.

    You make it sound like you can't alter sensitivity in any way
    Reply
  • ferooxidan
    Really all of the comments above. Get real people. Comparing to mouse and keyboard setup? Really? It feels like u compare a lambo and a vw beetle in a drag race. There are tons of people playing CoD on Xbox 360 using gamepad. With ur comments above, why should they bother using gamepad then? Play it on a PC.
    But that is not the case, this demo is to show you that the gamepad is accurate enough to be a replacement for a mouse and a keyboard setup. Also in my opinion it is even better than playing a fps game with gamepad. Those are 2 things u should compare, apple to apple, a gamepad with a gamepad. And they did mention that the Steam Machine will be compatible with keyboard and mouse, still want to make kids comment like "way to get killed early on fps"?
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    I think a determined person can adapt to anything. I know plenty of gamers with MS, the use of only one hand, and Ectrodactyly (split hand, cleft hand or lobster claw hand). I'm just glad there are alternatives for everyone to find what works best in their situations.
    Reply
  • ohim
    @ferooxidan, yes, we compare it to keyboard and mouse, since they are both input devices also, so what if you have a console ? Couldn`t they just make a mini "keyboard" that would have the WASD + space + shift combination (nostromo like but much cheaper) and let you put a mouse to your console ? For best gameplay on FPS games ? Yes, it is better than a traditional gamepad but for FPS there are even better input devices that are totally ignored when it comes to consoles for no obvious reasons... they tried unified BF3 servers... console players couldn`t keep up with PC players and they separated them... instead of making 2 different servers they could just implement mouse to all...
    Reply