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.