Controls And Software
Tom's Hardware: Which solutions have you adopted for the controls?
Pandora Machine: We evaluated different alternatives that could satisfy the project's needs. At the moment, we're relying on peripherals provided by a German company: a standard Ximput Gamepad with rechargeable batteries and a mini keyboard with trackball. Obviously, everything is wireless and with a great “soft touch” finish.
TH: Is it possible to use traditional mice and keyboards? How will you manage drivers for third-party peripherals?
PM: Certainly, one of the machine's strengths is its flexibility to allow input devices other than gamepad controllers. All devices of this kind will be automatically recognized and made available to use. In case of something requiring specific management (steering wheels with force feedback or elaborate gaming keyboards), some of the functionality may be diminished. The “Participate” section of our project, which involves the collection of feedback, ideas and suggestions, will help us develop the future functionality of our machines. The possibility of deployment on the run with the distribution of continuous updates should allow us, among other things, to meet every need related to controls.
TH: What do you think about Valve’s controller?
PM: We believe that it will be an absolutely innovative controller. The company is investing a lot of time in its realization. Therefore, it’s easy to predict that we’ll see great things. Like everyone, we’re eagerly waiting the hardware's release, as it’ll be the official go-ahead for the Steam Machine concept.
TH: Is the Pandora Machine produced in Italy?
PM: The idea, the development, the design and the software are all born in Italy, as well as the assembly. Obviously, for the hardware components we’re using international brands.
TH: A project like this requires cash flow. Have you invested personally to finance the project or have you turned to other solutions (banks, crowdfunding, private funding)?
PM: We developed a project, we moved forward on our own strength to see how far we could get, we developed other ideas, we searched and found other solutions. The project was well received and at that point we collected the necessary support to realize our ideas.
TH: Let’s talk about software now. What operating system will Pandora Machine use?
PM: The operating environment is based on Microsoft Windows 8.1, extensively customized, which works in close symbiosis with our dedicated Dashboard, code-named “V.a.SO.//0.9”. Currently it’s not possible to access the normal functionality of Windows, even though we’re working on the possibility of instantiating a normal Windows 8.1 session. This is something that will be implemented once we can guarantee the highest security of the user, always being steadfast on our basic principles of simplicity, instant setup and intuitive operation.
TH: What is you opinion of SteamOS?
PM: We’ve done numerous tests on SteamOS and it will surely be implemented in the Pandora Machines once they become Steam Machines. In its current state, the operating system has not yet reached the level of maturity that Valve certainly expects. In fact, it is called a work in progress; there’s still work to be done, but the idea certainly has crazy potential. And as you’ve seen, we like when there’s talk of developing such ideas!
TH: Lately there is much talk of streaming games managed by powerful desktop computers and displayed on screens in other rooms of the house. Will Pandora Machine handle similar situations?
PM: As a Steam partner, we could not exclude from our project the possibility of using this part of the platform. Pandora Machine will absolutely take advantage of this great potential; even here we’ll see some great things!
TH: Will it be possible to customize Pandora Machine with components purchased separately?
PM: We have chosen the policy of optimized machines for maximum performance, and we are developing an upgrade service for the hardware that will allow us to maintain this.
TH: Do you think that the SteamOS project and the Steam Machines will be able to upset the next-gen consoles?
PM: Absolutely, the project has the potential to arouse great interest.