• Steam Controller

    Get Well soon Odawgg!!-steamcontroller-jpg

    I bought the Steam Controller when it was on sale a few weeks back and got some time with it this weekend. I have only played The Division with it, but I am confident in saying it should be an enthusiast-or-tech-nerd-only accessory. If you don't think spending hours messing around with all the various settings to find things that work for you and then tweaking them for each game sounds fun, this isn't for you.

    There are community supplied configurations (or "templates" as the settings UI calls them) but you will still need to adjust them to fit your liking. It is very easy to get these community templates and also very easy to modify them and save the modification. They are making a lot of good steps to making this easy to use. It still requires a lot of futzing by the end users to get things feeling "right".

    Speaking of feeling, the haptic feedback in the controller is pretty damn good. There are two motors or whatever they are called in the controller; one on the left and one on the right. They respond to input from the two touchpads. You can set them to be light, medium, or heavy. Their style of feedback will also change depending on the type of input the touchpad is imitating. Some examples of the different styles are:

    • d-pad and movement stick are a bit clunkier and heavier (in a good way)
    • camera stick kind of falls into place at the edges and gives stronger feedback towards the edges than closer to the center
    • when emulating a mouse, it feels remarkably similar to a trackball, which surprised me a lot

    The gyro is neat and works well due to it's wealth of configuration options. It is also a pain because of having to set those configuration options to get it to the right sensitivity in comparison to your camera control sensitivity and eliminating enough deadzone while still being controllable.

    The A and X face buttons are difficult to reach sometimes and makes me understand why those are also default mapped to the left and right grip buttons, respectively. I think I would have been happier if they used the Xbox style layout instead of the Playstation. Using the touchpads to emulate a joystick doesn't feel natural, but that may come with much more time invested into it. I remember when I wasn't used to joysticks in FPS when I first started using them, too.

    The shoulder buttons and triggers all feel nice. The controller feels very hollow which is probably why some think it feels 'cheap'. Maybe if they used a different plastic or rubber it would give a better impression?

    Overall, I was impressed by the tech and potential. The settings software needs some cleaning up (missing descriptions, more clear descriptions, mainly) but does a lot to make configuring the controller feasible. I think the next generation of it (or at least a revision) would do well for improving both the ergonomics/feel of it as well as improving the software further to make it less intimidating and less work for a wider range of users.

    I do not regret spending the $40 on it and am interested in trying it out with other genres of games. I don't see myself ditching my Hori Fighting Commander 4 for 2D games, though.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Steam Controller started by kibner View original post