Soon Valve will send out 300 prototype Steam Machines to gaming nerds all over and each one shall be bundled with a fancy Steam controller with trackpads instead of joysticks. Yet despite Valve insisting their controllers are the future, the only way to bring PC games to a console setting, we haven't seen it in action. That changes today, as Valve has released a developer-led controller demonstration video.
In the video we see one of Valve's engineers provide a quick introduction to the Steam controller through playing four very different games:
- The first game is Portal 2, which is running in "Legacy Mode." In this mode there has been no controller configuration, which means the controller is running purely based on default settings. The right pad does a 1:1 view, while the left pad is configured to work as a d-pad.
- Next is Civilization V, a turn-based strategy game that most would consider PC-only due to its intensive keyboard controls. Here the left pad controls the map while the right is a 1:1 mouse pointer. The bottom buttons are bound to zoom-in and zoom-out. A quick and easy customized controller scheme that looks like it runs perfectly.
- Third is Valve's CS: GO. There's no auto-aim turned on in this demo, where the player runs through the training course. It's similarly controlled to Portal 2 and, as far as I can tell, looks to be very accurate. Mouse and keyboard accurate? That's unclear.
- Finally Valve is showing off Papers, Please. Both trackpads control the mouse, which allows for moving the mouse over large distances of the screen without interruption. This is also a great demo for showing a game that might never come to a console suddenly available with no efforts by the developer to port it. It's just part of Steam.
Altogether it's a very solid showing of the controller by Valve, but it does have its pros and cons associated with it. Pro: it looks like quick, twitch movements required for FPS games may be as accurate as with a mouse, so long as players get used to moving with their thumbs. Con: Moving large distances across the screen looks extremely difficult on the small controllers and requires multiple swipes.
One last note I wanted to point out is that the title for this demonstration is tagged with "001" which could mean we've got many more to look forward too. Altogether this is a very solid introduction to what the controller is capable of and should only get players even more excited for the Steam Machine.