Valve video shows Steam Controller working with a variety of games

Valve logoTwo weeks after first publicly unveiling its unique dual-touchpad Steam Controller to the world, Valve has posted a video showing just how that controller will work with a variety of PC games, including those not specifically designed for the controller in the first place.

The first video posted to Valve's YouTube account in nearly three months starts by showing the controller's use in Portal 2. While the left touchpad is divided into pie-shaped sections to emulate directional button presses, the right stick uses a "one-to-one view control mode."

Unlike a joystick, which translates an analog signal into a velocity and direction for view movement, the trackpad works more like a mouse, translating a set amount of movement on the pad to a set amount of movement in the game. Later in the video, a demonstration of Counter-Strike Go shows off the precision of this setup, allowing for minute aiming changes that "allow you to play first-person shooters without any kind of auto-aim turned on," according to the demonstrator.

Mouse movement in this mode seems to be tied to the relative position where the thumb is initially placed rather than the absolute position the thumb starts on within the circular trackpad area. This means that a user can tap down on the left side of the pad and swipe toward the center to move right, for instance. It looks like there's no need to find the center each time. The touchpad appears to add some degree of momentum to quick swipes as well—about 34 seconds into the video, the view seems to keep moving a bit even after the thumb is lifted following a swipe.

In primarily mouse-based games such as Papers, Please, the video shows how both touchpads can be tied to mouse movement simultaneously, allowing players to alternate thumbs to do a "quick walk across the screen," as the video puts it.

This is reminiscent of nothing so much as the iOS game Bit Pilot, which uses similar two-thumb swipe controls to allow for some incredibly precise momentum-based movements on a touchscreen. A further demonstration of Civilization V using the Steam Controller shows the two "back buttons" on the underside of the controller being used to control the zoom level, while the front touchpads control the camera and mouse pointer.

While it's nearly impossible to gauge a controller's usability without getting some direct, hands-on experience with it, this video does a lot to allay any fears that the Steam Controller will be exceedingly clunky or awkward for traditionally mouse-based games. Beta testers will get a chance to find out directly when the controller is shipped out with 300 Steam Machine prototypes later this year.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: computer games, Steam, Valve, Valve

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