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Old 10-13-2015   #1
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Default Steam Controller: thoughts and opinions

So Valve is about to release their new controller in less than a month and I recently got a pre-order as a gift by someone on my birthday so I am pretty excited on how the new controller will perform in all different kinds of games.
And I'm curious on what you think about the new ideas.

I think it is a nice idea with the trackpads, so you can play mouse + keyboard games also on a controller. This is really usefull for me because I'm sometimes playing my games via in-home-streaming on the big living room TV and this finaly gives me the opportunity to experience games like Endless Space on a big TV from the couch. I also use in-home-streaming when showing some games to my friends so everyone can assemble in the living room because my own little room is a little bit too smal for 4 people/players. Also the way you can type on this thing is pretty interesting too and might come in handy when I'm playing on the big screen TV and someone wants to talk with me. So I no longer need 30 seconds to type something like "I'm fine and you?" (but I still think this kind of typing needs time to getting used to). The only thing that I'm uncertain about is the dpad (left touchpad). I don't know if it will behave like it does on other gamepads or not. If it doesn't then I need to use my DS2/DS3 controller(s) because I can barely play any 2D games with an analog stick (exceptions are games like Bubble Bobble).
I really look forward to it's final release and I hope that I will get mine soon.

So what are your thoughts about this new piece of hardware? Are you as optimistic as I am or do you think that this gimmicky thing will be a total flop? Please let me know.
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Old 10-14-2015   #2
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Originally Posted by MosaicMario View Post
gimmicky thing
Small tangent, but if there's anything I've learned about Valve, it's that they don't do "gimmicks". Gabe Newell has said before that the approach they take to designing new products is solution-oriented. It's clear that the steam controller is designed to be the optimal PC gaming controller, and I have no doubts that whatever was invented to fit inside this controller is actively working toward that goal.

That being said, I personally find it interesting, but I'm holding off purchasing until I can see some kind of consensus.
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Old 10-14-2015   #3
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I haven't actually seen it yet, what's it look like?
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Old 10-14-2015   #4
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Originally Posted by CobaltBW View Post
Small tangent, but if there's anything I've learned about Valve, it's that they don't do "gimmicks". Gabe Newell has said before that the approach they take to designing new products is solution-oriented. It's clear that the steam controller is designed to be the optimal PC gaming controller, and I have no doubts that whatever was invented to fit inside this controller is actively working toward that goal.
Not only for PC gaming. They will be also releasing the Steam Link and the Steam Machines. Despite the fact that Valve wants to compete against Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in console gaming with their machines, the controller is a smart step into the right direction as Steam, the biggest game distributor, has way more games to offer than other consoles on the market and because of the mouse and keyboard compatibility and creating a controller wich can fill those gaps is just the thing they needed. It is pretty smart and might attract console gamers to their market as well. But I'm not really interested on those products because a) We have a living room PC on wich I can use in-home-streaming and b) I have my own gaming PC and I also prefer to choose the components by my self and then build my own PC.

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Originally Posted by CobaltBW View Post
That being said, I personally find it interesting, but I'm holding off purchasing until I can see some kind of consensus.
There always has to be someone who wants to try new things out first so others can look at those and then decide what they want wich is often not a bad idea. I was chosen by someone to have one of those controllers. He thought it would be a nice birthday gift and indeed it is (I also got 2 games because of pre-order bonus). And if I am lucky enough I will get mine on the 16th october, but I highly doubt that this will happen. I haven't got my shipping confirmation yet so chances are rather low that I will get one from the pre-order charge.

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Originally Posted by 76Nova View Post
I haven't actually seen it yet, what's it look like?
Spoiler:



I also forgot to mention that this thing supports tilt controlls so you can play racing games like using a wiimote or you can tilt your way through other games like I used to do it with the DS3 controller.
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Old 10-16-2015   #5
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Update: Today it's the 16th october and I still haven't got a notification about shipping wich means that I have to wait until it's release, the 10th november until I can test it.
Too bad :/
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Old 10-17-2015   #6
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That's kinda weird looking, I'm assuming the right "stick" is touch or something? I'm not really sure I'd be comfortable using that.
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Old 10-17-2015   #7
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That's kinda weird looking, I'm assuming the right "stick" is touch or something? I'm not really sure I'd be comfortable using that.
Yes the right stick is on the touchpad. It will "vibrate" to simulate that you are controlling the right stick if a game needs it.

There are reviews about the controller now. Some people say it is amazing while others are just... "meh". Valve also said that they are now collecting user reviews to polish the controller up for its final release on the 10th november. Here is the quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valve Corporation
The first Steam Link and Steam Controller pre-order units are scheduled to arrive over the next few days. We're eager to hear your feedback as we continue to make changes and improvements leading up to the full retail launch on November 10th. For the next few weeks, we recommend that you opt in to the Steam client beta (through the System settings panel in the Big Picture UI) so that you'll be running the most current fixes and functionality. We'll be keeping an eye on forums everywhere, but we've also set up a contact email address for everyone on the team: SteamHardwareFeedback[at]valvesoftware[dot]com. Whether you're having a great time or running into issues, we want to know. Thank you
http://steamcommunity.com/app/353370...3197947629631/


While reading that I am kinda glad that I don't have the controller yet. It is better to have the finished product. I think the "beta" users will be given an option to upgrade their controller by sending in the old one and obtaining the new one but this will also cost shipping. But I'm only speculating about this right now.

Well 24 days to go, then I can also write my review here.
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Old 10-22-2015   #8
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Well, I'm quite interested in this controller. I never did get on with the XBox '360 Pad very well (The D-Pad's awful and the triggers hurt to use excessively), so having a controller which seemingly fixes all the issues I have is great. Plus, the customizability you get is pretty great too and a definite attraction feature for me. Plus, it seems that the issue with touch-based controls (ie: The "D-Pad" and the right trackpad) is negligible as well, as Valve seemingly has a way of making it so that you don't accidentally make your finger slip (by making the pads vibrate slightly when you move your finger or something like that)

Also the fact that it can be customised to play PC games well (where standard controllers like the XBox 360 Pad hilariously fail) is also great. I'm actually really interested to see where this goes. ;o

.. Though I do wonder if you'll be able to use it with Non-Steam games. I wouldn't mind setting this thing up to play, say, Minecraft or something.
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Old 10-22-2015   #9
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But, would the trackpad operate like a traditional joystick (like hold your thumb to the left, and the camera continuously rotates left)?
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Old 10-22-2015   #10
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I never did get on with the XBox '360 Pad very well (The D-Pad's awful and the triggers hurt to use excessively), so having a controller which seemingly fixes all the issues I have is great.

[...]

.. Though I do wonder if you'll be able to use it with Non-Steam games. I wouldn't mind setting this thing up to play, say, Minecraft or something.
The 360 gamepad is really good in my opinion. I don't own one but I was playing "The Crew" with it at a friends'. And I admit the D-Pad is as awful as the GameCube one (super tiny) and like I said before I just can't or barely can play 2D games with an analog stick. But still the DualShock 3 is better than the XBox 360 Controller in my opinion (I don't know about the XBox One Controller or DualShock 4 because I never held one of those).

You can add non-Steam games to your library and then you start your game via Steam. And then you can use the controller for non-Steam games as well.

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Originally Posted by 76Nova View Post
But, would the trackpad operate like a traditional joystick (like hold your thumb to the left, and the camera continuously rotates left)?
I assume so. Like I said in my previous post: You can make the right trackpad simulate an analog stick. It will give you some haptic feedback on the (virtual) sticks position. Besides, I would find it unbelievably stupid if I had to swipe in order to rotate the camera if it does simulate an analog stick
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Old 11-08-2015   #11
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Update:
So I've got my shipping confirmation email about 2 hours ago. I think I will get my controller somewhere around it's release date, the 10th november. I can't wait to get my hands on this thing and I also will write down my opinion about that controller here when I've tested it long enough.
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Last edited by MosaicMario; 11-08-2015 at 02:01 AM. Reason: grammar and spelling...
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Old 11-10-2015   #12
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Originally Posted by MosaicMario View Post
Update:
So I've got my shipping confirmation email about 2 hours ago. I think I will get my controller somewhere around it's release date, the 10th november. I can't wait to get my hands on this thing and I also will write down my opinion about that controller here when I've tested it long enough.
I'm really excited for you to get it as well, lol. I mean I've been interested in it for a while now, but I haven't really looked into it. If you like it, I might consider looking into it a bit more.

If it can replace the beloved Xbox 360 controller, I'm all about it.
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Old 11-10-2015   #13
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So finaly after struggling around with the shipment my Steam Controller arived and I've just unboxed it. I also got a little suprise while unboxing it. So it contained: the controller, the reciver and 2 AA-sized Duracell batteries. So far everything was normal but it also contained a micro USB to "normal" USB adapter and a micro USB-cable wich the store page said is not included. So you can unplug the adapter any time and connect the controller via micro USB at any time you want. That is pretty cool and now I'm going to test it on a few games and I will tell you how it worked.
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Old 11-10-2015   #14
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You can add non-Steam games to your library and then you start your game via Steam. And then you can use the controller for non-Steam games as well.
Minecraft is pretty notorious for not working well with Steam. ;o Although while I haven't tried it with the NEW launcher.. I don't see it being any different.

(plus trying to get it to run modpacks would be extremely annoying ;<)

But still, look forward to seeing what your thoughts on the controller is! ;o I'm pretty interested to see how well the device is.
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Old 11-10-2015   #15
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Minecraft is pretty notorious for not working well with Steam. ;o Although while I haven't tried it with the NEW launcher.. I don't see it being any different.

(plus trying to get it to run modpacks would be extremely annoying ;<)

But still, look forward to seeing what your thoughts on the controller is! ;o I'm pretty interested to see how well the device is.
I don't know much about Minecraft to be hornest. I only played it a few times with a friends account and at that time I had no Steam so...

So far I am confident with that controller. I've played some games with it and also the D-Pad works fine. This was, like I said in the first post, the only thing I was worried about but after I played "Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds" and "Freedom Planet" I was convinced that the D-Pad isn't an issue. But I still need to test more games until I can reveal my "final opinion."
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Old 11-18-2015   #16
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So finally after about one week I am writing my (not final) review about this controller. The only thing I haven't tested so far is the gyrometer. I wanted to do that with Sonic & All-Stars Racing however due to a connected IDE hard drive and a crappy IDE to SATA adapter my PC crashed several times and on one crash it even destroyed my graphic cards drivers and also the PC does no longer detect my card wich means I have to reinstall Windows because the internal graphic sux even though it can emulate PS2 games at full speed almost at a stable rate on default settings.

But long story short: I am not going to reinstall Windows anytime soon for several reasons wich means you have to wait until I can say anything about the gyrometer ;P

So here is the review:

Spoiler: WARNING! MASSIVE TEXT WALL INCOMING
The Box:
After opening the box you will see the Controller itself shining right into your face. After you take it out of the box you will find the reciver and 2 AA-sized Duracell batteries wich are still at 100% after one week of usage lol. Underneath it you will find some user manuals and surprisingly a micro USB cable and a micro USB to "normal" USB adapter even though the shop page still states that there is no micro USB cable included.
Quote:
USB 2.0 via Micro USB port (cable not included)
So you can either plug in the adapter somewhere into your computer and use the cable for the controller when you want to or you do it like I do and use the USB adapter and the micro USB cable as an extension cord for the reciver and unplug the cable from the adapter when you want to use it wired. However I was not able to drag the reciver out of that adapter for some reason because it feels like someone glued it so you can't pull it out. Neither me or anyone else I know managed to pull that thing out. And well thats about it for the unboxing.

The Controller:
This thing is probably the biggest controller I've ever held. I mean... just look at it! For a controller this thing is huge but it's a relief to me because I've got big hands. That means if: you can hold an Xbox 360 controller you are also able to get comfy with the Steam Controller. However if you prefer small gamepads this thing probably isn't your thing. The tackpads sizes are pretty decent and I dont feel like they are too small or something like that. The sticks position is just right and so are the ABXY buttons. Also using the left Trackpad as a D-Pad works out fine too. Using the L and R buttons works fine too but I have to say that the LT and RT buttons have too short travel lengh for being fully pressed. You reach the maximum pretty quick wich is not ideal for racing games. The grip buttons are usefull as well but at the beginning you might be pressing these all the time by mistake. And last but not least you have the Start, Back and Steam button wich are self-explanatory. Using and getting used to that controller might take some time but after you've got the hang on it it is a pretty amazing device.

The Installation:
After placing the batteries into the controller and pluging the reciver into my computer and connecting my controller wirelessly, Steam said I should launch Big Picture mode now as the controller will only function as a controller in Big Picture mode. After starting Big Picture mode it said that the firmware of my controller needs to be updated. I don't really know how long the update took because I was AFK while it was doing its update but it cannot be longer than about 3 minutes. After I came back it said that it is recommended to run Steam Beta for better controller compatibility so I did that as well. So with the preparations finally being done I've searched for some games on my library...

The Setup:
On each game you can go to settings and configure your controller for the game you want to play. The really great thing is: you CAN configure the controller like YOU want to have it. This is where the Steam Controller shines bright for me. You can decide whether you want to map keyboard bindings to your gamepad or XInput bindings. Uppon setup you can load templates ("gamepad", "gamepad with high precision camera/pointer" and "keyboard (WASD) with mouse") wich are a great basis to getting started with. If you are too lazy to make a gamepad layout by yourself you can use gamepad layouts recommended by the developers of the game or by the community. You can even upload your own layouts for friends and others to use. Also you can save multiple layouts for one game to use. You can also change the layout ingame by pressing the Steam button and entering the configure menu there. You can even re-map buttons in games wich are not allowing this or you can play keyboard only games with a gamepad now too. I can talk a lot about the different configuration settings you can use but that would be way too long so I suggest that you just watch a video to that toppic if you are really interested in what this thing can do. But fact is: you can customise this controller in thousands of different ways.

Playing Games:
The latency between input and output is almost non-existent, even wirelessly. The input comes immediately after pressing a button wich just feels great. The feedback of the buttons is also great. Hovering over the trackpads will make them vibrate to give the player feedback that he is on the pad and whether he is moving his/her thumb or not (you can also disable that if the vibrations are irritatating you). So I can say the input feedback works great however the controller does not feature regular rumble. I mean something like: "the controller rumbles when you get hit by something" does not work with this thing even when you disable the force feedback on the trackpads. That is actually pity. I was expecting some mad controller rumbling in certain games like I am used from several other gamepads. Using the trackpads as a mouse feels good and responsive. The right touchpad is for the mouse movement and the left for the mousewheel in most cases. The force feedback really feels like some kind of a trackball on the right side and on the left side as some kind of mousewheel. It really gives you the feeling that you are controlling the mouse and it feels great. But on the other hand the Dpad goes only in 4 directions. In most cases this causes no issues but in some games it does. Usaly a POV-hat has 8 directions (2 horizontal, 2 vertical and 4 diagonal) and some games need the diagonal directions as well wich cannot be pressed using the Steam Controller. That means that you can only walk horizontal and vertical in those games but not diagonal. Only games wich recognize up and left as upleft are compatible but not games wich explicitly need upleft to walk upleft. Speaking about diagonals: hitting the diagonals is not hard with that controller but holding a diagonal direction is a pain in the ♥♦♣. I allways keep slipping of the diagonals when I try to hold these. So the Dpad is fine for games where diagonals are irrelevant or not so often used but not for games where diagonals play an important role. Otherwise this controller is great to play your games with especially with all the customisation you have. But it definitely needs some time to getting used to it.

Playing Non-Steam Games:
It is like playing Steam games but it needs to detect the Steam overlay in order to work (wich means you cannot disable the Steam overlay in Steam games else you cannot use the controller). If your non-Steam game supports OpenGL then you're good to go and your setup should work like expected. However when it does not detect the Steam overlay it will use the desktop configuration. Luckily you can edit the desktop controlls but weirdly not every programm does work with the Steam controller. So you need to pray that your game/programm is compatible with the controller. If not there is no way that you can use the controller for your programm. Also I've once changed the trackpad functions but it still used the defaults for no apparent reason. It only changed the stick and ABXY buttons for me. I've tried to play Phantasy Star Online with it but no matter what I tried it just didn't worked :'<

Desktop Configuration:
Like I've mentioned earlier the controller features a desktop configuration. That is pretty cool so you can use the controller as a Mouse on some programms. I use it when browsing through the internet while leaning back. I have my accuracy of the mouse and I can enjoy watching videos with the Steam controller being my remote. The default desktop configuration is also active when Steam is not running. However when you close Steam after it once started the controller will no longer work until you start Steam again. Again you can customise the controller like you want to have it. When Steam is minimized and you press the Steam button the Steam protramm will show up. When Steam is active in non-Big Picture mode and you press the Steam button it will launch Steam into Big Picture mode. You can turn of the controller at any time when holding the Steam button for about 5 seconds

Final Thoughts:
The Steam Controller is well-made and it does it's job really good. The hardware is great but it has flaws on its software side like the desktop configuration or the Dpad configuration. The missing rumble feature really hurts but I hope that they will implement this missing feature. I am going to mail them about my issues and I hope that they are going to fix them. Otherwise you can easily play allmost every game with it and also you can customise the controller like no other controller. But I still have my DS2 controller for some games that I just can't play with the Steam Controller. I can recommend this controller but for now I would rather wait until they ironed all the bugs out and leave the beta stage.

Question Time:
If you have any questions left please ask me and I might be able to answer that question.
Thank you very much for reading my review.
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