Valve made its third and final announcement of the week, revealing that they have been developing a controller for use with Steam, SteamOS and every Steam game past, present and future.
They call it the Steam Controller.
Valve says that the Steam Controller, dual trackpads that you will interact with using your thumbs, haptic feedback as well as a touchscreen. The trackpads are clickable, so they also serve double duty as buttons. Valve claims that the trackpads found on the Steam Controller approach the resolution found with PC mice, which should flatten the learning curve for those accustomed to playing Steam games with their familiar desktop rodent. Valve also claims that the Stream Controller is optimized for use with any genre of game, from RTS titles to racing sims and everything in between. Even shooters. There are a total of 16 buttons, with two located in the back and eight accessible without having to use your thumbs, Valve says. Both left- and right-handed people will be able to use Steam Controller with minor configuration required.
Valve claims that the Steam Controller's haptic feedback feature delivers a "wide range of force and vibration." Valve also states that the Steam Controller's haptic feedback feature provides the gamer with a host of information pertaining to what's going on around them in-game, including "speed, boundaries, thresholds, textures, action confirmations, or any other events about which game designers want players to be aware." Valve claims that the Steam Controller sports a "higher-bandwidth haptic information channel" than what's in any other product that they know of.
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The Steam Controller's touchscreen is also clickable as well as customizable. You'll be able to touch the screen to choose the action you want clicking to perform. When you touch the touchscreen, its display will also appear on your monitor or TV, saving you from having to look at your controller in order to get the touchscreen to do what you want it to do. Developers will be able to program the touchscreen to serve as a map, a menu and much more.
Valve also calls the Steam Controller "hackable," stating that they'll be making tools available to tinkerers that will allow people to change many aspects of the controller, including electrical engineering and industrial design standpoints.
In order to get a Steam Controller, you have to sign up for the Steam Box beta before Oct. 25. There is only one signup required to get the console and the controller. The Steam Controller API will be made available to developers as soon as the first Steam Controller prototypes are sent to beta test participants. The first 300 protytype controllers will not have a touchscreen and won't be wireless. The touchscreen will be replaced by four buttons and the controller will have to be plugged in via USB.
Valve also announced that they will reveal the specs for their SteamOS livingroom prototype next week.
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