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ashecitism
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(01-07-2014, 07:22 PM)
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After the coverage in November, more sites are getting hands-on experience with these kits. So far I only saw Ars Technica and VG247, so please, if anyone finds something else, post it here. Edit2: further impressions on the bottom

One thing to remember is, the prototype controller currently only works in Legacy Mode, meaning it emulates kb&m. There's no analogue emulation, no SC prompts, no specialized stuff with it. Left pad is WASD which you can cut up to 8 parts, the right pad is mouse for ex. The API for it has only been released to devs recently, so there's no specific implementation of that yet.

Also, these impressions are based on couple of minutes, if you're interested how the 300 beta testers have been faring with it so far, check out this thread which gets updated regurarly. Edit: Judging on how this thread turned out so far maybe you guys should really check that thread out before completely writing the controller off ;) Yes, it's not perfect, there are issues with it, some got used to it pretty well, some didn't, but it's not an irreversible flop. I even posted some samples here.

Now for the impressions, which are mostly focused on the controller:

Ars Technica: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/0...t-first-sight/

A full evaluation of the Steam Controller will obviously take much more than the few minutes I had with it tonight. Tonight's first impression, though, left me extremely conflicted, with each potential step forward in design matched by a seemingly equal step back.

VG247: http://www.vg247.com/2014/01/07/firs...ng-controller/

Sadly, the Steam Controller doesn’t give a particularly good first impression of what Valve is trying to accomplish with living room PC gaming, though that gateway could get better or worse from here as hardware manufacturers build their own variations on the pad. But at this early stage a console-style PC for an entertainment center feels like a noble ideal that could be marred by the accessibility barrier of the Steam Controller. After finally putting that strange thing to use, it appears to me that Valve built it more to make waves than to improve the gaming experience.

With half a year or more before the Steam Machines, SteamOS and Steam Controller are deemed fully market-ready, there is plenty of time for me to be wrong. But judging from my hands-on experience today, there is just as much cause to be skeptical.

So it's safe to say (?) CES hasn't worked out that well for Valve so far. They will have a huge mountain to climb in the upcoming months, that's for sure.

edit2:

Tested vid featuring Greg Coomer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6AnV0v9bs0

RPS: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014...r/#more-182915

Basically, the ideal vision of Valve’s concave pectoral muscle of a device is brilliant, but the path to realizing it is fraught with perils. It does, in fact, feel like its own beast – a fusion of a keyboard/mouse and control pad, but with its own dimples and curves. Every once in a while, it all clicked for me, and I felt like I was hopping, shooting, and navigating menus with the best of both worlds. But at this point, there are countless kinks to work out. Valve told me a second iteration that addresses many of my concerns is already in the works, so we’ll see where that ends up. Let us hope it improves by leaps and bounds, not crawls and wobbles.

Kotaku imressions + interview with Claire Gottschalk (Valve): http://kotaku.com/how-valve-is-build...mes-1497334223

It's a funky piece of tech, and I get the sense that I'd need a few days to get used to it. In place of the expected thumbsticks, the Steam Controller has two touchpads that look like the world's smallest DJ turntables. The touchpads offer haptic feedback, so you can feel them rumbling and almost rolling under your thumbs. In use, the controller actually feels a bit more like a stationary trackball-mouse, rather than a traditional game controller or even a laptop trackpad.

Polygon impression, video with Jeff Bellinghausen (Valve): http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/9/5290...valve-ces-2014 + Dota2: http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/8/5289...eam-controller

Valve's new Steam Controller is unlike any other gamepad we've ever used. At first, it's kind of a clumsy, alien experience trying to come to grips with Valve's solution for bringing control of PC games to the living room. But after spending some time with the Steam Controller at CES, its unusual design starts to make sense and, soon, feel natural. And then, it clicks.

IGN: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/...on-impressions

Few groups truly earn the benefit of the doubt, but Valve’s track record over the past five years or so is impeccable. I know some of the best minds in the industry are hard at work making sure that the Steam Controller is a monumental leap forward in how we interact with video games, and I can’t wait to get much more hands-on time with the input device in the upcoming months. But after 30 minutes with the controller, consider me a bit underwhelmed, slightly confused, but still cautiously optimistic.

Last edited by ashecitism; 01-10-2014 at 02:29 PM.
Insane Metal
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(01-07-2014, 07:30 PM)
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Well I'm out of those machines (at least for now). Hype 0.
thepotatoman
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(01-07-2014, 07:30 PM)
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That momentum is key to what makes using the right thumbpad feel so different. A quick, short swipe on the pad can execute a 180-degree turn in a first-person shooter just as quickly as a mouse can, or move a pointer from one corner of the screen to another almost instantly in a game like Trine. This is a big step up for anyone who's grown accustomed to the slow on-screen traversals imparted by an analog stick. What's more, after a quick swipe, you can tap back down anywhere on the pad to stop that continuing momentum on a dime.

It sounds exactly like the Kid Icarus Uprising on foot controls which also had mix reviews. I personally enjoyed it but I'm very apprehensive about using it in a ton of other games.

The left thumbpad, on the other hand, seems completely unsuited to handle directional movement. As has been described previously, most existing games convert your position on one of the thumbpad's eight quadrants into digital input using the WASD control scheme. The problem with this is that there's no real tactile feedback for the margins between one quadrant and another. The circular ridges on the controller indicate how far you are from the center, but not from the four cardinal directions (or eight directions, including diagonals) that form the basis of most in-game movement.

That sounds like something that absolutely has to be fixed. Sounds even worse than the 360 d-pad.
ashecitism
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(01-07-2014, 07:33 PM)
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Originally Posted by thepotatoman

That sounds like something that absolutely has to be fixed. Sounds even worse than the 360 d-pad.

When Tommy Refenes was at Valve he suggested they should put bumps (or something like those) on the pad to make it easier to recognize these zones and apparently the Valve employee said they're going to do it, but for some reason they didn't make it in for these kits.
majik13
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(01-07-2014, 07:35 PM)
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Soon after I saw the Steam controller, it seemed the easiest or best soultion would be to just have a regular thumbstick on the Left (and possible even a dpad), and the touch pad thng on the right. Or even make each modular, so you could pop in or out an analogue stick or a touchpad on either side. But not sure how feasible that would be.

Regardless, I think a thumbstick is the best/simplest device for character movement.
Last edited by majik13; 01-07-2014 at 07:39 PM.
charlequin
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(01-07-2014, 07:36 PM)
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Interesting that these are so much more negative than both the dev and Steam Machines Beta impressions. Kind of curious how this splits in terms of issue that go away with time spent with controller vs. stuff that's still problematic even after you get used to it.
Interfectum
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(01-07-2014, 07:37 PM)
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One thing that concerns me is since the pads are very sensitive to touch there is no good place to properly rest your thumb. On analogue sticks, mice and trackballs you can rest on the hardware while using it, not so much on the steam controller. You are always having to 'hover' over the pads.
Mondy
Banned
(01-07-2014, 07:37 PM)
It looks like Valve are about to release their first stinker.
Cartman86
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(01-07-2014, 07:37 PM)
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Still don't understand why the left side is a haptick touch pad.
Timeaisis
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(01-07-2014, 07:38 PM)
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Sounds like a mixed-bad. I'm sure it will work great with some games. But to say that every game will work perfectly with the steam controller is ridiculous. I'm pretty apprehensive.
Jarmel
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(01-07-2014, 07:38 PM)
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Wow, sounds like the controller is somewhat of a miss.
Symax
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(01-07-2014, 07:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by majik13

Soon after I saw the Steam controller, it seemed the easiest or best soultion would be to just have a regular thumbstick on the Left, and the trackpad thng on the right.

They tried that. Maybe i didnt work out for them.

derder
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(01-07-2014, 07:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by Cartman86

Still don't understand why the left side is a haptick touch pad.

That seems to be the issue
SteveWinwood
Sowing his wild patented oats
(01-07-2014, 07:41 PM)
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I will use it for myself and see how I enjoy it.

I don't think I was accustomed to a control stick in 20 minutes though.
Last edited by SteveWinwood; 01-07-2014 at 07:43 PM.
Elitro
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(01-07-2014, 07:42 PM)
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Well, those impressions are a bit disappointing... but knowing Valve they know how to make good use of feedback, so i'm still optimist until the release date.
MrNyarlathotep
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(01-07-2014, 07:43 PM)
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Originally Posted by charlequin

Interesting that these are so much more negative than both the dev and Steam Machines Beta impressions. Kind of curious how this splits in terms of issue that go away with time spent with controller vs. stuff that's still problematic even after you get used to it.

Isn't the haptic feedback audible rather than tactile?

If so (and I could be wrong) I can see why CES is one of the worst showcases on earth.
Canis lupus
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(01-07-2014, 07:43 PM)
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Mixed impressions :(

I hope I can just plug in my DS4 in my future Steam machine.
Mrbob
how can the baaasheep
enjoy the shootbang?
(01-07-2014, 07:43 PM)
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Valve bomba at CES confirmed.

Disappointed in the negative controller impressions.
erawsd
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(01-07-2014, 07:43 PM)
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So its just as bad as it looks.
ghst
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(01-07-2014, 07:44 PM)
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sounds like a drag.
Junior Mint
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(01-07-2014, 07:44 PM)
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Left side should have been a regular analog

Also, controller needs a huge redesgin cause it's hella ugly
ashecitism
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(01-07-2014, 07:45 PM)
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Originally Posted by charlequin

Interesting that these are so much more negative than both the dev and Steam Machines Beta impressions. Kind of curious how this splits in terms of issue that go away with time spent with controller vs. stuff that's still problematic even after you get used to it.

There's definitely a long learning curve for this and it differs with each person. And even those who got used it more or less are having some issues here and there. A lot of people struggled with shooters, but some games seemed work well with it from the getgo. Valve could have picked better games for the demo.
majik13
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(01-07-2014, 07:45 PM)
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Originally Posted by Symax

They tried that. Maybe i didnt work out for them.

yeah I remeber that image, were these all working prototypes? I feel they are trying to reinvent the wheel for the sake of reinviting it. But it seems in this case they need to step back and considered what is already tried and true with controller tech. Having the touchpad on the right, buttons on the grips should be enough innovation.

I cant see why having a thumbstick on the left wouldnt work for them. But who knows.
SteveWinwood
Sowing his wild patented oats
(01-07-2014, 07:45 PM)
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Originally Posted by Junior Mint

Left side should have been a regular analog

Also, controller needs a huge redesgin cause it's hella ugly

There will be a pretty touchscreen in the middle.

Originally Posted by majik13

yeah I remeber that image, were these all working prototypes? I feel they are trying to reinvent the wheel for the sake of reinviting it. But it seems in this case they need to step back and considered what is already tried and true with controller tech. Having the touchpad on the right, buttons on the grips should be enough innovation.

I cant see why having a thumbstick on the left wouldnt work for them. But who knows.

Yep the "wheel", or normal gamepads, work great on all the strategy and mouse centric pc games! I don't even know why they're doing this!
El_Chino
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(01-07-2014, 07:46 PM)
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So can you plug in a 360/X1 controller instead?
ashecitism
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(01-07-2014, 07:46 PM)
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Originally Posted by MrNyarlathotep

Isn't the haptic feedback audible rather than tactile?

If so (and I could be wrong) I can see why CES is one of the worst showcases on earth.

Yeah it can be pretty loud based on some vids. Let's see if I can find one. It's both audible and tactile though.
Last edited by ashecitism; 01-07-2014 at 07:49 PM.
Hypron
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(01-07-2014, 07:47 PM)
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Originally Posted by MrNyarlathotep

Isn't the haptic feedback audible rather than tactile?

If so (and I could be wrong) I can see why CES is one of the worst showcases on earth.

If it was just a sound feedback it wouldn't be haptic feedback.
SteveWinwood
Sowing his wild patented oats
(01-07-2014, 07:47 PM)
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How to tell you're in a steambox thread

Originally Posted by El_Chino

So can you plug in a 360/X1 controller instead?

Can you do it with a regular computer?
Jaded Alyx
(01-07-2014, 07:48 PM)
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Originally Posted by El_Chino

So can you plug in a 360/X1 controller instead?

.....They're PCs. Of course.
Elitro
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(01-07-2014, 07:48 PM)
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Originally Posted by El_Chino

So can you plug in a 360/X1 controller instead?

Steam machines/OS are not restricted to that controller, so yes.
Dinzy
Banned
(01-07-2014, 07:50 PM)
Could they make a unit that has an interchangeble joystic/tracpad thing on the left or include both. They are using the thing to work in KB intensive games like RTS and old school RPGs which would be limited by a stick alone.
Bel_Air_Jeff
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(01-07-2014, 07:51 PM)
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RIP steammachines.
crimsonheadGCN
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(01-07-2014, 07:53 PM)
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Originally Posted by Dinzy

Could they make a unit that has an interchangeble joystic/tracpad thing on the left or include both. They are using the thing to work in KB intensive games like RTS and old school RPGs which would be limited by a stick alone.

The current version allows for interchangeable parts, but someone would have to make them first.
Metalmurphy
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(01-07-2014, 07:53 PM)
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Originally Posted by SteveWinwood

How to tell you're in a steambox thread

Can you do it with a regular computer?

Yes (for the 360 anyway)? But regulars computers aren't most likely using a LinuxOS. It's a valid question. Are there drivers pre-installed in SteamOS? Can you install them?
Netherscourge
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(01-07-2014, 07:54 PM)
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The controller was the only thing I was interested in and after reading this, it looks like I'm pretty much OUT of the whole Steam Machine thing.

BACK to my PS4/PC!
alexandros
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(01-07-2014, 07:56 PM)
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All of the problems with the left touchpad for movement can be easily solved by emulating analog movement which the touchpad can easily do. For the life of me I can't understand why Valve would not create a profile for one of their games and instead decided to let everyone test the controller on legacy mode. Virtually every part of their CES presense has been sloppy and half-assed.
Saty
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(01-07-2014, 07:57 PM)
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I don't understand the point of Valve putting up a WIP controller for demonstration in such an event. No one who tries it will be convinced during a 20-minute session in that environment; it only works in M&KB mode; journalists will only write hands-on that will paint it in bad light and present incomplete picture to the readers.

If Valve wanted more feedback from game journalists then they could have sent them controller or invited them to their offices. It's also debatable if journalists should even post these previews at all or be cautious in their wording because there's going to be little semblance between the current state of the controller to the final one.
El_Chino
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(01-07-2014, 07:58 PM)
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Originally Posted by SteveWinwood

How to tell you're in a steambox thread



Can you do it with a regular computer?

Originally Posted by Jaded Alyx

.....They're PCs. Of course.

Well I wasn't sure if the SteamOS would recognize the controller so..

Originally Posted by Elitro

Steam machines/OS are not restricted to that controller, so yes.

Thank you sir for the proper response.
jamsy
Member
(01-07-2014, 07:59 PM)
Yeah, the controller has looked terrible to me from the start, so I'm not the least bit surprised at these impressions.

Plus, I still don't get why someone would pay $1000+ for a box that will only play Steam games, when I can get the same box to play Steam games, non-Steam games and do a whole bunch of additional stuff. Most of these aren't even portable, either...
zoobler3
Banned
(01-07-2014, 08:00 PM)
trying to cram a keyboard and gamepad together into one device isnt going so well.
ghst
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(01-07-2014, 08:01 PM)
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Originally Posted by alexandros

All of the problems with the left touchpad for movement can be easily solved by emulating analog movement which the touchpad can easily do. For the life of me I can't understand why Valve would not create a profile for one of their games and instead decided to let everyone test the controller on legacy mode. Virtually every part of their CES presense has been sloppy and half-assed.

maybe they're having trouble getting big publishers on board with linux compatible versions of their big titles? they've been very tentative this whole time and it's certainly not been the big media blow out that they needed it to be.

i mean they've spent however long honing in this controller design so there must be people out there who are atleast proficient with it. aside from that original 30 second reel, we've seen nothing of its capabilities even in an optimal scenario.
Last edited by ghst; 01-07-2014 at 08:04 PM.
TheD
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(01-07-2014, 08:02 PM)
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So the ars writer can not figure out forward, left, right and down without tactile feedback on the left pad yet can figure how to look up, down, left and right on the right pad with the same limitations.....
ashecitism
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(01-07-2014, 08:07 PM)
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going to post some beta impressions vids, because people obviously ignored that part

Super Street Fighter 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPTaOEdXmsA
Arkham City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj2mqxGO97M
Portal 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF9mF1u4fe4
Hard Reset: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMvhR9abO9o
Heartstone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBjxPIuFK0o

it's not perfetct of course, people are having their issue with it, but it's not a lost cause
SteveWinwood
Sowing his wild patented oats
(01-07-2014, 08:08 PM)
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Originally Posted by ashecitism

going to post some beta impressions vids, because people obviously ignored that part

Super Street Fighter 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPTaOEdXmsA
Arkham City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj2mqxGO97M
Portal 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF9mF1u4fe4
Hard Reset: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMvhR9abO9o
Heartstone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBjxPIuFK0o

it's not perfetct of course, people are having their issue with it, but it's not a lost cause

Anyone calling it a lost cause right now at this point is a fool.
aeolist
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(01-07-2014, 08:09 PM)
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i don't really trust kyle orland, personally
Wolfgunblood Garopa
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(01-07-2014, 08:10 PM)
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Originally Posted by TheD

So the ars writer can not figure out forward, left, right and down without tactile feedback on the left pad yet can figure how to look up, down, left and right on the right pad with the same limitations.....

We don't use a mouse for movement.
ashecitism
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(01-07-2014, 08:11 PM)
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Originally Posted by ghst

maybe they're having trouble getting big publishers on board with linux compatible versions of their big titles? they've been very tentative this whole time and it's certainly not been the big media blow out that they needed it to be.

He meant Valve games

i mean they've spent however long honing in this controller design so there must be people out there who are atleast proficient with it. aside from that original 30 second reel, we've seen nothing of its capabilities even in an optimal scenario.

you mean that thread with multiple videos I linked in the OP?
ashecitism
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(01-07-2014, 08:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by SteveWinwood

Anyone calling it a lost cause right now at this point is a fool.

I wonder if people actually read that small intro I wrote :(

edit: crap, dp
Elios83
Member
(01-07-2014, 08:12 PM)
The controller seems to be the last of the problems here.
They're building premium priced Linux based PCs with no specs standard which can only play Steam games.....honestly what are they thinking?
I'm expecting the Steamboxes to join Ouya and the Schield.
Kysen
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(01-07-2014, 08:13 PM)
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People thought reinventing the wheel (controller) would have good results? The spec on these machines means nothing if the primary means of control is broken.

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