Posted on October 11, 2013 AT 12:17pm
Since Valve first unveiled the design for their upcoming Steam Controller as part of their new living room initiative, its unconventional dual-trackpad form factor has raised a lot of eyebrows. In an effort to make the gamepad’s potential more readily apparent, the company has released a video, embedded below, in which Valve engineer Jeff Bellinghausen explains key features while showing the controller being used to play a variety of games.
Two of the games seem like a natural fit of the controller—Valve’s own Portal 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive—and this footage confirms that they work fairly seamlessly with the device. In fact, by setting up the right trackpad to mimic motion on a one-to-one basis—much like a trackball or laptop trackpad—Bellinghausen claims that there’s no need for the aim assists that’ve been a part of console shooters since the days of Halo. If you don’t like the idea of taking your thumb off the trackpad for repeated swipes, don’t worry: You’ll also be able to configure the pad to behave just like an analog stick, if you so desire.
The other two games on display—Civilization V and Papers, Please—are a bit more surprising, as they’re predominately mouse-driven experiences. Nevertheless, the Steam Controller appears to be up to the challenge.
The video is also noteworthy for revealing a new feature of the controller, the ability to use both trackpads to control the mouse simultaneously. “The two mouse movements get blended together, so I can move with my left thumb and then my right thumb,” explains Bellinghausen. ”It allows you to do a really quick walk across the screen. It’s a very comfortable way to control games that need to move the mouse very precisely and yet over large distances of the screen.”
While mouse-heavy games like Papers, Please are cited as the primary usage of this control mode, it’s worth noting that it could also be used for surfing the Web and using non-gaming applications from the comfort of your couch.
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