First look: Using Steam Controller on Mac OS X

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
When Valve announced they would be making a controller people went a little crazy. The firm spun up their PR magic machine in ways that could make Apple blush, positioning the controller as the grand finale in a three-part product push.


The Steam Controller in Box


The plan was to launch SteamOS on day one, release Steam Boxes on day two and finish off with the debut Steam Controller on day three. Like an alternative-universe-game-platform-holding Billy Ocean, they really wanted to get games out your monitor and into your car TV, and day three has arrived.

Not only was every gamer's favorite company making new toys, the Steam Controller itself was wildly different from its contemporaries. No analog sticks, haptic feedback, touch screen in the middle, nonstandard buttons and placement, and two very large touch pads. It wasn't pretty, but it had pizzazz. The goal was to create an input device that would allow you to play all your favorite keyboard and mouse centric games, along with standard controller supported games, comfortably on your couch. But how do you make an input device that works as well for Civilization V as it does for Counter Strike?

Fast forward a couple of years (valve time is poised to outlive Moore's law), sprinkle in some notable hardware layoffs, add a dash of an extremely limited public beta phase and a few internal redesigns, and what we've arrived at shares a lot more in common with Sony's DualShock 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One Controller than that original design.


To meet their design goals Valve spun the wheel and landed on buttons!


Four standard face buttons that follow Xbox colors and layout (x, y, a, b) adorn the bottom right of the controller face, and a single depressible analog stick occupies the lower left. There is an arrangement of three buttons in the middle of the controller (select, steam orb, start), left and right bumpers, left and right triggers, and an additional left and right paddle on the back of each grip that mirror the 'A' and 'X' buttons by default.

The stars of the show are two very large, circular touch pads at the top. The touch pad in the top left is debossed with the shape of a standard d-pad cross, while the right pad is left completely smooth. Both pads are also clickable, adding two additional physical buttons.

For those keeping count that leaves us at a healthy 16 physical buttons on the controller. In software either of the pads can be configured in one of six ways: as a 4-way directional pad, as a 4 button pad (x,y,a,b on diagonals like on the face), a joystick optimized for movement or camera control, as an emulated mouse cursor, or as a scroll wheel.

By implementing two large touch pads, Valve managed to stumble on a somewhat ingenious two-controllers-in-one approach with their layout. You can use it like a standard controller with your left thumb on the analog stick, using your right thumb to trade off between face buttons and top-right pad duty, or alternatively you can 'choke up' on the controller, placing both your thumbs on the two touch pads and allowing your other fingers to rest on the shoulder buttons, triggers, and paddles on the back. This is particularly useful when switching between games written for mouse and keyboard or for standard controller input.

Unfortunately due to the amount of buttons and the size of the touch pads, trade-offs were made. The x, y, a, and b face buttons suffer the most, squished into the bottom right corner of the contoller's face at a reduced size. The controller itself also ends up being larger than either the DualShock 4 or the Xbox One Controller. I never found it uncomfortable to hold, but after a couple of hours with it I'm still hitting face buttons I didn't mean to.


Steam Controller (left), DualShock 4 (top), Xbox One Controller (right)


What all of this adds up to is a versatile controller with a lot of room for customization. These days Valve is known for their community focused approach to delivering software as a service, and the Steam Controller is no different. They are leaning heavily on user generated controller mappings for games, making it as painless as possible to download community made control schemes or to share your own through Steam.

Hardware is only as good as the software that enables it. Apple fans should be more familiar with that doctrine than most. As of this writing, the Steam Controller is not properly supported under OS X.

To be blunt, the Steam Controller is half implemented. Keyboard and mouse emulation are functional if you opt-in to the latest Steam client beta, but gamepad emulation is non-functioning. Valve has apologized, and promises fixes within the next few weeks, but as of right now it's impossible for us to recommend this to Mac users.

What does not having gamepad emulation actually amount to? Basically it means that any games that would normally detect and use gamepads will fail to do so. Generally this will surface in a "controller not found"' or "connect controller" message of some type in the game.


No working gamepad emulation means games won't see your steam controller as a controller.


However, keyboard and mouse emulation is currently working with the latest Steam beta, so if the game supports keyboard and mouse as an input, you can try and map to that. Keep in mind, however, that is going to mean remapping your controller manually in almost every game, as well as avoiding the community and developer made mappings. If you don't mind putting in a little elbow grease, you may be able to get something functional out of the experience.

Eventually I just plugged it into my Gaming PC where everything just works. Out of the handful of games I tested (Darkest Dungeon, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Bioshock Infinite, Bastion, Rocket League) I was able to find configurations or manually map ones that I felt were pretty good. I'm not sure there was an experience in that batch of games that was compelling enough to make me choose it over a keyboard and mouse or DualShock 4 or Xbox One Controller when available.

The sweet spot for this controller is undoubtedly playing a keyboard and mouse only game from your couch. Valve is making a bet that market is larger than most of us realize.

So where does that leave us? Well, there's a reason this is a first look and not a full review. I've barely touched on the software side of things, and my hands-on play time has been limited to a few hours. Add in the OS X issues and it becomes impossible to recommend this controller to Mac users right now. Don't buy this if your gaming machine is a Mac. Not yet, at least.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Stil more original than the other rip offs.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    xzuxzu Posts: 139member
    Can Apple buy Valve and get serious about games? Gabe Newell would be awesome for Apple... they don't get gaming at all. Macs are embarrassing gaming machines. We need something powerful enough to run Star Citizen and Apple to jump in and get CryEngine to use OpenGL. Gaming isn't that tough...

    And for goodness sake make a desktop computer without mobile graphics.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xZu View Post



    Can Apple buy Valve and get serious about games? Gabe Newell would be awesome for Apple... they don't get gaming at all. Macs are embarrassing gaming machines. We need something powerful enough to run Star Citizen and Apple to jump in and get CryEngine to use OpenGL. Gaming isn't that tough...



    And for goodness sake make a desktop computer without mobile graphics.

     

    I'd like to see a desktop step between a Mac Pro and a Mac Mini - something monitor-less out the box but probably the price of an iMac, with a dedicated desktop-class graphics card (Or 2). Gabe's pushed hard against Microsoft, but can't outright ignore them because it'd be economic suicide. They've made a huge push to Linux gaming, and with Steam Machines on the go I can only hope it's the start of some serious competition for the desktop OS of choice for gaming.

  • Reply 4 of 23
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Honestly. Valve, good first try, but:

    - If the ABXY buttons are two far down. The best "arrangement" of these buttons was with the Nintendo GameCube's controller where the 4 buttons were different size/shapes and not contorting the thumb. By extension the PS1/2/3/4 controller is essentially a SNES controller with two analog sticks and two extra trigger buttons.

    - The XBOX 360 trigger buttons are the best design but worst positioned. When you use the Xbox 360, the controller is too large and thus your fingers for the triggers rests between the two buttons and when extra force is applied to ABXY buttons the top shoulder buttons are pressed when not desired to.

    This Valve controller has essentially reversed the buttons and analog controls on the Xbox 360 controller. Thus negating the reason for the Xbox 360 button arrangement.

    Basically the problem is that no gamepad is really going to fit everyone's hands, and these "touchpad" analog controls don't improve anything and puts the most-frequently used buttons in the least-usable location like in the N64 (where you can't use 1/3rd of the controller and the digital pad was the ignored 1/3rd.)

    Like I'd almost want to suggest that Valve would have been better off making a "reversable" controller where you just flip the controller upside down.

    Like look a the Wii gamepad controller and compare it to the Wii U Pro gamepad. The Wii's gamepad was essentially the SNES pad with the analog sticks in the same place as the PSX, but the second shoulder buttons are too faraway from the edge to really use. The Wii U's Pro controller is the reverse with the left hand side closer to the GameCube controller but the right hand side like the Steam controller.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    I think this report is deeply unfair. The controllers official launch isn't for another three weeks(Nov 10). They said Mac support will be in place by then, they've just run into some last minute issues(related to OSX El Capitan's recent launch I'm guessing).

    Valve has done more for Mac gaming than probably any company ever has. Maybe you can argue ID software back in the 90's was more important, but Valve has certainly been the best thing to happen to Mac gamers in the last decade.

    Highlights:
    They brought all their games to the MAC.
    They brought Steam, including every feature to the MAC.
    They brought us cross-buy, cross-save, cross-play, etc..
    They encourage developers and publishers to bring games to the MAC(currently 2,443 MAC games on Steam).
    All Steam features, and launches of their new games and their game updates happen at the same as Windows users get them.
    They treat Mac users equal to Windows users even though its a much smaller user base for them.


    If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt I think its the folks at Valve. I think the tone this article takes paints Mac users in a negative light. It makes us appear ungrateful and unsympathetic.

    I would ask the author Jason Snively, and the editors at Appleinsider to consider doing a piece on how much progress has been made in Mac gaming since Valve brought Steam to the platform.
  • Reply 6 of 23

    I think this report is deeply unfair. The controllers official launch isn't for another three weeks(Nov 10). They said Mac support will be in place by then, they've just run into some last minute issues(related to OSX El Capitan's recent launch I'm guessing).

    Valve has done more for Mac gaming than probably any company ever has. Maybe you can argue ID software back in the 90's was more important, but Valve has certainly been the best thing to happen to Mac gamers in the last decade.

    Highlights:

    They brought all their games to the MAC.

    They brought Steam, including every feature to the MAC.

    They brought us cross-buy, cross-save, cross-play, etc..

    They encourage developers and publishers to bring  games to the MAC(currently 2,443 MAC games on Steam).

    All Steam features, and launches of their new games and their game updates happen at the same as Windows users get them. 

    They treat Mac users equal to Windows users even though its a much smaller user base for them.



    If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt I think its the folks at Valve. I think the tone this article takes paints Mac users in a negative light. It makes us appear ungrateful and unsympathetic. 

    I would ask the author Jason Snively, and the editors at Appleinsider to consider doing a piece on how much progress has been made in Mac gaming since Valve brought Steam to the platform. 

  • Reply 7 of 23
    Most Windows games these days support mouse/keyboard and Xbox controller for Windows. Why does the world need this?
  • Reply 8 of 23
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Most Windows games these days support mouse/keyboard and Xbox controller for Windows. Why does the world need this?

     

    Because Valve wants to push console-like boxes running Steam OS.

  • Reply 9 of 23
    I always appreciated good effort but not sure that this is a worthy thing to attempt. At least the part of trying to satisfy controller and keyboard/mouse functionality. I currently see no way to bridge that gap with current technology. If anyone has played the latest Metal Gear you will know what I mean. Konami took a console game and ported it for PC but left the console interface intact. It is a terrible experience to navigate menus and such. There are also so many PC games that require more buttons than 16 which would make this impossible to replicate and feel good. I would love to see this accomplished but not sure it is even possible.

    With that said this controller looks pretty good but ignores decades of controller development and fine tuning just to be different and makes too many compromises to be what it can't.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    24nolf wrote: »
    I think this report is deeply unfair. The controllers official launch isn't for another three weeks(Nov 10). They said Mac support will be in place by then, they've just run into some last minute issues(related to OSX El Capitan's recent launch I'm guessing).

    Valve has done more for Mac gaming than probably any company ever has. Maybe you can argue ID software back in the 90's was more important, but Valve has certainly been the best thing to happen to Mac gamers in the last decade.

    Highlights:
    They brought all their games to the MAC.
    They brought Steam, including every feature to the MAC.
    They brought us cross-buy, cross-save, cross-play, etc..
    They encourage developers and publishers to bring games to the MAC(currently 2,443 MAC games on Steam).
    All Steam features, and launches of their new games and their game updates happen at the same as Windows users get them.
    They treat Mac users equal to Windows users even though its a much smaller user base for them.


    If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt I think its the folks at Valve. I think the tone this article takes paints Mac users in a negative light. It makes us appear ungrateful and unsympathetic.

    I would ask the author Jason Snively, and the editors at Appleinsider to consider doing a piece on how much progress has been made in Mac gaming since Valve brought Steam to the platform.

    I have to agree, they have indeed bent over backwards to push Macs in a previously PC only Game World. I have been amazed how well Steam works on a Mac. Now if only Rockstar would get on board (and stop banning me from GTA V on the PC side !!!)
  • Reply 11 of 23
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    24nolf wrote: »
    Highlights:
    They brought all their games to the MAC.
    They brought Steam, including every feature to the MAC.
    They brought us cross-buy, cross-save, cross-play, etc..
    They encourage developers and publishers to bring games to the MAC(currently 2,443 MAC games on Steam).

    you dont need to capitalize Mac. it's not an acronym. however in computing MAC often refers to Media Access Controller, which has nothing to do w/ Macs at all.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xZu View Post



    Can Apple buy Valve and get serious about games? Gabe Newell would be awesome for Apple... they don't get gaming at all. Macs are embarrassing gaming machines. We need something powerful enough to run Star Citizen and Apple to jump in and get CryEngine to use OpenGL. Gaming isn't that tough...



    And for goodness sake make a desktop computer without mobile graphics.

     

    Valve is a private company that is doing extremely well by all accounts. They have been working tirelessly to remove barriers to enable cross-platform gaming. I highly doubt Gabe would sell to anyone, let alone a company known for its closed ecosystem (not knocking Apple's ecosystem btw, it allows them to deliver a great experience).

     

    Also, I think you are putting way too much weight in CryEngine. Far more games use Unity, Unreal Engine, Source, & ID's Tech than games use CryEngine. You can't push gaming toward cross-platform with one game engine. Thats why Valve has been working on all aspects of making that a reality.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 24nolf View Post



    I think this report is deeply unfair. The controllers official launch isn't for another three weeks(Nov 10). They said Mac support will be in place by then, they've just run into some last minute issues(related to OSX El Capitan's recent launch I'm guessing).



    Valve has done more for Mac gaming than probably any company ever has. Maybe you can argue ID software back in the 90's was more important, but Valve has certainly been the best thing to happen to Mac gamers in the last decade.



    Highlights:

    They brought all their games to the MAC.

    They brought Steam, including every feature to the MAC.

    They brought us cross-buy, cross-save, cross-play, etc..

    They encourage developers and publishers to bring games to the MAC(currently 2,443 MAC games on Steam).

    All Steam features, and launches of their new games and their game updates happen at the same as Windows users get them.

    They treat Mac users equal to Windows users even though its a much smaller user base for them.





    If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt I think its the folks at Valve. I think the tone this article takes paints Mac users in a negative light. It makes us appear ungrateful and unsympathetic.



    I would ask the author Jason Snively, and the editors at Appleinsider to consider doing a piece on how much progress has been made in Mac gaming since Valve brought Steam to the platform.

     

    "Valve has done and continues to do more for Mac gaming than probably any company ever has. Maybe you can argue ID software back in the 90's was more as important, but Valve has certainly been the best thing to happen to Mac for gamers in the last two decades."

     

    I think that just about fixes it. Valve has been working on every facet of breaking the Microsoft death grip on PC gaming that was established with DirectX. Don't get me wrong, Microsoft earned their domination as a PC gaming platform by developing better tools and consistently improving DirectX with new features that developers were asking for. It was the slow pace of development for rival open standards that allowed Microsoft to build such a strong & locked down platform.

     

    Valve has been working on improving the competing open standards that are cross-platform. They have developed, and provided open-sourced tools to the development community to translate DirectX to OpenGL to make it easier for developers to make the move to open & cross-platform standards. Valve has also open-sourced the development of their OpenGL debugger to further help developers build better standards based games that will work on more than just Windows.

     

    Valve has built an amazing gaming platform with built in Digital Rights Management done right, benefiting both developers and gamers. They have developed frameworks for managing mods with Steam Workshop making it easy for developers to integrate modding and mod management. They are working on a way to allow talented modders to get financially rewarded for their work (even if Skyrim wasn't the greatest launch vehicle).

     

    Valve is also the only serious company working to bridge the gap between the PC and the living room, and this controller really does an amazing job in facilitating that. Is the controller perfect? Is the controller as good as your mouse & keyboard? The answer to both of those questions is no, but that is not the intention of Valve with the Steam Controller. The Steam Controller is a much better experience in the living room than trying to deal with a keyboard & mouse on the couch, and its versatility is vastly superior to an Xbox or PlayStation controller for PC gaming. It's a radical departure from where we have been for the last decade in controllers using "twin sticks". It will obviously take time to get comfortable with the controllers layout and functionality, but the potential is extremely high. People had the same complaints about the Xbox controllers when they were first launched, however, they lacked the ability to change how they function.

     

    Think about how the iPhone eschewed physical keypads for a touchscreen that allowed them to virtualize whatever interface or input method suited the task. The Steam Controller embraces that same concept with it's dual touchpads which can virtualize a mouse, trackball, analog joystick, or even another set of 4x buttons like ABXY. The controller has awesome HD haptic feedback much like the ForceTouch trackpad on the new MacBook & MacBook Pros, but with more versatility than just simulating a click. When you have haptic feedback enabled for the right touchpad and configure it like a trackball, it genuinely feels like you are rolling a trackball that is hidden under the surface. When you flick your thumb across the touchpad it feels like there is a trackball spinning inside the controller.

     

    http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/178276-valve-open-sources-its-directx-to-opengl-translation-software-here-come-the-steamos-and-linux-games

     

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTYyOTA

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post





    you dont need to capitalize Mac. it's not an acronym. however in computing MAC often refers to Media Access Controller, which has nothing to do w/ Macs at all.



    I'm assuming you are referencing a MAC address. It's not "controller", that MAC stands for Media Access Control and it is a protocol specifying a unique physical address for network interface devices. Last time I checked on my Mac Pro it has 3 network interfaces, so I'd say that it does have something to do with a Mac. :)

     

    EDIT: P.S. Its also not a makeup company ;)

     

    -PopinFRESH

  • Reply 13 of 23
    xzuxzu Posts: 139member

    Great points, I agree. I guess I just meant I just wished Apple cared as much about Mac gaming as Gabe Newell does.

     

    As far as engines, again you are correct, the direct x monopoly is a big impediment to mac games. I singled out the CryEngine because of Star Citizen, not the only game in the world by far... Still seeing such exciting projects not to coming to the Mac is very sad, and unnecessary.. a symptom of the overall problem. It would not be hard for a company the size of Apple, with its resources, to make Mac gaming better. 

     

    Thank you Gabe Newell for trying.

  • Reply 14 of 23
    richl wrote: »
    Because Valve wants to push console-like boxes running Steam OS.

    Eventually, the box will replace the PC and connect in to your Steam games in the cloud. This is how they do it.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    24nolf wrote: »
    Valve has done more for Mac gaming than probably any company ever has. Maybe you can argue ID software back in the 90's was more important, but Valve has certainly been the best thing to happen to Mac gamers in the last decade.

    Highlights:
    They brought all their games to the MAC.
    They brought Steam, including every feature to the MAC.
    They brought us cross-buy, cross-save, cross-play, etc..
    They encourage developers and publishers to bring games to the MAC(currently 2,443 MAC games on Steam).
    All Steam features, and launches of their new games and their game updates happen at the same as Windows users get them.
    They treat Mac users equal to Windows users even though its a much smaller user base for them.


    If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt I think its the folks at Valve. I think the tone this article takes paints Mac users in a negative light. It makes us appear ungrateful and unsympathetic.

    I would ask the author Jason Snively, and the editors at Appleinsider to consider doing a piece on how much progress has been made in Mac gaming since Valve brought Steam to the platform.

    I think Aspyr has done more for Mac gaming than Valve.

    Valve has ported the few titles they produced to Mac, and they launched the Steam content store for Mac. Steam purchases are licensed per user account rather than per seat, so one purchase works across all platforms--but that type of licensing is necessary so you don't have to repurchase software for each new PC as well (which would be very unpopular).

    Back when Macs used PowerPC and games were published on optical discs, Aspyr was the company that ported many (otherwise PC exclusive) titles over to the Mac. They kept the Mac a viable platform for games. Very few studios bothered to produce their own Mac ports--id Software and a handful of others. For all other AAA titles, we had Aspyr to thank.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,213moderator
    Most Windows games these days support mouse/keyboard and Xbox controller for Windows. Why does the world need this?

    Valve's video offers some suggestions:


    [VIDEO]


    There are some games that make a lot of money that were designed for keyboard/mouse and don't support a controller and a keyboard/mouse isn't ideal in front of the TV. One of these games is Valve's own DOTA 2 game ( ). This game currently makes Valve about $18m per month. League of Legends, which is similar makes about $1b per year. MMO games by revenue make up about 1/3 of PC revenue ($8b out of $24b). Some MMO games can be played with a standard controller though.

    The reason for the design is for control. If you consider the Apple Magic Trackpad, you can control an app like Photoshop and all the Mac UI with it very precisely. Now imagine trying to do that using a game controller. The analog sticks don't map 1:1 with the computer cursor. The analog sticks simulate recoil a bit better but this makes them less precise for targeting.

    It's true that most games support the 360 controller but the Steam controller allows you to use a browser and input text easily too. Some high profile PC games don't support the 360 controller e.g Call of Duty Modern Warfare - 3rd party software mapping works ok but not very intuitive.

    A while ago, I mocked up a 360 controller done with touch pads with the intention of it being slimmer and used for mobile:

    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/154524/microsoft-rumored-to-take-on-apple-tv-with-xbox-branded-set-top-box-in-2013/40#post_2236283

    1000

    This had the d-pad and buttons round the edges of the pads not far from where they would be on the standard controller. Valve's design went through a couple of iterations, it was intended to have a touchscreen in the middle around 2013 when it launched:

    1000

    which would have allowed complex menu selections. As with any hardware, they have to figure out what works best in practise and they must have found a left analog stick just worked better for certain games so they added one and the touchscreen possibly made it too expensive so that was dropped.

    Valve had to make a controller of some kind and if it had been like existing controllers, it would have meant needing a keyboard/mouse purchase (most people have laptops) in addition to the controller. This is a design that offers that functionality. There's nothing stopping someone hooking up a 360 controller though, they are cheap to buy and the Steam Link can be bought without the controller.

    Apple's TV remote with the touch surface similarly has a unique touch control style for gaming and the box should be able to do what the Steam Link does. It can Airplay mirror the Mac desktop so it should be able to wirelessly let people play games but the game controller would have to be linked to the Mac and not the box and controlling the Mac UI would be a bit tricky. Apple could improve this quite easily with a UI that lets you browse Mac games or apps installed on the Mac without using a mirrored UI and just send the output to the TV.

    Nintendo's next console is rumored to be a mix of a console and handheld:

    http://kotaku.com/report-nintendos-next-platform-nx-is-a-console-handhel-1736904323

    I figured they would just go mobile and mirror it to the TV but it looks like they want a box competitive with the PS4/XBO and will use a portable device that can work with it so possibly a 3DS-like device as a controller that works standalone as a 3DS but links with a high performance box so you get two devices with a single purchase. Nintendo always sold more handheld units (>50m 3DS vs ~10m Wii U) so this would be a way of getting boxes into people's homes, like getting a free TV box with every 3DS. Keeping costs under control there would be the challenge because they don't want to have a $300 box plus a $200 portable to hit a $500 price point. Ideally they'd hit a $300 price point maximum and people would take the controller with them like they would a 3DS and when they are home, they'd sync game data and play higher-end games on the box as well as use it for TV.

    A lot of manufacturers are experimenting with the best way to go about taking over the TV space but the keyboard/mouse setup is not the preferred route and the standard layout controller is too limiting and imprecise. Boxes like the Steam Link will probably not sell many units like the NVidia Shield but they help grow the respective ecosystems and if they profit from them in some way then there's little reason not to.
    I think Aspyr has done more for Mac gaming than Valve.

    Aspyr mentions how they benefitted from the Steam port to the Mac after Apple scaled down retail software distribution:

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-01-05-the-life-of-a-porting-house

    Aspyr handles most of the big Mac game ports so without that there would be fewer big titles but they needed a distribution platform. Steam preceded the Mac App Store and has an advantage with cross-platform compatibility where you can get Steamplay games very cheap because of the PC counterpart and they work on multiple platforms and sync up. I think Valve has given the Mac platform more visibility to developers and resulted in thousands of games and Aspyr has ported a lot of the popular ones:

    http://www.aspyr.com/search?utf8=?&search_term=&platform[]=Mac&view_option=Grid_View

    Feral Interactive has done a lot too:

    https://www.feralinteractive.com/en/mac-games/alphabetical/

    It might benefit Apple to have these teams in-house being able to deliver timely ports not only to the Mac but iOS.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechProd1gy View Post



    There are also so many PC games that require more buttons than 16 which would make this impossible to replicate and feel good. I would love to see this accomplished but not sure it is even possible.

     

    I agree.  I don't think it's possible in a controller format, but it is possible using a dedicated form factor.  Thrustmaster used to have a really good "gaming keyboard" that was pretty good.  It wasn't a full keyboard, but had multiple mapable keys as well as a mouse/joystick doohicky, and was suitable for one handed operation.  The other hand could use a mouse and all of its buttons.  I wish I'd picked one up when I had the chance.

     

    I've seen others as well, I think Razer has one, but I haven't looked for any reviews on it.

  • Reply 18 of 23
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Hmm... I'm not convinced, but I'll give it a benefit of doubt until I try it.

    While I do prefer stick to WASD keys for movement, no touch pad or stick has ever managed to replace mouse for aiming. I understand that there is great haptic feedback here, but you are still gliding your thumb over a touch pad... also, with analog stick, you have better feel where the control is at any moment. Not just by position of your thumb, but also angle between your thumb and stick. Haptic feedback might be good while moving thumb over pad, but when thumb is still, awareness of it's actual position on pad should not be as precise as with sticks. Plus... and I think this might be THE most important part... sticks have mechanical (spring) pull toward neutral center, while pad simply does not; a major disadvantage of using touch-screen controls over physical ones, and that will transfer to this scenario, too.

    Also... if controller has rumble... there might be some interfering between rumble and haptic vibrations.

    So in short... I don't think it will be as good as kbd/mouse for competitive FPS... nor that it will provide any real advantage over traditional 2-stick controllers. Might even be worst at games where controllers excel over kbd/mouse... driving, flying, platformers etc.

    It will be OK for scenario where everyone uses it... just as sticks are OK on consoles' FPS because everyone is equally handicapped... but for mixed environment where many will stick to kbd/mouse, I don't think it can provide.

    I might be wrong... we'll see.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,213moderator
    nikon133 wrote: »
    Hmm... I'm not convinced, but I'll give it a benefit of doubt until I try it.

    While I do prefer stick to WASD keys for movement, no touch pad or stick has ever managed to replace mouse for aiming.

    I don't think it will be as good as kbd/mouse for competitive FPS... nor that it will provide any real advantage over traditional 2-stick controllers. Might even be worst at games where controllers excel over kbd/mouse... driving, flying, platformers etc.

    It will be OK for scenario where everyone uses it... just as sticks are OK on consoles' FPS because everyone is equally handicapped... but for mixed environment where many will stick to kbd/mouse, I don't think it can provide.

    It has a hidden/disabled motion control too:

    http://steamed.kotaku.com/the-steam-controller-can-also-do-motion-control-1737401726

    The aiming in the video near the end looked quite fast/accurate:


    [VIDEO]


    People in the comments section in the article said they use the 360 controller for games that support it and substitute a kb/mouse with the Steam Controller. It seems to mainly be a replacement for using the kb/mouse in front of the TV. This is quite a limited use case but a lot of people play those few titles that need it (League of Legends alone has 67 million players per month and Valve's DOTA 2 is at 12 million). If you are in front of the computer screen and the kb/mouse is there already then you'd probably use that but this helps migrate those players over to the TV. There will be a learning curve for players and developers like there was with the controllers people typically use.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Marvin wrote: »
    It has a hidden/disabled motion control too:

    http://steamed.kotaku.com/the-steam-controller-can-also-do-motion-control-1737401726

    The aiming in the video near the end looked quite fast/accurate:


    People in the comments section in the article said they use the 360 controller for games that support it and substitute a kb/mouse with the Steam Controller. It seems to mainly be a replacement for using the kb/mouse in front of the TV. This is quite a limited use case but a lot of people play those few titles that need it (League of Legends alone has 67 million players per month and Valve's DOTA 2 is at 12 million). If you are in front of the computer screen and the kb/mouse is there already then you'd probably use that but this helps migrate those players over to the TV. There will be a learning curve for players and developers like there was with the controllers people typically use.

    I'm playing games both on PC and console... and am using both mouse/kbd and controller.

    Now... controller is definitively handicapped, but on console you play with (or against) other players with same controller, and same handicap... so there's equalizing "force" in play, sort of.

    Steam controller will let people game from sofa, but as long as they game on PC, they will be gaming against lot of people who use mouse/kbd. You are correct - demo looks quite fast and accurate, but consider these observations:

    It is Valve provided demo... that guy might have trained really hard to "play" it right. People have achieved playing Bloodbourne successfully with guitar from Guitar Hero...

    Scenario is a bit simplified... turning around in place and aiming without added movement and without being fired upon.

    Game is 3rd person... these translate to controllers a bit better than FPS games.

    I did fair share of experimenting with Playstation Move (with and without gun attachments) and motion features of DualShock 3 controller. Haven't played anything motion-based with DS4 yet... but as far as above mentioned go, they sometimes fall out of sync, sort of. In one moment your in-game gun aims where your Move aims, a moment later you have to aim Move 30 degrees left/right/... in order to keep you in-game gun on target. Some games actually had on-the-fly sync to fix this.

    Like I said - it just might turn out to be just fine... but I doubt it will be fully competitive with kbd/mouse for games that prefer kbd/mouse - and for average gamer, at least. Some crazy kids will train themselves to hit a fly in the air, but on average? If it doesn't work as well for most, it will have hard time to make it, unless everyone standardize on it.
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