I have a confession to make: I've spent several hundred dollars on Steam Controllers......

“It’s not bad you’re just using it wrong!”

Buddy, if users weren’t able to easily figure out how to use it without hating themselves, it’s bad.

Controllers are input devices - they should be natural to use and not require remapping and mods etc to work.
I remember the first time I used dual analog sticks. Halo CE. I've been gaming consistently since Atari was king, and the first time (and for a good while after) I tried an fps with dual sticks, my brain said, "Wtf!?" Even before, using the N64 controller for GoldenEye. In both of these instances, it felt unnatural, awkward, and almost wrong. I know any credibility to my comment is about to fly out the window, but now I prefer controllers to m/k, and I can slay with m/k. It's just personal preference. My point is, while I haven't used a Steam controller, there have been many learning curves for gaming input devices in my life, as others likely have experienced. Just because it doesn't instantly "click" for you, doesn't instantly make it bad. And the ability to remap everything sounds pretty swell. Perhaps if I tried one, I'd loathe it, but that doesn't mean it's trash across the board.
 
Last edited:
I'm very much with you on this, and surprised at how gungho people are about saying it was a bad product for not being mature on day one. Some game consoles were launched with terrible libraries of games on day one, and you certainly see people forgiving them for that. Clearly the system was capable of having fantastic games, so you would think these people would call them bad for the fact that it didn't have it all worked out on day one to ever give it a chance.

The controller was so weird and new that it genuinely took people time to figure out how to utilize it, but once they did it was fantastic. And it was in a way that no other controller can match on any level. I was so bummed that I didn't pick up more when they were in sale for $30, because now I'm stuck here with only my one, and it's such a difference compared to my ps4 controller.
Every game I would never use the ps4 controller for, I can use the steam controller for. Those two are just perfection for me. Especially as I work a desk job, and I'm worried about RSI, it actually feels good for my wrists to use a controller. As far as I'm concerned, I do it for my health now.
 
I am good with whatever people want to use, really. It is the growing pervasiveness of aim assist that is problematic for me more than the controllers themselves. Especially as they mix PC and console FPS together on the same servers (COD CW). Why do they get an advantage I don't have, and one neither of us should have? It erodes at skill based playing... No bueno.

That being said, it is hard to think of a circumstance where a controller is more efficient and has more utility than available keyboard and mouse combos. Albeit, I do get the point that sometimes you want to relax in a beanbag and play a game.

I actually have a great racing simulator setup, so I use other controllers as well sometimes (Wheels, peddles, controllers buttons on racing wheels) for that setup, especially with Forza. So yeah, my gripe is mostly FPS gaming with controllers.

You ever try Devil May Cry with a keyboard and mouse?
 

defaultluser

Posts: 119   +85
I just don' t see the purpose - I already hated the Wiimote for no actual feedback from swinging it through the ai, so somehow someone thought combining the same idea with a touchpad to be somehow better?

It is inferior to the keyboard and mouse in everything FPS, and it is equally inferior to Analog sticks on console controllers

Example": very few people in a concert band have the multitasking management to guesstimate accurately where they are on a Trombone slide, so they all just put their instruments on easy mode with valves + mouthpiece. Zero feedback = hard mode for too many people (so only the truly hardcore accuracy nuts need apply)
 
Last edited:
Loved the article! I am so impressed by the functionalities this controller can bring to bear, given enough time and elbow grease regarding its configuration.

Now if anyone can point me in the right direction of how to configure this thing without trying to blow my brains out, I'd be greatly appreciative. After the latest update, it seems many of the how-to's aren't up to speed anymore.
 

Jpe1701

Posts: 58   +61
If you want to use controllers, buy a console. Stop eroding at the one thing that makes PC gaming fundamentally better than any system with a controller, I.e. mouse and keyboard (or variants thereof). We are making a whole generation of people who are imprecise and off target because we allow the games to assist their aiming. What a great way to handicap visuospatial reasoning and create unrealistic real-world expectations of skill building...
I am glad pc game devs don't think like that. I physically can't use keyboard and mouse because of tremors. Lol. Besides most games are on both so why take controller support out of the pc port?
 
Build quality issues weren't about how long the controller lasts.

The issue was that it was full of sharp edges and a few of the buttons took way too much force to push to be practical in games.

It left the impression of it just being a cheap controller, gimmicks aside.
 
I'm very much with you on this, and surprised at how gungho people are about saying it was a bad product for not being mature on day one.

It's really not surprising, comment sections and places for opinions online in general are mob gatherings where people go to repeat the argument they currently believe with fervor. Very few of the opinions you see online actually come from a place of familiarity with whatever's being discussed. Case in point: every single negative comment in this thread comes from people who've never used an SC, and not one of them seems to see the flaw in that logic. They think they're in the right just because that seems to be the dominant opinion, so they don't understand how it could be wrong.


I am glad pc game devs don't think like that. I physically can't use keyboard and mouse because of tremors. Lol. Besides most games are on both so why take controller support out of the pc port?

Bro these people don't think physical and neural diversity are valid, they haven't and won't consider the possibility of your use case.
 
Loved the article! I am so impressed by the functionalities this controller can bring to bear, given enough time and elbow grease regarding its configuration.

Now if anyone can point me in the right direction of how to configure this thing without trying to blow my brains out, I'd be greatly appreciative. After the latest update, it seems many of the how-to's aren't up to speed anymore.
As Enya so famously said, "How can one learn how to configure the SC? Only time...."

Put your Steam in Big Picture mode, go to the Controller Configuration screen in any individual game settings, and you'll be met with an image of the controller and all the available buttons. You can map any of those buttons to anything you want, gamepad or kb/m. I'd suggest starting with tinkering with Touch Menus for the left touchpad; for example, with Trove I have every non-action button (mounts, bag, character, class, etc) mapped with a uniquely colored icon to represent it on a pop-up touch based menu. You can set it to activate when you stop touching it, or when you click, or immediately when you hover over it if you're really confident in your finger placement....

It's a game changer. KB/M is irrelevant now.
 
Loved the article! I am so impressed by the functionalities this controller can bring to bear, given enough time and elbow grease regarding its configuration.

Now if anyone can point me in the right direction of how to configure this thing without trying to blow my brains out, I'd be greatly appreciative. After the latest update, it seems many of the how-to's aren't up to speed anymore.

Yes, I've had a really poor experience following written guides for steam controller. Everything I've learned was from YouTube.

Woodsie had some good launch time videos that give you an idea about what the controller can do in different genres. He didn't go into detail, so his general impressions are still useful.

CriticalComposer does deep dives on specific features, very comprehensive instructions on stuff like "using left TouchPad as a DPad on Hardcore platformer".

RambleTan hops on the latest updates and explains features. Recently the gyro was updated to support the on screen touch menus, and ramble covered it. He also has a library of complex configurations for games like Arma, star citizen, stuff you would think were impossible on a controller.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,078   +1,031
TechSpot Elite
Loved the article! I am so impressed by the functionalities this controller can bring to bear, given enough time and elbow grease regarding its configuration.

Now if anyone can point me in the right direction of how to configure this thing without trying to blow my brains out, I'd be greatly appreciative. After the latest update, it seems many of the how-to's aren't up to speed anymore.
The first thing is the basics and KrashKharma laid them out very well. Next here are some detailed how to's that have been updated so are still relevant:
https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=6490-QOAJ-7167
https://www.howtogeek.com/301108/how-to-set-up-and-customize-the-steam-controller/

Next just stick with it. There is nothing close to the control and accuracy of the Steam Controller so hang in.
 
Yes, I've had a really poor experience following written guides for steam controller. Everything I've learned was from YouTube.

Woodsie had some good launch time videos that give you an idea about what the controller can do in different genres. He didn't go into detail, so his general impressions are still useful.

CriticalComposer does deep dives on specific features, very comprehensive instructions on stuff like "using left TouchPad as a DPad on Hardcore platformer".

RambleTan hops on the latest updates and explains features. Recently the gyro was updated to support the on screen touch menus, and ramble covered it. He also has a library of complex configurations for games like Arma, star citizen, stuff you would think were impossible on a controller.

Critical Input certainly did a good job breaking down settings for dpad mode across a variety of input devices (physical dpad, gyro, stick, touch pad), definitely worth watching!

But if you want something much more focused on the "touch dpad" in particular then I will shamelessly plug my own content (search "Mennenth" on youtube).

I have several videos specifically about the touch dpad, demonstrating whats possible once you acclimate to it (spoiler; its just as good as any other dpad if not better in some ways), as well as going much more in depth on settings I think are crucial to using it successfully (one video in particular is dedicated purely to getting creative with the haptics in order to help solve the feedback issue so many complain about; yes haptics arent the same as a button press, but once you get over the fact that its different a whole world of possibilities opens up and I'd argue haptics are more robust, consistent, and useful than the traditional 4 buttons with a top that pivots).
 
Last edited:

GeforcerFX

Posts: 1,006   +473
I've been using the same wired 360 controller on my PCs since 2009. I bought a steam controller in 2017 for racing games and rocket league. Really ended up liking it and the various customization options. The track pad is different but using it in city skylines on my tv was interesting.
 
The pad itself is and was awesome the steam software killed it for me the fact if you use it on one game steam immediately hijacks you're whole pc into big picture and decides every game must be played with the steam pad. Also note last week's legal proceedings it feels like steam pad tech is it in all pads cuz it was but was the others guys tech..... steam ruined the pad for themselves, I wish I could use it for my rts games and my xbx1elite for the games I like it on. But it's steam pad or xbx1 and I don't want to spend 6weeks of my life relearning controls and remapping keys to play a game I've spend 5-7 years playing comfortibility on different inputs. So remember they made a good pad and murdered it with greed.
Also if it were haxible to be used on non steam games that mighta helped.
 

QueueCumber

Posts: 16   +12
It's really not surprising, comment sections and places for opinions online in general are mob gatherings where people go to repeat the argument they currently believe with fervor. Very few of the opinions you see online actually come from a place of familiarity with whatever's being discussed. Case in point: every single negative comment in this thread comes from people who've never used an SC, and not one of them seems to see the flaw in that logic. They think they're in the right just because that seems to be the dominant opinion, so they don't understand how it could be wrong.




Bro these people don't think physical and neural diversity are valid, they haven't and won't consider the possibility of your use case.

A gathering place for mobs and the narcissistically self-righteous.
 

QueueCumber

Posts: 16   +12
I am glad pc game devs don't think like that. I physically can't use keyboard and mouse because of tremors. Lol. Besides most games are on both so why take controller support out of the pc port?

Read my 2nd comment on this topic. Aim assist in FPS is my specific gripe, more than controllers. They should remove it from FPSs.

If you have tremors and can't play FPSs without aim assist, then you should consider other titles. Aim assist doesn't just advantage you, it advantages everyone using a controller, whether they have tremor issues or not. It raises the bar across the board in a ridiculous way. It gets even worse when you realize there are people using adapters to use aim assist on keyboard and mouse. It just doesn't belong in skill based aiming games.
 

Tantor

Posts: 116   +160
“It’s not bad you’re just using it wrong!”

Buddy, if users weren’t able to easily figure out how to use it without hating themselves, it’s bad.

Controllers are input devices - they should be natural to use and not require remapping and mods etc to work.

Dude - A piano keyboard is the most frigging unnatural controller on the face of the earth. Closely followed by the violin.

There is no such thing as a natural controller.
 
As a user of the steam controller since launch, I now use it for 100%of my gaming, even competitive fps. It's the gyro and TouchPads that allow precision and versatility,to a lesser extent the grip buttons and dual stage triggers.

In fact, it is the legacy features on the controller that are a detriment to usage. The face buttons, thumbstick and bumpers. They're a crutch and attempt to make the controller familiar to those using xbox/Playstation controllers. But they're implemented poorly as they're shrunken and centered to make room for the TouchPads. If you grab the controller to use it like an Xbox 360 controller, you will be disappointed by the feel and location of the physical buttons and joystick. It IS different and if valve had embraced more radical features instead of these compromised vestigial buttons and joystick, it would have set a better tone for reviewers and initial users. It just looks close enough to a 360 controller that they were inviting unflattering comparison.

The software was hamstrung from the beginning in that the steam client is required to use the controller at all. It took a few years to get something like glosc so that third party games were supported. Valve should have provided the controller with a windows driver and configuration software that can run independently from steam client. Over the years valve has added some neat features and supported other controllers, but they've also introduced bugs (some that persist). I'm not confident that valve will continue to fix steam controller software now that the hardware is discontinued.
 
Dude - A piano keyboard is the most frigging unnatural controller on the face of the earth. Closely followed by the violin.

There is no such thing as a natural controller.

This reminds me of a tweet I saw.

"A club is intuitive.
A crescent wrench is not intuitive, unless being used as a club"

It was in context of a thread talking about how no piece of tech is actually intuitive. The best you can hope for is being easier to use.

And even under that, I still wouldnt say modern dual stick controllers are necessarily easier to use than the Steam Controller due to my earlier spiel about familiarity. Not really fair to say the thing you have 2 decades of experience with is easier to use than the new thing you've never used before.
 

Ean Mogg

Posts: 167   +79
Can't believe anyone uses controllers in this day and age when consoles are wired up to use keyboards and mouse as the top console players use KEYBOARDS AND MOUSE! and they are accused of cheating? because keyboard and mouse is the better combo.
 
I hate using gamepads for anything but platformers, fighting games, and racing games on PC. I only used the SC for one game, and it almost converted me to using controllers for FPS gaming, at least casually, and that game was Dying Light. I think it was the perfect introduction to the Steam Controller in an FPS. Guns are very rare, and ammo very scarce, at least very early on (and on Nightmare difficulty), so your opening hours are spent using melee, which doesn't quite require the finesse of the gyro. The track pads seem to be enough. Once you finally get guns, you realize you need to be more precise, and that you can use the gyros to fine tune your aim.

It really worked so well that I was blown away. I HATE controllers! And I loved the Stream Controller! I even found I could use it to play Endless Legend from my couch. It was great!

Unfortunately, as the author mentioned, there were lots of compatibility issues, which ultimately resulted in me shelving the thing. I even went back to kb/m for Dying Light. Those annoying issues which didn't get sorted out quickly enough, combined with less-than-stellar software and the general public's short attention span (and even supposed tech reviewers', lol!) just resulted in the thing getting less credit than it deserved, and still deserves, which is a damn shame. As clunky as it was, that was some powerful software that gave you absolutely incredible levels of customizability for the SC. It really was ahead of its time. A little too early.

RIP, Steam Controller. And eat sh*t, all you terrible tech reviewers out there who failed to see the potential.

Great write up, Arjun.