Controller http://www.stuff.tv/sg/sonos/controller/features en-SG Samsung GamePad http://www.stuff.tv/sg/android/samsung-gamepad/review <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Samsung&#039;s started taking smartphone gaming seriously with its GamePad controller, but can it turn your Android into a Vita rival? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-enable-hero"> <div class="field-label">Enable hero:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Enable full width image </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/Samsung%20GamePad%20Main.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-byline"> <div class="field-label">Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sg/users/tein-hee-seow" title="View user profile.">Tein Hee Seow</a> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">We&rsquo;ve lost count of how many times our heads have been chomped off by a zombie hiding in the corner, simply because our fat thumb blocked the phone screen&rsquo;s edges.</p> <p dir="ltr">Death by misplaced digit is a Hulk rage-inducing event, which is why smartphone control pads are such an awesome invention that can save a phone from a frustration-fueled flight through a window. And now even Samsung&#39;s getting in on the act with its own GamePad.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-pricing"><legend>Pricing</legend><div class="field field-type-number-float field-field-test-price"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> S$158.00 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-price-from"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-ratings"><legend>Ratings</legend><div class="field field-type-hcmreviewrating-rating field-field-overall-rating"> <div class="field-label">Overall rating:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="hcmrating-default">6 stars</div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-pros"> <div class="field-label">Pros:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Actual physical buttons to mash </div> <div class="field-item even"> Feels like you’re playing an proper console game </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Works with Android 4.1 devices of various sizes </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-cons"> <div class="field-label">Cons:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Only 36 games compatible with GamePad </div> <div class="field-item even"> Unbalanced handling if the phone is heavy </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Joysticks aren’t sensitive enough </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><legend>Review Section</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Not an Xbox or PlayStation controller </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">Let&rsquo;s keep expectations manageable. If you&rsquo;re looking for the same tactile feel and grip offered by console controllers, you&#39;re going to be disappointed. But the GamePad&rsquo;s definitely wide enough for average hands to get a firm hold on. The joystick, directional pad, action buttons and triggers are well-spaced such that thumbs and index fingers don&rsquo;t have to stretch too far - unlike the too-small SteelSeries Free mobile wireless controller or too-wide Logitech PowerShell iOS controller.</p> <p>Two rubber grips at the sides provide additional friction to keep the controller firmly locked in your hands, but while initial impressions are good, your fingers can&#39;t dig in properly due to the controller&rsquo;s shallow underside. With time you&#39;ll get accustomed to it, but the GamePad&#39;s unnatural grip is an imperfection that you&#39;re reminded of whenever you switch back to a &quot;proper&quot; console controller.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20buttons.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20trigger.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Make your own portable gaming console </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">Don&rsquo;t have a Samsung smartphone? In most ways that&rsquo;s not a problem: the GamePad is compatible with any Android device that runs Android 4.1 or later and has Bluetooth connectivity.&nbsp;If your smartphone is equipped with near field communication (NFC), you can even skip the clunky Bluetooth setup. Just switch on NFC on your smartphone and tap both devices together to establish the link.</p> <p dir="ltr">Brownie points to Samsung for the extendable smartphone grip, which allows you to attach devices with display sizes ranging from 4in to 6.3in. It&#39;s a very effective way of emulating the dedicated portable console experience, PlayStation Vita-style. But <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/5-ways-ruin-your-eyesight/feature" target="_blank">spare a thought for your eyesight</a> before settling down to hours of unbroken gaming on your freshly consolified phone.</p> <p>On the downside, heavier phones will require you to counterbalance the GamePad, and your wrists will get tired after an hour or so of gaming. But hey, you probably needed that screen break anyway, right?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20NFC.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20extendable%20grip.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Need more games </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">The GamePad might be free and easy with its love of various Android phones, but in software terms it&#39;s not quite the same situation.&nbsp;At launch, Samsung has listed just 36 games that are compatible with the GamePad, although that does include better known titles such as <em>Asphalt 8: Airborne</em>, <em>Dead Trigger</em> and <em>Dungeon Hunter 4</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">But compatibility is only really guaranteed if you&rsquo;re using a Samsung smartphone, which uses the dedicated Mobile Console app. With non-Samsung devices, it&rsquo;s trial-and-error. Even <em>Dead Trigger</em>, which worked on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, didn&rsquo;t have the buttons properly mapped on the other Android devices we tried.</p> <p dir="ltr">Our advice? Get the GamePad only if you&rsquo;re using on a Samsung.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20games.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Button-mashing </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">If you&#39;re an experienced console gamer you&rsquo;ll pick up the GamePad&rsquo;s control system in no time. Well, almost - it took us around 5 minutes to figure out how to confirm or cancel an action with the buttons. There were also a few misfires and deaths when we played <em>Dead Trigger</em> because we were still mapping the fire buttons in our mind.</p> <p dir="ltr">Pushing the left joystick to steer in <em>Asphalt 8: Airborne</em> came to us instinctively. But in less than five seconds, our flashy car was obliterated because we weren&#39;t able to get an accurate fix on joystick movement. In <em>Dead Trigger</em>&nbsp;we faced the same problem, mainly because our thumb couldn&rsquo;t get good tactile feel from the joystick. For us the directional pad, action buttons, and triggers worked much better.</p> <p>All in all the biggest upside of the GamePad is that it results in an unobstructed screen. No more thumbs blocking your view or unsightly fingerprints smeared across your smartphone&rsquo;s display, but then that&#39;s the same advantage you get from any dedicated phone controller. The difference is how the controller creates an integrated user experience. The SteelSeries controller, for one, can&#39;t attach a smartphone to it. Plus, it&#39;s so small, you&#39;re better off with the touch screen. Logitech&#39;s offering keeps the iPhone firmly attached, but button mapping is also a bit hit-and-miss with some games.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20unbalanced.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20joystick.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Verdict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">At S$158, the Samsung GamePad is a pricey option to up your gaming skills. On the bright side, the controller is wide enough to give your hands and fingers sufficient breathing room. Plus, it works across Android 4.1 and above devices, as long as their screens are between 4in and 6.3in However, the lackluster list of games supported by the controller and the iffy experience with its joysticks are a real problem.</p> <p dir="ltr">Given time, there&rsquo;ll be more games compatible with the GamePad. But for now, it&rsquo;s going to take a lot more convincing, even for hardcore mobile gamers, to plonk their money on this Samsung-made controller.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>READ MORE: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/games-thrones-5-best-mobile-games/feature" target="_blank">Game for Thrones: 5 of the best mobile games</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung GamePad review" alt="Samsung GamePad review" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20verdict.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-review-rating"><legend>Review Rating</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> battery </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 8 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> build </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 7 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-review-type"> <div class="field-label">Type:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> games </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-review-score"> <div class="field-label">Score:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 6 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-verdict"> <div class="field-label">Verdict:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It looks like the perfect accessory for mobile gamers, but inconsistent controls and limited game compatibility hold it back</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-preview"> <div class="field-label">Preview:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Disabled </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-carousel-item"><legend>Carousel Extras</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-carousel-item-title"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Samsung GamePad review </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-carousel-item-standfirst"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item standfirst:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Level up your mobile gaming skills </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-carousel-image-small"> <div class="field-label">Carousel item small image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_carousel_image_small" width="450" height="340" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/Samsung%20GamePad%20Main.jpg?1395026662" /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <p><a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/android/samsung-gamepad/review" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://www.stuff.tv/sg/android/samsung-gamepad/review#comments Android Controller Smartphones Wed, 12 Mar 2014 19:06:52 +0000 Tein Hee Seow 1433603 at http://www.stuff.tv How Valve built the controller of the future http://www.stuff.tv/sg/controller/how-valve-built-controller-future/feature <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> See the many mutants that died for gaming glory </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="1200" height="900" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/IMGP0986.jpg?1391141041" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earlier this month, we visited Valve&rsquo;s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington for an exclusive look at the development of the mould-breaking Steam controller. In interview with Anna Sweet and Greg Coomer, we discussed the exhaustive trial-and-error-and-trial-again it takes to come up with something revolutionary.</p> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-byline"> <div class="field-label">Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sg/users/will-dunn" title="View user profile.">Will Dunn</a> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> COGITO, ERGO THUMB </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Whether or not you&rsquo;re convinced by the Steam controller, there&rsquo;s no denying that it is definitely a New Idea. With flat trackpads instead of sticks and buttons in unexpected places, it makes even the PS4&rsquo;s touchpad-toting controller look unimaginative. But why did Valve make one in the first place?</p> <p>&ldquo;For a few years now&rdquo;, say Greg, &ldquo;our customers have been asking us to solve a problem, which was that they had to give up all their games when they go to play in the living room. To do that you need three things: hardware, like a <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/steam-box/valve-steam-machine/review" target="_blank">Steam Machine</a>, input and an <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/steam-box/hands-review-steamos-valves-game-changing-operating-system/feature" target="_blank">operating system</a>.</p> <p>At first, our goal for our input device wasn&rsquo;t all that clear. We were doing some experiments on wearable computing and virtual reality, but for the living room, we needed an input device that was able to play the whole Steam catalogue, without requiring somebody to bring a mouse and keyboard onto the sofa with it. So we looked at what PC gaming uses by default, and of course that&rsquo;s a mouse and keyboard. And we realised we had to make the games <em>think</em> they&rsquo;re being played by those traditional devices, because there&rsquo;s no way we can update all those titles to have some new input method - they were never built for a game controller, and every development team has since disbanded. You can&rsquo;t just crack a few thousand games open to magically support something new. So that was our goal: to translate between the expectation of a mouse and keyboard, and the actual buttons and surfaces on the controller.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong>: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/steam-box/valve-steam-machine/review">Valve Steam Machine preview</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="They began by hacksawing an Xbox controller in half. Really. " alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0980.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Also usable as a Batarang" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0968.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-3"> <div class="field-label">Image #3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_3" width="1200" height="900" title="The wires just plug themselves right into your hand" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0977.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WELCOME TO THUMBDERDOME </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If Valve was going to trick every game into its 3000-plus catalogue into thinking they were being played by traditional means, it would need a new device. Possibly quite a weird one. <p>&ldquo;With a mouse and keyboard, you&rsquo;ve got 104 keys in one hand, and a super-high-resolution 2D pointing device in the other. We started building controllers that had tons of buttons on them, and controllers that all kinds of different methods of doing that high-resolution 2D pointing. One of the early front-runners was a trackball.</p> <p>We built a lot of prototypes that had a trackball on the right-hand side. We had small trackballs, we tried cueball-sized trackballs that punched all the way through to the back of the controller so that the ball&rsquo;s being held around its middle, and you can hold the whole thing and have really precise input. That was great, because you could spin it and stop it with your fingers at the back of the pad. Trackballs are actually really, really good in terms of 2D pointing. It&rsquo;s precise and high-resolution, and it gives you a lot of physical control. But it also had some downsides: it&rsquo;s asymmetrical, for one thing, so right-handed only; different people liked different configurations, so it&rsquo;s not a one-size-fits-all solution; and a trackball has a lot of moving parts, which means you&rsquo;re going to get a lot of Cheeto dust stuck in there.&quot; [<em>For readers not familiar with Cheetos, they are a cheese puff snack, larger than a UK standard Wotsit but not as nice</em>].</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="You got a lot of balls" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0979.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Your balls are on the line" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0974.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-3"> <div class="field-label">Image #3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_3" width="1200" height="900" title="Havin&#039; a ball" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0975.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> THUMBTHING TELLS ME I’M INTO THUMBTHING GOOD </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Stumped by the Cheeto Dust Problem, Valve began investigating other means of control.</p> <p>&ldquo;When we started trying trackpads, they were way behind trackballs for a long time. It wasn&rsquo;t until we started changing the software that began to see its potential. There wasn&rsquo;t a ton of physical differentiation between the prototypes, but in the firmware, there was a tremendous amount of work that we were doing to get the trackpad to behave differently for different kinds of games. We started to think, this is more promising, because it gives us more power as software developers to adapt to the requirements of a different games, or to games in the future that we haven&rsquo;t thought of yet.</p> <p>For a while, we thought touch input was so strong that we even went off past trackpads and investigated touch input across an whole flat surface. It was useful to try that, but it taught us that wasn&rsquo;t where we wanted to go - often we ended up needing to have a divided experience, where you&rsquo;re looking down at your hands a lot and then up at the screen, and the tactile feeling of a controller was absent.</p> <p>It also taught us how important haptic feedback is for any touch device. That channel of information from the touch input device to the user&rsquo;s hands is vital. It can carry a number of different kinds of information on what&rsquo;s happening in the game, but on a nuts and bolts level it tells you what part of the touch surface you&rsquo;re using. We subdivide those surfaces into slices, or concentric rings, and those boundaries are impossible for the player to detect unless you have haptic feedback.&rdquo;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="For a while, the Steam controller looked like this" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0973.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> GREATER THAN THE THUMB OF ITS PARTS </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It was at this point that the pieces of the puzzle came together. The problem was that Valve wanted a trackball that wasn&rsquo;t a trackball. The solution was to make exactly that: a virtual trackball.</p> <p>&ldquo;Once we started looking at haptic feedback, we realised it could also help us hold on to all the things we had achieved when building around a trackball. The little electromagnets in there are so precise that they can emulate the momentum in a physical ball. The user can feel that the ball is spinning fast, or it&rsquo;s slowing down, or it has stopped. So you can toss the virtual ball and have it feel like it&rsquo;s spinning under your thumb, then plant your thumb on it and have it quickly come to rest again. And that channel of information makes it easy to use. It makes you aware, even before you&rsquo;re seeing the results on screen, that you&rsquo;re speeding up or turning or stopping.&quot;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="Come see my pad" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0972.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Nice pad you got here" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0967.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-3"> <div class="field-label">Image #3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_3" width="1200" height="900" title="Insert pad pun here" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0976.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> YOU THUMB IT, I’LL PLAY IT </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>After a few minutes of play on the Steam controller, one of the first things you notice is that you hold it differently. The lobes of the controller body may look Xbox-esque, but they feel different, pushing into your hand in a slightly alien way.</p> <p>&ldquo;We did a lot of testing on hand position&rdquo;, explains Greg, &ldquo;and we started with setups that were arranged in the generic shape of a gamepad with the trackpad just kind of slapped on top. That results in a hand position where your whole thumb, the flat pad of your thumb, lays across the pad, which is less precise because it&rsquo;s trying to compute the absolute centre of that big region all the time. On the Steam controller, the touchpads have been dug in, and tilted to face you. They&rsquo;ve also been tilted outward slightly: along with the shape of the controller body, that makes the natural position to place the tip of your thumb on the touchpad. It&rsquo;s meant to help you position in a natural, relaxed way, with your thumb in the right position. This results in a much more precise control - orders of magnitude more precise.&rdquo;</p> <p>And Valve says its extensive testing indicates that a Steam controller could actually make you a better gamer.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s something inherent about it&rdquo;, says Greg, &ldquo;that teaches you how to hold it right from the start. It&rsquo;s not your larger muscle groups you&rsquo;re using, it&rsquo;s your fine motor skills. Thumbsticks have made it so that FPSs are mostly developed with a certain amount of auto-aim turned on, but with the Steam controller, it&rsquo;s no longer necessary to have auto-aim because of the fidelity and resolution of the trackpad. By the time people get used to it, they report - and the data shows - that they quickly surpass what they would have been able to achieve with a thumbstick controller.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong>: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/steam-box/ces-2014/hands-valves-steam-controller/news">Hands-on with the Steam Controller</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The central touch panel has been replaced - beta testers preferred buttons" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0966.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-2"> <div class="field-label">Image #2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_2" width="1200" height="900" title="Late Steam controller prototype" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0965.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-3"> <div class="field-label">Image #3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_3" width="1200" height="900" title="Late Steam controller prototype" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0964.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-5"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> THUMB-BIND OF MONSTER </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Where console gamers all have broadly the same experience, PC gaming is a world built around tinkering and customisation. And for Valve, the only successful controller will be an open controller.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the past, with any new game controller, you spend a bunch of time configuring it. Hardware manufacturers usually make software that tries to make that easier, but usually those pieces of software are terrible. So we&rsquo;re not going to try to author default controls for every game: we&rsquo;re going to rely on the community, in a way that&rsquo;s similar to Steam Workshop, to create controller bindings that make sense for each game. People will be able to browse each other&rsquo;s configurations and make their own, and if they add one that&rsquo;s better than the existing default and lots of people like it and use it - that&rsquo;ll become the default set of controls. Even in our own games, we haven&rsquo;t done the work to natively support the controller with its own API. So when you play <em>Portal</em> with a Steam controller, the games believes it&rsquo;s being played by a keyboard and mouse.&rdquo;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" title="The guts of a Steam controller" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0969_0.jpg?1391708713" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-6"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> I’VE RUN OUT OF THUMB PUNS </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Valve&rsquo;s office is, like most offices anywhere in the Seattle area, a 30-second walk from a Microsoft building. When asked how they felt when they heard Microsoft had spent $100 million on its new Xbox controller, Anna and Greg are amused.&nbsp;&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t tremendously surprising that they spent that much money, but the odd part was that they seemed so <em>proud</em> of it. That was only one part of the development of their new platform, so... it was an odd thing to base a wave of PR around.&rdquo; <p>And while the company has a reputation for secrecy, its hardware development has benefited from being conducted, at least partly, out in the open.</p> <p>&ldquo;We feel fortunate because we&rsquo;re accomplishing a lot with a smaller team size than other companies have. By having people beta-test our work in public, we&rsquo;re gaining a tremendous amount of confidence in our decision-making, and that&rsquo;s that&rsquo;s not something it seems like other companies are built to do.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>There&#39;s a flipside to involving your community: while gamers have always viewed Microsoft and Sony as standard, self-interested megacorporations, Valve has 65 million fans - fans who will be loudly disappointed if this first foray into hardware doesn&#39;t cut the mustard. And as with any mould-breaking technology, many will write it off before trying it (some already have) but if this controller suceeds, it&#39;ll change thumb-twiddling forever.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong>: <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/half-life-3/valve-headquarters-coolest-office-world/feature">Stuff visits Valve&#39;s mysterious factory of wonder (well, their office)</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-label">Image #1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image" width="1200" height="900" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/IMGP0981_0.jpg?1391141041" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> http://www.stuff.tv/sg/controller/how-valve-built-controller-future/feature#comments Controller Gaming Steam Box SteamOS Valve Thu, 30 Jan 2014 13:44:11 +0000 Tein Hee Seow 1431874 at http://www.stuff.tv Samsung Smartphone Gamepad lets gamers level up their gaming skill http://www.stuff.tv/sg/controller/samsung-smartphone-gamepad-lets-gamers-level-their-gaming-skill/news <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> More Android love from Samsung, and it’s going to make a big difference when you frag your opponents in Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="567" height="425" title="Samsung Smartphone Gamepad lets gamers level up their gaming skill" alt="Samsung Smartphone Gamepad lets gamers level up their gaming skill" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/Samsung%20Smartphone%20Gamepad.jpg?1387252691" /> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Samsung&rsquo;s doing what it does best - making a product that&rsquo;s already available in the market. Case in point - a gaming controller for Android devices. </p> <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-byline"> <div class="field-label">Byline:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sg/users/tein-hee-seow" title="View user profile.">Tein Hee Seow</a> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><legend>News Section</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <p><a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/controller/samsung-smartphone-gamepad-lets-gamers-level-their-gaming-skill/news" target="_blank">read more</a></p> http://www.stuff.tv/sg/controller/samsung-smartphone-gamepad-lets-gamers-level-their-gaming-skill/news#comments Android games Controller Samsung Tue, 17 Dec 2013 02:42:11 +0000 Tein Hee Seow 1430173 at http://www.stuff.tv 2014 to see PC friendly Xbox One controller http://www.stuff.tv/sg/controller/2014-see-pc-friendly-xbox-one-controller/news <div class="field field-type-text field-field-standfirst"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> More love for the PC gamer with gamepad cross compatibility </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_main_image" width="1200" height="900" alt="" src="http://images.cdn.stuff.tv/sites/stuff.tv/files/images/news/Xbox_1.jpg?1376382898" /> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finally PC users are getting the chance to experience gaming with an Xbox controller minus all the extra dongles, cables and wallet abuse the affair usually is associated with.</p> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-sections"><legend>News Section</legend><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-section-paginate"> <div class="field-label">Paginate on this section:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don't paginate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-label">Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Game on </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-body"> <div class="field-label">Body:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From what Microsoft reps have made known, the Xbox One controller will happily operate on desktops once the appropriate software is released in 2014 and because it doesn’t share any of that convoluted software that previous generations of controllers had under the hood, it will be able to support PC games that are playable via gamepad.</p> <p>No word yet whether or not desktop mode will get wireless adapters or if you will have to remain wire bound, but 2014 honestly isn’t too far off a wait to find out. In the meantime, check out how this controller measures up against its <a href="http://www.stuff.tv/sg/microsoft/xbox-one-vs-ps4-controller-showdown/feature">arch rival</a>.</p> <p>[Source:<a href="http://www.engadget.com/2013/08/12/xbox-one-controller-pc-compatibility-update/"> Engadget</a>]</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-hcmvideofield-video field-field-brightcove-video"> <div class="field-label">Video ID/URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="messages warning">This video is not currently supported.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-make-full-width"> <div class="field-label">Make full width:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not make full width </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> http://www.stuff.tv/sg/controller/2014-see-pc-friendly-xbox-one-controller/news#comments Controller Xbox One Tue, 13 Aug 2013 08:34:13 +0000 Nigel Yap 1425500 at http://www.stuff.tv