The Steam Controller Update
December, 2015

It's been a busy month since the Steam controller officially launched, and with the help of the community, it's already grown so much. Along with the new features in today's update, we thought we'd highlight some of the other big features added in the past month and what the community has been doing with those new features.


One of the community's biggest discoveries was how well FPS aiming worked when you combined trackpad and gyro input. Relying on the trackpad for large scale turns, and the gyro for fine tuning, community members found they were much more competitive than they were expecting.

Gyro support for leaning makes it easy to naturally lean around corners simply by tilting your controller.

Check out some examples of the Gyro in action below:

Mouse-Like Joystick mode

Many games with full controller support expect a joystick for camera control, but PC gamers like their mouse for good reason. We did ship with a method for emulating joystick cameras, but thanks to NEOGAF user mntorankusu's suggestion, we now have a much superior method, such that it feels like you're aiming with a mouse when playing a first or third person game.

Some games don't support simultaneous mouse and gamepad input. With Mouse-Like Joystick you can play with gamepad input and still enjoy mouse accuracy.

Mouse Regions

Many PC RTS & RPG games have complex on-screen UI for minimaps, spell bars, inventory slots, and so on. To make it easier to rapidly navigate them, we added Mouse Regions, a configurable way of mapping an entire trackpad to a region on-screen.

For example, when holding a grip button, you can make your left trackpad map to the minimap, so it's easy to move your camera around the whole map.

Check out this example of how this can be used in a RPG to control movement.

Touch Menu

Some games have hotkeys that are infrequently used, but you still want to have at your fingertips. We added the Touch Menu, a fully configurable UI with up to 16 buttons, allowing you to select your desired hotkey on a single trackpad.

Consolidate all those RPG hotkeys into a single, easy-to-use menu.

Add and customize this menu in any game!

Configuration Travelling

Want to play some co-op games at a friend's house? We wanted to make it easy to take your controller with you, so we're getting ready to ship a new feature that ensures your controller's game configurations travel with it, even when you're playing a co-op game on a friend's Steam account.

Register a controller to have it draw configurations from your account. Personalize it while you're there.

* Available in next Steam Beta client

Home Theater PCs

One of the things we weren't expecting was that so many users would find the Steam Controller great at controlling their HTPC outside of playing games. These users have made a number of great suggestions, and we've managed to ship some of them already.

Create a configuration for the Steam Controller to use at the desktop. Don't forget to assign media keys like Play/Pause and Volume/Track control.

Bring up the On-screen Keyboard whenever you want to enter some text.

Non-Steam Game support

Another thing the community has asked for is the ability to share configurations for games bought somewhere other than Steam. The next Steam Beta client will add that as well, so add your favorite non-Steam game to your library, and we'll automatically find configurations that other users have published.

* Available in next Steam Beta client

Controller HUD

With the community rapidly creating and sharing so many different ways to use the Steam Controller, we wanted to make it easier to learn how your controller is operating. The new Controller HUD allows you to easily see exactly what input your controller is generating.

This is great for visualizing some of the more complex ways the trackpad can mimic joystick and mouse movement.

Building The Steam Controller

When we first started designing hardware at Valve, we decided we wanted to try and do the manufacturing as well. To achieve our goal of a flexible controller, we felt it was important to have a similar amount of flexibility in our manufacturing process, and that meant looking into automated assembly lines. It turns out that most consumer hardware of this kind still has humans involved in stages throughout manufacturing, but we kind of went overboard, and built one of the largest fully automated assembly lines in the US. Our film crew recently put together a video of that assembly line, showcasing exactly why robots are awesome.

Here's that showcase, where you can watch controllers being built entirely by robots. We aren't crazy though, so humans are still on hand to keep the robots from becoming sentient.