Valve employee and Steam Controller designer Erik Johnson reveals that the corporation wants gamers to modify their controllers, both on a software and hardware level.
Valve has always been highly supportive of user modifications, allowing an entire hat-driven economy to rise via user input in Team Fortress 2, and supporting multiple Steam Workshops across countless of games through its Steam content distribution platform. It almost shouldn’t be surprising that this support for custom user content stretches down to Valve’s own hardware, but such a concept is just so fresh one can’t help but be a little surprised.
The corporation announced that they are allowing users to modify their Steam Controller on both a software and hardware front, and gamers will be able to do the former right on launch day. Users will be able to customize button and trigger mapping for the controller, and somewhere down the line Valve hopes users will be able to literally modify the design of the controller itself.
Modifying hardware is no easy task, and it’s likely that those without the aid of a 3D Printer will be out of luck. Erik Johnson, one of Valve’s employees behind the design of the controller, gave a little detail on how the company plans to aid gamers on their path to truly customizing their own Steam Controllers:
We want to release the CAD files for how these controllers are put together. How do you mod the controller? What does that look like?
It’s a great question, and plenty of fans will undoubtedly come up with some great answers given the opportunity. The idea of releasing 3D technical files that users could examine and modify for printing in the real world is a daunting task for most, but exemplifies Valve’s commitment in giving the user as much control – or in this case, controller – as they can handle. If all goes well, some gamers may even have enough faith in Valve’s experimentation to be an outlier and invest in their virtual reality stock, too.
The Steam Controller itself went through a variety of designs before Valve settled on the current look, which somewhat resembles an Xbox One controller mixed with touchpad technology. Some early testers have reported minor issues with the controller’s haptic pad, which is something no simple controller modification could fix. Hopefully, these problems can be sorted out via firmware updates on or after launch day, which is now less than a month way.
What do you think about the Steam Controller, Ranters? Coming in at a $49.99 price tag, is it something that interests you?
The Steam Controller is currently slated for a retail release on November 10th, and plenty of Steam boxes should be arriving around the same date.