Razer Hydra Gets Own Portal 2 Version

By Jim Rossignol on January 9th, 2011 at 10:53 am.


According to Joystiq’s extensive report from CES, a new PC motion controller from Razer, the Hydra, will get its own version of Portal 2. The device will apparently be bundled with a special version of Portal 2 which will specifically support the Razer. Joystiq say: “That Portal 2 bundle will include a special version of the game, that includes not only native support for the Hydra controllers, but new maps and puzzle mechanics built exclusively for Hydra.”

The device should, it seems, be released around April, the same time as Portal 2, for less than $100. I’ve posted a shakycam demo of Portal 2 being played with the device below.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

94 Comments »

    • BAReFOOt says:

      I’ve had a thing like this back in 1999. Yes, it was not as exact. But because of it, I know the problems with such devices. First of all, gorilla arms, gorilla arms, gorilla arms. I had trouble playing for more than an hour at best.
      Second of all, what was the killing problem with it, was that with a mouse or joystick, you have a fixed reference plane. The table. Which means when you relax your muscles, it automatically springs back to that plane. The mouse stops moving, the joystick centers. You don’t know how important that is, until you have do live without it. But these things… your arm flows freely in the air. When you relax your muscles, everything drops down, your arms shake, maybe the thing even falls to the ground if there is no wrist strap.
      Finally, it was pretty hard to learn, since we are not used at all, to keeping our hands at an exact point in 3D space. It means our muscles have to be in perfect balance. And even with too much power from both, you start shaking. With too little, you can’t react quickly.

      If it had some supporting rods and actuators, like those haptic desktops*, it would be awesome and close to perfection. But without, I can’t see this being a big success.

      * Edit: I don’t mean those small pen-arm things. I mean those that look like a exoskeleton for your upper body, mounted behind your chair, where you strap your whole arms in.

    • bill says:

      you had a Wii in 1999?

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Reply fail, sorry =(

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Boy are you ever out of shape.

    • john_silence says:

      The problems probably stemmed from your playing BAReFOOt.

  1. Kadayi says:

    Looks pretty damn easy to use it has to be said. The price point is going to be the big issue really. Knowing Razer, I can’t see this being cheap. Also a few more games supporting it by launch date would be encouraging.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Less than $100 seems fairly reasonable I think. I mean the 360 controllers are what $60-70. Seems fair to me, although how much support it gets from games, and it’s usefulness may be debated. I think keyboard + mouse is best for most games, but meh, to each their own. (And some horrific ports and driving games require some other type of input..)

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Keyboard and mouse is great in large part because many games were designed for it. With FPS games specifically, a mouse is more suited to aiming because it takes 0th derivative input from the player—the position of the hand—and maps that to 0th derivative output—the position of the gunsight. This is a very natural mapping, and allows the user’s precision of motor control to be reflected in the game as precision aiming.

      With analog sticks—and it looks to me like this controller is using the right analog stick for aiming—the equation is different. The 0th derivative player input—the position of the thumb, this time—is mapped to 1st derivative output—the speed of the gunsight movement. This is more complicated to process (though not overly complicated: our brains are pretty good at integration), and takes more effort in learning to be able to achieve the same result. This 0th-1st derivative mapping has some intrinsic benefits though; for example perfect circle strafing is easier to achieve, as that needs the gunsight velocity to match (but be opposite to) the sideways movement velocity, which is easier to achieve when both controls impart velocity.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Hmm, I actually don’t really know much at all regarding the processes involved in the input of various controllers, just that some are better for some games/styles than others. Although being a hardcore FPS player, I almost always immediately feel at home behind my keyboard and mouse, as opposed to feeling slightly awkward behind a console controller.

      –Getting sidetracked now, but thanks for the insight!

    • Quasar says:

      Wow. RPS commentor in ‘knowing what he’s talking about’ shocker.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      @VelvetFistIronGlove

      I think there’s still some unexplored differences between a mouse and an analogue stick for aiming.

      In addition to the slightly unintuitive translation of input to movement described, the analogue stick requires both manual precision (moving the stick to achieve the velocity you want) but also timing (releasing the stick when you reach the heading you want) whilst a mouse only requires manual precision. Allowing for 2 different sources of error is always going to be less efficient than just one of them.

      Plus even with games mercilessly honing everyone’s reactions over the years I’d still bet the majority perform better on the precision than timing front of those two, I certainly think I do.

      Crucially the mouse can potentially track much faster than an analogue stick, giving the advantage of near instantaneous turning with a quick flick of the wrist, whilst there’s always a “travel time” for aiming with an analogue stick. You could artificially scale up the stick’s sensitivity to match that maximum speed of a mouse but that gives a much smaller margin for error in timing as well as making fine control ridiculously tough.

      Hence I still firmly believe a mouse has the potential to give much better aiming performance than an analogue stick.

      However, movement with keys I would gladly replace with an analogue stick, there’s already an artificial ceiling on movement speed there are a small number of things you can’t do with 1 or 0 move speeds (going a diagonal that isn’t 45′, controling jump distance without air control).

      So since this controller is nicely split into 2 one-handed bits I could potentially see one half being used in conjunction with a mouse to some benifit. Plus it’d be nice for a motion controller on the PC to become mainstream for the more inventive developers to have some fun with too. So instead of anti-console sentiment, I say yay!

    • Wulf says:

      @Corrupt_Tiki

      What? o_O

      If we’re talking US dollars here as opposed to, say, Australian/Canadian dollars, then I’m massively confused.

      I did a check on the 360 controllers for Windows and Amazon has them listed for £17.99, which, generously rounded up equals $28. I realise you might be talking about the pads for the consoles though, which is hugely irrelevant to a site like this, since PC prices != console prices, but I did a check on that anyway. The wireless pads are £29.99, which is $47, generously rounded up.

      Is the US suffering some mad form of inflation compared to the UK’s flagging economy at the moment, or something? I mean, there’s a huge price difference between $47 and $60-70. Really, I’d expect the prices to be cheaper in the US, since the US currently has a stronger economy than we do, and with the VAT hike we’re headed for a double-dip recession.

      If the pads really cost that much in the US (assuming we’re talking US dollars, here), then something mighty odd is going on.

    • bob_d says:

      @ Wulf: On Amazon (US), the wireless 360 controller (with the necessary recharger) has a list price of $64.99. Presumably they actually cost that much elsewhere.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      @Droopy the Dog

      The timing issue arises because you’re controlling the derivative . You have exactly the same issue with any controller with a continuous range that controls velocity.

      But you are right in that the extent the mouse can travel as compared to the analog stick allows for greater precision.

    • psyk says:

      “Crucially the mouse can potentially track much faster than an analogue stick, giving the advantage of near instantaneous turning with a quick flick of the wrist, whilst there’s always a “travel time” for aiming with an analogue stick. You could artificially scale up the stick’s sensitivity to match that maximum speed of a mouse but that gives a much smaller margin for error in timing as well as making fine control ridiculously tough.”

      Don’t be such a baby and get better with the analogue stick. Change the sensitivity in all games to 10 until you can use 10 like you can use the default 3 – 5 (stupidly low sensitivity that no gamer I know uses). It’s the same with a mouse practice practice practice.

      @Wulf

      cheers will check it need some more pads.

      nice down from £42.82

    • Wulf says:

      @bob_d

      But online retailers always cut about a good deal off their prices compared to most brick & mortar type stores, certainly I can’t be the only one to realise this. It can’t be a revelation. So I just went with a fairly notable online retailer, and Amazon aren’t even the cheapest. There are trustworthy online retailers that offer better prices than that, even.

      I certainly don’t think we should be judging anything by the prices one finds in the high street, since anyone with an ounce of sense buys from the retailer with the better price. And if I have the option of buying something for £44.99 or £24.99, then I’ll go with the £24.99 option, and there we have something of a standard.

      I suppose the thing is is that I would’ve imagined that US people would do the same, with sites like NewEgg, Amazon US, and such, to avoid high street prices. Which then begs the question I suppose – do most US folk shop retail over online? Since when looking at price averages, you have to look at the majority.

    • Shadram says:

      Having read the whole comments thread, not one person seems to have picked up on the potential for a controller like this: you can play an FPS with 1 hand. Analogue stick for movement, wrist/arm movement for “mouse look”, triggers for shooting. Moving your arm around to turn/point has got to be at least as quick and accurate as mouse movement, surely? Or use the left hand for movement/turning, and the right hand for pointing at things on the screen.

      It completely eliminates the issue of using an analogue stick for aiming, which pretty much negates any reservation that I (personally) have about using controller pads for FPS gaming. These things look great. :)

      EDIT: @Wulf, but list price is the point. XBox 360 controllers have list price of $65 (US) and sell for half that. So we can assume the same will be true of these controllers: $100 list price, actually selling for a lot less on sites like Amazon and Play. And seeing as you get Portal 2 with extra content included, that’s not such a bad deal.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Shadram: If it supported that, it would definitely be an interesting way to play. Does it support accurate rotation tracking? I didn’t see any specs on it in the linked articles, so who knows if it has gyros and accelerometers. If it doesn’t have both, then I doubt it will do accurate pointing.

      Even if it just tracks the position then yes, you could use it like a mouse in theory. There’s one bit missing, which is the “reset” for a mouse: when you move it too far, you have to pick it up and put it back down again on the other edge of the mousepad, or you can’t turn any further. The only way I can see of doing that with this device is if you dedicated a button to “ignore controller movement while pressed”.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      @psyk

      The point being, time spent practicing with an analogue controller for aiming would have even greater results if you’d just practiced more with a mouse. At best diminishing returns might make them almost equal if you approach superhuman perfection.

      I mean, even with 10 speed there’s still some travel time. A quick test, on a low-ish to some high to many, sensitivity of 10 in a source engine game, I can do about an accurate full turn in ~0.2 seconds. If you have an analogue stick set that high and you want to flip around to face 180′ and look behind, you’d have to hold your stick at full tilt for just 100ms (not counting travel time for the stick from the center). If you wanted to switch your crosshair 20′ to the side, you’d have to hold for just 11ms. That’s like starting and stopping your average stopwatch and it saying 0.01 on the dial, consistantly.

      Sorry for the ridiculous maths extrapolation, just needed to illustrate it’s not “you’re not using the analogue well enough” it’s that the analogue stick can’t be as quick and remain accurate even with massively above average timing.

  2. Crescend says:

    Might be cool to play Portal 2 with that, but what I’m concerned about is that most other games propably won’t support it and if they do it doesn’t work near as well.

  3. Sam Crisp says:

    I’m all for a dual analogue stick controller for the PC that has native support for multiple games (that isn’t made by Microsoft). It’s a singular piece of hardware that is potentially (and hopefully) widely supported across games. This may be a part of what Gabe Newell meant by making PC games more of a console experience.

    • bill says:

      when why how did this happen? For decades the PC supported multiple joysticks and gamepads, with numerous axes and various combinations. Why is everyone suddenly talking like the 360 pad is the only option?

      Is it? I don’t have one, and rarely use a gamepad, so i wouldn’t really know. But i have had several cheap usb dual analog gamepads over the years, and they all seemed to work ok to me.
      Haven’t used the one under my desk recently, but it cost under $10 and it worked great for Psychonauts and BG&E a few years back.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Bill

      Probably because given the vast majority of newer AAA titles are nowadays multi-platform and generally are configured on the PC for them (Fallout 3, Batman Arkham Asylum, Burnout, etc etc, etc).

  4. vodka and cookies says:

    Looks like Sony’s move controller, but I can see any PC gamers spending $100 on something like this for just one game.

    • dadioflex says:

      I can see people dropping a Benjamin on it just for Portal 2. Not just any one game, but Portal 2.

      The demo was interesting with the twisting and such but I play my PC games about two feet from the screen. It’s not the best distance to be thrusting my arms about. Unless I’m watching porn, but that’s a different story.

    • Vandelay says:

      Also sounds as if you will be able to map the controller to keyboard + mouse controls. From an article at http://www.joystiq.com/2011/01/08/razer-hydra-impressions-super-precise-motion-controllers-make-i/ :

      “While Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2 was shown off last year with 1:1 sword controls, the Sixense rep we spoke with couldn’t confirm if that would ever be released. He did, however, share a video of Call of Duty: Black Ops being played with Sixense, using the Sixense MotionCreator tool, which remaps traditional keyboard/mouse controls to the twin motion sticks.”

      Just watched the Left 4 Dead 2 video with 1:1 controls and it does look like a lot of fun. You know, the more I look at this it does seem like a lot of fun. A lot of the people complaining about this are saying that they think it would not be as precise as a keyboard and mouse, but if it allows you to enjoy the games more does that really matter. Of course, how long that entertainment lasts is another matter.

      It could also potentially open up new style of games to the PC, which is always welcome.

    • bill says:

      It looks like two wii nunchucks.

      @Vandelay: I agree. The wii is often far less precise than pressing a button, but i had far more fun pulling off kamehamehas(?) with it in the dragonball fighting game than with pressing a few buttons to do the same.

      But based on past results, I expect 1 billion lawsuits when it launches from the millions of companies who all seem to have patents on motion control.

  5. Fede says:

    I guess it won’t take too much time before someone maps it to keyboard+mouse (mouselook as usual, then key1 + mouse to rotate and move, and key2 + mouse to change the size of the object) and mods the new content for everyone :D

    • dadioflex says:

      And key3 + mouse to jab you in the eye with a stick because you’re missing the point. All he was doing was twisting and moving his hands. When you have to start hitting multiple buttons to achieve the same effect it’s pointless, you’re beating yourself over the head from sheer bloody-mindedness. Nothing in the “bonus” content would be worth having at that price. Do you recall some of the timed moves you had to make in the later stages of Portal?

    • Jahkaivah says:

      @dadioflex

      Point of contention being how hard this would actually be to implement with keyboard and mouse*. But none the less I think you’re missing the point that lots of people wont want to spend extra money on a device for features which could be implemented into a control scheme that they are perfectly happy with that already sits on the desk in front them.

      * I imagine not too difficult, moving objects outwards, orientating and throwing them is already doable with Garry’s Mod’s Physics gun, then reshaping them shouldn’t be beyond mouse capabilites.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I look forward to pirating the new content as opposed to being blackmailed into a controller.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      Heck, watching the video again I notice the really cool feature of dragging portals about, there is no reason whatsoever that mouse+keyboard users can’t enjoy that.

  6. TeeJay says:

    It would have helped if the camera had been slightly behind him and kept his hands and the screen in shot at the same time.

  7. stahlwerk says:

    PC gaming has always been impossible…

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      They’re allowing for a console-like experience on the PC!

  8. Tei says:

    Pfff… we already have the mouse, that is superior. And the PC is not on the saloon, in front the couch. So this is somewhat like wings for a railroad engine.

    I can tell you we have excellent games on the PC, that use the mouse. If this thing may have better games, I approve it, but somehow this looks like a device for consoles, for the type of gamers you have on the consoles, not for PC people.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I’m sorry almighty Tei, I mean no disrespect but I have to disagree with your comment on “looks like a device for consoles, for the type of gamers you have on the consoles, not for PC people.”

      I strongly recommend you read the article in the Sunday Papers about The Average Gamer, I play and enjoy hardcore PC games, such as ArmA 2, Amnesia, Minecraft, and various indie games/sims and alot of big normal titles to (cod:mw2 among others)

      I also have a console ( a few, but I only really play one) and that does driving simulation so much better I feel, plus it is quicker, and at times easier(as it’s setup to play from my bed XD )

      I think differentiating the two as different types of people makes you look like a bit of a prick…
      again, mean no disrespect, just my 2.5 cents

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well huh. I had heard that they were working on something like this. Looks like the Gravity Gun will likely have some extra features too. Or so I’d assume.

      “wings for a railroad engine” – that made me laugh. I’m waiting to try it for myself before judging. It’s not like the PC suffers for lack of dual-analogue controllers, but since Valve were giving their input with this device, it could be a nice surprise.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      A mouse only has two degrees of freedom. These things have six. □ (Yes, that is the character for “QED” :P)

    • Renzatic says:

      Tei, you really gotta try it before you dismiss it completely.

      I played Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii (I know, I’m a PC traitor. beat me about the face and neck later), and found the wiimote + chuck to be a good analog to the tried and true kb/m setup. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you do, you’ll be doing circle strafing headshots almost as easily as you do with a mouse. It’s surprisingly decent.

      And now we have this, which looks like the Wiimote, but with added precision and a more comfortable button layout. I dunno if it’s enough to make me give up the kb/m completely, but it’s got my interest piqued.

      Wait it out, and see what other dyed in the wool PC fanatics think of it before you throw it on the console trash bin.

      PS. This is coming from someone who absolutely can’t stand playing first person games with two analog sticks. I throw up in my mouth and die inside a little bit every time I try.

  9. Abraham says:

    more games here

  10. Navagon says:

    Looks like it would be pretty damn good when you get used to it. But it does make me wonder how Razer can come up with stuff like this yet their mouse drivers have worse compatibility with games than the standard Windows ones.

  11. RegisteredUser says:

    Is Valve in trouble?
    Should I fear for my Steam purchases?

    Why else would they suddenly start endorsing crap third party hardware such as Sandy Banks and this?

    Other than that, when we get proper Minority Report cyber-gloves and true 3D projection displays – and I don’t mean Kinect hacks or this razer thing or a waddle-Wii – then I will be all ears.

    Imagine a Minecraft where you can literally craft things with your own hands. (Not that I ever played MC)

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Is Valve in trouble?
      Should I fear for my Steam purchases?

      Why else would they suddenly start endorsing crap third party hardware such as Sandy Banks and this?

      This isn’t a new thing.

    • Navagon says:

      The Novint Falcon is one thing. But a chip that includes both an Intel GPU and DRM? That’s scraping the barrel a bit, isn’t it?

    • BAReFOOt says:

      My guess is the opposite. When you have too much money, you try new things. I would do the same. Because after all, what’s the point of money, if you can’t do things you otherwise couldn’t? :)

    • BarneyL says:

      Vale promoting a console like all in one CPU/GPU chip and a console like controller set.
      It’s not a huge leap of imagination to expect a STEAM branded console like PC in the near future.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Barefoot is right: Valve have just looked at the lack of motion control on PC and decided to support it. They’ve done it precisely because they can afford to, and because they’re one of the few companies that can exert any influence on the wider sphere of how gamers play.

    • nayon says:

      Valve decided to support Macs, so yeah, I’d agree that they always support obscure hardware that is needless, overpriced and looks cool but feels dumb.

      Not a hater, I own a Mac due to my employer, but they really are awful for gaming.

  12. Vandelay says:

    It looks like a fun toy, but not really a replacement for the mouse and keyboard. Single player games it would be fine for, but I imagine you would suffer in multiplayer.

    The price could be right, if that includes Portal 2. Take £25-30 off for Portal (which you would be getting anyway, right?) and it sounds quite reasonable. Having said that, if they just replace the $ with a £ it will be less tempting over here.

    Hopefully, many more games will be supported at launch too. It would be interesting seeing something like RUSE being played, particularly after the Kinect video on here a little while ago.

  13. Al3xand3r says:

    This looks great, and aiming/looking wise seems just like the way FPS games work on the Wii. There’s no handicap in multiplayer, it just takes practice, just like the mouse.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Dazran303#p/u/1/TDlw-vKV4tc
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Dazran303#p/u/2/mRBLrTu-OEQ
    Etc.

    But I probably wouldn’t want something like this unless I moved my PC setup to the living room. For consoles this type of thing is way more comfortable and intuitive than a standard controller. For my PC, with my chair here 3 feet away from the screen, it wouldn’t seem as natural. I wouldn’t even be roughly pointing at my screen, I’d just have my hands under the desk or something.

    I also doubt they will properly support many games. I mean, sure it can probably be used with any FPS or cursor based game, but if an FPS isn’t reprogrammed to include the floaty crosshair and options for deadzone, camera behaviour, etc, it won’t be intuitive like this Portal 2 version is. Or like this HL2 mod used to be.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/PJG2005#p/u/7/pFa-Dusew0U

  14. Brumisator says:

    I already have a Wii.

  15. Buk says:

    The music at the end killed my ears. They’re not breathing anymore.

  16. Jon says:

    Ummmm, he doesn’t say it’ll be out in April. He says, very firmly I might add, “Portal 2 launch”. Has Portal 2 been set in stone for April?

    I’m not sure I like the idea of added content based on my control method.

  17. vanarbulax says:

    I’ve always wondered if in fact the whole “mouse + keyboard” “debate” is backwards. Sure they’re the best controls for most PC games, but most PC games are made for them. Maybe with more varied controllers we will get more novel and varied games and control schemes. Of course it’s a catch-22 thing; a controller won’t show its potential and won’t be bought until it has an established library of games behind it, and games aren’t going to get made specifically for a controller, or even supported, until it has been proven to have a large install base and staying power.

    I often wonder if its a more subtle for of the qwerty affect.

  18. SquareWheel says:

    Not very pleased with there being “exclusive custom content” for Portal 2.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Yar matey, I hear you scalawags be needing passage for a voyage of custom content?

  19. KindredPhantom says:

    It is quite interesting but does look gimmicky, the controllers look like two wii nunchucks.
    Watching it in-game it just seems…weird, it does look a bit unnatural.

    I can’t see it catching on, but kudos for them trying something different.

  20. Clovis says:

    I wouldn’t mind owning one of these. I’m sure there will be few games that fully use the motion control aspect of it. I own a Wii, and I’ve definitely had fun with a few of the games that take advantage of the motion controls.

    However, what I really like is that I can probably hold one controller in my left hand and the mouse in my right hand. I agree that for most games I play, kb+m is better than an XBox 360 controller. However, the keyboard is not really that great of an input for gaming, except when games need a LOT of keys for regular play. In particular “asdf” isn’t the best for movement. An analog stick would be much better. So, if I could hold one of these in my left hand, and it had enough buttons, I think it would be a great replacement for the keyboard.

    Also, in general, all future controllers should be separate left and right hand parts. One of my favorite things about the Wii is the remote/nunchuck combo. It’s really nice to not always have my hands a few inches apart when playing a game with a controller.

    • Big Murray says:

      I respect your opinion … though I would note that it is somewhat undermined by your referenence to “asdf” movement showing a certain lack of experience with playing PC shooters.

    • theleif says:

      Just what i was about to post. 1H Controller + mouse could be a great combination.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      @Big Murray

      Clovis must be using those fancy new QFERTY keyboards I’ve been hearing about.

      (I can see the logic of using F for W though, that way you’re keeping a finger on every key. Not that such urgeant backpeddling is really ever neccessary, and trying it now feels really awkward, plus it sacrifices use of shift/ctrl)

  21. woodsey says:

    It has analogue sticks! Cleanse it with fire!

  22. Hoaxfish says:

    Just google “Split Keyboard” and you’ll see PC has had this for aaages, ‘onest

    I think it’s more likely that Kinect-style technology will be implemented before wide support for this sort of thing.

  23. Big Murray says:

    I don’t see how this differs from a gamepad, really. Joystick controls will never be more accurate than the old keyboard + mouse combo.

    This is the reason I can’t play FPS games on a console. Or any game requiring quick reactions on a console. Fiddling around with litle joysticks is too … fiddly.

  24. Bassism says:

    As an iphone gamer, I have to say this could possibly lead to some interesting things. Sure, it’d be a horrible UI for an RTS, and it won’t be nearly as accurate as kb/m for an FPS. But it looks like it could be kind of interesting in Portal, and there’s probably a whole category of games that don’t exist yet that could be made possible with a controller like this.

    It reminds me of the iphone when it came out. Nobody in the world thought it would make a good gaming device because all it had was an accelerometer and touchscreen for input. And it’s true that games designed around existing paradigms are often clunky to play on the thing, there’s a slew of games that quite literally couldn’t exist without those input options that are just great games.

    I see this thing in the same way. Sure, it’s kind of neat in Portal, and would make a fun, if gimmicky, way to play FPSes, but the potential of the thing is totally unlocked. If they manage to sell a huge number of these with Portal, which might attract developers, and those developers then go both feet forward in supporting the thing to do cool stuff you can’t really do with a mouse or gamepad, then it could be successful.

    Sadly, the odds of that happening are nil, and it will most likely pass into obscurity as a gimmicky controller for Portal 2. But as others have alluded to, I’m glad that Valve is willing and able to do experiments like these and try and break some new ground for PC gaming.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I hate to be that guy, but I’ve yet to play an iPhone game that really feels like it couldn’t be done on another platform just as well, or maybe even better.

  25. Starky says:

    This thing looks awesome, something designed perfectly for sitting at a desk and playing on a PC, not for standing up and waggling like a moron.

    I don’t get this whole anti-controller movement – M&K only bullcrap – the PC has ALWAYS been the home of the coolest most advanced and crazy control systems – why should motion control be any different?

    the mouse is a great control interface for X-Y movement – but the keyboard is crap – sure it has lots of buttons, but that is it. Analogue pressure sensitivity on movement (WASD) would be much better for gaming than plain 1/0 input.

    This controller looks like it would be amazing with any number of genre’s – including FPS games. Maybe not competitive online FPS games, but single player for fun, sure.

    The problem of course is these things are always expensive, and only ever support a dozen or so titles, personally I’m not buying one just for portal.

    When it has 2 dozen good games supporting it (even if patched to support it) then I will take a serious look at it.

    • Jake says:

      I agree. I think mouse & keyboard is undeniably efficient and I would be quite surprised if any new controller was as easy to use as a M&K, but perhaps they can improve the game experience – like I am not sure if a racing wheel makes driving games easier than a pad, but it definitely makes it more fun. I thought the Novint Falcon thing looked like an interesting idea too, and I’ll keep my eye on any alternatives.

      Although I think the best peripheral I ever used was on the first Xbox – the Steel Battalion controller (http://bit.ly/fwnJF6) – that thing was amazing.

    • skinlo says:

      Not all of us want to be waving our arms around looking like idiots trying to play a game, and in fact ruining the immersion of game.

      Immersion for me is the storyline and whats on the screen, not what I have to do to get the character to move or do anything.

    • Jake says:

      I think immersion can be both, like racing wheels for driving games, or force feedback, or fully modeled spitfire cockpits. I think there is a more immersive control system out there for a fps or Portal type game than a mouse & keyboard, and maybe it isn’t this thing – I don’t especially like the idea of waving my arms around either – but I’ll give it a chance.

    • Shadram says:

      Where in that video is the guy “waving his arms around looking like an idiot”? I see him moving his arms, but they’re small, gestural movements, not frantic flailing, and you could quite easily reproduce his movements while sitting down in an office chair (assuming that’s what most people sit in while on their PC). Sure, the movements are a little larger than a mouse, but the extra degrees of freedom offered (rotation and 3d location) make up for that. The precision looks to be there, too, so I honestly believe this could actually work out as an alternative to m+k for those willing to spend some time with it.

  26. Jimbo says:

    This is exactly what I wanted the Move controllers to be, with tracking and a stick in each hand. If you look at the early patent designs for the Move, that’s what they had, and I think they should have stuck with it. This makes a ton of new gameplay options viable that you just can’t do very well on any other control scheme.

    Portal is a good fit, but the game I always think of is something like Mount&Blade or TES. You could have 1:1 on each hand (sword & shield or whatever) while still moving & looking with the sticks like you do on a standard console controller.

  27. wazups2x says:

    Meh, this is not for me. I’m all about fast/precise movements and nothing beats a mouse + keyboard in that aspect so this is worthless to me.. Also, I do not enjoy waving my arms in the air.

    • Fatbubba says:

      Indeed. I’ve had to play some Wii stuff in the past and I always get annoyed with the controls before long and wish for a more classic control system. I’m just not a big fan of all those “new” control styles. What’s wrong with the good old keyboard and mouse or a normal control pad?

      Wake me up when they start mental controlled games, now that might get me interested.

  28. rocketman71 says:

    Et tu, Valve?

  29. DOLBYdigital says:

    While I like the two analog sticks for some ideas, I don’t like it for controlling the camera in FPS games. Far too slow and not sensitive enough. I actually prefer the wiimote and nunchuck idea since the IR is almost as good as a mouse for controlling a camera in FPS and you can rest it on your lap. What I would really like for PC is something that combines the mouse and one of these motion nunchucks in your other hand.

    Kinda like the link below but with the motion of the product shown above added into the nunchuck:

    http://www.splitfish.com/index.php/en/products/fragfx-piranha

  30. DrazharLn says:

    I’m quite impressed with this, if they’re as good as they look then I would probably buy them. Some custom control schemes for flight sims or FPSs could be better than KB & M. With high sensitivity devices like these there’s also an obvious oppurtunity for gesture recognition.

  31. Jhoosier says:

    I’ll go ahead and echo the people saying that mouselook is king, but WASD is kinda crap. Playing Just Cause 2 over the holidays, I can’t drive a car or fly a plane at all. My high-speed chases usually result in “press left, too far, tap right, tap right again, too far, tap left, spin out and careen off a cliff”. Not that that isn’t fun, but not the desired effect.

    To replace the keyboard, you’d need an analogue stick for foward/back/strafe plus enough keys to replace the functionality of the keyboard. At a minimum, you’d need jump, sprint, crouch , reload, use. — not to mention less-used but still handy keys like walk/run toggle, continuous run (Q on Fallout 3, great for covering long distances without your middle finger getting tired), grenade hotkey, inventory. I suppose you could control some of those with motion – looks like Sixense uses left-flick as reload, but from my Wii days, it wasn’t easy to time jumps with an up-flick, and things like crouch need to be held down to work, so flicking doesn’t get you anywhere.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I dare say it is possible to build a keyboard that is more pressure sensitive, i.e. is “analogue” / digital optionally.
      You could simply have an A/D button in the top right corner and then go by how far the keys are depressed..

      Or we could just make a self-centering trackball for the left hand, a bit like back like in the arcades.
      Precise motion for the left, supreme mouse aim for the right. Or a motion controller/virtua-cop like gun for FPS.

      There ARE interesting options, they just all have to take RSI and similiar into consideration, and that imho is the main hurdle.

  32. Moonracer says:

    I guess you can look at it like the “special collectors edition” of Portal 2 only by paying the premium you get a controller that might also be used for other games rather than shoddy night vision goggles or the usual gimmicky trinkets you get for a premium. Not to mention some DLC content.

    I guess if you look at it that way it’s not bad.

  33. bill says:

    I think these kind of things work better in living rooms than at desks.
    Sitting on a couch, or standing in a room, several feet from a (big) screen, I can see these working rather well.
    Sitting at a desk, close to the screen, maybe not so much.

    Maybe it’s the same reason that I can’t play any game that needs a real joystick (eg flightsim) without a desk to stick it to.

    The rate of turn of analogue sticks also seems much better suited to the distant screen/narrow FOV of console games, rather than the close screen wide FOV of pc games.

  34. Junch says:

    Hey dudes, I’m a big fan of RPS (been following it for sometime), but also recently started work at Razer. Great to hear what you guys think of our stoof, no matter how good or bad the opinion. So keep ‘em coming, and whenever relevant, we take what you say to help make what we do better.

  35. MultiVaC says:

    This will probably another interesting but inefficient and expensive peripheral that Valve and other developers praise and half-assedly support, only to lose interest in less than a year later. The Novint Falcon also sounded pretty exciting when they did the same thing with that. I’m just going to ignore them this time. I also expect to be seeing reverse-engineered versions of these “exclusive maps” being played happily with mouse and keyboard.

  36. mihor_fego says:

    The worrying issue is not trying to create new controllers for the PC. It’s publishing content for a highly anticipated game that will only work with or only be available bundled with these. We always have the same issue with console-only DLC for games, feeling you don’t have access to the full content of a game you like, which is in every way similar to this situation. And when Valve does this, it’s even more disheartening, since most PC gamers have already lost faith in the rest of the major publishers.

    Sorry, but to me it’s the same as only getting the full game if you buy it bundled with X processor or Y graphics card.

  37. Chemix says:

    The thing is, these levels don’t really work without the controller and are probably not integral to the game itself. The modular design of Portal makes it extremely easy to put in a level here or there, granted Portal 2 probably won’t have as many working elevators, but level loading will have to occur somewhere, and probably somewhere recognizable, Valve tends to standardize loading areas as doors between rooms.

    As for the controls, if this controller can substitute a mouse by turning and moving it, rather than an analog stick, then I’m all for it, whether or not I’ll buy it is a different question. Analog sticks give some benefits, like feelings of weight and resistance, but they lack momentum, they don’t rest where you leave them, they reset, and the view snaps a little with it.