Steam expands controller support, adds game-moving

A belter of a Steam update launched last night, bringing better controller support and finally adding a way to move installed games around your hard drives. The controller changes let Xbox pads and generic X-Input controllers use the fancy Steam Controller configuration tools, playing with controllers in games which don’t officially support ’em and rebinding as you please. Hooray, lessy faffing in folders or finding tools.

I’m surprised it’s taken Valve so long to officially support moving game folders after they’ve been installed. One could do it manually with a little trick or download tools that handled the fuss for you but sheesh, having it built-in is way better. As for controller support, that’s mighty welcome as I’ve yet to find a controller config tool which wasn’t irritating in at least a dozen ways.

The full patch notes are this-a-way but here are some highlights:

  • Game install folders can be moved to other Steam Library folders under Properties / Local Files
  • Added XBox 360, Xbox One, and Generic X-Input controller configurator support. This allows all recognized controller types to use the advanced mapping features of the Steam Controller Configurator. Note that because X-Input currently lacks per-controller means of unique identification, all controllers of that type will share personalization and configuration settings. As they share the same inputs, Xbox 360/One/Generic controllers will all see each-others configurations when browsing. Automatic conversion will be attempted when loading configurations from other controller types.
  • Unrecognized Generic X-Input gamepad style controllers will be recognized by the Steam Controller Configurator once their buttons have been assigned to match a generic gamepad layout.
  • Recommended configurations specified for a game by the developer will now attempt to assign based on Controller Type.
  • Added Single Button simple button mode for trackpads. This allows a trackpad to be treated as a single giant button.
  • Added additional support for third party PS4 controllers, including some HORI, MadCatz, and Armor pads and fight sticks.
  • Added XBox Controller Rumble Support

All of which is nice, because gamepads are ideal for a fair number of games, no matter what posturing babies on the Internet will blurble while Frenching their mouse’s laserhole.

From this site

79 Comments

  1. Tiffer45 says:

    That last line though! Wonderful.

    • gi_ty says:

      Agreed I laughed so hard I was getting odd looks. I love you Alice!

  2. Fry says:

    Counterpoint:

    Controllers are shit for most games and moving games between drives was so easy before I’m not sure I actually need an officially-supported way to do it.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      It wasn’t that easy: there are sometimes registry entries and (i think) sid files that needed editing. There were many many games we played together at LAN parties that no matter how we moved them over the network to each other Steam would always try and download it again. Pain in the arse.

      I wasn’t even going to address the “Controllers are shit” comment but sod it: how can having more input options be a bad thing? What if you want to play from your couch? I trust you know just how well the Phantom Lapboard went.

      • Andrew says:

        On the other side of that argument there are people who think that support for other gamepads is a betrayal of Steam Controller. So, you know, people often hate something that’s not for them and maybe even free. People are… people.

        (Just in case: I own Stem Controller, DualShock 4 and Xbox 360-like gamepads and like them all.)

        HOTAS, on the other hand, is a spawn of the Devil!*

        (* — Joke.)

      • Fry says:

        Never run into a move problem, myself.
        1) Copy game dir to the desired location
        2) Uninstall in Steam client
        3) Reinstall and point at the new location
        4) Get on with your life

        Granted, it’s good to have it all in the client. I was being somewhat facetious.

        As for controllers… sadly, their utility has become something of self-fulfilling prophecy as game UI designers would rather not repeat their work. They make something that works for console without bothering to take advantage of mouse and keyboard. See: inventory systems in basically all current RPGs.

        But, hey… my 360 controller is pretty useful in Rocket League. So there’s that.

        • Premium User Badge

          basilisk says:

          It was actually even easier to shut down Steam, move the game folder and the corresponding appmanifest file in \steamapps to the new location, restart Steam and there you go, game moved and Steam none the wiser.

          Not that it matters now.

          • Premium User Badge

            Herring says:

            Like you say, old hat now but I used to move the folders and leave a junction point behind. Advantage was that it worked on non-Steam games too, leaving a link behind in C:\Games.

            Eventually I wrote a script to move folders to and from an archive on D:\, creating and removing junctions as it went.

            Yes, yes. You say massively over-engineered, I say mouse-traps NEED lasers.

            link to herringsfishbait.com

          • Frosty_2.0 says:

            Well there were a few more steps depending on the game & age of install, unless everything in your Steam setup was freshly installed (maybe within the last 2-ish years).

            For many migrations, I’ve had to lookup appmanifest IDs on SteamDB etc.. to match up an old/legacy game ID; and edit the appmanifest’s ‘InstallDir’ to root dir afterwards.
            And of course before Steam officially supported multiple Library locations we had Symbolic/Hard Links and tools people made for that like SteamTool.

            But anyway, definitely handy to have it built-in now :)

    • Axyl says:

      Counter-Counterpoint:

      Controllers are VERY useful for MANY games. Some people prefer convenience over tech know-how.

      Conclusion: The update isn’t aimed at you.
      Commence unbunching of your undergarments.

      As you were.

      • Smoof says:

        Given that I spend so much time sitting at a desk in an office, I’ve decided to move my computer out of my office and next to my couch. I’ve been gaming almost exclusively with a gamepad/steam controller and it’s been fabulous.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      Yeah, you can play anything with a keyboard, I grew up using the keys 6 through to 0 for the Spectrum because my brother always bagged our only Kempston, you can become proficient at anything with enough practice.

      Hell, didn’t some guy just complete Dark Souls with a Dance Mat? And yeah I get it, if you’re used to one input method adapting to a new one brings its own struggles, but the humble joypad kicks M&K arse at so many things to deny it is just stubbornness.

      But take all that with a pinch of salt, I play Elite Dangerous with M&K, I’m a masochist at heart….

      There might be a point in there somewhere, I do tend to ramble.

      • Catterbatter says:

        All you needed to do was run this new version of Steam on your Spectrum. Then you could have mapped all the buttons on your Xbone controller to 6-0.

    • JackMultiple says:

      Point:

      “Fry, you ignorant slut.”

      Am I dating myself? What? Too soon?

      • Fry says:

        If it makes you feel any better, I’m old enough to get the reference.

        I wonder if Lee Marvin’s ex wife is still alive…

  3. Ghostwise says:

    I will say goodbye to Steam Mover with a single, manly tear rolling down my weathered cheek.

    We had such great experiences together, such as this one or that one. And other ones.

  4. TeePee says:

    I’m going to start a futuristic hair metal band just so I can call our first album ‘Tongue my laserhole’.

  5. tslog says:

    Last line was great, but I thought the even funnier line was ” i’m surprised it’s taken valve so long”. That sentence applies to valve in almost every situation.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Well yeah. Every day before they can go to work, they have to shovel off several tonnes of cash that landed in front of their office, then run in before more money lands and blocks the way anew.

      That takes hours.

  6. Andrew says:

    All of which is nice, because gamepads are ideal for a fair number of games, no matter what posturing babies on the Internet will blurble while Frenching their mouse’s laserhole.

    I don’t care what they say about you, Alice, you’re okay in my book.

    • zarthrag says:

      Yeah, I’ll never unsee that.

    • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

      Is that a reference to “The Wire”? If so, it’s the sneakiest one I’ve ever seen and I like you.
      If not, carry on.

      • Andrew says:

        Honestly, it wasn’t intended to be, but if it works like that too, it’s great.

        I still would like you to like me :3

        • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

          Of course I still like you, sweetie <3. It's just me being a bit too obsessive about that show.
          Incidentally, your advice below worked and I've been happily beating people into pulps all morning. So, thanks again!

    • aepervius says:

      Controler has its place , but m/k too. The problem is that you see game like skyrim, utterly hobbled by having to go with a unified UI putting the accent on controller. Or many other similar rpg for example.

      • Andrew says:

        First, let me ask you this: do developers have to support “old” hardware and software? It would be great if everything would work on anything, but it’s not for a lot of reasons. Same with input methods.

        Second, it’s not like someone sneaks into your room and patches all your games to be bad. You know that new “Doom” gonna run poorly on your current PC, and you know that “Skyrim”, “Witcher 3” and “Dark Souls” are better with gamepads.

        And, at the end of a day, you paying (less then) a price of an AAA game for a piece of hardware that gonna last you for years.

        Maybe you just don’t like gamepads. Ok. At some point game industry decided that it’s gonna go with 16×9 and I bough a new monitor. At some point they decided that x32 is not enough and I switched to x64 OS. At some… At many-many points I upgraded my video card, CPU, motherboard, etc. Do I liked any of it? Do I like spending money? Can you guess? :)

        • Zandolar says:

          There is nothing that makes keyboard and mouse “old hardware” though. It’s objectively better for some games. First person games being one genre where it excels. There’s no reason why Skyrim should be better with a gamepad (and myself and lots others don’t think it is), just laziness from the devs to not design a decent UI is the only reason why the game can be annoying with a keyboard and mouse. Old hardware gets replaced when there is something better. With your monitor example, 4:3 screens got replaced by widescreens because the vast majority of people find them objectively better. 16:10 wasn’t replaced as much as phased out because 16:10 and 16:9 is so similar that there was really no reason for both to exist and the industry settled on one standard. None of this applies to keyboard and mouse vs controller as both have their merits, both have a bunch of people that prefer them and they are different enough that neither can be replaced.

          As the other guy says, that Skyrim UI is just utter crap full stop. A mod improves it in every way regardless of which control method you use. That proves they did something quite wrong with it.

        • KenTWOu says:

          you paying (less then) a price of an AAA game for a piece of hardware that gonna last you for years.

          For years? That’s highly unlikely. Gamepad sticks and triggers are analogous, they use several potentiometers for that, and that’s a double edge sword. They have a tendency to become very noisy after awhile (especially in a price category you mentioned), at least in my experience. Meanwhile mouses and keyboards could work for decades, and the most common double click or mouse scroll jumps issues are easily fixable in most of the cases.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        I will never tire of repeating that the SkyUI mod is objectively better even if you’re playing with a gamepad. The vanilla Skyrim interface isn’t bad because of gamepads, it’s bad because it’s badly designed, full stop.

        Gamepads are not and cannot be the reason why the default UI wastes so much screen estate.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Topperfalkon says:

    You have a wonderful way with words sometimes Alice, never change that.

  8. ScottTFrazer says:

    Now if only they’d spend some time on Library management.

    That part of the interface is awful.

    • Czrly says:

      Not really, though. In fact, Steam is rather exceptionally brilliantly superb compared to the competition: Origin.

      I can set Steam to start in “small” mode and set that to show “Installed” games and set large mode to show “all” games. That’s enough for me. That’s all I want.

      Now if you had mentioned Startup Time, I could agree. If it started faster and used less resources so that I could feasibly have it load at startup without subjecting myself to intermittent “failed to connect” popups and a hit to my system resources, I’d probably be more happy with Steam.

      • ooshp says:

        What does Origin need to do? “Sort” a library of 10 games?

        It would be a shitshow with 500+ games.

        Edited because replied to wrong comment, possibly now nonsense. Whee!

  9. Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

    So help me understand. With this update I can force a game to recognize a controller even if it’s not supported?
    By sheer coincidence, I installed Mother Russia Bleeds on my older pc (with ubuntu 16.10) and the game won’t recognize my 360 controller, no matter what (it appears to be a known issue). The keyboard controls for that game look insane and I refuse to use them. Before asking for a refund, can someone explain to me how this works exactly?

    • Andrew says:

      Short version: Steam sits between the game and your gamepad (SC, DS4, 360, DirectInput, whatever) and sends XInput and/or KB&M commands to that game. So, if game doesn’t support XInput, only KB&M, you still can play with a gamepad. Or it can fix your problem too. I recommend Reddit (wiki is a good start) for more information. Or ask me, while I’m here.

      • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

        All right, thanks. I’ll try and set it up tomorrow.

  10. Kong says:

    Très agréable.

    My hands are too big, built for shoveling shit, not to cope with either keyboard or controller.
    Having a hard time with GTA and Witcher for example, with any input device.
    Steam controller is winning my favour slowly, despite the damn tiny YBAX craputtons.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Ahhh you’re that one person the xbox Duke controller was built for

      • Kong says:

        oha, thank you very much. I was not aware of its existence.

        Just when I fell in love with the Steam trackpad’s trackball mode…

    • Ghostwise says:

      My hands aren’t huge — unless compared to the President’s of course — but most mice also feel small for me.

      I eventually found happiness with a Mionix NAOS 7000. It’s damn good for relatively wide palm grips and the quality is great.

      • Kong says:

        until recently I got along fine with Logitech G13 and mouse plus Saitek combat rudder pedals.
        Then I discovered that GTA and Witcher are way better with controller, despite my not so dexterous wanking pliers.
        We are still in the stone age it seems. Hopefully VR will speed up input evolution.

        • Ghostwise says:

          I hear that *really cool* people will play those with the Donkey Konga bongo controllers for the Game Cube.

          I don’t think I’ll ever be that cool, though.

          • Kong says:

            hey, great idea. Bongos.
            My input gadget collection grows analog to my salary. Steam should work on integrating electric drumsets. I would be totally game.

            Imagine, walking, running, jumping even sneaking by double bass pedal input

  11. FurryLippedSquid says:

    I wonder if it improves 360 controller functionality through Steam Link because, at the moment, it’s utterly woeful. Probably not as Valve seem to have given up on the Link altogether.

  12. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Has anyone tested out the DS4 support? Can I finally be done with DS4Windows?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes. Yes.

      Support for DS4 was there since last non-beta update, and it’s better than DS4Windows.

  13. Raoul Duke says:

    So does this mean, for example, that I can use my X360 controller to play old games via Steam where the analogue stick controls the mouse?

  14. Faults says:

    “All of which is nice, because gamepads are ideal for a fair number of games, no matter what posturing babies on the Internet will blurble while Frenching their mouse’s laserhole.”

    Incredible. 10/10

  15. Premium User Badge

    Kushiel says:

    How does one go about setting up Steam so that one can access its beta features? I’ve been wanting to play System Shock 2 for yonks but been unable to because I can’t kb/m FPS games, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how many SS2 inputs I can chord onto a 360 pad. (Probably not enough, but I can hope.)

    • Andrew says:

      You don’t need beta, those features in a stable Steam version already.

      But if you want it for some other reason, go to Steam → Settings → Account → Beta participation.

      • Premium User Badge

        Kushiel says:

        Ah, I misread that, thanks! How do I set up individual games to work with a non-Steam gamepad, then? I checked the Getting Started article on Reddit, but its advice doesn’t seem to apply to non-Steam gamepads (there’s no “Edit Steam Controller Configuration” while right-clicking the game title and no “Configure Controller” in Big Picture mode).

      • Premium User Badge

        Kushiel says:

        Never mind, I found it. If you’re looking to update that Reddit page, it’d be helpful to add that you need to use the Settings menu in Big Picture mode to enable controller support for the specific gamepad you want to remap (just having the gamepad plugged in isn’t enough).

  16. Merry says:

    Here’s what I think. (I mustn’t misspell “what” for copyright reasons.) Valve should open up an API (An application programming interface. It means we could write a program to do what you do from the Steam interface). That way people can write their own front-end to Steam, and after a while Valve can pinch all the best ideas and put them into their web site. It’s cool, right?

    It’s just like they did with the game categories. “Please tell us some categories that you’d like to use for your games” But this time it will be software, algorithms, skins, anything.

    What would you code, given the information that is available on a Steam page? I’ve been experimenting with ideas, but at present they mostly involve violating the terms of service and gathering information from each Steam page.

    I would really like, for instance, to find all RPG games that are not in my library, and don’t involve zombies or turn-based strategy. That’s not so hard, but it’s impossible with Steam.

    I can’t even find all the directories that Steam is using on my system without using the GUI and writing them down.

    So many things would be so much easier with an API. And it shouldn’t threaten Valve at all if written properly.

    • Andrew says:

      I would like to have robust filtering (like this) in a client and on Steam web page.

      As an alternative, they can open source the client (and only the client). Basically, the same thing, but more safer and less confusing for consumers (one version for everybody, with forks for people who want something specific). Damn, we missed Gaben’s AMA.

    • Zandolar says:

      Yeah I guess their worry is someone finding a backdoor and being able to do all sorts of nasty stuff to the client. Would be nice though, I hate the filtering on Steam. I don’t use it to browse games anymore. It’s like sifting through a field of cow dung to try and find a couple of buried gemstones. There is so much rubbish on there that discovering games is now better done elsewhere imo.

  17. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    Finally can move games around easily! About time.

  18. JackMultiple says:

    Finally! I was beginning to think I would NEVER get support for my Colorado Spectrum Mouse Yoke.

  19. lokhor says:

    Does it work with DualShock4 PS4 controllers connected over bluetooth?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      How do you find the latency? I used to connect using Bluetooth but after trying to play Dark Souls 3 with a laggy controller I decided to just stick with using a USB cable.

  20. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Excellent. Now, if only we could move save file folders… The only bad part of Devil Daggers on Linux is ~/devildaggers, and that one’s a doozy for me.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      Can you change the value of HOME in whatever startup script is probably used to launch it?

  21. Kefren says:

    I hope the update fixes the problem that whatever I click on in Steam (apart from my library) gives an error. I currently have to agree to EULAs I can’t see – link to twitter.com
    I contacted Steam support numerous times, in various ways, and they never responded.

    • Zandolar says:

      Yeah Steam’s single tech support guy will probably get to your ticket by 2018……maybe.

  22. PancakeWizard says:

    If you use a gamepad for first-person shooters or strategy games, you’re handicapping yourself.

    If you use KB+M for third person games or platformers, you’re handicapping yourself.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      I wholeheartedly disagree on TPS. TPS is just FPS with the camera backed out a bit, so therefore M+K is objectively superior, just like it is with FPS, unless the camera isn’t more-or-less fixed behind the player character, then it’s a debatable point.

  23. Premium User Badge

    MajorLag says:

    Why is this limited to known controller types? My old USB gamepads are all perfectly functional, so whenever I encounter some X-Input only bullshit controller support in a game it’s a real turn off. As far as I can tell, this functionality in Steam is the same way. Maybe I’m just missing something, but I can’t find any controller settings in Steam at all.

    P.S.: Nevermind, I apparently have to be in Big Picture mode to see the controller settings and they do indeed have “Generic gamepad” as an option. Which is great! No more JoyToKey.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      That’s the thing, it lets you play X-input only games with older gamepads. I didn’t find any settings until I switched to Big Picture mode, and I could set up things there. I later realised that there’s also a gamepad option if you right-click on a game from your library. It seems to be working pretty well!

      • Det. Bullock says:

        Cool! That means I can use my joystick even with those arcade flight games that happen to be Xinput only.

  24. Premium User Badge

    N'Al says:

    Here’s a question:

    Playing a non-Steam game (added via shortcut to Steam) via Steam Link, with a non-Steam controller (e.g. Dualshock) – is that possible after all this?

  25. btone says:

    Hey N’Al, you wouldn’t happen to know which group sang Ballroom Blitz would you?

  26. Gwyddelig says:

    “Frenching their mouse’s laserhole”

    *Snort*

    That’ll get some responses, I’d wager…