SteamVR Input aims to unify the fractured new frontier

SteamVR Input

With every mega-corporation and their mega-dog throwing fat sacks of cash at Virtual Reality right now, and a multitude of headsets available, it’s easy to forget that nobody really has any idea what they’re doing right now. While consensus on how to advance headset technology seems to be fairly universal, every company seems to have their own idea of how to control things in virtual space. Valve’s stopgap solution until folks can agree on stuff is SteamVR Input, a unified control-binding system for (quelle surprise) SteamVR.

To access SteamVR input, people are going to have to opt-in to the current SteamVR beta, as described here. As the system works directly through the SteamVR API, it should be compatible with all current controllers, plus any that haven’t been released yet. It’s also a major perk for any requiring advanced control rebinding for accessibility reasons. Valve have provided tools for developers to officially integrate SteamVR Input binding into their games, too.

Handy tips from the official SteamVR Site

Support for SteamVR Input rebinding also extends beyond any options within games themselves, so it should let you override any control setup you find less than ideal, and should help force older, less updated VR games into more modern accepted interface standards. As with all other Steam Input stuff, you can save, export and share your control profiles with other users. It’s all good design, and really hard to find fault in.

The Steam Input API (for non-VR folks) recently added official support for the Nintendo Switch Pro controller, which due to its nicely sensitive tilt controls make a good alternative to Valve’s own Steam controller for more traditional games that could better use an analogue stick or two in place of touchpads. It’s nice to be officially leaving the dark ages of clashing controller standards – nowadays everything is just USB or Bluetooth, and increasingly universally bindable.

16 Comments

  1. CloneWarrior85 says:

    And now, the million dollar question: When will Steam sell Vive world wide on its plataform, instead of just a selected few countries?

    • DoomBroom says:

      It’s HTC that produce and sell the Vive and other Vive products not Valve/Steam. Valve does some research and prototyping and then licensing the IP to other hardware makers like HTC, Pimax and LG.

    • FredSaberhagen says:

      They are making their own headset, controllers base station etc. You can probably get that in your country if you can wait a lil bit

  2. Vandelay says:

    Nice to hear that some work is being done on standardisation.

    Really though, I just want to hear when we are going to get some more news on those Knuckle controllers. Those things looked fantastic and a great step up from the controllers the Vive has at the moment (although I do hope revisions of them ditch the haptic pad and just go with a standard analogue stick).

    • Flopdong says:

      IMO controllers are the one area where the Oculus is vastly superior to the Vive. Oculus Touch controllers are small and comfortable, and the button/joystick layout feels perfect. By comparison, the Vive controllers feel like giant un-ergonomic dildos. The touchpads only make things worse

      • Tatman says:

        100% This. Tried out the Vive pretty extensively when I was working for a tech store. Managed to snag an Oculus pretty cheap just recently– the Touch controllers are 100% a better experience.

      • Vandelay says:

        I’ve not tried the Occulus controller, but I can imagine that is true from what I’ve seen of them.

        The worst part about the Vive ones (besides the lack of the much more functional analogue controller) is the size. I’m regular banging the big round bit at the front into the desk or into the TV.

        The Knuckle controllers are much more palm sized, whilst also giving you more control over finger movement. They will make lifting things up and dropping so much more immersive… if they just got on and released the things. Must almost be a year since they announced them and sent them out to developers, but hasn’t been anything since.

    • Harlander says:

      Valve’s obsession with those God-awful trackpads is really unfortunate.

  3. Kefren says:

    I had used Vive controllers – they were okay as my first VR experience, mostly just selecting stuff or waving them as lightsabres. But after using Oculus Touch I couldn’t go back. Being able to make a fist to pick up or grip, to point, to stick a thumb up gesture – it made a lot of difference to the immersiveness. Not perfect, but a step up. It’s one of the things that would make me go back to Oculus next time, unless a similar controller comes out for the Vive.

    • Flopdong says:

      I completely agree. An analogy I like to use is that the Oculus controllers are like Gamecube controllers: small, well designed, and comfortable. Vive controllers are like the original Xbox controller: big, ugly, and juuust ergonomic enough to be functional

  4. racccoon says:

    This is how Steam works, its about to try and brainwash you yet again, this time into VR! It been posting VR constantly in steam users faces for years and we can not do anything about it.
    Steam knows that VR is waste of money.
    There is a good thing here Steam is wasting its money on VR
    The sad thing is they are influencing their customer base to buy their crap products. AKA. STEAM ZOMBIES

    • FredSaberhagen says:

      Hey this is cool though!! Customizing controllers could help make games more accessible

    • DatonKallandor says:

      The platform agnostic controller configuration is one of the few unambigiously positive things Valve is doing nowadays. The steam gamepad options are frankly ludicrously extensive and goes far beyond “this button does X or Y” and they work on anything. Doing the same thing for VR controllers is just objectively good.

    • Jernau Gurgeh says:

      “Steam are literally NAZIS for giving you options!!!”

    • guidom says:

      Boo Steam! 2d monitors are the future! Keep our faces goggle free!

  5. Shuck says:

    “With every mega-corporation and their mega-dog throwing fat sacks of cash at Virtual Reality right now”
    That… doesn’t seem to be true. A couple years ago, a few companies were throwing modest amounts of money at VR, but it seems pretty clear that wasn’t a great investment, now. The headset-makers are obviously still spending some money, but everyone else? Not so much.

Comment on this story

HTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>