Valve has unveiled the fourth prototype of the Steam Controller at GDC 2014.
Nicknamed “Dog”, the fourth prototype is the iteration that removes the Steam Controller’s original touchscreen in favour of physical buttons.
The redesign was announced during a Valve Steam Dev Days presentation in January and aims to improve backwards compatibility.
“We took the things we learnt out of [the third iteration] and we got a lot of feedback not only from the 300 testers but our testing internally, and incorporated them into Dog, which is the latest version,” said Scott Dalton, Valve software team member,
It has two diamond shaped button arrays similar to those found on traditional console controller rather than using the touchscreen.
“As we went on over time we realised that there were a bunch of things about the touchscreen that we could incorporate straight into the touchpads themselves.”
The new controller is more visually similar to PlayStation or Xbox controller, but still looks quirky and unique.
Valve is attempting to make the Steam Controller a little more accessible to those familiar with traditional controllers, taking advantage of their “muscle memory” associated with the movements made while gaming.
At the moment, each Steam Controller is hand-made from 3D printed parts and Valve believes this is as close to the final product as it has gotten so far.
“We’re still doing a lot of testing so there may continue to be changes, but the internal workings of this [prototype] are almost entirely different, there are a lot of ergonomic changes and refinements that we’ve made since [the last iteration].”
The triggers on the latest Dog prototype have also been switched to analogue to increase the usability and make them more sensitive to different gaming types.