If you’re a fan of action-RPGs, strategy games, or MOBAs, the Steam controller just became a much more viable option.
Currently an opt-in beta feature, the Steam controller’s new Mouse Region functionality works like this:
“This lets a touchpad be mapped to a configurable, fixed region of the game window, such that touching the pad in a given zone will always position the mouse cursor to the same matching spot in that region. This can be used to improve accuracy and responsiveness in top-down action games and strategy games. Mouse Region modes can warp the cursor to and from their region when they are activated through mode-shifts, which can be useful for holding a button to activate a smaller Mouse Region above the minimap in a strategy game. The regions are also reshapable, allowing a configuration to temporarily activate a horizontal, flat Mouse Region on top of a skillbar in a roleplaying game.”
So basically, it turns a haptic pad into a 1:1 map of the game screen (or a portion of it, which you can customise the size and location of). Within that space, you can tap a region to instantly move your cursor there, or you can just swipe it around as you would with normal mouse controls.
In short, it’s awesome — just what the witch doctor ordered for games with top-down cameras and skill bars. Watch me take it for a spin in Diablo-esque action-RPG Torchlight II:
I barely even scratched the surface in that video. I can’t wait to see what people come up with. I might have initially been sceptical of the Steam controller, but kudos to Valve and the community for pushing it in some promising directions.