The Steam Controller’s Activator Update makes it even more customisable

Help… too many options… I’m drowning…

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Valve has released a beta build for its newest Steam Controller update, and somehow it’s managed to cram even more customisation options into an already almost overloaded pad.

The Activator Update’s patch notes are slightly confusing if you’re not intimately knowledgeable of the Steam Controller:

  • You can use a Start Press activator and a Release Press activator to turn a toggle crouch into a hold crouch. Conversely, the toggle option will allow you to turn any action, such as a hold crouch, into a toggle. 
  • Turbo can be set on Activators, meaning any button can have customized rapid fire. This can be combined with multiple activators, so single press for single fire, while a long press will engage turbo mode. 
  • Use a Start Press Activator to switch to a new action set, with a Release Press on the same button to switch back to the original set. Using this technique Action Sets can act like an entire-controller mode shift. Also included in this update is the ability to copy any existing Action Set into the new set, making customization a lot faster. 
  • Mode Shifts now also use Activators, so a mode-shift can be toggled on and off without continuously holding a button. 
  • Activators can also cycle through a set of bindings. Put Stand, Crouch, and Prone on a single button and cycle through them with each press.

In layman’s terms, the update lets you set activation rules for different outputs on the same physical button. Different ways of pressing a button can have their own unique effects, for example in an FPS a single press of a button could be to crouch, while a long press of it could be to go prone.

It goes a bit further than that, though, as activators can also be used to trigger entire mode shifts for the rest of the pad. Press one button, and every other button can change to a new purpose. This’ll be particularly helpful for MMOs, or other games that feature long hotbars with more skills than there are physical buttons. Set up an activator to toggle between modes, and each of the face buttons could swap to a different set of abilities for easier access.

Like everything else with the Steam controller, setting up activators can be a bit daunting at first. But with a bit of practice, I can see this update being one of the most important ones the pad’s had in a long time.

You can read the complete update logs on the Steam Community. If you want to give activators a go for yourself, make sure your client is on the newest Steam beta.

Activator Update [Steam Community]

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