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Lars Doucet, developer of Defender's Quest has written up a reddit post requesting Valve to open source the Steam Controller software.

I have to say, I do fully agree with Lars as it would be pretty awesome. It depends on how tied it all is to Steam directly, though. Valve may not have had any plans to do this.

Lars DoucetThe new changes to the Steam Controller are really exciting, but plenty of people have rightly brought up a fear that if developers get lazy and no longer put in conventional controller mapping, the Steam Controller Configurator will essentially become a de facto piece of DRM.

I'm sure people will find a way to argue against it, but it is something worth thinking about. It may end up being something that prevents games from coming to another store.

Valve are getting a pretty good record for working with the community now and helping open source, so it's not outside the realm of possibility for them to actually do this. The question is, will they?

Imagine an open source solution, that would allow you to map controls per-game with a Steam Controller, Xbox One gamepad, Xbox 360, and so on, for all your games regardless of the store you buy it from. That would be something amazing.

As Lars said:
Lars Doucet1. Steam doesn't need lock-in, it's got network effects for that

They really don't need to lock it to Steam. If they opened it up, it could not only sell more, but Valve would then be the champions of a modern gamepad configuration that could become a new standard on PC supported across all stores and games. They still have all their other ways of keeping developers on Steam, so it's not like it's a major worry for them.

On Linux we do have the excellent SC Controller project, but it is limited in what it can do in comparison to Valve's own config tools.

You can see the reddit post here. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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Ardje 10 Jan, 2017
Indeed, Valve need to either opensource it, or have a steam-integrated and a non-steam version of it. It's more than just the steam controller, it's plain input mapping, als for keyboard/mouse mapping.
As far as I know the topic was on steam-dev with the intention that the steam-input mapping will be usable outside steam, if-i-recall-correctly.
There are some games I play that really need a generic input overhaul, but I can't request using the steam input configurator if that locks them down on steam, while they still need to do the same thing on non-steam.
Hori 10 Jan, 2017
I fully agree that a Steam Controller should work for ANY device. Even the competitor consoles.
I for one would kinda like to tinker with it on Android. I don't like mobile gaming but I would spend a week or two before getting over it, I'm sure.

More important though is for PC games outside Steam. XBox controllers have one single but very strong advantage over SCs... they work everywhere... every game that has controller support, works with an XBox controller. An SC can only be used with Steam. And don't even try to bring the argument about "add non-Steam games to Steam" because that is such BS. It doesn't even work with all games (Windows Store for example) or other kinds of games that don't have the classic ".exe" launcher.
It's also pretty damn hard to get it working with emulators (e.g. PCSX2), and with WINE (even when using Steam through WINE).

SCs have sooo many advantages over any other controllers, and IMO they are greatly superior, but it won't matter much and won't become dominant until they solve this single issue: compatibility with most games.


Last edited by Hori on 10 January 2017 at 11:20 am UTC
Avehicle7887 10 Jan, 2017
As a DRM-Free gamer I won't touch Steam with a barge pole, but if the controller was usable without using Steam, then I would eventually buy a controller for arcades.

Definitely agree on making it open source.


Last edited by Avehicle7887 on 10 January 2017 at 12:36 pm UTC
stan 10 Jan, 2017
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I’ll never buy a Steam Controller as long as it is tied to Steam. But I’m not sure if Valve cares as they made it for the Steam Machines.
Ardje 10 Jan, 2017
To be clear: the "rant" is not about the steam controller.
The "rant" is about the input mapping system steam provides, which works for *any* input device.
There are enough drivers for the steam controller, already.
The real problem is this:
Steam has a very elegant and simple input mapping middleware. If you use that, then users cannot every complain anymore about how the controls should be, and no requests anymore about wasd/numeric keypad or joystick.
Everything is being handled for you, including mapping of the inputs.
To be clear: that's a one stop solution for all your input handling in your game.
Currently that solution is tied to steam-client.
So developers can not really use it, because they still need that input outside of steam.
(as far as I understood)
MayeulC 10 Jan, 2017
Well, one need to define open source in this case.

Indeed, "open sourcing the steam controller" could mean any of:
* Open sourcing the hardware design (already done, although I don't remember the license)
* Open sourcing the electrical design (if you want to see cheap clones pop-up everywhere, and steam controllers with lasers, or other surprising HW features, or compatible wireless tech elsewhere)
* Open sourcing the device firmware (If you want to see user-contributed fixes and new functionalities, and increase the number of bricked controllers. It could also allow to create alternative products that behave like a steam controller, or are compatible)
* Open sourcing the device drivers (Already more or less done, AFAIK, not that interesting, but very important to have it working everywhere)
* Open sourcing the API between the game and controller (Make it easy to work with in SDL, and it will take over the world; do this if you want maximum compatibility with other implementations of the API, libraries, or other controllers; this is similar to "OpenVR", A.K.A "SteamVR", IIRC)
* Open sourcing the configuration software (this probably comes with the aforementioned API's implementation; do this if you want to have a universal configuration software, as in supports every controller out there)
And debatable one:
* Open sourcing the on-screen keyboard (not necessary, but could be useful anyway).

So, my guess here is that either (or both) the API or the configuration software are being asked for, for obvious reasons. Just the API would already be a great win, but it would be explosive with the software as well.

Either way, I am all for it. The more the better.

Edit: Well, that also seems to be the dev's opinion:
QuoteTherefore, those of us who have an interest in an open controller ecosystem need to work hard to convince Valve that it's worth the effort to Open Source as much of this as possible.


Last edited by MayeulC on 10 January 2017 at 2:34 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 10 Jan, 2017
Quoting: stanI’ll never buy a Steam Controller as long as it is tied to Steam. But I’m not sure if Valve cares as they made it for the Steam Machines.
As mentioned, it's not actually tied to Steam. On Linux you can use SC Controller and it works perfectly doing configs for it.

The issue here, is to have Valve open source the entire system they use for it. As Valve does other special things that can only be done on Steam.
Nanobang 10 Jan, 2017
What would they need to make open source, I wonder. There's the firmware, then there's the configuration/mapping tool that's baked into BPM and its overlay, right? I would be a bit surprised if Valve didn't eventually make whatever-it-is open source, once they've got its development closer to its "final" form.

Since I drank the SC Koolaid, I'm a fanboy now, so I can't fathom ever wanting to use another controller --- lol --- though I admit others do. In this I'm heartened by kozec's sc-controller project. It is open source, so whatever Valve decides to do, I'll still have a way to configure and enjoy my SC. Although it's not quite where I need it to be --- feature-wise --- SCC is, in some ways, already more powerful than Valve's configuration tool. I anticipate its only ever becoming more so.
M@GOid 10 Jan, 2017
Speaking of Steam Controller and Big Picture, Valve released support for Xbox Controllers. But for me, enabling then in Big Picture to take advantage of the configs, causes the games to register double input. For example, Assault Android Cactus thinks I have 2 controllers when I an choosing a character and the second player option appear. This is happening in Linux with the One, 360 and Logitech F710 controllers. But in Windows is fine.
psymin 10 Jan, 2017
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I can't get over how awesome Lars is. Dang. Freaking amazing person.
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