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Valve Job Posting Confirms Hardware Plans 219

redletterdave writes "Valve is reportedly interested in building hardware. The Bellevue, Wash.-based software developer added a job posting to its site on Tuesday morning for an industrial designer. We're frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we're jumping in,' the posting said. 'Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There's a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked.'"
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Valve Job Posting Confirms Hardware Plans

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  • Design requirements (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zooblethorpe ( 686757 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:12PM (#41225475)

    Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years

    Maybe the reason for this is the basic form works. The design of the wheel hasn't changed much in a 5 thousand years either. I wonder why.

    I beg to differ. The basic design requirement of a wheel is that it's round and rolls, and I'll certainly grant you that this aspect of wheels hasn't changed. However, a rough-hewn wooden round, such as used in the simplest of carts, bears very little other resemblance to the three-spoked carbon-fiber performance bicycle wheels I see with some frequency on my morning bicycle commute. Sure, both are round and roll, but otherwise, there's thousands of years of difference between them.

    So what are the design requirements for computer input? You could start by looking at the requirements of a keyboard and a mouse: 1) Must have all the keys required to input at least ASCII. 2) Must have some kind of pointer-device control, ideally with at least two buttons.

    So sure, you can have your basic flat keyboard, and a basic mouse. Or you could have something quite different, like this [], or this [], or this [], or this [] (what I'm actually using to type this message).

    And that's not even looking into other possible input schemes, such as voice recognition [], eye tracking [], etc.

    I applaud Valve's efforts to look into better ways of doing things. This kind of exploration is exactly what leads to new and better things.


  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:20PM (#41225571) Homepage Journal

    I know you meant this as a joke, but take it seriously for a moment.

    Wouldn't it be spiffy if Valve took their hardware plaform and came up with a Steampunk option for it? Obviously the basic low-cost version will have to be basic and low-cost. But they're in an obvious position to sell a Steampunk version for a premium.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:22PM (#41225593) Homepage Journal

    console controllers, for example, are actually better for some games, such as platformers or racers, though not for FPS or RTS games

    As I tried to type a long post on my Nexus 7 tablet a few days ago, I realized something. Pressing buttons on a keyboard or a gamepad is like touch typing, as the player memorizes where the buttons are relative to his thumbs' resting positions and uses the feel of the edges of the buttons to adjust his hand positioning. Using a mouse or touch screen, on the other hand, is like hunt and peck: see something on the screen, move your mouse, and click. Aiming in FPS and selecting units in RTS are nearly ideal hunt and peck tasks; platformers and fighting games need touch typing because movement is relative to the player's current position.

    I've written more about this [].

  • Hell if he doesn't want to use that (why I don't know, a wheel makes it crazy fast to spin through a weapon switch) there are several gamer mice that have a rocker switch on the right side where the thumb would rest on a traditional mouse.

    BTW I know this is a little childish but to all those FOSS zealots that were "Oh no, GabeN is doing this because he really believes in Linux!" allow me to say TOLD YOU SO, he's building a fricking Steambox because Ballmer waved his flabby ass in GabeN's face with the whole appstore loaded with casual games trying to cut into Steam, so Gabe is gonna royally fuck over old Ballmer by slitting his throat in the console business. Of course the Linux fans will be pissed, as it'll no doubt have hardware DRM so no hacking allowed, but Linux hackers isn't their target audience so why should Valve care.

    Which I have to say though, if it works and cuts them a serious chunk of the console market? Then I don't see how Ballmer is gonna keep his job. The X360 has been one of the few things on his watch that has done what they set out to do, even if it did cost them an extra 2 billion due to jerkass rushing the machine out before it was finished, and that was to give MSFT a nice sized chunk of the console market which gets them into content. A whole lot of money flows from content and the bitch for MSFT is Valve is a hell of a lot more liked by the gamer community than MSFT.

    So if Gabe can get the other publishers on board, so your one Steam account will let you move your games back and forth between PC and console, while still having the crazy sales and great service Steam is famous for? I could see MSFT being in serious trouble when the 720 or whatever its gonna be called comes out.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming