Update January 20, 2017: Steam's controller mapping features are now live for everyone in the latest client update.
"Added XBox 360, Xbox One, and Generic X-Input controller configurator support," says the patch notes. "This allows all recognised controller types to use the advanced mapping features of the Steam Controller Configurator."
If you want to experiment with this, here some of the best free games on Steam.
Steam now supports a range of gamepads without the need of third-party programs. You can even use some third-party PS4 controllers, including some HORI, MadCatz, the Emio PS4 Elite controller, Armor pads and fight sticks.
Support for PS4 fight sticks will be great news for fighting fans, no doubt.
Here are the controller patch notes:
- Added XBox 360, Xbox One, and Generic X-Input controller configurator support. This allows all recognized controller types to use the advanced mapping features of the Steam Controller Configurator. Note that because X-Input currently lacks per-controller means of unique identification, all controllers of that type will share personalization and configuration settings. As they share the same inputs, Xbox 360/One/Generic controllers will all see each-others configurations when browsing. Automatic conversion will be attempted when loading configurations from other controller types.
- Unrecognized Generic X-Input gamepad style controllers will be recognized by the Steam Controller Configurator once their buttons have been assigned to match a generic gamepad layout.
- Recommended configurations specified for a game by the developer will now attempt to assign based on Controller Type.
- Added option to disable Guide Button issuing a Steam focus change. This is available through the Big Picture controller options menu. This allows better interoperability with other applications which use the Guide Button, such as PSNow.
- Added Single Button simple button mode for trackpads. This allows a trackpad to be treated as a single giant button.
- Fix for free-floating on-screen keyboard running very slowly if a game was open but did not have focus or was running windowed.
- Added independent horizontal/vertical scaling to joystick move and joystick mouse.
- Joystick Move mode no longer shows mouse sensitivity option unless mouse output is selected.
- Added additional support for third-party PS4 controllers, including some HORI, MadCatz, and Armor pads and fight sticks.
- Fixed a bug with PS4 triggers where they were being scaled incorrectly, leading to maxing out of the value too soon.
- Added ability to change X-input controller order from the Controller Options menu - so in multi-controller setups of X-input games, the mapping of physical controller to X-input index can be swapped around. Note that this currently only applies to controllers that have opted into Steam Controller Configurator support.
- Fixed Configurator Switch Controller interface not showing controller icons.
- Re-enabled Gamepad outputs for desktop configurations for users of third party programs which hook into applications via the desktop configuration.
- Added Xbox Controller Rumble Support
- Added ‘Turn Off Controller’ Support for PS4 Bluetooth and Wireless Receiver
- Added Open Big Picture controller action binding.
- Fixed a bug where Steam Chords wouldn't work reliably when multiple controllers were connected and disconnected in a single session.
- Fixed volume being muted when connecting a Sony Wireless Receiver in Windows
- Fixed analog stick on-screen-keyboard interactions not working inside of Big Picture
- Fixed Guide Button not switching into Big Picture when Steam has focus but Guide Button Focus option has been disabled.
- Add support for Emio PS4 "Elite" controller
Original Story January 8, 2017: In the latest update to the Steam client beta, Valve have given all X-Input controllers the ability to use the Steam Controller’s advanced mapping features. This means that devices like the Xbox 360 and Xbox One pad can now bind specific keyboard and mouse shortcuts to their controller, for use in certain games.
With Steam now natively allowing X-Input controllers to create complex button remapping, this should potentially reduce players relying on third party programs like Controller Companion or Pinnacle to get their controllers working with their desktop. Someone has even managed to get a Wiimote working with this new update, creating a unique driver should you wish to try this out yourself.
While a Steam Controller is still the best option for using these complex shortcuts, this new update does allow players to use standard controllers for games like Civilization, mapping things like the mouse cursor to a control stick to make the game playable on something like an Xbox 360 pad. Rather than having to buy a shoddy third party controller to have turbo mode while playing a game, you can even rig up your own turbo button using this version of the client.
Hopefully, this client change will result in more developers shifting to the Steam Controller API, where universal game actions like jump, shoot and crouch are treated as separate bindable actions, rather than being tied to specific buttons. This would allow more developers to support any input device, with players simply binding these general commands to any button they want.