There had been rumors that HTC’s Vive would be receiving custom controllers and accessories throughout the year. The VR headset that works in conjunction with SteamVR is getting a new set of wireless motion controllers called the Knuckles.
Valve posted up a developer guide over on the Steam community page to help developers understand how to tweak their games to use the new ergonomic controllers, which feature touch-sensitive feedback, and individual finger responses when paired with the HTC Vive.
The devkit drivers are available right now, and they’re being sent out ahead of the actual launch of the Knuckles controllers.
There are some really cool features for the controller, including the return of the trackpads from the HTC Vive’s controllers, a trigger at the bottom of the controller on the opposite side of the trackpad, and the most interesting feature of the device: haptic sensors.
Moving and interacting with the grip allows for sensory feedback in the software based on middle-finger, ring-finger and pinky-finger pressurization.
There’s a grip strap as well, so you don’t always have to keep your hands firmly pressed around the handle. The grip strap works very similar to the wrist-straps on the Joy-Con controllers.
You can tightened and loosen the grip with the easy push and pull of the strap, and it allows you to basically hold the Knuckles practically “hands-free”.
In action this means that it can read pressure sensitive movements for games, and could prove to be really cool for select titles.
For instance, simply holding the Knuckles and throwing a punch might equate to a light or medium punch in a fighting game. Gripping the controller tight where the finger sensors are while throwing a punch could modify it into a hard or strong punch. Having that kind of intuitive control scheme in a game could be a real breakthrough in involving how gamers interact and engage with software.
It’s a shame that it’s limited to VR sets, as I would love to have these kind of controllers work without being paired to something like the HTC Vive.
No release date has been set on the Knuckles wireless sensor-based motion controllers, but I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of support they get from the development community.