Valve Brings Custom Keybinding to SteamVR, Letting VR Apps Support All Compatible Controllers

... Past, Present, or Future


SteamVR includes de facto support for several VR devices, although sometimes games just don’t support a particular controller—or if they do, it may not be configured properly. To remedy this, Valve has introduced a new SteamVR Input system, now in beta, that will let users create their own controller bindings and share them, so any game can hypothetically add support for any SteamVR-compatible controller, past, present or future.

Announced by Valve’s Joe Ludwig via a Steam forum post, SteamVR Input lets you build controller bindings for any game, “even for controllers that didn’t exist when the game was written.” Supported controllers include the XBox One gamepad, Vive Tracker, Oculus Touch, and motion controllers for HTC Vive and Windows “Mixed Reality” VR headsets, although we expect there are plenty more SteamVR-compatible peripherals out there that will make their way into Valve’s keybinding system.

Image courtesy Valve

Ludwig highlights a few use cases, including controls for left-handed people, those with physical disabilities, or even just personal preferences—like re-binding a strangely-placed start button to a more convenient place.

Key bindings will also be sharable on the Steam Workshop so others can quickly download and implement them.

Starting today, Valve will include the controller binding Input system directly into SteamVR beta. To try it out (expected later today), simply activate the SteamVR beta branch, which you’ll find under Library, and then Tools. Right-click SteamVR, and then click Properties. Then select the Betas tab to opt-in.

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Valve says it also works even if the developer of a particular game/experience/app hasn’t updated it to the new system yet.

The SteamVR Input beta comes with a fairly simple in-headset UI, which can be found at the bottom of the SteamVR Settings menu while wearing a VR headset.

Image courtesy Valve

As for developers, the SteamVR Input system lets devs more easily define default bindings for each controller type, and also offer “alternate control schemes directly without the need to change the games themselves.”

All of this essentially lets anyone define their own way of physically interacting with a SteamVR-supported game, and further closes the gaps in what’s touted as a hardware agnostic VR software platform.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • F1ForHelp

    Ok this seems pretty awesome.

    So I have two questions: Would I be able to play nonVR games with my oculus touch and will touch detection be able to be an input?

    Random suggestion: How about using motion controls for nonVR games somehow?

  • Marc Streeter

    “even for controllers that didn’t exist when the game was written” ….. Please be prep for finally releasing Valve’s Knuckles controllers…

    • Cat of Many Faces

      I’m crossing my fingers!

      • Cymen

        Sorry, the current controllers cannot detect that :/

        • Cat of Many Faces

          +1 internet :)

  • antonio mora

    If I can play Dying Light with touch controllers that’ll be the best!

    • AndyP

      I’m with you there (a great game)! Also for Fallout 4 as the controller mod has just failed on my PC for some baffling reason. Will this also allow us to give Bethesda the finger ;o)

      • antonio mora

        Are you referring to vr input emulator? wtf man?, lol, Fallout 4 doesn’t need that anymore, just opt in the beta.

        • AndyP

          Thanks, that was the point I was making: no need for the emulator now.

    • Dave Graham

      Dying Light in VR? Please tell me more….
      Or are you talking pancake just with controllers instead of K+M?

  • Mythos88

    Scott is pretty slow but he’ll catch on some day.

  • GetBrinxed

    There’s plenty enough buttons on the Touch controllers that mapping their bindings would allow someone to play a PC AAA title on them. I could certainly see myself playing Rocket League or Titanfall with those controllers.

  • Trevor Jones

    looks like whatever pimax controllers you ordered will now be supported.

  • HybridEnergy

    More options, I don’t see a problem. Good good.

  • dk

    yep it’s “Windows Mixed Reality” ……vr headsets…..the same os the hololens is using