Customise every button press with the Steam Controller's 'Activators' update

The latest Steam beta client includes support for Steam Controller 'Activators'. Activators take your input and transform it into a funky new output, enabling you to create custom controls like long presses, double taps or delays.

In its announcement, Valve notes that there's no limit to the number of Activators that can be applied to a single button. A simple example might be a single tap to dodge, double tap to roll and hold to flee in panic.

Activators make the Steam Controller wildly versatile, as Valve's rather more in-depth examples demonstrate:

  • You can use a Start Press activator and a Release Press activator to turn a toggle crouch into a hold crouch. Conversely, the toggle option will allow you to turn any action, such as a hold crouch, into a toggle.
  • Turbo can be set on Activators, meaning any button can have customized rapid fire.  This can be combined with multiple activators, so single press for single fire, while a long press will engage turbo mode.
  • Use a Start Press Activator to switch to a new action set, with a Release Press on the same button to switch back to the original set.  Using this technique Action Sets can act like an entire-controller mode shift.  Also included in this update is the ability to copy any existing Action Set into the new set, making customization a lot faster.
  • Mode Shifts now also use Activators, so a mode-shift can be toggled on and off without continuously holding a button.
  • Activators can also cycle through a set of bindings. Put Stand, Crouch, and Prone on a single button and cycle through them with each press.