Steam Machines! We’re all exciting for them, we all want to get behind them, yet none of us truly know whether they’ll end up being successful. The news of SteamOS’s existence in September let people know that Valve is serious about in-house hardware and the software to make it work, and the confirmation that said hardware is fast approaching stoked the excitement of gamers even further. Though there’s no telling what these Valve boxes will look like upon release, a recent visit to the Valve offices by The Seattle Times has resulted in some new information, as well as actual images of the prototype Steam Machines themselves.
There are three images in the Seattle Times piece, one of which shows a fairly up-close view of what Valve’s internal Steam Machine currently looks like (backed and held by smiling employees, of course). The other two images can be seen in the gallery below – one is of a Valve employee viewing a diagram of the new Steam controller on a white colored Steam Machine (so meta), while another shows a number of controller prototypes that were considered before the final design was reached.
Though initially surprising, many of the controller designs make sense – Valve’s aim with their new controller is for it to adequately control PC games, and a trackball would certainly seem a viable alternative to the traditional mouse given that some mice actually use a thumb-controlled trackball for cursor movement.
A few other interesting tidbits emerged from the article as well – in particular is some info regarding how exactly Valve is managing to do hardware in-house.
Its offices in a downtown Bellevue high-rise now have 3-D printers whirring away printing PC components, right next to a room full of programmers intently peering into their big monitors.
There are also laser-cutting machines and other tools for designing, building and testing prototypes. The landlord said no to a full-blown factory, so the game controllers that Valve is providing to 300 testers this fall are being produced by employees at a shop in Overlake.
The article is loaded with charming little Valve-isms, so hit the source link below to check it out for yourself. Personally I’m hoping there will be smaller form factor Steam Machines once they finally become available (something GameCube-sized would be incredibly cool), but in the meantime I suppose trusting in Gabe and the gang is all that can really be done.
Source: The Seattle Times