Thank you for visiting my Kickstarter.
This project is to help me produce a prototype for a new PC Gaming Controller.
(The picture is a photoshopped representation, not meant to be literal in any way).
Why do we need a new Gaming Controller specifically for the Computer? Well...
For years now the Xbox 360 controller has been the De Facto-standard controller for playing PC games. While this controller has sufficed, it really isn't designed for PC games in general, but rather for ports of console games, and can't be used for any general purpose computing. As I often use my computer with my TV (especially for playing games) I have to keep my wireless mouse/KB nearby to navigate the PC Desktop and other programs. I have long wanted a device that I could use as my mouse (trackball) replacement and still be able to use it for playing games. I initially thought the "Steam Controller" would provide a solution, but it turns out that that controller isn't going to have anything unique about it. (They even removed the track-pad).
So I decided to investigate creating my own. As I'm not an electrical engineer or a CAD artist, I was going to have to find others who could produce the product I wanted. After doing some research I eventually settled on Freelancer.com. And after discussing the project in detail I now have someone who I'm confident can successfully complete the project for me.
My initial commitment to the project was $3000. However, after discussing it with the developer (and others) it became clear that this was unrealistic. The estimate I have been given is closer to $8000. I am uncomfortable spending that much money on a device that perhaps no one has any interest in. So this is where Kickstarter and You come in.
The vision for the controller:
The controller will have the standard look and feel of the 360 controller, with some minor and significant changes.
1) The most obvious feature will be the touch-screen at the top-center of the controller. This screen will be user programmable so that you'll be able to add any "button(s)" you wish to it and program what they'll do. Be it simply loading a popular program, such as your browser or Mass Effect, or as in-game macro's for stringing together multiple commands. The other innovate feature of having a touch-screen is that programs themselves will be able to stream specialized content to the touch-screen. Very much like the Wii U's screen, however, it's not meant to be a "second screen", but rather for secret information that can be kept hidden from other players when playing local multiplayer. (While Wii U style functionality may be possible, that is not the goal or primary function of the touch-screen).
2) The right analogue-stick will be replaced by a trackball that will control the PC mouse cursor, or emulate the function of the right analogue-stick, depending on the situation and options. This will provide for the much needed functionality to replace the mouse with Home Theater PC setups, or anyone utilizing their TV as their monitor. It will also improve in-game play for FPS's with increased accuracy and sensitivity, and it'll make possible playing RTS's and similar style games with the controller.
3) To further compliment the mouse/trackball, the right bumper will be replaced with a clickable scroll-wheel. Thus retaining the functionality of the right bumper, while adding the ability to scroll through documents, menus, and websites with ease.
4) The back of the controller will have two additional buttons. One for each hand and will be placed near where the players' fingers rest. The idea here is these buttons will take the place of the two mouse buttons.
5) All other buttons, pad, and stick will remain identical to industry standards.
6) The controller will be wireless. Whether this is 2.4Ghz, Bluetooth, or some other standard has yet to be decided.
7) The controller will be rechargeable and will include a USB port for charging and perhaps to program the touch-screen if necessary.
Here's a rough design for the controller. Note: the touch-screen will most likely be landscape configuration, not portrait or square.
Production stages the project will go through:
1) Initial design review.
2) Schematics design.
3) Firmware programming.
4) Development board based prototyping to check the validity of the design.
5) Form factor based PCB layout design.
6) Final PCB board production from the factory.
1) CAD design of the casing based on the form factor based PCB development.
2) 3D printer based case printing.
3) Assembly of the electronics in the casing.
The total process should take about 4 months. At the end I should have two working prototypes that can be used to progress to the next stage: commercial product.
As this Kickstarter is purely for the production of a prototype, and NOT for a finished product, I'm unable to have any rewards that provide a physical product. However, if this stage and the next are successful, I want to be able to reward those who supported me so early. Therefore the $50 reward will act as a surety that you'll receive a free controller of the finished product if the next stage is successful.
Also, all those who pledge at the $50 level will have their name entered for a chance to win one of the final prototypes. (I'll pay all shipping fees).
It's important to note that this is just an initial design, and changes are definitely possible. All backers are encouraged to share their thoughts and suggestions in order to improve the final product.
I hope you're as enthusiastic about this project as I am! Thank you very much for your support.