It's been some time coming now, but Valve appears to be ready to ship its first big VR controller redesign in years. Having shown off the prototypes to several developers recently, Valve has now made public a brand new Moondust demo, which takes place in the popular Portal universe, and shows off several new features of their Knuckles EV2 controllers. This new demo will have players driving RC cars on the moon, assembling their own space stations, crushing rocks with their bare hands, and even lobbing grenades at targets. Each scene in Moondust is specifically designed to showcase real-world examples of how Valve's new controllers work, and the advantages they can bring to VR space. This is the first big upgrade in regards to interaction with the virtual world that we've seen in nearly two years, and it looks to be a significant upgrade in every feasible way.
While the Vive controllers released two years ago were the pinnacle of VR controllers at the time, Oculus has shown HTC up with its Touch controllers, and now Valve is ready to launch their own branded controllers with significantly enhanced functionality. While we've only seen a big bump on resolution and comfort from HTC themselves with the Vive, Valve looks to be working to enhance this ecosystem, along with other supported ones, with the introduction of the Knuckles EV2 controllers. As you can see from the pictures, these Knuckles controllers look significantly different from the wand-style controllers that ship with the Vive.
It's not just the looks that are different; these controllers are covered in capacitive touch sensors for more natural feel of the world, as well as force touch sensors that respond to pressure sensitivity, giving a more natural way to interact with virtual objects than anything currently available. This enables movement so natural that players can actually let go of objects physically, without having to press and release buttons on the controller, allowing for considerably more natural feeling VR games. For more traditional games, Valve is also including a set of buttons and joysticks up top, as well as a touch pad for variety of input. Check out the video and screenshots below to see The Knuckles controllers in action.