Drone takes gaming controllers open-source for cross platform compatibility
By Dave LeClair
October 31, 2013
Traditional gaming hardware usually includes two main components: the console itself, and a controller. Mobile devices generally rely on touchscreens for game input, but many find this can take away from the traditional gaming experience. That's where third-party devices come into play. A new one, called the Drone, brings an open source controller to a wide range of devices, saving users from having to buy a separate controller for each.
Drone is made to work with all kinds of devices, with the OUYA, Android phones, Surface, Kindle Fire, Chromebooks, other tablets and PCs are all supported. Evolution Controllers, the company behind the Drone, promises that it is working with many developers to expand direct support for games, and it has included a list on its website for Android and iOS. It also promises support for all PC and Mac games.
The controller does not work with iOS 7, but it will connect and work with iOS devices using iCade.
Everything is open source, and the company has provided access to its source code. This will allow users to upload their own code and create support for other games and platforms, which has the potential to significantly expand support in the future.
The current prototype features a button layout that should be familiar to Xbox 360 owners, with two joysticks with center click, 10 face buttons (including the direction pad), two bumpers, and two triggers. Designed for portability, it's a bit more compact than standard console controllers, measuring 66 x 120 x 25 mm. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery that the company claims provides over 17 hours of straight game play or standby time of over a week. It can be recharged in four hours via micro USB, which is also used to upload custom firmware.
Evolution is offering the controller in a range of colors from simple black and white, to crazier colors like bright green and yellow. It also has custom skins for users looking to customize their controller a little more and is offering a template for the skins for users to print their own.
The company is now seeking funding for the Drone on Kickstarter and has already passed its US$30,000 goal. Backers who would like to receive a controller for themselves can do so for a minimum pledge of $59, which is the standard going rate for an Xbox One or PS4 controller.
The Kickstarter pitch video below provides more information on the Drone controller.