The humble game controller has received plenty of enhancements over the years, but most of the changes have been minor. A joystick here, some shoulder buttons there, but the core elements have remained pretty much the same. Tivitas Interactive is aiming for a fundamental revamp of the traditional design with Sinister – a device that it doesn't even look like a game controller at first glance.
Instead of holding it in your hands, as you would a traditional gaming controller, Sinister sits on a desk. For PC gamers reluctant to use a controller, this creates a more mouse and keyboard like feel. A mouse plugs into the controller, but it doesn't work like a traditional mouse. Instead, it acts as a part of the controller, allowing your mouse to function as one of the joysticks (depending on the chosen mode).
A key part of the Sinister is a feature Tivitas Interactive calls "Flux Elements." Essentially, this means the parts of the controller are modular, allowing the user to switch out pieces and move them around depending on the type of game being played. Each piece snaps into place with magnets, which should make swapping around the parts a quick process.
Besides moving buttons, the controller's shape can also be adjusted. It can be made flat or arched to suit the comfort requirements of individual gamers. The joystick can also be moved depending on the length of a gamer's thumb.
Another key aspect of Sinister is Haptic feedback. Using ViviTouch's Electroactive Polymer (EAP), the device is claimed to offer a high degree of control over the vibration. This is similar to the level of feedback Valve is touting with it's Steam Controller.
The joystick also offers analog and d-pad control. For games where WASD is the optimal control method, the d-pad functionality would be favorable, and games where speed is determined by how much pressure is placed on the sticks will benefit from analog control.
Sinister also boasts plug and play support for Linux, PC, and Mac.
Tivitas Interactive is seeking CAD$100,000 funding for Sinister on Kickstarter, but it still has a ways to go to meet that goal. Gamers looking to preorder a Sinister controller for themselves can do so for a minimum pledge of CAD$100.
The Kickstarter pitch below runs us through how Sinister works.