Geoff Keighley Shows How the Haptic engine and Adaptive Triggers of the DualSense Controller Interact with Games

Due to the global pandemic, all gaming events were cancelled, which gave birth to the online-only ‘Summer Game Fest’ hosted by game journalist Geoff Keighley. Keighley is most notably known for his efforts in the Game Awards show. Until now, we have seen many game reveals during the Summer Game Fest, but today was a special event as it was the first event where we get the Hands-On of the new DualSense controller.

It started with Keighley showing the shiny controller and comparing it with its predecessor, the Dualshock 4 controller. We already know that it is a major design shift from the traditional DualShock controllers. It sports a new haptic feedback engine, and the triggers are also redesigned to incorporate it. But how does it transform to gameplay? Head over to the link here for a complete overview of the features supported by the DualSense controller.

Moreover, the DualSense controller feels a little heftier compared to the DS4 controller, and it fits in the hands more nicely.

How does it Interact with Games?

Starting with the adaptive triggers, during the hands-on stream, Keighly talked about how developers can add specific pressure points on the triggers, these points then provide multi-layered haptic feedback to the player who is pulling the trigger. It will be on the discretion of developers how they use it, but there can be many use-cases of the feature. For example, a player would feel how the string of a bow tightens when the character draws it or how an automatic AR creates recoil when a full round of bullet is fired.

6 degrees of motion

Keighley tested the controller on Astro’s Playroom. Unlike the Playroom (the pre-loaded demo installed on every PS4), it is actually a game with different levels, and it will come pre-installed on the PS5. The controller puts out haptic feedback whenever there’s a ‘disturbance’ on the sequence, which in this case, was the Sandstrom created by the CPU fans. The same is the case with the onboard speaker. Since it is of a much higher quality than the one present in the DS4 controller, developers could use it more extensively in games. The sound of Astro’s footsteps actually comes from the speaker on the controller, which can be amalgamated with the tempest engine to create a realistic sound environment.

Adaptive triggers

During the triggers sequence, he showed how the game registers how far the players have pulled the trigger, and then the character reacts accordingly. We have already seen the implementation of sensitive triggers (mostly in racing games), but the adaptive triggers put a whole layer on top of sensitivity awareness. The haptic feedback tells players if they have pulled the trigger as it was intended by the developer, which could potentially add a gameplay aspect in many games.

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Mohsin Naeem


Mohsin is a budding writer who has a thing for PC hardware and gaming. He has been building computers according to the need of his clients and is well versed in the area. He is an economics major and the analytical skills he learned from his academics adds to his writing and gives him a unique way to observe the tech industry.
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