Sinister: The PC game controller reinvented

Sinister: The PC game controll...
Sinister is looking to change the way gamers play PC games
Sinister is looking to change the way gamers play PC games
View 4 Images
Sinister allows the user to take out and more the buttons
Sinister allows the user to take out and more the buttons
Features and control elements of Sinister
Features and control elements of Sinister
Sinister is looking to change the way gamers play PC games
Sinister is looking to change the way gamers play PC games
Sinister works in conjunction with a mouse
Sinister works in conjunction with a mouse
View gallery - 4 images

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.

Sinister allows the user to take out and more the buttons
Sinister allows the user to take out and more the buttons

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.

Source: Tivitas Interactive, Kickstarter

View gallery - 4 images
Guy Wood
Sorry - I am not sure that this is better than the Razer Nostromo ..
The modular feature seems superfluous when you can simply reprogram the keys to different games.
Jon A.
I don't see the innovation. Controllers like this were around 10 years ago.
Still, for those who want something like this, another choice is always a good thing.
Does it come with a right handed feature? Would be a nice with the left hand on a keyboard.
I don't quite see how this is.. better. There's far less buttons to use and the modular thing is just plain stupid. If it was designed well in the first place they would try to fit as many buttons on as possible without crowding or making it hard to reach/press them, and then just allow you edit their functions via software. Modular just means extra parts, Extra parts that can get broken or lost,
This is essentially half game-pad, half-controller, but it's missing out on major features from either end of the spectrum.
With modular, and at least from what I'm seeing. You'll have less keys to choose from for games. Not necessarily bad, but it does limit what you'll be able to play with it.
It's also lacking features that a regular gamepad would have, such as backlights(not NECESSARY, but does add value and even QoL features), on the fly macros, quick profile switching, or even multiple specific game profile switching. It may include any of the features mentioned, but at a reduced level too, so there's that.
But it also doesn't have some of the features you would get with a regular gaming controller. PS3/PS4/Xbox or any of the numerous others. Such as the ability to input commands with both hands, have even more buttons usable and reachable than this modular one handed device is showing. Or even the Double Joystick that they all come with these days.
That's not saying it's not going to work, It's just that it seems to be a very specific setup, for a very small group of gamers. People with games simple enough to not benefit from extra buttons. While there are some, the list is few, and doesn't cross over many of the games that you would be better suited to playing with either a keyboard/gamepad or a controller.
Take Dungeon Defenders, Chivalry, Borderlands, Morrowind/Skyrim These games don't have huge amounts of keys that are always necessary and I can see them working with this. Just not sure as to how well
But games like DotA/League, BF3/BF4, MMO's, Even Civ 5 would clearly benefit from having more, easily programmable keys at their disposal, and some even more if they can use on-the-fly macros.
Other games still like Dark Souls, Emulators, DMC, Assassins Creed, Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Any racing game etc etc. Are just going to be simply better when played with a controller, Especially one you can use two hands with.
I believe that the target customer base just isn't worthwhile for this project. I didn't fund it because of this fact. I would've been throwing money at them if they had decided instead to improve upon existing designs of the G13/Razer Nostromo, Depending on the user either one of these can be uncomfortable to varying degrees, the ability to move parts at will and customize it would be a MASSIVE step up. If they still wanted to offer a modular design after offering a proper 25+ key setup(without dinky little buttons), then I'm all for that. As it stands though, Modular and very limited buttons just doesn't seem like it's going to take off as good as they think it will being targeted at a very specific customer base.
Moirraine Campbell
These guys need to redo keyboards!!! NOW.