Back in February, I wrote about the new ‘Control Overlays’ beta for mouse and keyboard support in games played on ChromeOS. When it was announced, I tested it out with RuneScape, as well as several other titles, and it continuously crashed. Clearly, it wasn’t ready for prime time yet, despite how exciting it was that we’d get more ‘control’ over how we interact with our games.
No longer would we be confined to touch-based input or simulated touch with a mouse. Google was working on an actual overlay that would let us play games meant for the former with a mouse and keyboard, and that got me excited.
Fast forward seven months, and here we are, still having heard nothing about the Control Overlays and the work being done on them. They’re obviously a bit away as far as being in everyone’s hands goes. However, thanks to C2 Productions in his post on X, as well as his source, Muh. Ulya, we now see that work is, indeed continuing on the feature.
When first opening a game with game controls support, there will be an overlay showing the keys you can use to simulate various touches on screen via the keyboard. Currently, game controls can send keyboard input as tap actions and simulate touch-and-drag interactions commonly used for on-screen virtual joysticks/dpads. You can customize the key bindings via the game controls menu, which you can access by clicking the white square hovering on the right center portion of the game’s window.ChromeOS.dev
As you can see in C2’s video posted to YouTube, the overlay is now working, no longer crashes, and shows more interactive UI than when I last covered it. It has three buttons – one to permanently open up the toolbar, one to edit, customize and add your own keybindings for that specific game, and one to take screenshots on the fly!
The screen size button, as many of you are already well aware, will allow you to swap between phone, tablet, and resizable orientation for your game – not all of which are supported by every title. Having this baked directly into the Game Dashboard is a great addition, as much as it is to be able to take those aforementioned screenshots without having to use the keyboard shortcut for screen grabs.
Most importantly, this no longer just works for a few titles – it seems to be working for all games, according to our sources. However, upon loading up ChromeOS Canary, we didn’t see the new #arc-input-overlay-alpha-v2 flag that was used in combination with the original #arc-input-overlay-beta flag we discovered earlier this year. It would seem Google was testing it, and has now pulled it, though we can’t be entirely certain at this time.
Still, the fact that we have a full shot of the Game Dashboard, the control overlays displayed as working, and more to go on is quite exciting. We most certainly won’t get Google Play Games PC Beta for Chromebooks, so at the very least, it’s nice to see the company is making some sort of in-between for mobile games to work better on ChromeOS.