According to Valve, activators sit between inputs, such as button presses, and binding outputs, such as a keypress, providing more control over how those functions behave.
The activators themselves can take a number of forms, such as a long button press, double press, binding cycling, toggles, and delays.
There will be no limits on the number of activators that can be placed on an input, meaning a single button can be assigned a variety of functions, each resulting in different in-game actions. Activators can also be given their own haptic setting.
"You can use a Start Press activator and a Release Press activator to turn a toggle crouch into a hold crouch. Conversely, the toggle option will allow you to turn any action, such as a hold crouch, into a toggle," said Valve, giving just one example of how activators can be implemented.
"Mode Shifts now also use Activators, so a mode-shift can be toggled on and off without continuously holding a button. Activators can also cycle through a set of bindings. Put Stand, Crouch, and Prone on a single button and cycle through them with each press."
The activators update also includes improved visualizations for settings such as deadzones.