Best D-Pad (minus buttons)? Creating a hybrid Stick+Pad


Well I have been officially switched over to use the stick for quite some time now (about 4 1/2 years). 80% of my game is much better with a stick. However, there are certain things, that I simply cannot do as consistently on the actual stick, and a quick thumb swipe is better for.

Solution? I’ve given this old dog plenty of time to learn new tricks, now it’s time to do the unthinkable, and build an otherwise-normal joystick, with 1/2 a gamepad sticking out the side!

So… What is the actual best D-pad?

I’m leaning towards a PS1 Dual-Shock d-pad personally, but that one is only good for people (like me) who use the middle of their thumb (the joint-section). **EDIT Or an NES d-pad! (plus that gets style points. ** hAH, NVM, CLOSE THREAD. (j/k)

I’m also aware that the D-pads with a full-circle surface, like a saturn or SFAC pad are more preferable to most hardcore pad warriors. However, the Saturn one is hard to get for a good price (except I did find a decently priced replica, under a ‘doc’ name of some kind on Ebay…) ; I want it to be guest-friendly, and not just for me. I attend local tournies and travel within reason to get in some good games, and I hate being the only one with a good controller sometimes, so I want this one to be guest-friendly. I think most pad-warriors would use a hybrid like this over a straight-up gamepad, because the button layout is unarguably superior and easier to use (without button mapping).

What would you suggest? The d-pad of choice would effect the overall design of the stick a lot.

Keep in mind, I’m personally quite universal for the few instances where a d-pad is preferred (any gamepad is the same to me almost), but what about the other people? For casuals, I would probably just use my pure stick, and allow others to mash on the hybrid.

Skim through this thread:

There is high praise for the titular controller in there, as well as some talk and comparison to the Japanese-style Sega Saturn controller (which many consider to be the best pad ever). Both are apparently quite easy to hack.

Still though, I really think you’re best off following the general rule that applies to picking a joystick as well; go with whatever feels best to you. The two I mentioned will feel extremely different from the PlayStation d-pad.

…won’t it feel weird NOT being able to move the controller around, having it stuck at a fixed angle to the box with the buttons on it?

Yeah, Saturn d-pad is the way to go… Not sure why you need both things in a stick, but it’ll be neat anyway. :slight_smile:

Thanks for that.

There are definitely a few hoops and hurdles to consider. I don’t want it to be unwieldy. It would have to be comfortable, have plenty of room so your hand doesn’t hit the side of the stick-box, maybe even a bit maneuvarable, without having to hold it as an entirely separate piece. Hard to consider it all in my head. I’ll just have to make some quick dummy-setups once I get the right pad, to determine the most comfortable set-up. It might be a lot better than it seems.

We’ll see…

One of the things with a gamepad, is both your hands compliment eachother, and help keep it steady. That shouldn’t go away, since the weight of the stick should keep it pretty steady and hopefully properly fixated (which I think is the direction to go).

Well, you could put the dpad near the stick and use a switch of some sort to toggle between the signals… That way your hand could rest on the dpad while using the stick without causing problems.

I think ps1 digital dpad is the best. (I think it’s the same dpad as the ps1 ds).
You can use it for years and it doesn’t get that soft mushed in feeling.

Also, I use the top of my thumb and still love it.

I’ll throw in some sketches. Your solution would work except that it’s not applicable to the set-up I’m imagining. I’m thinking more of a d-pad that literally is out the side of the wooden case:

(Not a sketch but to illustrate quickly from work here):

+[o 888]

(if you can understand my lil text interpretation).

By the way, that article-link within the thread is really starting to sway me…

I think to get the best function out of this kind of set-up, it’s going to look a bit ugly.

There is still something to consider with all of the Sony PS pads though, and that’s the handy way they are held. If incorporated the entire left half of the gamepad, it might work better. It’s possible the Saturn pad is shit if you’re not using the whole thing, and that the half-handle style of the PS-pad would be better…

A broken in ps2 pad is only good for tekken, well actually it’s alright for street fighter games. But things that need constant repeated inputs, such as CVS2 A Groove Sakura CC’s and/or Bison PTF it’s better to get a non broken in pad.

Here’s another one from that same thread:

By obscene coincidence, I am picking up a parcel later today that contains a 1st-party Sega controller and a Super Pad 8. I’m modding them and I don’t have a Saturn to use for an actual test but I’ll feel them up and let you know what I think anyway. PM me if I forget to post here later, haha.

Still hard to make up my mind. ulovemikeroch has a point. So it’s possible the handle-bar concept of a ps-pad is nice, but maybe I should go with a third party of some kind. Hmmm… There’s this one mad-catz ps2 controller that has a D-pad like a saturn. It’s at my brothers’s.

you need a saturn controller? =)

Here’s what I was referring to on an alternate saturn pad:

For reference only:

I think it looks fairly comfy, but again, I need to make time to put these concepts into application before I know for sure.

I felt out both Saturn controllers…

The 1st-party Sega controller sits nicely in your hands. The d-pad has squishy, soft, easy feel to it.

The Performance Super Pad 8 d-pad offers more resistance but the press down is more decisive, almost clicky.

I like them both. I guess it’s just a matter of preference.

Thanks you that’s actually quite informative to me. It certainly does come down to preference. I think I may be over-complicating it all.

lol i dreamt last night that i made a custom pad out of fibreglass

Neo Geo CD pad. There is quite no other like it.
Cons: good luck finding one. Also, you’ll be killed if you butcher one by rabid fans.

The little microswitches in the d pad thingy tend to break. It’s not worth taking apart.

My favorite d pads are:

  1. Japanese Saturn pad
  2. Genesis Six button pad (non turbo version)
  3. SNES pad
  4. Neo Geo pad.

I was thinking that something like this:

and some sanwa buttons put onto a wooden box would make a very original custom stick and would please those who can’t play on a stick. The bonus is the quality of contacts on real arcade buttons and not gum-like buttons.

who makes those?

I recognised the website logo in the Yellow Thumbstick picture !