I’ve been up and down this forum lately, gathering research for my first fightstick build. Let me briefly give some backstory:
I played in a lot of arcades as a kid, and loved arcade sticks. I even had the trashy NES Advantage as a kid. Then a long drought went by when I stopped playing games for a while, did a lot of other things. Eventually I bought a PS2, and got very, very good at Virtua Fighter 4/Evo. Last year I bought a PS3, and got pretty decent at VF5. After playing a LOT of non-fighting games, in February I excitedly bought Marvel v Capcom 3.
A problem presented itself: while I was able to muddle through VF4/5 on the PS2 and PS3 controllers (I don’t know how), I was unable to do more than the very basics in MVC3. Simple mode was not for me - I like getting really into a character, all moves, framerates, etc. - something I inherited from the VF universe.
So after a LOT of research here, I bought the limited-edition MVC3 fightstick from Mad Catz. And I love it to death, I prize it, it’s fantastic, I drape it with a silk pillowcase when I’m not using it (true). I’m now a big fan of Senwa parts.
A new problem presents itself: I only have one. When a friend comes over, they have to muddle through on the PS3 controller. As anyone who has ever used the crap controller at a party knows, the guy with the fightstick gets nothing but dirty glares. And of course you can rotate/set up time limits/etc., but the bottom line is that one fightstick isn’t enough when you want company.
A second consideration: I love electronics, and I love woodworking. I used to build guitars, which utilize both these skills heavily.
So here is my current situation: I want to build my own fightstick rather than just buy another. I want to recapture the joy of making something with my own two hands, and using it. I also want to impress my girlfriend a little (bonus).
As a guitar builder, I know I’ll probably end up spending more on the custom build than just buying one, but I really don’t care. I’m planning on coming into some birthday funds I’m setting aside for the project.
I also live in an urban apartment now (Washington DC), rather than the rural house I lived in while guitar-building. This means I can’t make a ton of noise (lots of drilling, hammering, etc.), and I also don’t have access to a lot of my old tools (still at the mom’s house). I also don’t have ideal ventilation, although I can do some work on the apt. balcony.
As far as I understand, I need:
A cabinet with a template for drilling button and joystick holes;
the buttons themselves (screw type?);
a wiring harness, if available, or enough individual wiring;
some kind of board to interface - either a PS3 controller’s innards, or an independent board;
hardware, like screws/solder/etc.;
probably other things.
Can someone/anyone/everyone give me some advice as to the first steps I need to take? What tools, exactly, will I need? Can this be done in a 1-bedroom apartment with minimal tooling? Is there a step-by-step guide somewhere I can consult? And, of course, where is/are the cheapest place(s) to buy components?
In other words: advice!!
Thanks in advance!