My button layout for arcade stick I'm building, please comment/critique before I build


I know a lot of people these days like Japanese layouts since your fingers rest where they naturally are, I guess? But I like straight 3x2 American style layouts because my fingers/brain know the exact distance between buttons, it’s all uniform and I don’t have to guess at the exact distance. It’s like a piano for video games.

The 6 red/green/blue buttons are for my index/middle/ring finger. The yellow button is so I can shift my fingers over for 3 button games or old school NES advantage
style gaming. I don’t care much about my pinky. Also I can use my thumb on yellow and index/middle finger on the top row, that works too.

Everything is angled 10 degrees counter-clockwise for wrist relief so it’s more ergonomic than what US arcades usually had. It’s not too crooked to either direction and natural for my wrist position.

Each button is 36mm from each other (center to center). Joystick is 95mm to the yellow button.


If you put your hand down on a flat surface and your fingertips somehow all naturally rest next to each other in a straight line then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.


My index and ring finger perfectly line up with the red and blue buttons, the middle finger rests in the same line with a bit of an arch which I’m used to.


This is too much a preference thing at this point. I suggest you print, tap around on the paper, see how much you like it.

I assume you like 3x2 straight layouts cause you have tried it before or at least tried to japanese layouts.


Yes I have japanese sticks… they do feel strange to me and always confusing my fingers. And on some I have to actually twist my hand to the right which tires my wrist. When my fingers are arched (like when typing) they line up straight. Maybe japanese players play with their fingers flat on the control panel?


You don’t really need others to “validate” your layout.
There are many people here who take official/standard layouts, and adjust it slightly to fit their needs. As long as you’re comfortable on it, that’s all that matters. The only real drawback afterwards is that, the more you deviate from a standard layout, the more you wouldn’t be able to borrow a stick at a tournament/gathering in the off-chance your own stick is broken/buggy/MIA.

I myself use an American Straight-6 layout with Japanese button spacing; while I understand why the usual Vewlix or Astro arced layouts are more ergonomic, I just can’t play properly with them almost solely because of the way I press the Roundhouse/HK button, so Straight-6 is the way to go for me.


I’m not trying to validate my layout, I have like 25 years arcade experience. I just can’t figure out the appeal of the japanese layouts.


Like you said, it’s “appeal”. It all comes down to preference. And ergonomics.

As @d3v‌ mentioned in one of the other threads:

But like I said before, I’m no pusher for the Japanese layouts as I use an American layout (with Japanese spacing) myself. If you’re more comfortable on the American layout, then just keep using it. For new people who have no preference to any layout, I do usually recommend the Japanese layouts as they’re the standard nowadays, and are much easier to come by without having to build custom panels.


If you do not want validation, then what’s the thread is for?


It’s not that the middle button is higher that’s the biggest problem with Japanese sticks, it’s that the top row is shifted to the right. You have to twisted your wrist to the right, or cock it to the right if you will, and that’s anything but ergonomic.


I am not even sure why are you even posting. You asked for comments and critiques right in the thread’s title but you don’t want “validation”.
People post there comments and you just reject their ideas and defend your own.

Besides the image you provide is off scale, the buttons appear too big in comparison to your yellow bat top.
An actual image with scaled measurements would illustrate your designs more consistently.

I find for a personal sized controller the Japanese layouts work fine with the natural curve of where my fingers lay.
I prefer the Astro City Sega layout but the vewlix and Noir layouts works reasonably fine.

A Wise man once told me options are like ass holes.
Everyone got one and they all stink.

But I digress.

This is the typical This is the American Street Fighter layout given by Capcom USA.
I agree with that this layout is not suitable for the human hand and has odd spacing.

“Each button is 36mm from each other (center to center)” Yeah this is a bad idea. I got large hands (I wear size XL gloves), and even I find these too far apart.

What you appear want to be aiming for seems to be similar to this

Ignoring the terrible American Street Fighter layout, and using more realistic button spacing.

I made some edits to the design to match your ideals.

You want a grid or plan out like this so when it comes to drilling holes in what ever material for your custom stick, you know where each hole is.

I suggest you read though, especially the layout section.


Just as an aside, about the American layout:

That’s not correct; American spacing is 1 1/2" between buttons (center to center), which is actually a smidge over 38mm. 36mm between buttons is the Japanese spacing.
Just wanted to clarify. :slight_smile:


I think you’re just looking at it from the wrong perspective.
It’s not that “the top row is shifted to the right” per say; it’s more that the layout is designed so that the fingers are over the buttons in their natural relaxed state.

Look at the Vewlix or Astro layouts. If you put your right hand on the table with your palm and fingers mostly flat, but with your arm at a slight angle (say, pointing roughly at 10 o’clock on the hands of a clock), look at where your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers end up: they generally line up with Short/LK, Jab/LP, Strong/MP, and Fiece/HK respectively. This layout shouldn’t require you to bend your wrist at any awkward angle (ie, your hand/wrist/forearm should be pretty much in a straight line), and keeps the fingers over the buttons naturally.

On the flipside, a straight horizontal layout (like I personally use) will require me to bend my right wrist slightly to the right, which is definitely not ergonomic.

Your tilted/angled Straight-6 alleviates the wrist-bending-issue by being able to keep your hand-wrist-forearm in a straight line, but doesn’t resolve the issue with the natural positioning of your fingers: while having the top and bottom rows directly on top of each other seems logical from an organizational point of view, when you place your hand/palm in a relaxed state on a flat surface, your thumb is not positioned directly below your index finger. Hence why, in a way, the bottom row is offset to the left, if you want to look at it that way.


i agree with your assessment, but it should be noted that some people actually don’t use their thumb for fighting games. i had a friend who would throw with jab and short by flattening his index finger onto both buttons. we all used nothing but sega layout since 2003, but i assume that he probably would’ve preferred a slanted american layout if it existed.

the piano analogy is weird though. a piano has 88 keys so anything other than a horizontal line would be impossible. plus, the keys are long and the black keys are placed differently anyway.


Yep, totally agreed on that.

I’ve seen people play SF2/SFA in the arcade back in the day that used a two-finger-poke (index+middle fingers), together for EACH and ALL the buttons. Then again, this was back when there was no Jab+Short=Throw or Strong+Forward=Focus, etc.

Hell, I’ve had my ass whooped back in the day by some guy whose right arm ended at the elbow; ie, he had no right forearm nor right hand (looked like a birth defect). He basically mashed the buttons with what’s essentially the elbow to the rest of us. The American Straight-6 didn’t stop him.

I myself press Roundhouse with the first knuckle of my pinky (or even the palm area just under the pinky sometimes), hence needing an American Straight-6 layout, as the standard Vewlix/Astro layouts have the Roundhouse button too far to the left for me to press the way I do.

I’m going off on a tangent now, though. :slight_smile:
That being said, while many people (including myself) play with their own styles, it still doesn’t change the fact that the standard layouts were still designed with a relaxed-palm ergonomics in mind.


As my photos have demonstrated, NO YOU DO NOT.

Instead of requiring you to either move your whole hand down, or at the very least, curling your fingers more, the offset means that you just have to move your fingers down and a bit tot he right. What’s more, it also makes it easier for your index and middle fingers to access more of the buttons.

How would you activate CCs in A2 with that? Flatten both fingers against 3 buttons?


I’m not trying to argue here or anything. Why do all discussions on the interent have to turn into serious drama? We’re talking about layouts for an arcade stick, it’s all in good fun. Not even worried about my layout just like discussing arcade stuff.

I’m not sure why you say 36mm is too far apart since the distance between the centers of the buttons on the Japanese layouts are also 36mm apart?

I simply don’t understand japanese layouts, that’s all I’m saying. If we completely ignore the top row for a moment then yeah, they make sense and are just like my layout. Your hand/wrist naturally point to the left toward a middle line between your two hands. But then the top row on these arcade machines (assuming 6 buttons) are shifted to the right relative to the angle they are tilted so you end up cocking your wrist to point toward the right so everything lines up.

Also I use my thumb for tekken, but index/middle/ring for street fighter games.

So here’s what I mean:

Maybe it’s just how I play? I like to go straight up and down between rows along the parallel axis as my arm. For Tekken I’m trying to show that I use my ring for RK and thumb for LK and it’s awkward.


Because nobody who actually plays in a Japanese arcade plays like this.

As I demonstrated in the ff. phot.

These are designed with the hand at an angle.

To hit the bottom row, you simply move your hands a bit too the right. This makes sense because in the tight quarters of a Japanese/asian style arcade, you don’t want to have any excess movement since you’re bound to hit the guy beside you. At the same time, the layout means that all of the buttons are within easy reach of both the index and middle fingers.

Trust me, I’ve been playing on Japanese/Asian arcade (by virtue of actually living in the region) for over 20 years now

Just watch this video of Daigo’s hands.
You’ll notice that not only are they angled in the same way as in the photo I shared, but that there’s minimal movement - his palm is almost always rested on the panel, or if not, it’s hovering just over the same spot. What you can see are the side to side movements of the fingers and writs


You’re using the wrong six buttons here. The outside six are way more comfortable.


I’ve honestly never seen anyone play an arcade game like that…looks odd to me. So I guess it’s all in the play style.