Stick Ergonomics

This may be a bit of a random and uneccessary post but im designing a new box for my stick and im curious about a few things in layout and design.

Most of the boxes i’ve seen, tend to have a flat face. You’ll probably notice that the stick on an arcade is mounted on a sloped panel, this pivots the balls of your hand (above wrist) and raises your fingers, alleviating strain and giving you a little more comfort and control. Of course this varies from player to player.

So i was curious to know why alot of the designs i’ve seen use a flat panel ?
Does anyone have any experience of using a sloped panel and perhaps know why it isn’t used ?

Also the other question i have is about button layout. If you can picture a Japanese button layout for example, the buttons are angled to fit your fingers more naturally but the bottom row of buttons are directly below the top.

If you notice, most console controllers have buttons which are angled at an approximately 45 degree angle, so for example, if you put your hands out in front of you and your palms down, make a triangle by touching your thumbs and first finger at their tips, this is the angle that console controllers tend to use.

The point is, it aligns more naturally with your fingers giving you maximum comfort and control. So if you can imagine approaching your controls as if your almost hugging a barrel, this would be a more natural grip. Now to get the optimum button layout, you place your fingers on the top row then bend at the finger joints only and you will get the fastest most comfortable movement to a bottom row of buttons.

My question is, does anyone have experience with a layout like this ?
Maybe its preference but im struggling to see why the traditional layout is used over the 45 degree (or similar) layout.

Anyway ! Thanks in advance for any asistance you can give :tup:

Had a hard time understanding your explaination (lolimdumb) but I def prefer the Japanese layout over the American for the reasons you stated.

I, personally, think the sloped style is more geared toward table top or standing play. The TE stick isn’t sloped and I love it because I find playing on my lap works better than if it was sloped.

What exactly do you mean by the 45 degree angle stuffz?

Sloped is indeed geared for standing play (upright cabinets) and flat for sit down play (sit down cabinets/lap play) but its really just a matter of preference.

I’m having a hard time picturing (an illustration may help) but I think I know what you mean. I prefer the angled approach as opposed to the American layout.

At the end of the day I guess it depends on the individual. And then you get some really crazy ones like this:

My personal preference is a flat panel, as in NO SLANT WHATSOEVER, with the Vewlix template.

IMO, not only is it simple, it’s easy on the hands.

I hate playing on arcade cabs that have slants on their panels, which is about 95% of cabs in existence

The back of your hand should be in a straight line with the back of your forearm. If the stick surface is sloped down toward you, this would cause you to bend your wrist up, which is bad ergonomics. It should be flat or sloped away from you, whatever keeps your wrists straight.

I also have the dumb and was confused by the entire second half of your post.

But as for sloped/straight panel… I honestly don’t care. It’s probably only a 10 degree slope at most and I hardly ever notice. The Madcatz SE is the only case where it’s noticeable since it only slopes to accommodate your wrists.

I’m sure the reason most arcade sticks have a flat panel is because it’s easier to build, though :rofl:

I’d like to try this. I wonder the button assignments are. It’s slick that you can get everything without moving your hand.

Assuming you’re equally dexterous with all your fingers, that might be a pretty good layout. I’m not, though. :slight_smile:

Well the thumb buttons have to be either kick or punch otherwise you wouldn’t be able to hit 3K/3P. They also can’t both be of the same intensity otherwise you wouldn’t be able to Taunt/Focus/Grab. Too confusing for me to figure out a good assignment lol

…is the right answer. :lol:

Well its what i thought aswell but i also considered that someone somewhere has taken the time and effort to come up with the traditional layout and oviously decided that is the optimum layout for playing.

And yea the flat top thing, you guys are right, if your gonna be seated while playing, its better to have a flat top. I just loosened the back end of my box stuffed some card between the base and box so it slopes, and its just not right. I should of thought of that earlier.

As for the buttons thing, what im reffering to is the angle of the hands ;

Notice in this layout, his right hand is angled almost 45 degrees, in between 45 and 60 is probably the best range. Now the advantage of this layout, despite being in the most natural position, is that your wrist is in line with your forearm.

Now if you consider the traditional layout, you actually turn your wrist to the right to get a better position on the buttons.

Ok, instead of explaining further, i just thought to attempt a diagram of the layout im talking about ;

I just quickly knocked this up online, so lets just pretend for a sec that those are proper circles of equal size.
Also you can move the bottom row closer or further from the top, and slide each individual button to better fit your fingers.

But i think that gives you the idea. Now it may look weird to some, but this gives you a more natural layout and the easiest and fastest line for finger movement. Also it requires no additional thought for the mind to muscle mapping. You can use all three fingers to cover all buttons and then just bend your finger joint to hit the lower row.

So basically im aiming for prolonged comfort and speed, and as direct a link as possible between your thought and the action.

Or now come to think of it, i should of said, like a flipping Sega Saturn pad :rofl: but a little more tweaked to your fingers.

But as you’ve shown me with the flat top, maybe someone can suggest a reason for the tradtional layout over the layout im suggesting.

And of course, its always about preference. But thanks for taking the time to help.

Actually as far as I know the joystick should be slightly slanted downwards to the left and forward whilst the buttonpart should be slanted to the right and forwards.

Something like that to me seems more ergonomic as it prevents any unecessary and unnatural wrist-turns and lets you rest your hands completely natural while grabbing the joystick and hitting the buttons.

I guess what ExArcadeChamp is getting at is something like this

Notice how the buttons are angled to match the angle of your hand while they are resting in front of you. Using a keyboard like this will keep your wrist straight while keeping your hands in-line with your forearms.

I tried a few button layouts and I think I’ll try the Hori T5 layout next, or maybe a variation of it!

Ahhh! I get what you mean now. On the one hand (pun intended) it does feel a lot better to have the buttons angled as opposed to the traditional layout which forces your wrist to bend but it feels easier to move my fingers from the top to bottom row using the traditional non-angled layout.

First thing I thought of:

We don’t need to spend our lives serving tennis elbow or tending to tendonitis.

The ergonomic arcade stick: we can beat carpal tunnel syndrome together.

Deadfrog, it looks good. I can’t agree with the angled joystick though. Your mind already knows which direction is up, down, left, right. Try this exercise, have your hands in front of you like your using a stick comfortably. Pretend you have a joystick in your left hand. Look at your left hand and notice its at an angle, not straight, agreed. Now don’t look at your hands and make an ‘up’ motion on your pretend joystick. Look down and notice that your hand positions the joystick in the ‘correct up’ and not the ‘45* angled up’. Thats because your mind knows which direction to push up, despite which way is up in relation to your angled hand position.

p.s. :lol: imagining everyone who read this holding there invisible joysticks looking up and down!

Oh! No dude it was a joke. :rofl:

I know some people really do like their button layouts sloped like that, though, and I’ve seen a couple of custom sticks on here that have the joystick and buttons spread more than a foot apart. I would never bash anyone else’s preferences for stuff like this but it’s such a wild idea to me that it could be comfortable to anyone! Like my arms hurt trying to imagine it, hahah. Honestly it’s cool just to see when people build customs with crazy shapes to them.

I personally think the reason the ergonomic keyboard sloping is ill-suited to arcade sticks is because we use a much larger range of wrist movement, as well as a more movement in the arm itself. In terms of the pusbuttons, I suppose this could be traced back to the nature of the games themselves and with what sort of frequency and speed we need to press buttons, or maybe to the size of the buttons themselves. Of course stick motions are obviously such a different animal too.

So yea the tradtional button layout is more aimed at moving the arm and hand to the location of each button, so for example some players may use the same 2 fingers for most presses.

What im suggesting about the Saturn style layout is that it requires less effort, you cover all 6 buttons, gain speed and requires less thought. You don’t have to do anything but bend your finger joint.

I was just hoping that someone may have some experience with this layout or could say for sure why it doesn’t work.

I’ll just have to make mock faceplates out of card or something and experiment.

Thanks for the your time though.

Try using that layout for an hour or two… It puts a lot of stress on your fingers because they move back and forth so much. This layout seems to make sense but in practice it’s not as good as the Jap Astro City layout which requires your hand/fingers to move slightly to the left to hit the bottom row which is a much easier action because there are more muscles involved in the movement instead of just focusing on your biceps and triceps of your fingers so to speak.

size of box

I have usually played with my controllers on the floor but lately I’ve been sitting on a couch and noticed that when I hold the joystick, part of my palm is off the panel. I thought about making a much wider box for my next joystick but my brothers are clowning me, telling me to put a cup holder in it, etc. What I had in mind is something like a 20"x 6" (maybe 7"). This would allow it to sit on my lap without me having to keep my legs close together.

What do you think?