How do I make a custom arcade fightstick for PC/PS4?

SilverWah

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I thought of creating a fightstick because I wanna do some multiplayer with Ultra Street Fighter IV/Street Fighter V. I wanna avoid buying a controller for €60 or more and learn a bit about electronics and wiring. Now here are my questions: what is the best way to make a custom arcade stick for PS4 and PC, and how much money do I need for it?
I can't buy stuff on the internet yet, and I live in The Netherlands.
Thanks in advance.
 

Hells Malice

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The best way would be to actually have some knowledge about electronics and wiring. There's literally no way you can accomplish this without moderate knowledge on the subject. You'll spend a hell of a lot more trying and failing to make it instead of just buying one.

Or use a controller since they're better for fighting games. Fight sticks are super outdated and only used by oldschool fighting gamers who learned to play in arcades, and the poor fools who got tricked into thinking it's optimal. A good gamepad will do you much better.
 

SilverWah

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@Hells Malice A normal controller doesn't feel right for me when I play games like SF or Tekken or any other fighter except Smash. I know nothing about electronics and wiring, so I thought that I could learn about it when creating my own arcade stick. I don't care if it's gonna be a trail and error process but prebuilt arcade sticks are so expensive. Building my own must be cheaper right?
 

FAST6191

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The main reason to build your own is to get a custom layout to your taste. Expense is a rather different matter, though you might just be able to do it on PC.

A knowledge of electronics I would argue is not really necessary as you can work around it easily enough, and a button is just a switch which is hardly the most complex thing. Indeed I would say fabricating a box and cutting the holes in wood or plastic for the buttons would be the harder part for the average person. If you buy the fancy illuminated switches then it gets a tiny bit harder but not a lot as it is only lightbulbs or leds and they tend to just want power of a certain voltage that is easy to generate, if not present by default.

Buttons will be the problem as not many places will sell arcade gear (there is some crossover between industrial buttons and arcade style stuff but it is not a normal switch or anything used by all electronics) so you kind of have to buy it online. Assuming your flag is accurate I am trying to think of anywhere I have been there with a lot of arcade machines (including things like mame cabinets), for if there are those there are people to repair said same and they might be a middleman for you/have some parts to sell. I don't know what the Dutch term would be but arcade buttons is the English one if you had not already guessed.

The PC is simple enough. You want something to act as the controller for it and for that something like the teensy++ will act as a USB HID (human input device aka mouse or keyboard) quite happily. https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/usb_keyboard.html is part of the basic tutorial and covers how to turn a switch input into a keyboard. If you are looking at that and thinking you could do a rapid fire/auto fire quite easily then yes, yes you can.
If you are going to want to add a roller ball or analogue stick to the setup it gets marginally harder but you probably still can use something premade. As you seem to just want fighting games that is not an issue.

From the PS3 and 360 onwards third party controllers have been blocked and you need to buy the little lockout chips from Sony or Microsoft. They don't sell to just anybody though. However you can always buy a normal controller and cannibalise that, it is what all those "cheat" auto reload/auto fire controllers do. For PS4 controllers that is an expensive hobby, if you are lucky you will find one that is broken in such a way that you can still use it for this and it is going cheap. In my case I would realise that most people buying bad controllers probably want the plastic buttons, the shell and the battery rather than the PCB so there is that but you then might have to do some work. Equally I imagine many failures will be of the USB charge connector so you might have to first fix or work around that, not horrific to work around or fix but you will want someone that can solder for this one.
I have not got a premade listing of any test points for the PS4 but even if there are none (unlikely but whatever) it is all switches in the end so you just have to find where they go and solder to those.
 

Sonic Angel Knight

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I know you can't really buy stuff from online but i think is possible to get custom made fightsticks. I wish i knew enough of what people do to make them work, but my only concerns is the wire length, how the stick works, how the buttons feel and how it weighs and any other additonal features. I ordered mine from eightarc which works pretty well for less than $70. :)

Although there is more advance ones that do cost lot more, also have easily accessable custom made options available, more like how that xbox one elete pro controller whatever has the same custom made stuff. But you know is depends on the person.


If you want to make some custome ones from raw materials, you may need some youtube videos help, or just order custome ones from somewhere. (If possible) Or learn the hard way. I wouldn't ever want to put out over $100 for a controller but $300 for that one (the one in the video) Is Ridiculous, In good and bad way. :P
 

shadoom

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Buy broken Xbox 360 controllers from eBay until you got one with a common ground (my black one from Xbox elite had it)
Then simply wire your arcade stick and buttons to the 360 PCB and you got a fully compatible arcade stick. I've done that with a wireless 360 pad and it's pretty awesome for emulation and mame... I don't know if the latency would disturb you as I have no idea about fighting games. But anyhow it works with wired ones as well.
I'm not familiar with PS4 controllers, check if they have common ground ones. If that is the case then that works too.
 
Last edited by shadoom,

FAST6191

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Why worry about common grounds? It makes things a tiny bit easier I guess but you can isolate boards from each other easily enough if you are doing a dual board setup, or just make the switches go between the points it is supposed to go to rather than sticking the other side to whatever flavour of ground plane if you are doing a single board setup.

Iyou may need some youtube videos help
Now I watch more than my fair share of youtube videos on how to build things, the science of building things and everything related to all that, hell I paused one to check new posts here, but I still find the idea in the world today that it is a place to look for this sort of thing to be odd.
 

SilverWah

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I did my research before creating this thread. I watched some Youtube videos, and searched for a lot of information. It looks really fun for a DIY project, but choosing parts is very difficult. I still have trouble with choosing between a prebuilt PCB or just a PCB from a third party/broken controller.
 

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