I made a contraption to play arcade games which use rotary joysticks such as Caliber .50. My arcade cabinet (pedestal design) already has too many joysticks, so adding an authentic rotary joystick was not an option. I usually play games that require a regular ball top (such as street fighter), therefore, I needed a joystick that worked well in street fighter and would allow me to play rotary type games on occasion.
Happ Design Inspiration:
I started by making a version of the Happ rotary joystick. However I didn’t like the way the design affects the use of the joystick for non-rotary type of games. Because the Happ design is anchored to one post from the joystick shaft, you can feel that constraint when you are playing. It was something that I couldn’t get use to and affected how I played street fighter.
USB Optical Mouse Concept:
I also considered another version that I found on Youtube. (see link at bottom of page) This version was using an optical mouse and a small CD that rotates and serves as the surface for the mouse. The nice thing about this design is that it doesn’t affect the joystick’s movement. However, it was too bulky to fit under my control panel because of the CD.
My Design Using An Optical Mouse And A Zippy Joystick:
My solution consists of modifying my main joystick, a Zippy with an led ball-top and adding a switch to turn off the rotary mouse when not needed. I decided to make something similar to the USB optical rotary mouse concept, but in a different arrangement, without the CD and in a more compact form.
My Joystick design has been working well for the past five months. It’s held up well to all the abuse I put it through when I play street fighter games. (It’s also been tested by 3 year old kids who go completely crazy jerking the joysticks back and forth and smashing every button they see.) I’m happy that the joystick feels smooth, very similar to the original zippy joystick and doesn’t affect game play in a negative way. When I want to play a rotary game, I just turn on the switch and launch the game. I will build a second one of these joysticks in the near future and try to better document the build process in case someone is attempting a similar build.
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