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 Post subject: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:19 pm 


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I haven't used a joystick since the 90's. I was thinking about buying one to improve my shmupping, but I was wondering if it's very helpful to those on here? I have really good pads for my systems(logitech for PS2, Hori for 360), but sometimes I feel like if I was using a stick maybe i'd do a little better(especially on DOJ).

How do you guys fare with the stick? Also, when you use it, do you just sit it in your lap or what? It looks like it should be sitting on a little table, but I don't have anything like that between the chair and the TV.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:52 pm 


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It's a personal thing mostly. Some people prefer stick, some pad. I am stick-person myself though and never play with pad unless there is no other option. I feel that the response time is a lot better with stick. That is especially important when performing those small twiching movements that is common in modern shmups. I also feel that diagonal movements are a lot easier when playing with stick. Bear in mind though that there are a lot of bad quality sticks out there, be sure that you pick either Seimitsu or Sanwa. Suzo sticks are supposed to be great as well, but I haven't tried those myself.

When playing on the tv I sit with my HRAP in my lap, works great for me.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:05 pm 


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If you do decide to get back into using sticks, don't expect immediate results, mate. There'll definitely be an awkward adjustment period in which your general performance will suffer; those all-important twitch adjustments and diagonal movements won't initially come as easily as they do with a pad. It's well worth hanging in there if you want to spend more time playing in arcades (or just on cabs generally), though.

As for positioning, just experiment. Some people believe this can make or break their game, but I never notice much of a difference if I have to have the stick on my lap.


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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:15 pm 


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Yes, I can attest to the fact that "immediate" results aren't achieved with a stick. I tried playing Progear with a stick once (neither of which were my own, mind you), and I played very, very poorly. I think had it not been for the other people wanting to play, I would've stayed and tried practicing more.

Sticks are an entirely different, but not completely unknowable, beast to your gaming arsenal. While I tend to prefer gamepads, I've been thinking about getting a stick someday- primarily because I want to be able to play an arcade cab without looking like a total idiot, and also because I want to play the game "as it was meant to be played", as some stick-lovers may say. :D
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:21 pm 


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I do much better with a stick after just a few weeks than I did after months of playing with keyboard or pad. I use the Amazon box my HRAP EX-SE came in to sit my stick on (just turned it upside-down); I find it's just too awkward to keep that heavy thing in my lap (plus it moves around too much). If you have a coffee table or something, that's definitely the best bet, I think.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:33 pm 


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CaptainRansom wrote:
I do much better with a stick after just a few weeks than I did after months of playing with keyboard or pad.


It was exactly the same for me. There's those that say it all depends on preference, but Slagcoin has a good introduction on why sticks should almost always be the better option. The dude certainly has a couple of good points...
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:58 pm 


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Klatrymadon wrote:
If you do decide to get back into using sticks, don't expect immediate results, mate. There'll definitely be an awkward adjustment period in which your general performance will suffer; those all-important twitch adjustments and diagonal movements won't initially come as easily as they do with a pad. It's well worth hanging in there if you want to spend more time playing in arcades (or just on cabs generally), though.

As for positioning, just experiment. Some people believe this can make or break their game, but I never notice much of a difference if I have to have the stick on my lap.



I've recently started using a HRAP-EX that I modded with Seimitsu buttons and I'm just now getting out of the awkward phase. Still trying to get used to the sticks throw.

Playing shooters and fighters on this stick is much more enjoyable for me. The more precise and quick controls have improved my abilities greatly.

For the record, I use my stick on my lap.


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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:23 pm 


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ChurchOfSolipsism wrote:
It was exactly the same for me. There's those that say it all depends on preference, but Slagcoin has a good introduction on why sticks should almost always be the better option. The dude certainly has a couple of good points...


And some bad ones and few blanket statements.

It is all about personal preference and to what one is accustomed to. My brain is wired for pads, Dragoforce's for joysticks and Prometheus kicks all our asses in DDP using a keyboard. Because joysticks are, of course, very much linked to the arcade gaming scene, it's easy to see them as THE controller of choice for playing arcade games. But good players are good players regardless of what controller they're using. I have no doubt that somebody who can achieve great results in a game can, at the very least, get good results using their non-preferred controller. Because they've already spent 300 hours learning the game and how to play it right.

But that's enough of that, the "sticks vs. pads"-discussion has been done many times before, and this thread is about a man wanting to try sticks. I'll just exit stage left...
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:35 pm 


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Klatrymadon wrote:
If you do decide to get back into using sticks, don't expect immediate results, mate. There'll definitely be an awkward adjustment period in which your general performance will suffer; those all-important twitch adjustments and diagonal movements won't initially come as easily as they do with a pad. It's well worth hanging in there if you want to spend more time playing in arcades (or just on cabs generally), though.


As I've begun using my stick again, this is actually reassuring to me. Just yesterday, I had brought out my Tekken 5 UCE stick and started playing Progear and Mars Matrix, with some hilariously bad results. It wasn't helping that I hadn't played either of those in a long while.

It's not even that there's any (worthwhile) arcades in my area that I want to play Shmups at. This is basically me wanting to step my game up -- and getting use out of this stick for something other than Fighters.


Last edited by StoofooEsq on Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:44 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:44 pm 


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evil_ash_xero wrote:
How do you guys fare with the stick? Also, when you use it, do you just sit it in your lap or what? It looks like it should be sitting on a little table, but I don't have anything like that between the chair and the TV.


I use a double-braced keyboard stand, with a sheet of wood strapped to the top (single-braced is too wobbly). This gives me a nice adjustable height flat surface that's big and stable enough for anthing from 2-player joysticks to a full arcade-sized IIDX doubles deck. It's also easy to tear down and move, which is important to me since I bring my setups to some local events, or if I want to hide it in the closet when relatives bring kids over.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:10 pm 


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I like using a stick because I find it easier to make small adjustments without slamming into a bullet. I just set mine on my lap and I've never had a problem with it moving around or anything.
Of course it's a preference thing, if I'm in the mood to just chill on the couch I always go for the pad.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:15 pm 



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I disliked having to place the stick on my lap to play on the tv. I ended up setting up a designated shmup desk in my office, stick, tated screen and all. It didn't take me long to get used to a stick for shooters.

It can not be understated that all sticks are not the same. For the 360 I found the Real Arcade Pro EX SE to be a really good option. It's Seimitsu stick and buttons are really good. Another stick I have from Hori has a 4way Sanwa stick and hori buttons. I don't think that's a bad unit either but I have come to dislike the hori buttons very much as they are too soft and die quickly.

I have a old pelican arcade stick for the ps2, and I used to think it was ok until I got some better sticks. The pelican has too much resistance in the stick making it seem like you have a force every movement. Now I avoid playing ps2 games because of it. You live and learn as they say.


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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:25 pm 


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Or you can do it Emphatic-style and combine the two:

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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:26 pm 


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Ghegs wrote:
ChurchOfSolipsism wrote:
It was exactly the same for me. There's those that say it all depends on preference, but Slagcoin has a good introduction on why sticks should almost always be the better option. The dude certainly has a couple of good points...


And some bad ones and few blanket statements.

It is all about personal preference and to what one is accustomed to. My brain is wired for pads, Dragoforce's for joysticks and Prometheus kicks all our asses in DDP using a keyboard. Because joysticks are, of course, very much linked to the arcade gaming scene, it's easy to see them as THE controller of choice for playing arcade games. But good players are good players regardless of what controller they're using. I have no doubt that somebody who can achieve great results in a game can, at the very least, get good results using their non-preferred controller. Because they've already spent 300 hours learning the game and how to play it right.

But that's enough of that, the "sticks vs. pads"-discussion has been done many times before, and this thread is about a man wanting to try sticks. I'll just exit stage left...


Another factor to consider is that for the most part, good arcade sticks are easily identifiable as such (seimitsu, sanwa and HRAP being household names around these parts), whereas most pads most people are content playing whatever default happens to be compatable with their console, good dpad or not. Playing on a good quality controller is important, and in general its easier for people to find an expensive stick thats meant to be as close to arcade components, than it is for them to research hundreds of controllers both present and past to find out if the dpad is any good (not counting the effort of finding an adaptor/modded pad that'll work on their system/PC).

Preference may be an important role, most people here I imagine grew up playing more console games than being in the arcade, as the pad preference has shown, but if those pads sucked and you decide to invest in a high quality stick, there will be a difference after the initial learning curve. Maybe ones game might have improved just as much if they just got a saturn pad for all their consoles instead!
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:35 pm 



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EPS21 wrote:
Maybe ones game might have improved just as much if they just got a saturn pad for all their consoles instead!


I got the SFIV pad, and bought a second one instantly because I found its not only a good fighting pad, but its good for shooters as well. I use the SFIV pad when I want to casually play in the living room or when I show off a shmup to a friend. It also works on the PC so you can use it for emulation if that's your thing. It's not my main way of playing, but it is indispensable!


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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:28 pm 


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I play better with a good d-pad than I do the joystick in my HRAP1 (A Sanwa stick.) On the contrary, twitch movements can be hard for me to pull off in needlehair life or death situations because of the longer throw of the Sanwa stick. I'll end up moving a little too much, the other thing about using a stick is I don't think it lends very well to frantic movement in shmups. Like if you're using 4 speedups in a Gradius game, it can be daunting (for me) to get my cognition to operate as fast as I would using a d-pad.

It certainly took me time to get used to using the HRAP, and I'm still adjusting after 2 years of owning the stick. For me, the stick is more fun to use, but the years of experience I have with pads brings me higher. Perhaps if I tried a Seimitsu stick I could boast about it's smaller deadzone or some such.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:07 pm 


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Like wath as been said b4 I suppose its whatever your comfortable with and if you want to invest the time getting used to your controller. Plus depending on where u play. For me a good pad would be a better choice since i play games slouched on my bed or reclining chair.

I do the most important thing is a controller you are totally happy with and comfortable. Aslong as those points are met then its all about how you mentally feel about it. By this i mean you want a pad that your 100% happy with so that in your own mind if you die you dont / cant blame the pad and can only blame yourself. Wether you can think like this imo depends upon the person as some ppl are never totally happy with their kit and are always searching for that holy grail which will make them play like billy the king of kong, 1cc a game everyday and get a Cave game WR after only a week of play.

atm im using a logitech dual action ps2 clone pad, the d-pad is no good so i have to use the analog stick, (using a pad profiler to give it a deadzone has helped me get used to it some what, and i am looking to buy a saturn clone pad very soon. While im not a wizard with it i do better with some shmups the i first thought possible (game that slow your ship down when you fire the secondry weapon are the best) I even heard awhile back that some well known (japanese i think) shmupper even plays with a analog stick himself. Also on this forum some of the top players of PC shmups who are allways at the top of the leaderboards use keyboards (shiftace i know used one).

Another important thing to remember is that u want a durable controiller that will last for years if you plan on sticking with that controller. I bet its a pain when you beloved controller gives up the ghost and you need to find a replacement but they are like rocking horse shit. forcing you to get something that to you is not as good as your old one. Im no expert in this but i would guess that a top notch arcadestick would be the best in this department. Or you could once you get a controller you really like buy more of them to last you while you can or are still cheap. This may seem abit hardcore but it all depends on how far you need to go for you to be 100% comfotable with your kit so u can concentrate on just playing the game and having fun with no destractions.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:24 pm 


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with enough time, you can get used to any controller. You could probably get used to controlling a shmup with a Guitar Hero controller. However, the input method I use definitely changes the way I play, though only slightly. I played DDP for a long time with a keyboard, and then switched to a stick. Immediately, I was able to make those "twitch movements" much better, but it took a week or so so get completely used to the stick. A few years ago, I played Touhou quite a bit, and I would actually switch between my Saitek pad and the keyboard between stages whenever I started getting complacent; it helped me to stay focused.


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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:32 pm 


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linko9 wrote:
You could probably get used to controlling a shmup with a Guitar Hero controller.


DDR dance mat, definitely. :D

Rhythm games and bullet hell games are pretty much the same anyway: In one you try to hit the notes and in the other you try to avoid them.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:06 am 


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I'd say you should convert to a stick now if you can afford to, as this is how arcade games are meant to be played. This way if you ever do find yourself playing on a real cab, you can publically demonstrate your skills, rather than sucking with some excuse about you only play with pads.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:22 am 



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When I first got my TG-16 console and later a Turbo Duo, they both came with the standard NEC d-pad controller setup which was cool with the built-in selectable auto-fire "on the fly". When I finally got one of those legendary Hori FIghting Stick PC (with six button setup) for the Turbo Duo, I started using it right away. I naturally found out that my scores were better with this world-class PC Engine arcade joystick setup than when I used the standard d-pads, especially on the classic PC Engine shmup titles like Soldier Blade, Gunhed/Blazing Lazers, Super Star Soldier, OverRide, etc.

When I entered the Working Designs Playstation $10,000 Raystorm Contest back in late 1997, I used an PSX Ascii Stick with Japanese short-throw styled ball-top joystick setup. It was so good that I managed to place in the Top 10 ranking for the contest. Got a WD Raystorm mouse pad as a consolation prize. Still have it to this very day. ^_~

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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:31 pm 


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I've tried both choices on and off for years and I can say that:

Sticks = More involving and fun.

Pads = more practical. (if you don't own a cab at least)



In terms of actual performance it really depends on :


a. the player and what he is accustomed to.

b. the actual shmup you are playing (touhous for example are harder with sticks)
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:08 pm 



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I always go for a stick if i can use one one the system i'm using.

Actually, can you get Neo-Geo to USB converters?

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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:47 pm 


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Quote:
This way if you ever do find yourself playing on a real cab, you can publically demonstrate your skills, rather than sucking with some excuse about you only play with pads.


This is the only real motivation for switching, really. Anybody who's happy just playing at home and improving on their own scores probably shouldn't bother shaking up their usual rhythm by introducing a completely alien control method for the sake of arcade-purity. I mostly play at home myself, and only prefer sticks because - as somebody mentioned earlier - I find them a bit more fun and engaging to use.

(I'd be weary of trying to tell anybody how something is 'supposed' to be controlled, too. The arcade stick design was obviously the culmination of a lot of experimentation and research into what worked well and what was financially feasible to produce, etc, but if, for some mad reason, millions of arcade gamers suddenly demanded that cabs should be designed with demopod-style control pad fixtures instead of sticks, I'd bet 50p that every manufacturer on the planet would eventually acquiesce. :P)


Last edited by Klatrymadon on Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:49 am 


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Ghegs wrote:
ChurchOfSolipsism wrote:
It was exactly the same for me. There's those that say it all depends on preference, but Slagcoin has a good introduction on why sticks should almost always be the better option. The dude certainly has a couple of good points...


And some bad ones and few blanket statements.

It is all about personal preference and to what one is accustomed to. My brain is wired for pads, Dragoforce's for joysticks and Prometheus kicks all our asses in DDP using a keyboard. Because joysticks are, of course, very much linked to the arcade gaming scene, it's easy to see them as THE controller of choice for playing arcade games. But good players are good players regardless of what controller they're using. I have no doubt that somebody who can achieve great results in a game can, at the very least, get good results using their non-preferred controller. Because they've already spent 300 hours learning the game and how to play it right.

But that's enough of that, the "sticks vs. pads"-discussion has been done many times before, and this thread is about a man wanting to try sticks. I'll just exit stage left...


best post in the thread

It is personal perference. All this was beat to death before.

per Icycalm (everyones favorite former member) sticks are the only way to play…
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:23 am 


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It's worth remembering that many cabinets out in the wild (at least in Britain) are in pretty shonky condition, too. Perfect throw, a small dead-zone and lovely Sanwa buttons mean little when everything's covered in funk and the stick's almost dismounted from years of being unsympathetically battered around by ham-fisted scoundrels and ragamuffins. But people still manage to play on them, and an SFIV Fightpad can't be any worse. ;)

(I'm just playing Devil's Advocaat here, you understand.)


Last edited by Klatrymadon on Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:11 am 



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I recall seeing an offical Super Nintendo arcade upright cabinet (similar like that of the Nintendo Play Choice10 cabinet setup) but it had these two pairs of unremovable SNES styled joypads bolted to the front control panel. This is the only instance that I can remember of an arcade cab with aforementioned pair of joypads setup from the get-go back in 1991. Of course, the arcade joypads were much bigger and durable than the console joypads that came with said SF/SNES consoles. One would insert the preset number of credits to buy time to choose your favorite SNES game to try out before the alloted time ran out -- very similar to the previous PlayChoice10 cab setup with pricing per credit type of gameplay.

Even the rare NEC TurboGrafx-16 arcade PCB conversion kit circa 1990 had a timer feature where the player would insert a quarter or two to play for a few minutes of gameplay time. When time was up, the game screen would freeze up with a chirping sound letting the player know that it was time to insert another credit if he or she wanted to continue playing the same game at hand. If not, then it would cycle back to it's usual attract screen and demo runs. Special Hu-Card cartridges could only be used with the TG-16 arcade motherboard and was not compatible with traditional PC Engine Hu-Cards/TurboGrafx-16 TurboChip Card software. Only three TG-16 arcade software titles were produced in it's entirety: Blazing Lazers, China Warrior and World Class Baseball.

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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:51 am 


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i use both.

i think i do better on stick though.
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 Post subject: Re: Stick or Pad?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:03 pm 


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Just out of curiosity, how do you folks find the standard Dreamcast stick? I've heard people say they find it too stiff for shmups, but I don't think it's ever scuppered me.


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