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ultimarc joystick question

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Would anyone know the major difference between these two joysticks?  

Ultrastik 360 ball top 

J-Stik Ball Top (4-8 way switchable joystick [sanwa jlw-tm-8)

aside from ultrastik being usb, I was thinking it was that the ultrastik can switch between 4 and 8 directional without opening the control box?  BUt then i saw they have restrictor plates for the Ultrastik also so then it makes me confused again. lol

 

And a second question since it's the same topic.  if you have an 8 way joystick, would you actually always change the restrictor plate back and forth to play a 4 way game like pac man? and then back again when playing a game that requires 8 way?

just trying to make an order at ultimarc for the last 3 days and still not sure im getting this right. 

 

 

 

 

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Not sure if you ever got an answer (and not sure if this is considered too much of a necro), but since I've been in this space a bit lately I figured I'd try and answer.

As far as I can tell, the biggest difference between the Ultrastik and J-Stik is the JStik is a digital stick that uses micro-switches whereas the Ultrastick is technically an analog stick that can be mapped like a digital 4-way, 8-way, or an regular analog stick.  If I'm reading the info correctly, you basically map how the joystick transmits information in a 3x3 grid pattern.  So for a 4-way digital mode, you'd map the up/down/left/right sections as a single on/off toggle.  For 8-way you'd also include the areas on the corners.  For analog, you let the stick transmit the analog values it generates naturally.  While there is a restrictor plate on the Ultrastik, I *think* it's there more so you can control the feel when you want a 4-way/8-way option as opposed to required for the stick to work.

 

For your 2nd question - depends on the game and personal preference.  If you're like me, using an 8-way in some 4-way games leads to incorrect control due to hitting the diagonals which the game interprets as the incorrect desired direction.  For example, if playing pac-man and you're pressing left on your 8-way stick, but you're just barely hitting up as well, the game detects you're pressing Left and Up.  Since the game doesn't use diagonals, it uses a priority order of input.  So if you want to go left, but the game says up wins on the left+up diagonal....you're going up.  The restrictor plate removes the ability to hit the diagonal, so you never have that problem.

Also regarding restrictor plates, there are several kinds I've seen.  One is a plate you screw onto the bottom that has 3 separate restrictions - octagonal or circle (8-way), diamond (4-way), line (2-way).  The one I have currently does not require tools, but I have to pry the plate off 4 pins on the bottom of the stick, then rotate an inner section of the plate between square (8-way) and diamond (4-way).  The plates on the ultrastik and j-stik use a rotational style plate that appears much easier to switch between the modes (and they even have servo packages to do it).

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hey thanks for replying.  

I actually ended up going with the sanswa jlw joysticks. 

I like them.  Its real easy to change from 8 to 4 player.   Aftre using them i understand completely why you would use 4 way instead of 8 way on certain games.  in 8 way, you get stuck going up ladders etc (donkey kong, etc). 

 

they are pretty clicky though but i still like them  :)

 

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The nice thing with Ultrasticks is that they are auto-configurable in MAME, so they change to correct mode (4-way, 4-way diagonal, 8-way, ..) when you load a rom.

 

Edited by Crush
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That's a cool feature. 

Since they can always move in all directions with no resistance,  does it feel real loose or anything? not sure im explaining correctly.  

But I have an old usb controller for the pc. and i tried using it just for fun and i actually didnt like it at all. no resistance so it just felt flimsy. 

but maybe because it was old. 

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Ultrasticks are arcade quality magnetic analog joysticks (no touching parts so there's minimal wear). They come with a soft or hard spring around the stick and that provides resistance as you move it around. You can also add an octagonal restrictor at the base if you want to "feel" the directions.

I use hard springs and circular restrictors as i also use them as pure analog sticks. Here's a controller i made a few years ago using an Ultrastick joystick (for left or right handed players):

 

file.php?id=234file.php?id=233

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thanks for the details. I think im going to get one on my next order from him.

nice looking controller.  what did you use inside for the buttons?  a usb encoder or ipac? 

I used an ipac4 for my full size arcade build, but im working on a bartop one and ordered some cheap usb encoders from aliexpress. hoping they work good - little nervous being that they were so inexpensive (but it is china).  but i think i got spoiled with the ipac 4 and the shift function.  :)    

 

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You don't need an extra encoder as Ultrastick has an encoder attached at the bottom which can drive up to 8 arcade buttons. You can define one of the buttons as a modifier key so by keeping it pressed the other buttons can execute different actions. So in practice you have 15 different button actions from a single Ultrastick. Ultrasticks connect directly to a USB port.

 

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