Unleash Your Stories – Kevin Lee

While some may be content with products offered on the market, when students like Kevin Lee can’t find what they’re looking for – they design their own.

Kevin is a third year Mechatronics student, and has been a long-time fan of 1v1 competitive and retro-themed video games. After developing a passion for fighting games, which require precision and timing, as well as mental wit when battling against opponents, he realised his keyboard didn’t offer the capability required to gain a winning edge.

Like many gamers, the problems that came with using a laptop keyboard were numerous, including keyboard ghosting, bunched up keys, and controlling “WASD” keys in comparison to a joystick. In his own words – “button meshing is not fun”. After exploration into the arcade controller market, he realised that most options were either overpriced or simply not aesthetically pleasing.

While he considered himself inexperienced with hands-on building projects, with the help of the Unleash Space’s Create and Maker Space, he decided to build his own arcade game controller, or fightstick. The entire casing has been made with materials and equipment from the Create and Maker Space. The laser cutter was perfect for making the precise and undamaged cuts his design required, and the multitude of other hand tools allowed for shaping thicker multi-density fibreboards and finishing touches.

With the help of our informative Creative Technologists and electrical DIY kits available online, Kevin is now close to finishing his project and it is functioning as intended. While improvements remain to be added, such as sanding the casing’s edge or replacing the microcontroller with a proper raspberry pi to program the buttons, he is excited to use what the fightstick was intended for – playing games.

Kevin is a great example of how students can use the Create and Maker Space for personal projects, not just projects intended for commercialisation. While he may move onto different games, Kevin’s fightstick has taught him valuable lessons and even if not being used in games, will remain a great display piece on his bookshelf.