Daigo's New "Hitbox" Controller is the Subject of Controversy in the FGC- Raises question of legality of custom controllers.

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As of recent Daigo Umehara, the most successful fighting game player in the world, has been practicing using an alternative to his usual choice of an arcade stick; a "Hitbox" style controller.

For those who aren't aware, a "hitbox" controller is any controller modeled after the official HIT BOX controller that uses button inputs rather than a 8-Way Stick or a Directional Pad as a way to replicate the feel of a keyboard.

The intended use is to give players even more precise inputs, and in fighting games especially, eliminating that split second of moving the stick with your hand from one direction to another can actually be a deciding factor in your success or loss.

And while is had to led to one of the funniest clips I've ever seen of rare footage of Daigo actually angry;
It has also led to even more controversy.

You see, Daigo uses a "Gafro" hitbox, a type of hitbox controller designed by fellow pro Street Fighter player Gafro.

The problem being is that Gafro's and several other custom hitbox designs use alternative inputs that, while have the intended function of being more precise and reliable, also completely throws characters' design philosophies for a loop. Here's a vid to demonstrate:
As I mentioned earlier, that split second of moving the stick with your hand from one direction to another can be the deciding factor between a victory or a loss, but the balance and movesets of characters were designed around that.

Guile's Sonic Boom input of holding back for a few seconds to charge and to press forward plus a punch was designed around the fact that Guile has to let go of his defense for even a split second to commit to the fireball input.

And because of this reason alone, the legality of hitboxes and custom controllers in general is being called into question.
However, the wild west mentality of anyone can practice and learn to play with any type of controller they could get their hands on has played some part in the appeal of FGC scenes, and it only demonstrates a player's commitment to learning even more when they can adapt with an unorthodox play style, such as making it to the Top 8 of Guilty Gear using a steering wheel.


Custom controllers can also be used to address issues such as players' health. The HIT BOX was designed by its creator, Dustin Huffer, to not only be more precise but to also eliminate hand pains caused by the use of other controllers.

But ultimately, it is up to Tournament Organizers to decide on the viability and legality of custom controllers. The only way to actually circumvent this issue of knowing that every player is playing universally fair and as intended would be to have a standardized controller that Tourney Organizers would provide themselves, but this is an unfeasible task for most and would only be of ire to players who've trained with their own individual controller.
 
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collige

Member
Oct 31, 2017
6,085
The Melee community had a similar discussion around the B0XX, but afaik, it's generally allowed. I guess the difference here is that Daigo is top SF competitor whereas in Melee the B0XX's main proponent is Hax$ who uses it for health reasons.
 

Cokesouls

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,064
If daigo of all players gets an edge over other competitors by simply using such a hitbox, it should be banned.
Question is, does he get an edge over his opponents with that thing?
 

Uthred

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Oct 25, 2017
2,727
I remember the arguments back when the hitbox first started getting some traction. I think the original design is sort of a grey area but custom input methods that clearly subvert the games mechanics are clearly cheating.
 

Cactuar

Member
Nov 30, 2018
3,262
I watched Daigo's most recently stream and he was not playing hitbox, though I didn't see the whole thing. Let's set the record straight right here and now, yes, he's practicing with it, but he also says he does not care if they get banned. But just in case they don't, he wants to know how to use it as he believes there is an advantage if you can master it. Is this any different than how some in the FGC play with arcade sticks while others play with Dpads? There may be inherent advantages and disadvantages to both.

But key point, Daigo is aware they could be banned and he does not mind if that is the case.

EDIT: Post was made before I saw that Daigo's particular Hitbox was modded and I saw the video of the alternative setup's possibilities. Certainly a clear advantage there if you can master it.
 
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Hace

Member
Sep 21, 2018
681
These have been legal forever, who is complaining exactly lol

edit: oh wow capcom is a joke

double edit: hey op way to totally leave out that it has an SOCD cleaner and instead focus on someone using a steering wheel
 

THRILLHO

Member
Nov 6, 2017
593
thanks for the breakdown of how/why the controller changes the game, OP. super fascinating, speaking as a guy who's last fighting game was Alpha 3 and who's never been interested in fgc stuff
 

maximumzero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,762
New Orleans, LA
As someone that doesn't follow the fighting game community and is looking in from the outside, I feel like custom hardware shouldn't be allowed and things should be standardized so everyone is on a level playing field.

But I'm probably wrong, as I usually am about such things.
 

Soulflarz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,467
The Melee community had a similar discussion around the B0XX, but afaik, it's generally allowed. I guess the difference here is that Daigo is top SF competitor whereas in Melee the B0XX's main proponent is Hax$ who uses it for health reasons.
Tbqh its primarily allowed because of Hax$ being a legend and needing it so thats not really a good example for whether or not its fair sadly.
 

Hace

Member
Sep 21, 2018
681
You really need to remake this thread, focus on the fact that his controller uses unique shortcuts and has a banned input handler, and not random Core-A videos. This has nothing to do with form factor.
 

SixelAlexiS

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,377
Italy
As someone that doesn't follow the fighting game community and is looking in from the outside, I feel like custom hardware shouldn't be allowed and things should be standardized so everyone is on a level playing field.

But I'm probably wrong, as I usually am about such things.
It's like don't let people use their mouse and keyboards at esport... oh wait, Fortnite has done that shit -_-"
 

Gbraga

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,031
As someone that doesn't follow the fighting game community and is looking in from the outside, I feel like custom hardware shouldn't be allowed and things should be standardized so everyone is on a level playing field.

But I'm probably wrong, as I usually am about such things.
This makes sense, I don't think you're wrong, the issue is that there's such a long history of no standards that deciding on a specific controller as the standard now means that some top players have decades of practice with invalid input methods, and have to learn all over again, so things get complicated.

I think the only way to deal with it is banning specific controllers moving forward. Deciding on a single standard now will be fixing what isn't broken, even if it makes perfect sense.
 

Firestorm

Member
Oct 25, 2017
603
Vancouver, BC
This is a really tough balancing act. You need to not allow controllers that provide a competitive advantage by circumventing constraints the game is designed around while providing options for accessibility for those who cannot use traditional controllers.
 

Jaded Alyx

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Oct 25, 2017
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OP
OP

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This is a really tough balancing act. You need to not allow controllers that provide a competitive advantage by circumventing constraints the game is designed around while providing options for accessibility for those who cannot use traditional controllers.
I wasn't aware until now that the hitbox was also created to address the health of player's hands, so I will add that to the OP
 

Dahbomb

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Oct 25, 2017
7,138
Problem with banning Hitboxes is that you would have to ban Arcade sticks as well. The default controller of these games nowadays are gamepads, not arcade sticks like it used to be. Many arcade sticks are custom made.

However, the main issue here is Daigo's specific hitbox and not Hitboxes in general. It's like the banning of arcade sticks that also have diagonal inputs on buttons (and hitboxes). Diagonal aren't present as standalone buttons and can be considered as macros not built into the game like standard allowed macros.
 
Oct 28, 2017
8,803
As someone that doesn't follow the fighting game community and is looking in from the outside, I feel like custom hardware shouldn't be allowed and things should be standardized so everyone is on a level playing field.

But I'm probably wrong, as I usually am about such things.

I feel the same. Standard issue, high-end sticks for all!
 

Starwing

The Fallen
Oct 31, 2018
1,285
I thought that Hitbox controllers had SOCD cleaners to prevent bypassing inputs like Guile's charge motions so that they can be tournament legal? Or am I mistaken?
 
OP
OP

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I knew there was going be another thread regarding the issue of the hitbox being banned, but I wanted to address why this was while also providing the arguments in favor of and the history custom controllers have in the FGC. The goal of our threads is different.
 

Jaded Alyx

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,466
I knew there was going be another thread regarding the issue of the hitbox being banned, but I wanted to address why this was while also providing the arguments in favor of and the history custom controllers have in the FGC. The goal of our threads is different.
That's fair. Though it seems the discussion in the other thread has leaned into the topic here heavily.

But I ain't a mod !
 

Lumination

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,417
Tough decision. Normally, I would say it's in the spirit of the fgc to allow most things, but the implication with charge characters goes really far.

Maybe the middle ground is ban for now, but Capcom should code for this kind of stuff in SFVI.
 

Lump

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,529
I came into this thread with my mind set on this controller type being completely fine, but the argument of developers balancing a fighting game's characters with the delay of moving left to right on a d-pad might be persuading me to change my mind. I can see the argument for both sides.

If a custom controller is allowing certain moves/combos that are essentially not possible with a standard controller, then I think my mind is changed - a tournament should provide a list of acceptable controllers based on the particular game, and that list should be provided well ahead of time.
 

Neiteio

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,250
I don't follow the FGC, but that is a fascinating read in the OP. These games are balanced around the assumption you're operating within certain input limitations, so yeah - maybe these alternative controllers aren't fair.
 

Red Liquorice

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Oct 27, 2017
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Looking at the video, this seems to be able to enable you to do things that would be impossible on a pad or stick. Thus it seems clear they shouldn't be allowed?
 

Iva Demilcol

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Oct 25, 2017
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Iwatodai Dorm
This seems very clear to me: if with this controller you can do something that it’s physically impossible with traditional ones, I’d say it should be illegal.
 
OP
OP

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Switch Pro Controller, you can press all directions at the same time. I knew Nintendo was onto something :P
Difference being that the Switch Pro Controller is still something you have to hold as opposed to something made for your lap, and that you would only be able to use your thumb for inputs (unless you want to develop a serious claw hand, in which case, more power to you.)
 

POLIWOG

Member
Nov 28, 2017
196
My girlfriend’s sister brought over her hit box a couple of months ago to play some sfv with me and some friends. Tried it out for a bit. It’s REALLY strange at first, but I can see where the advantages can come from, especially with certain characters (360 motions feel harder).

I played a lot of Akira in the vf series. A hitbox would make him a lot easier to play hahah.
 

Argus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
229
I'm not blind to the advantage the Hitbox style can and does give, but everyone saying that they should have to use the "standard" controllers is kidding themselves. I didn't see a $200 arcade stick tumble out of my ps4's box when I unpacked it.

As for the technical way it gives an advantage with the near macro way it can put in inputs, that could be adjusted.
 

Ishmae1

Creative Director, Microsoft
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
239
Seattle, WA
If a game is built with hitbox type input in mind, I think it's fine. I know Capcom has had a spotty history with hitbox type controllers - I believe it was one of the Marvels that you could block both directions simultaneously because they never accounted for both L/R inputs being pushed at the same time. It could be that SFV just can't handle the inputs well (e.g. in a fair / non-advantaged way) and I get why they wouldn't allow it at that point.

Also, since it's a custom controller, there's no knowing what's in the circuitry in terms of input honing that could be considered cheating without a full analysis of the input board and the SOCD's logic. While Daigo has no reason to cheat, they can't allow this for the knock-on effect it could have.

Personally, I love hitbox controllers, but I can see the issue easily. It would behoove a company like Hitbox to get "certified" or whatever with every fighting game dev they can so that they're not shut out of competitions, which of course could affect their sales.
 

jett

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,584
Turns out Daigo was using all 12 buttons at once on his gafrobox, binding them to different shit. That's more of a cheatbox honestly lol.


Honestly it's kind of a crazy setup.
 
Oct 27, 2017
246
SoCal

As of recent Daigo Umehara, the most successful fighting game player in the world, has been practicing using an alternative to his usual choice of an arcade stick; a "Hitbox" style controller.

For those who aren't aware, a "hitbox" controller is any controller modeled after the official HIT BOX controller that uses button inputs rather than a 8-Way Stick or a Directional Pad as a way to replicate the feel of a keyboard.

The intended use is to give players even more precise inputs, and in fighting games especially, eliminating that split second of moving the stick with your hand from one direction to another can actually be a deciding factor in your success or loss.

And while is had to led to one of the funniest clips I've ever seen of rare footage of Daigo actually angry;
It has also led to even more controversy.

You see, Daigo uses a "Gafro" hitbox, a type of hitbox controller designed by fellow pro Street Fighter player Gafro.

The problem being is that Gafro's and several other custom hitbox designs use alternative inputs that, while have the intended function of being more precise and reliable, also completely throws characters' design philosophies for a loop. Here's a vid to demonstrate:
As I mentioned earlier, that split second of moving the stick with your hand from one direction to another can be the deciding factor between a victory or a loss, but the balance and movesets of characters were designed around that.

Guile's Sonic Boom input of holding back for a few seconds to charge and to press forward plus a punch was designed around the fact that Guile has to let go of his defense for even a split second to commit to the fireball input.

And because of this reason alone, the legality of hitboxes and custom controllers in general is being called into question.
However, the wild west mentality of anyone can practice and learn to play with any type of controller they could get their hands on has played some part in the appeal of FGC scenes, and it only demonstrates a player's commitment to learning even more when they can adapt with an unorthodox play style, such as making it to the Top 8 of Guilty Gear using a steering wheel.


Custom controllers can also be used to address issues such as players' health. The HIT BOX was designed by its creator, Dustin Huffer, to not only be more precise but to also eliminate hand pains caused by the use of other controllers.

But ultimately, it is up to Tournament Organizers to decide on the viability and legality of custom controllers. The only way to actually circumvent this issue of knowing that every player is playing universally fair and as intended would be to have a standardized controller that Tourney Organizers would provide themselves, but this is an unfeasible task for most and would only be of ire to players who've trained with their own individual controller.
 

Setsune

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,013
I would say it should be allowed, but for tournaments the Hitbox has to be adjusted so it can't do anything other controllers can't do. It may need to artificially insert a very brief delay between polar-opposite directions to mimic stick travel time.

The input method shouldn't be the barrier of entry for someone into a gaming tournament, so long as it is there to provide an alternative, not an advantage.
 

TripaSeca

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,932
São Paulo
Remember when speedo created an amazing swimsuit that reduced drag so much it got banned?
I mean, swimming did it and honestly, the suit wasn't subverting the logics of swimming, it was just so efficient that who'd use it would most likely win.
In this case, the Hitbox actually subverts a key aspect of the input's logic (aka the priority of button presses) and that represents a huge and unfair advantage.
 

Nax

Member
Oct 10, 2018
1,970
I had no idea such a thing existed. The fighting game meta is just so beyond me now haha. I feel like I don't know anything.