>> Half Circle Inputs

Tested on KOF XV (Xbox) with a Snackbox Micro.

I wanted to get into fighting games, but I was deterred because of the motion inputs required. Primarily, rotating a stick, gamepad or joystick, does not feel clear or exact because it is a digital input. More importantly, performing those inputs fast and precisely are more tiring and injury-prone without proper practice and posture. Thankfully, stickless controllers were made like the Snackbox Micro that replaces the stick with four directional buttons (left, down, right then up) which is better laid out for fighting games than the standard directional pad. This new approach satisfies my conditions as doing quarter circle and dragon punch inputs feels more comfortable, precise and tactile with button sequences. Playing KoF XV, single grounded half circles were no issue; however, doing double half circle inputs while in the air became an issue like with Athena's Shining Crystal Bit.

A Stickless Controller Layout

Executing a half circle with a stickless controller can be intuitively divided into two quarter circles. Using the notation (L)eft, (D)own and (R)ight to represent the three main directional buttons of a stickless controller, a forward quarter circle input can be done by pressing D, then pressing R while holding D and finally lifting D while keeping R pressed or more simply D, D+R, R. This motion can be described as rolling two fingers, so doing a half circle can be though of as rolling three fingers or L, L+D, D, D+R, R.

Doing a half circle input by rolling the fingers

The issue here is that the third input, D, is occassionaly dropped if done too fast as controllers as inputs are read by frame. To be precise after the L+D input, if L is lifted while R is pressed at the same time or within the space of one frame, the game reads D+R instead of D since L needs to be lifted for at least one frame for D to be read. It is a strange issue where being faster causes more issues.

The Down input can be occassionally dropped when done too fast

After some experimentation, instead of rolling the fingers, pressing all the fingers first and then lifting in the same order is more consistent or L, L+D, L+D+R, D+R, R where the input L+D+R resolves to D because of neutral SOCD cleaning (L+R = neutral).

Press the fingers then lifting in the same order

Thanks also to half circle input leniency where L+D and D+R is optional, it does not matter if L or D is lifted first or at the same time because the optional D+R is read if L is released first, neutral if D from SOCD cleaning, and the required R if both that makes this method safer to execute.

It does not matter what order the fingers are lifted

One caveat is that this does not work with vertical half circles if vertical SOCD is not neutral which up wins if both up and down are pressed with my controller. Another caveat is that this method might apply more pressure or stress on the last finger since it becomes the anchor to lift the other fingers where practicing minimal effort is also needed. For stickless controllers, I am aware of other half circle shortcuts (L, D, R) but I do find these lift-press or tap motions introduces a timing bottleneck and feels less consistent to execute fast. Nonetheless, I hope this new method helps.