A few months back, I had this idea of doing something that would put a bit more focus on stick builders and modders. These guys are the unsung heroes of the fighting game community, enabling us to play on games on, not just controllers that recreate part of the arcade experience, but in some cases, are certifiable works of art. The result of this is the "D3Vlicious Builder Feature," this first installment featuring that genius of paint and wood (and soon, acrylic), the man known as b15sdm.
1. Obligatory introductory, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Sam, I am an architect who mainly deals with residential projects and enjoy building custom arcade sticks as a hobby.
2. How did you get started as a stick builder?
It all started during a boring day at work when I began searching for Street Fighter artwork as I had always been a huge fan of their work. I stumbled upon a custom stick builder who we all know as Byrdo and saw his work and was amazed. Having always wanted a proper arcade stick I took up the challenge of building one myself. I caught the arcade stick bug and now find it really hard to stop building.
3. Now, you're know for you, there's no other way to put it, absolutely gorgeous customs. How do you come up with these?
Well, I treat building arcade sticks much like my architectural profession by turning people's ideas into reality. I gather all the necessary information I need from a customer and then translate that into a finished design with approval from the customer at each stage. I like to dissect the theme I have been set and do some research and then collate all of that into an overall design. I pay close attention to the colours and in what proportion these have been allocated and apply the same principles. I guess after building soo many sticks this process has become second nature to me.
A dedication to creating a truly outstanding design results in beautiful works like this custom Hakan stick.
4. Another thing you're known for is your amazing workrate, putting out gorgeous sticks on an almost weekly basis. How do you pull this off when most guys struggle completing one in a month.
The reason for my quick turn around times is mainly because I like to group my orders up into sets/batches and start them all at the same time and finish at the same time almost like a production line. I have setup my workspace like a stick factory so I move each build along one after the other. I plan everything at each stage and create a specification list so I know what needs to be done to each case. Having built soo many bespoke stick it tends to become a natural process.
5. One of the things I like the most is your paintjobs, where did you learn to paint so well?
The experience I gained from painting all stems from my earlier years at modifying my cars with elaborate in-case audio systems which was one of my previous hobbies. I never relied on anyone else so decided to carry out all the work my self. I educated myself by reading a few books and then started practising when ever I could.
From custom cars to custom arcade sticks, b15 is a master of awesome paint jobs.
6. Out of your impressive body of work, what is your favourite piece so far?
I guess I would have to say the arcade cabinet I built as everyone gets to enjoy it and it was a nice big project to sink my teeth into. There was alot of work involved and the finished product was exactly how I planned it to be. Every time I work on bespoke orders there is always one that sits close to me. But once I have shipped them out I get the same feeling from the new set I create.
Sam's pride and joy, his handbuilt "Bewlix" cabinet
7. Which one is your least favourite (either from a design standpoint, or from its build)?
I will only say that the sticks I like the least are those that the customer puts more random input into the design. Some customers want their stick to be a certain way and I can only advice what is best. If they chose to take direction of the project I dont mind.
8. What would your dream custom stick be?
I am still on that quest to discover a dream stick that every single person would love.
9. If you could take one thing from your customs, and make it so that off the shelf sticks from say Hori or MadCatz had it, what would it be?
I would say multi console support straight out the box and lets not forget a strictly 6 button layout. Also a dense material for the cases which I know is not feasible on a mass scale.
10. Any advice for up and coming builders out there?
I would say keep pushing yourself to come up with new ideas.
This is where I ask the interviewee some questions that he has to answer in one word. Some of these can be nonsensical, if all you want to read about is stick building, then you can navigate way from the article.... now.
1. Japanese or American?
2. Favorite brand or arcade manufacturer?
3. Favorite Street Fighter game?
X-men vs SF as it was the first game to blow me away with all the outrageous effects and awesome artwork (my favourite style).
4. 8 or 6?
5. If you had to choose from one SRK Tech Talk regular to have as your heterosexual life partner, who would it be?
6. Airplane 1 or 2?
7. Would you rather play (SF) with or eat with the SRK Tech Talk crew?
Eat, I love my food.
8. Gummo or JDM (referring to Tech Talk regulars Gummowned or jdm714)?
Gummo for his craziness
Photos from b15sdmdesigns.com