On the Brook UFB-UP5
Brook's upgrade kit for the Universal Fighting Board (which I have in three of my sticks) has been showing up in people's mailboxes, mine included, so I finally got a chance to throw it into my favorite stick and try it out. Interestingly, it also comes with a new SOCD option!
Installation was easy, as my stick, the BSS MVS mk.III (which I should really document better here
at some point), already had the necessary header soldered onto the UFB, so it was just a matter of
connecting the bus between the expansion board and the UFB, and powering the board by connecting the
5V and ground wires to the screw header on the UFB. I also jumpered the SOCD pins on
J2_2, but more on that later.
PS5 support seems to work great. Not really much more to say, the stick works on PS5 games now. No timeouts experienced, no lagging or anything weird like that, seems like just simply what it's supposed to be: a solid board now supports the PS5, among the gazillion other things it supports.
The real interesting part to be seen is if there will be another game of cat and mouse between Sony and Brook, Sony breaking compatibility with unlicensed peripherals, followed by Brook releasing more firmware upgrades to get the devices working again. There were many cycles of this on the PS4, before eventually things calmed down. It remains to be seen if Sony will do this kind of thing again.
On the Last Input Wins SOCD Cleaner
2021-08-30 update: I wrote the below believing the "last input wins" SOCD cleaner was new for the Brook UFB-UP5, but I've since learned it's been there for years! I'm retaining what I wrote because it's interesting to me and correct, technically, aside from the "new"ness.
The upgrade kit requires a new UFB firmware, naturally, and in the release notes (and not advertised to date, AFAIK) is the following:
The way to connect the pin for SOCD has changed as the followings Open J2_1、J2_2: (Mode 1)Current SOCD Short J2_1、J2_2: (Mode 2)New SOCD, second-input priority. ie: (← + → = →)，(→ + ← = ←)
These are pins on the expansion board itself, and the modes mean that basically, if you jumper the two SOCD pins, you get Gafrobox-style SOCD (simultaneous opposite cardinal directions) cleaning, where the most recent opposite cardinal direction you pressed is the one you get. This is new1 to the Brook UFB, in "Mode 1", ← + → = neutral no matter the order pressed. "Mode 2" makes it insanely easy for charge characters to maintain defense while dancing forward, or to whip out fast sonic booms, and so on. (This change affects the SOCD cleaning behavior on any console, not just PS5, to be clear.)
I find this interesting because the Gafrobox caused a bit of a hubbub when Daigo Umehara started using it in 2019, the controller eventually getting banned from Combo Breaker and the Capcom Pro Tour. For example, CPT…
…[felt] that the user of the controller gives the competition an advantage that does not follow the spirit of the CPT.
The reason for this was the "last win" SOCD cleaner, the exact same behavior as Brook's new "Mode 2" above.
I jumpered the pins and played around a bit with May in GGST, TOTSUGEKI-ing like you would not believe. The SOCD cleaner works great as well, not surprisingly, and man is it fun to use for charge characters.
That said, with the CB/CPT ban, it'll be interesting to see how decisions regarding this SOCD cleaner play out. In my opinion, the ban is short-sighted, as the SOCD cleaner does not allow an impossible input, merely one improbable at worst, and the same behavior can be achieved in some scenarios on a stock DualShock pad. It's hard to normalize allowable input methods without alienating a portion of the FGC, and with Brook supporting "last win" SOCD cleaning in their UFB expansion board and potentially future boards, it may get harder to detect and isolate what to ban. Somewhat interesting times! Personally, like I said, I think the new SOCD cleaner is great.
I should mention that a couple times I was testing last night, when I'd plug the board in, either the top buttons or none of the buttons at all on my stick would work. I think it's a coincidence that this started happening while testing the expansion board, and either I bumped some wires, or possibly I'm just drawing a bit too much power (since the stick also has a Retro Board) with everything hooked up. I haven't found the cause of this just yet, but it warranted mentioning that a couple times, I did have to unplug the stick and plug it back in. I'm 99% certain this is my own fault, though, not Brook's.
I've since played a couple rounds of GGST online (yes, as May) (no, I didn't commit dolphin abuse) and everything was rock solid.
Anyway, the UFB-UP5 expansion kit is good. If you're interested in PS5 support and/or the new SOCD cleaner, you should pick it up.
Mostly new, at least — the old behavior did have ↓ + ↑ = ↑, but the order you pressed them didn't matter, you always got up. Still useful for flash kicks though. ↩