I've been too exhausted and busy the last couple of days to post the news-to-comment-on I have building up. I sliced open the side of my wrist on a rack-mounted UPS at work on Monday. The annoyance of having my first non-dental stitches and a wrapped-wrist left sleeping a difficult task the first night. That lead to quickly passing out when I arrived home the next day.
Today is fairing better though, so I'll share my fix-of-the-day.
I was looking at this how-to on using black dye on 360 controllers. Since I didn't have the materials to work on that project, I decided to disassemble one of my wired controllers to see if I could fix the sloppy stock d-pad instead.
After some discussion with my room mate, we decided the d-pad's main problem was the design makes it feel like an analog stick instead of a digital pad. We also found the d-pad to have too much play to be accurate. The best way to fix "too much play" is to stiffen it up.
Using a small circle of double-sided mounting tape underneath the pivot point of the d-pad works nicely. I chose not to peel off the non-stick backing on the top of the circle, so you may want to do the same.
This stiffens the d-pad up considerably, which may be slightly awkward at first. However, doing special moves in Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were no longer a hassle with this modification. Contra code? First try at full speed.
Apologies for such low-res pictures. Jessica's camera isn't here at the moment, so I was stuck with my cell phone camera. I'll make a how-to with better photos if necessary, but the above pictures should be self-explanatory. Also, I guess I should insert a lame, "I'm not responsible for any ill-effects resulting from this modification," line as well.
Hope this helps! I know this prevents me from needing the XFPS360 for a decent (PS2) d-pad.
P.S.: By the way, If you need controller disassembly instructions, try this guide.
12/22/2006 Update: I wore through the initial tape after several hours of gaming. This may require an upgrade to a rubber/gel foot (that goes on the bottom of electronics and furniture), probably the former.