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Does anyone know anything about Crowd Funding a project ?? I've been toying with the idea for some time but find it rather perplexing !

 

But as I'm new to this I thought I'd ask around for some advice.

 

*********

 

After looking at the ZX Spectrum projects that have been Crowd funded, I thought to myself.... is it worth a try ?? So I was thinking of doing some Crowd-Funding for a New Super Colecovision Console... nothing like them Naff Flashback stuff...but with real hardware.

Z84C0020VEC PLCC
Z84C9012VEC (optional?)
64K SRAM UM61512
64K EEPROM W27C512 PLCC
EPM7128SLC84 Glue logic RAMN/ROM select
V9958 Video / scart/phono output
SN76489 Sound + YM2149
Two Joystick ports (Atari Type)
Two original type controller ports
Z80 BUS out for daughter-board
Cartridge Slot for original Carts
RS232 Com1 Com2 ?? Ports
Parallel output port ?
PS/2 Keyboard input


Daughter Board:would contain
Real time Clock RTC
CF card reader
PATA/IDE laptop harddrive
Maths AM9511 FPU ?



come either as pre-built or a kit . Running at either 3.58MHz or 28.64MHz (turbo mode)

About 18 months ago I asked around for prices on a Z80 system (basically a MTX plus) and was quoted between £7000-£10000 to design and built prototype hardware by three companies. So the Colecovsion could be cheaper ?

The idea would be to make it for <£50 and sell for £99+shipping which are realistic and achievable prices.


Any ideas about the best way to do it...then let me know. This Crowd Funding thing is probably harder than it looks !

Well it's got to be worth a try !

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You must start by making a prototype that works perfectly (much, much harder than it sounds, trust me) so that you can prove to the world that it can be done and that you're serious about this project. People generally don't want to crowd-fund phantom hardware.

 

But even then, in the case of the ColecoVision, you would need to reach/sign some kind of agreement with Coleco Holdings LLC, like AtGames did for the ColecoVision Flashback. Not sure how well that would work with AtGames already in the picture...

 

There's already a project in the works, generally referred to as the "ColecoVision 1.2" project, which has already reached the prototype-that-runs-pretty-good-but-still-not-perfect stage. I recommend that you send a private message to member 5-11under on these forums.

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Hi.

 

I believe about 80% of all Crowd Funding projects fail plus the host site normally wants about 7% of any money raised !! It may be better to just get a team of hardware people together and design & build it yourself. Once you have a working prototype you could try getting Money from Pre-Orders to do a full production run.

 

If you can genuinely make it for £50 to sell for £99 plus shipping you could well be onto a winner ?

 

 

All the best and Good luck...

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One possible way getting round paying Coleco Holdings LLC is to ship the units with just a 'Test ROM' the buyer then would need to copy from the Web the original or modified ROM code to work as a Colecovision... Also you couldn't call it a Colecovsion without paying some sort of royalties for the name, but again you just give it a different name like Koleco-Gamer ...well you get the idea.. it's rather naughty but gets round money grabbing lawyers trying to get money from you !

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Going it alone or even as a team is probably a good option.. as I've already done draft costings. The initial breadboarding will be using DIP ICs whereas the final units would be PLCC as these are NOS and cheaper than DIP to keep costs down, plus I know the Z84C0020VEC can easily be over-clocked to 28.64MHz with no ill effects. All the glue logic, memory & I/O decoding would be done by the EPM7128.

 

Z84C0020VEC PLCC $2.0 each (or less)
Z84C9008VEC (optional?) $2.0 each
64K SRAM UM61512 <1.50 each
64K EEPROM W27C512 PLCC $1.0 each
EPM7128SLC84 Glue logic RAMN/ROM select $2.0 each
V9958 Video / scart/phono output (V9958+DRAMs+CXA1145=$12)
SN76489 Sound + YM2149 $2.0
Two Joystick ports (Atari Type)
Two original type controller ports
Z80 BUS out for daughter-board
Cartridge Slot for original Carts
RS232 Com1 Com2 ?? Ports
Parallel output port ?
PS/2 Keyboard input

** The ICs should cost about $25, + PCB + connectors , total for motherboard <£50

Daughter Board:would contain
Real time Clock RTC $2.50
CF card reader
PATA/IDE laptop hard-drive
Maths AM9511 FPU ? $2.50

The daughter board sold as an upgrade would cost, to make, £30 and sell for £60

Obviously this is still in the VERY early stages but it is possible.

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Looking the specs from Wikipedia at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_V9958

 

Specifications[edit]
  • Video RAM: 128 KB + 64 KB of expanded VRAM
  • Text modes: 80 x 24 and 32 x 24
  • Resolution: 512 x 212 (4 or 16 colours out of 512) and 256 x 212 (16, 256, 12499 or 19268 colours)
  • Sprites: 32, 16 colours, max 8 per horizontal line

 

The last line doesn't really improve much. Same number of sprites, and instead of flickering after 4, it is after 8...not much of an improvement over what most people hate about ColecoVision games.

 

http://www.datasheetarchive.com/dlmain/Datasheets-110/DSAP0019744.pdf

 

Says a sprite can have a different color on each line but I still read that not allowing for true multicolour sprites.

 

I'm approaching this with a programmer's eye when I says this, but I'd rather that it actually be "SUPER" as in making it easier for me to make arcade quality games, which to me means: multicolor sprites, or give me enough single color sprites to layer them and make it so I don't have to multiplex sprites to minimize flicker. Is there a chip that would be one level higher than the V9958, such as would have been in an MSX 3 (if there had been one)

 

 

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I'm approaching this with a programmer's eye when I says this, but I'd rather that it actually be "SUPER" as in making it easier for me to make arcade quality games, which to me means: multicolor sprites, or give me enough single color sprites to layer them and make it so I don't have to multiplex sprites to minimize flicker. Is there a chip that would be one level higher than the V9958, such as would have been in an MSX 3 (if there had been one)

Lobbying for the F18A, perhaps? ;)

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Not really lobbying so much as letting the hardware guys know what annoys software guys like me ;-)

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The problem is cost.. in a perfect world you could use an F18A ($75,£50 each !) or a V9990 plus all the other bits and bobs but then the complexity and cost would spiral out of control...a bit like the Homer Simpson car that cost $87,000 and nobody wanted to buy ! A V9990 could be an option but I'm not sure that it's 100% backward compatible and it's surface mount?

 

However the V9958 is quite a big leap from the old TMS9918/29 plus having two sound chips SN76489+AY-3-8910 is quite a big step from the original while still being cheap to make. And there's already a working V9958 board with schematics available.

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I have a crazy thought.

 

Will it be possible to produce a kind of main board.

 

So that you can buy graphics cards, sound, and RAM, maybe a Keyboard and opportunity for SD.

 

If some only want a light version of Graphics, then they can buy a 9958, and people that want the luksus version can buy an F18A.

 

Same with Sound, one for a "normal" ColecoVision, and extended audio with two sound chips.

 

Extra RAM could be the same as SGM/ADAM.

 

I think I can see some kind of options.

 

:)

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I have a crazy thought.

 

Will it be possible to produce a kind of main board.

 

So that you can buy graphics cards, sound, and RAM, maybe a Keyboard and opportunity for SD.

 

If some only want a light version of Graphics, then they can buy a 9958, and people that want the luksus version can buy an F18A.

 

Same with Sound, one for a "normal" ColecoVision, and extended audio with two sound chips.

 

Extra RAM could be the same as SGM/ADAM.

 

I think I can see some kind of options.

 

:)

for me its the way to go but how many people will buy.... at the best you will sell 200 unit

 

its too low for a mass production

Edited by chart45

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for me its the way to go but how many people will buy 200 unit

 

its too low for a mass production

Indeed. You want to keep costs down as much as possible.

 

Back when he was designing the SGM, Eduardo Mello had all kinds of plans for an alternate graphic chip, alternate BIOS, a parallel port to plug auxiliary devices, etc. In the end, the SGM only included extra RAM and an MSX sound chip, and with just those two features, the SGM was expensive enough to produce.

 

For homebrew harware, you have to go with the essentials first, see how much it costs to produce in quantities of roughly 150 to 200 units, and add extra features only if it doesn't ruin the affordability of the device.

 

With this said, I think a plug-and-play daughter board solution for the graphic chip would be ideal, and I made that same suggestion for the "ColecoVision 1.2" project: If someone with deep pockets wants to spend 80 bucks on a F18A, he should be able to. Same goes for other (cheaper) options like a V9958. Just create an architecture that uses a centralized female connector somewhere on the motherboard, and all daughter boards should conform to the architecture created around that female connector. This also makes the replacement of defective daughter boards really easy. :)

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Does anyone know anything about Crowd Funding a project ?? I've been toying with the idea for some time but find it rather perplexing !

 

But as I'm new to this I thought I'd ask around for some advice.

 

*********

Any ideas about the best way to do it...then let me know. This Crowd Funding thing is probably harder than it looks !

 

Well it's got to be worth a try !

 

Come up with a great idea, create a campaign, spread the word about, make lots of updates during the campaign, the campaign ends, collect a lot of money, slow down on the updates before slowly disappearing with everyone's money. ;)

 

Or...

 

Research Kickstarter and Indiegogo thoroughly (there are others, too, and there are differences between them). Figure out what makes a good campaign. There are plenty of guides available (which are probably better than what I've written below).

 

Get a prototype made. Start creating a buzz (actually, before all this, make sure you're spending research money and time on something that people want - unless it's a labor of love and you don't care about money spent before the campaign).

 

Get everything lined up so that you have virtually no more surprises left. For a product, that means having all the details completed or almost complete, for instance electronics, software, case, etc. Having some sort of team is helpful, too, so I'm not relying on one person (who could get sick, for instance) to accomplish the task. All your one-time and unit costs need to be figured out, as well as timing. Keep in mind that you will be spending a lot of time communicating with customers and prospective customers, and later, a lot of time doing mundane things like final assembly and packaging and shipping.

 

Create a great looking campaign, complete with references. I'm not spending a dime, no matter how great the product looks, unless I have very high confidence that a worthy product will be delivered.

 

Extra note: if you're using Kickstarter, in the "risks and challenges" section, don't just write "none" or "the only risk/challenge is if not enough money is raised". I will laugh if I don't care about the product, and get angry if I do care about the product. Either way, I will close the tab.

 

Keep communicating and get the job done. Get help if you need it.

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A kick-Starter project is unlikely to succeed as there's not enough real interest to get it off the ground. The only serious way ahead is probably to get a team of like minded people together and make a prototype in their spare time .This wouldn't be a FLASHBACK type console put something you'd get as a kit (using legacy ICs) and make yourself and that is al limited market.

 

There's been / are other projects namely the Colecovision 2 (NEO) but that seems to be a complete MYTH and will probably never happen ??

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The Basic idea is sound, but as soon as MONEY is mentioned a 'Trust' issue arises and people become sceptical/cynical which is understandable.

 

If some means of reliable and trustworthy Group funding could be found as well as enough donations/contributions then it might work ... but there's an awful lot of IFs & BUTs !! It's unlikely a commercial company would understand such a venture as it's already been done (FLASHBACK) and they only see Dollar signs !

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It's unlikely a commercial company would understand such a venture as it's already been done (FLASHBACK) and they only see Dollar signs !

 

Can you elaborate on that? There's money grabbing and then there's the practicality of putting out a mass market product. It's not as easy as simply wanting to do something. In most cases, there are very practical reasons why things are done the way they are, particularly in the case of the Flashbacks.

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Can you elaborate on that? There's money grabbing and then there's the practicality of putting out a mass market product. It's not as easy as simply wanting to do something. In most cases, there are very practical reasons why things are done the way they are, particularly in the case of the Flashbacks.

Firstly a commercial company would only look at projected profit, the item, in this case a Colecovision console is irrelevant. They'd calculate expected sales profit per unit , R&D cost, royalty fees etc etc and see if makes commercial sense. They have no sentimentality just Dollar signs, plus most companies are run by lawyers and accountants rather than engineers, Engineers usually come low down on the pecking order. Design and building a 'True' Colecovision console that Colecovision Fans want would be madness in their eyes.Something done for the love of it or not for profit would look observed to their business model !

 

An example of this can be seen in the Recent ZX Spectrum Clones that were made to cash in on middle aged Spectrum users. Most True Speccy fans were not particularly impressed by the Sinclair ZX Vega etc though they still sold quite a few units. The Colecovision FLASHBACK is another example of cashing in on a Retro Console !

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Firstly a commercial company would only look at projected profit, the item, in this case a Colecovision console is irrelevant. They'd calculate expected sales profit per unit , R&D cost, royalty fees etc etc and see if makes commercial sense. They have no sentimentality just Dollar signs, plus most companies are run by lawyers and accountants rather than engineers, Engineers usually come low down on the pecking order. Design and building a 'True' Colecovision console that Colecovision Fans want would be madness in their eyes.Something done for the love of it or not for profit would look observed to their business model !

 

An example of this can be seen in the Recent ZX Spectrum Clones that were made to cash in on middle aged Spectrum users. Most True Speccy fans were not particularly impressed by the Sinclair ZX Vega etc though they still sold quite a few units. The Colecovision FLASHBACK is another example of cashing in on a Retro Console !

 

The problem is the "true" fans, the discerning ones who know the platform inside and out, are incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to please. Anything less than perfection is criticized, and sometimes quite vocally. That group is also the smallest, so trying to go out of your way to please them - assuming that you're even able to - and not benefitting your product by making it more appealing to the masses is a sure way to financially ruin your business. If instead you can get enough of the way there to create a viable mass market product that still pleases the masses, yet angers the prickly vocal minority, ANY business will always go that route.

 

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega you mention is a great example. It comes with 1000 games and whatever else you want can easily be added via SD card, yet people still complained that game x wasn't included in the list of 1000 games (and I repeat, 1000 games included). That's exactly why enthusiasts are never truly targeted by these things. Making them happy is almost impossible and you'd go broke trying to do it. That's why the true fans/enthusiasts are best served by low production homebrew stuff that can better suit their very specific interests/desires. There's room enough (and need) for both approaches.

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Perhaps just start with a simple homebrew design as a starting point, something like:

 

Z80 CPU

Cartridge Slot (32K Cart as original)

8K SRAM

8K SRAM

8K SRAM

8K EPROM

74HC138 + 74HC139 Memory decoders,

(24K SRAM + 8K OS ROM)

 

V9958 Video board with sound

Possibly Four expansion slots for add-ons and prototyping new hardware.

 

The controller circuitry and stuff for 'Joypads' etc could be copied from the original CV ?

 

I've already seen several working V9958 schematics and at least one V9958 VDP board so quite a bit of the work has already been done.

 

This type of thing could be done as a hobby with little to no funding.

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something like this :

 

Z80 CPU

Cartridge Slot (32K Cart as original)

8K SRAM

8K SRAM

8K SRAM

8K EPROM

74HC138 + 74HC139 Memory decoders,

(24K SRAM + 8K OS ROM)

GAL22V10 I/O decoder

V9958 VDP

TMS4464-10 DRAMs 4 or 6pcs

CXA1645 or CXA1145 PAL/NTSC Encoder

SN764789 + AY-3-8910 PSGs

8255 for CF card reader

etc

There's already similar things being developed on other sites..so it shouldn't be too hard to knock a prototype out ?

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something like this :

 

Z80 CPU

Cartridge Slot (32K Cart as original)

8K SRAM

8K SRAM

8K SRAM

8K EPROM

74HC138 + 74HC139 Memory decoders,

(24K SRAM + 8K OS ROM)

GAL22V10 I/O decoder

V9958 VDP

TMS4464-10 DRAMs 4 or 6pcs

CXA1645 or CXA1145 PAL/NTSC Encoder

SN764789 + AY-3-8910 PSGs

8255 for CF card reader

etc

There's already similar things being developed on other sites..so it shouldn't be too hard to knock a prototype out ?

This is most certainly feasible and achievable at a sensible price :

 

Z80 CPU (Z84C0006PEC) $1.65 or so

Cartridge Slot (32K Cart as original) a couple of Dollars ?

8K SRAM <$.080 each

8K SRAM <$.080 each

8K SRAM <$.080 each

8K EPROM <1.0 each

74HC138 + 74HC139 Memory decoders, < $0.50 each or less

(24K SRAM + 8K OS ROM)

GAL22V10 I/O decoder $1.0 each

V9958 VDP $7.0 or so each

TMS4464-10 DRAMs 4 or 6pcs $0.75 each

CXA1645 or CXA1145 PAL/NTSC Encoder $1.50 each or less

SN764789 + AY-3-8910 PSGs $0.50 / $1.40 each

8255 for CF card reader 82C55 <$2.0 each

etc

All the ICs should only cost about $22 or so, then IC sockets , Connectors, Cartridge slot etc plus a low cost PCB should be doable for :

ICs $22

Connectors etc $15

PCB $32 ( Rough Guess)

So it is possible to make a low cost CV 2 ?? It's just design/making/testing etc that's the difficult but !!

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