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Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?

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People are pissed as hell at Might No. 9 for its delays and chicanery, now imagine the tolerance they'll have for the Chameleon. Today was Mike's last chance for any saving grace, he's now a joke because of the way he handled the situation on this, the day his KS should have launched without any remorse from me. If he's dumb enough to be a jerk in stringing even his own fans along in this, then he deserves to lose any time, money and good will he could get from us, his peers.

 

From all we've learned so far, this guy has no knowledge of video games aside from playing, either doesn't have funds or doesn't want to spend his, bought some stupid Jaguar shells, went to sleep one night and woke up thinking he was Shigeru Miyafuckingmoto.

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Why? Most PC Motherboards are littered with them (as well as torroidal inductors), and much larger than those in the photo, I might add.

Care to link an example? I'm looking at 2015/2016 Asus motherboards and I'm seeing almost entirely small SMT caps.

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It seems like a lot of people are still giving them the benefit of the doubt for some reason. I dont know why anyone would believe that what they just posted on facebook is a real working prototype.

me too, i cant understand why people there cant open their eyes

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It really wouldn't take much effort for Mike to make a short continuous, unedited video showing the cables from the unit to the TV along with it being powered up. Just a little more effort could prove he has something running under the hood.

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But are Mike and Co actually competent enough to lay out the Gerber files or whatever software they use to send off for a custom "dummy" circuit board that fits the profile of the shell, and is populated with parts that do nothing? Seems an exceedingly high amount of effort to post a fake proof of concept photo on Facebook. But then again, insanity and common sense are one in the same in retroland.

 

Either it's an off the shelf board of XYZ part scavenged from Lord knows where, or they actually really do have something meaningful crammed in there. If I had to hedge my bets, I would bid on the former. But i do have a secret wish that maybe there is a tiny sliver of hope they have done something right for once.

 

 

Judging by past evidence, no, they're not competent enough. I'm in the "random PCB/dev board" camp personally, I just wanted to clarify that even a picture of a custom PCB means nothing given their credibility if we don't see it actually doing something.

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Care to link an example? I'm looking at 2015/2016 Asus motherboards and I'm seeing almost entirely small SMT caps.

gigabyte.jpg

tsunami.jpg

brilliant1_s.jpg

5kw2DF1lsP3a.jpg

cubx.jpg

S1846-1.jpg

board7.jpg

EP-BX3.jpg

cs65b.jpg

Intel_S5000PSL_F.jpg

350x700px-LL-e5b441d5_untitled.jpeg

m750.jpg

9_full.jpg

Cans everywhere. Well, in "retroland," at least. That last pic has SATA connectors and PCIe slots, so it can't be that old... :roll:

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It really wouldn't take much effort for Mike to make a short continuous, unedited video showing the cables from the unit to the TV along with it being powered up. Just a little more effort could prove he has something running under the hood.

True, but since he doesn't it's not going to happen.

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Now that we're starting part 3 of the trilogy, I offer some book/movie titles:

 

Lord of the Consoles

 

Part one: The Fellowship of the FPGA

 

Part two: The Two KickStarters

 

Part three: The Return of the Carts

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Maybe someone with more "knowledgeable" eyes can eventually identify the board inside, but it's pretty blurry through that shell, and it seems like one could spend endless hours speculating and guessing.

 

 

Someone somewhere is fist-pumping and saying "YESSSSSSS!"

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Those are all ancient PC mobos though.. I'm seeing ISA slots on a few.

 

The fourth to last one looks more recent server mobo and they are all SMT caps.

 

Unless someone comes out and identifies it as an off the shelf dev board, it's my opinion that it is a custom board (or two), that it is not what was shown at the Toy Fair, and that they don't actually have a working platform yet, hence no real demo video.

Edited by webmiester
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Now that we're starting part 3 of the trilogy, I offer some book/movie titles:

 

Lord of the Consoles

 

Part one: The Fellowship of the FPGA

 

Part two: The Two KickStarters

 

Part three: The Return of the Carts

If we are going to play that game then.

 

Episode I: The phantom Prototype

 

Episode II: Attack of the haters

 

Episode III: Revenge of the Shyster

Edited by TheClassyGamer
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The first step in designing a project is to make a working prototype. Then you improve the prototype and make it into the final design. Only after you have a final board ready for manufacturing do you get to the last step. The last step is to make a "cool" case or enclosure to house your project.

This is because there is no reason to make a "cool" case when you have nothing to put in it, and once you get your project working and ready for manufacturing, it might not fit in the "cool" case you made.

Why in the world would anyone make the case first (and buy the Jaguar molds), and leave the details of making the thing actually work as an after thought?

(In my opinion the Jaguar case is not "cool", but quite ugly)

Edited by Hannacek
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Why? Most PC Motherboards are littered with them (as well as torroidal inductors), and much larger than those in the photo, I might add.

 

like webmiester said, theres more efficient sm stuff now. lets put all faith to the wind and assume that he has a hardware guy. after the scrutiny mike has been under for the topic of this very thread, the hardware specs, the whole reason(?) for the system at all, i highly doubt that any hardware guy would want his work to be scrutinized in this fashion (then again, noones been named so maybe they just want a paycheck and to be obfuscated completely), and if they were any good, they wouldnt design a board like that. it simply does not look like a board that would be created in 2016 and i feel thats a pretty valid reason given the track record. i think mike kennedy is playing a joke on everyone involved.

 

put it this way, if this thing were 1) real, 2) functional, and 3) not a complete snakeoil joke, you would think mike would be more than excited to show all the haters a video of it fully functioning, running multiple different carts. theres no such evidence, and i dont think there ever will be. i would go as far to say i wouldnt be surprised that the kickstarter didnt happen because the cv and intv games will no longer run on the system anymore if this thing even does happen. no cv/intv games = no bundles = no incentives = no problem.

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Those are all ancient PC mobos though.. I'm seeing ISA slots on a few.

 

The fourth to last one looks more recent server mobo and they are all SMT caps.

 

Unless someone comes out and identifies it as an off the shelf dev board, it's my opinion that it is a custom board (or two), that it is not what was shown at the Toy Fair, and that they don't actually have a working platform yet, hence no real demo video.

I did a google image search for Intel 440BX (my first PC in 1999 with 400Mhz Celeron used a 440BX chipset); that's probably why. A couple of those pics I added had SATA connections and full size PCIe slots though so those were likely ten years old or newer. This is retroland we're talking about. They do things a bit differently there. :P

 

I should prolly call it quits for the night. Nothing new to report, unless Triverse posts something juicy at midnight. :grin:

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Took me awhile to catch up...

Here's my guess ... I suspect that River West got cold feet about the negative publicity and the potential damage to the Coleco brand, especially after the "fraud" at the Toy Fair, and they yanked the Coleco license away from Mike a few days ago.


I doubt River West is all that concerned. The Coleco name is strictly something to make money off of. If they can sign up suckers to pay them to use that name, odds are they couldn't possibly care less about how that money is made, as long as it's not blatantly illegal. In most states.

surely Steve Woita, Paul Wylie, Phil Adam, Ben Herman, andSteven J. Rosenbaum should have been at least generally aware.
If not some of the them what the heck are they VP for?


I doubt they particularly care, or if they even have any actual money of their own invested in the "company" - more likely they're in it for speculative percentages from sales, and aren't investing any real time, money or effort in it. Were any of them at Toy Fair? Mike probably called them up, laid out his plans and promises of great rewards, and they just said, "Sure, you cut me in, and you can put my name on the web page, and I can put you in touch with a guy I used to know in the business."

I seriously doubt they've ever been in the same room. Maybe two or three of them have all been on Skype together, but "RetroVGS" shouldn't be confused with anything actually resembling a company. No offices. No cubicles. Just a guy in a garage, and some other guys in some other garages, connected only by e-mail, phone calls and promises.

 

So... onto the matter at hand.

Their Twitter feed still says:

COLECO Chameleon@RETROVGS Feb 13
We will be announcing the Coleco Chameleon Video-Game System Kickstarter start date at 9:30 AM ET today on the Facebook page.

What would be fascinating to find out, is when the whole Kickstart thing irrevocably went down the dumper, and what conversations/situations led to it. Who decided to pull the plug, and when? Could they not get their prototype running well enough to make (or fake) a video? Without a video on Kickstarter, you might as well not even bother. Was it a mad scramble even up until the last minute today to try and make it work? Because if they knew they were going to pull the plug before today, they would have lost nothing by posting that as soon as the decision was made.

 

Given the complete communication breakdown this week, and that it took so long to get effectively zero new information out (when it wouldn't have been all that hard to throw in the Kickstarter towel on Facebook days ago), this all seems like nothing but trying to get the horses back in the barn after it's already burned down.

 

Or... something.

 

Anyway...


Let's break down their latest Facebook post:

We’re delaying the Kickstarter for the Coleco Chameleon to make it even better!


The promised specs and explanation of the Toy Fair proto somehow failed to materialize today... so how are we to know they're making it better? Better how? Better than what? Surely, even without the Kickstarter campaign, they were prepared to share that other information, weren't they?

(That would be a "no", by the way.)

Last week during Toy Fair in New York, we had the opportunity to demonstrate the Coleco Chameleon to the industry, gamers and retailers for the first time.
Their response was beyond anything we’d imagined.
Major retailers provided feedback on the product and expressed real interest in carrying the product for the 2016 holiday season.
And, very importantly, major game companies expressed interest in providing games for our system, which meant we’d need more time to solidify those partnerships and maximize the content.


Translation:
We were at the Toy Fair, and a lot of people were there. Not that they actually stopped by our booth or anything, but we did have the opportunity to demonstrate it.
We don't have very good imaginations.
It's a video game. The video game industry out-earns the movie industry. If we bring any video game to market cheaply enough, they'll be glad to try and sell it, even if it's total garbage.
By "expressed interest", they were completely noncommittal, but recognized the value of nostalgia gaming enough to not completely ignore us, and even though we're emulating known, existing hardware and have no plans to update our console ever, we have to update it now for some reason.

Our team’s overriding goal has always been to deliver the best possible system and experience for gamers. If there’s ever anything we can do to enhance the product, we believe the extra time is worth it
Therefore, we have decided to delay the pre-sell, i.e. Kickstarter, campaign in order to finalize our prototype and work with developers on having the best possible content.
This delay will not affect our overall launch date for the Coleco Chameleon.


Translation:
We screwed up and couldn't get a reasonably believable prototype working in time to make a video. So here are some photos. Don't look under the table.
Now we're calling Kickstarter "pre-sell" rather than "a desperate attempt at fund-raising", and not only is the hardware not working, we don't have enough marketable games for it according to the retailers who did talk to us at Toy Fair.
We didn't have a launch date in the first place, and we still don't, so technically - this one is true!

There has also been a whirlwind of interest, speculation and curiosity regarding the insides of the Chameleon.
We are delighted by this and happy to confirm that we will be releasing photographs of the system now on our Facebook page, and we’ll focus on turning our prototype into a production-ready product.


Translation:
Whirlwind, tornado, hurricane, typhoon. Same thing. When you see the tsunami coming though, head for high ground.
But we're not going to show you the back or a real look at the insides, so you can't actually tell that it's still just smoke and mirrors. And again, no video - because we haven't unpacked the SNES from the Toy Fair trip yet. And by "production-ready" we mean, "working".

We’ll keep you posted on any major news on our Facebook page and will let you know when we launch a pre-sell program leading up to the Christmas season. Stay tuned, and thanks for your continued support.


Translation:
We'll keep deleting negative posts, but don't expect any updates until, oh... October. At which point we'll do this all over again.

Edited by Nathan Strum
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John's patents likely related to reading from cartridges or cartridge adapters the type of system to configure as, automatically, rather than to just select the game from a menu and the system then using a lookup table for that HDL and loading that configuration prior to the game. This is due to the HDL's being held in off system memory and needing to be auto loaded prior to the game.

 

That's about the only innovation here. As a unique to the unit hardware and software component, it's all I see as patentable and without known prior art.

 

 

Maybe we should shift the focus: so what if they have a dev or proto board? This was all triggered by them bringing out the SNES Jr., but if you ignore that there is less here than the "quick demo" of the Retro VGS.

I don't think these guys have anything. If they did they wouldn't be scared of showing it off to anybody who asks just to prove them wrong. I think they (or Carlsen) claimed in the past they're worried somebody will steal their design, which is ridiculous given 1/ the amount of similar hardware already in existence and 2/ you can code an FPGA with your complex HDL code and it will still look the same to the naked eye.

IMO without any kind of specs announced on paper it is still vaporware, no matter how many Jag shells with pcb and lipstick they put on display.

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Fake as a $3 bill. Unless I'm blind, there are no cables whatsoever coming out of the back of that thing. They should be visible in the second "TV" picture. No power cord, no video cables, no nothing.

 

Also, the "menu" looks like nothing more than a static image. The character in the bottom window hasn't moved from picture to picture. Normally that would be a videosnap of the game you are selecting. I suppose it could be argued that they used a static image for this "prototype" but I'm not buying any of it.

 

Once a scam always a scam.

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Fake as a $3 bill. Unless I'm blind, there are no cables whatsoever coming out of the back of that thing. They should be visible in the second "TV" picture. No power cord, no video cables, no nothing.

 

Also, the "menu" looks like nothing more than a static image. The character in the bottom window hasn't moved from picture to picture. Normally that would be a videosnap of the game you are selecting. I suppose it could be argued that they used a static image for this "prototype" but I'm not buying any of it.

 

Once a scam always a scam.

I could probably pump put code for a ROM loader in a day or two. If it's just a flash ROM cart, reverse engineering an existing ROM loader to just skin it would be pretty trivial.

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I see some design reasons for those caps. I'd rather have them than some of the other junk. Most repairs are done with electrolytics and frankly, if it is a proto board, they are easier to solder in, even using a heat gun.

 

But, eh... the lack of a video firing it up and zooming around is quite disheartening.

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smd or though hole Im still trying to wrap my brain around why a digital system would need so many beer cans (and I mostly design dc constant current power supplies for a living!) its not like a pc motherboard that has a gazillion voltages and almost as many power drops over its noisy as hell system, typically arm / fpga pick 1 or 2 voltages and not having to spin a pile of motors and a 390 watt video card all running at variable speeds...

 

not that I honestly care its just another "what?"

Edited by Osgeld
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It seems like a lot of people are still giving them the benefit of the doubt for some reason. I dont know why anyone would believe that what they just posted on facebook is a real working prototype. How many chances are people going to give them? I know this does not apply to most here, but I have seen some posts where people are thinking its maybe real. The only reason they delayed the kickstarter was cause we figured out they didn't have a prototype. They had 2 weeks to throw their new "prototype" together to make it look more legit. Their reason for the kickstarter delay makes no sense.

 

Well, here's the thing- I think his prototype is real, but it doesn't work yet. That's how I interpret the events. He wanted to get on Kickstarter and thought he could do it today. He hyped up his KS campaign and promised he could show off games using their software (to prove us wrong) and resolve everyone's concerns. But it just didn't happen, I think they ran out of time. Their "hardware" (software??) guy probably assured them the night before that he could have it all ready and running by morning with just a few tweaks. But he couldn't. That's how I interpret the last minute delay.

 

Mike is dumb, but not dumb enough to plan his big day to go like this. If he had no prototype at all, he would have posted the pics of the fake boards and delayed it in the middle of the week, not the day of. This day did not go according to plan for Mike. I think he did want to launch today but couldn't meet the working prototype requirement because he does have a prototype but it just doesn't work and getting booted off KS would be a death sentence for him on crowdfunding.

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i dunno fellas...beyond these gripes, wouldnt it not be a screened board? it would be a breadboard of some type with wires and signs of you know, actual work, actual soldering? that is, if it were a real prototype. and not just some some random board thrown inside a jag shell with pictures taken of it as a last ditch hope to somehow save a few facial skin follicles

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OMG LOL that facebook post! and the fact they deleted the Kickstarter rewards, no Kickstarter today either LOL. And I could be wrong, and I cant think of the Model off the top of my head but I am (to tipsy) almost Positive that that is an older ASrock Board LOL. Like I said I'm tipsy right now but I'm pretty sure that;s what that it LOL! *where's Popcorn"

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post-2641-0-77418100-1456545201_thumb.jpg

 

Okay, so I started turning these out like mad, and I'm not going to lie, some of them got pretty crude, so I'm not going to subject anybody to them...for now. But here's a decent resolution psd file for making your own. I haven't quite gotten the layout where I like it on this improved template, but there's room enough for creativity. It's not the best or anything, but meme away.

 

I expect to see great things.

 

Here's an updated one with the new prototype. (Font is Eurostile Bold Ext. 2. If you don't have it, you'll have to change it to something else.)

 

re-chamemeleon.psd.zip

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