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phoenixdownita

Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?

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It's a shame we haven't seen too many higher-end asic game sytems.

I haven't seen one yet that outputs RGB or better. This is more an effect of the price point they're aimed at than anything, I suppose.

Naturally, the FPGA systems, being far more expensive devices, tend to have nice video options.

 

Since Mike doesn't want to patch, why's he doing FPGA at all? Throw an asic in each cart and be done with it...

Or heck, throw 'the big three' asics in the system and basically create a 'super retro trio' that costs more, has far fewer games and comes in limited edition, transparent jag shells.

Edited by Reaperman
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...

Throw an asic in each cart and be done with it...

Somebody's gotta design them .... of the 2 hw guys so far (RVGS first then CC now), one was last seen "been thrown under a bus", the other (undisclosed as of now) allegedly had sticky issues with a roll of electric tape at a toy fair :grin:

Edited by phoenixdownita

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So, let me get this straight .... FPGA for retro gaming is in the early stages, and isn't really ready for commercial applications, even though it's going to be ubiquitous in the future. Being first is probably a handicap, not desirable. Reminds me of a mid-1990's "64-bit" system. Ironic that they have the same casing.

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Random thought, why does anyone care about how much an item that entertains you for hours on end costs? I mean this forum is full of people who will pay several thousand dollars for a single boxed game, just to shove it onto a shelve, why cry over a $100 FPGA?

 

 

I don't think anyone has an issue with paying what it would cost to get a solid FPGA based system. That's why so many of use are watching KevTris' project like hawks and will be shoving money in his face the moment it's available.

 

Where the issue comes in is that doing an FPGA based system shouldn't have half-assed and needs to be done right. Otherwise, there's just no benefit.

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So, let me get this straight .... FPGA for retro gaming is in the early stages, and isn't really ready for commercial applications, even though it's going to be ubiquitous in the future. Being first is probably a handicap, not desirable. Reminds me of a mid-1990's "64-bit" system. Ironic that they have the same casing.

 

No, Kevin has been working with them on retro-gaming applications for over 10 years.

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Dumb Question time;

 

Okay, so it looks like everyone's just going to be rehashing the same lack of news from now until the kickstarter, I thought it might be a good time to ask a dumb question. Maybe I am not the only one wondering about this…

 

At the risk of sounding trollish, I want to ask -

 

What's the big deal with FPGA? Why is it considered the "gold standard" for emulation?

 

If we had a gate level specification of, say, the SNES video chip, then I guess anyone could implement it with gate arrays, and we would be confident that the implementation would be accurate.

 

But, we don't have a gate level spec. The SNES video chip is a "black box" to us - all we have are the results of people's experiments ("when I write to this address, this happened)" and people's ideas about what is going on inside.

 

So. the FPGA programmer has to try and recreate the design based on this incomplete knowledge. I imagine the quality and accuracy of the result is more dependent on the experience and skill of the programmer than anything else. There is nothing magical about using a gate array that makes this redesigned chip automatically more accurate than a software emulation of that chip, is there?

 

Part of the reason is because "it's there". These days, technology has advanced enough where there's excellent tools for doing more than black box reverse engineering. While this is still a big part of it, there's access to affordable decapping now. We've been working on decapping various chips to figure out exactly what goes on at a gate level, and this has been very successful on the NES. The SNES SPC chips have been decapped and have been giving up some of their secrets. Cheapish very high end logic analyzers can now be had for peanuts on ebay, so I have been using one of those to probe the inner secrets of various systems to get exact cycle timing for things. This isn't an exact gate level, but lots of the time you can predict exactly how something must work by the evidence produced.

 

Of course this info can be used to make software emulators better too. I work on FPGA stuff because I find it interesting and it's kind of a simulation more at the hardware level of how a real system works, complete with all its quirks, timing, and other characteristics. Getting all these things right in a software emulator can be difficult and take a very high end CPU if you wish to have a really good low level emulation. Obviously, a cheaper (CPU cycles) less accurate emulation will play most of the games in an acceptable fashion. You might look at it as listening to music on a pair of $2 ear buds vs. a $500 pair of high end over the ear headphones.

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this forum is full of people who will pay several thousand dollars for a single boxed game, just to shove it onto a shelve

As they say on Wikipedia, [citation needed]. While I'm sure there are some rich collectors here, I wouldn't say AA is "full" of them.

 

My general impression of our membership is more of people who haunt flea markets or online auctions looking for deals, and people who haven't bought a new game since the turn of the century.

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He won a lot of points here in the RVGS debacle. He showed us how not only was the RVGS nonexistent on the hardware front, but even on the software side. When a game producer says that he has no idea how a game will get ported to a system its promised-for, people take note. It would be like the Chameleon hardware guy stepping up and saying, "We have no real prototype."

 

Is guilt-by-association fair? Beats me and I completely understand if you feel that way. Piko/Eli seems to be taking more of a wait-and-see attitude about the Chameleon. Contrast with CollectorVision (as mentioned earlier), where they produced half-hour infomercials on RVGS where it was only briefly mentioned toward the end of the video that the pack-in game was theirs. That seems a less forgivable offense to me.

 

It is a good point! I never liked Gamester81 and his videos at all...so I don't expect anything from him/them either way. I can't get more away from them. All I know from Piko is this strange relationship between them and Mike Kennedys project, that everyone seems to think is a con, really. After the Retro VGS video with John Carlsen showing where power goes in and where video comes out and the mini-snes in a jag shell-farce, I am just amazed at how you can choose to take a wait-and-see stance.

 

There's another guy in here who defends Mike Kennedy because Mike is his friend(by his own statement, not mine)...he doesn't get a pass.

 

I am wrong all the time, I might be wrong here. I thought I remembered Piko being at Mikes booth, but I think it was somebody else now.

 

Thanks,

 

Nicholas

 

Edit: Not that I don't like the MAN, Gamerster81 :)

Edited by AE35
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Random thought, why does anyone care about how much an item that entertains you for hours on end costs?

 

I don't. What I care about are games that would actually entertain me for hours. As of yet, I've seen none for the Chameleon that fit that criteria, and have to be convinced they actually have any actual hardware that will run the games they have mentioned.

 

I mean this forum is full of people who will pay several thousand dollars for a single boxed game, just to shove it onto a shelve, why cry over a $100 FPGA?

 

Full of? No. Are there some here? Yes. Enough to make a product like the Chameleon a success? No. And I suspect part of this is what lies at the root of the problem. Mike has seen games go for outrageous prices on Game Grovel, and assumes that the handful of high-profile, big-spending collectors that he's seen are the norm for retrogamers, and not the exception.

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Somebody's gotta design them .... of the 2 hw guys so far (RVGS first then CC now), one was last seen "been thrown under a bus", the other (undisclosed as of now) allegedly had sticky issues with a roll of electric tape at a toy fair :grin:

I can't imagine why any "hardware guy" would want to work for Mike, given his history with them. "Hardware guys" are to the RVGS/Chameleon project exactly what redshirts were to the Starship Enterprise.

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I don't. What I care about are games that would actually entertain me for hours. As of yet, I've seen none for the Chameleon that fit that criteria, and have to be convinced they actually have any actual hardware that will run the games they have mentioned.

 

 

Full of? No. Are there some here? Yes. Enough to make a product like the Chameleon a success? No. And I suspect part of this is what lies at the root of the problem. Mike has seen games go for outrageous prices on Game Grovel, and assumes that the handful of high-profile, big-spending collectors that he's seen are the norm for retrogamers, and not the exception.

 

True, the content is a problem, but not the price. I am not rich, I just know how to collect money long enough to buy what I desire. I have zero interest in this "console", I was just throwing out the fact that people cried about the original $300 price point.

 

I guarantee you, this forum has enough collectors of high value items, to reach 7 figures easily.

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I was just throwing out the fact that people cried about the original $300 price point.

 

 

I think they were mostly complaining because that price falls into the 'splaining to the wife*' range, where if it was half of that I might just be able to sneak it by...

 

*at least in my household

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I think they were mostly complaining because that price falls into the 'splaining to the wife*' range, where if it was half of that I might just be able to sneak it by...

 

*at least in my household

 

You need to do what many people do, open a "toy account". ;)

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You need to do what many people do, open a "toy account". ;)

I have an allowance, but it's only $10/day and I want it now!--I want it now!--I want it now! :P

Edited by Reaperman

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I have an allowance, but it's only $10/day and I want it now!--I want it now!--I want it now! :P

 

Hehe, yes, without patience it doesn't work. :D

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I guarantee you, this forum has enough collectors of high value items, to reach 7 figures easily.

That makes sense ... I'm sure there are enough enthusiasts to scratch together a million dollars for something awesome that was clearly worth it. Retro VGS Chameleon isn't it, though.

 

I wonder about the "lessons learned" that will come out of this. I sure hope no one takes away that pricing was the main problem with this project. Soft demand, maybe. Botched communication for sure. Failure to listen to the market, absolutely. I would hate for anyone trying to do this right to be discouraged or negatively affected by the lousy execution of this project.

 

Kevtris, you're our only hope

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Great job on the replica :)

 

So, how do Mike get people to sign on to be part of something like putting a mini-SNES pcb in a jaguar? It must be something

like: "We have to do it for now, just til we get the protoype going" - that way it is not *really* cheating, but just buying time!

 

I am curious as to how the person-to-person interaction is.

Edited by AE35

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My replica so far, I am waiting on the extensions and a few other bits for authenticity, but this is how I imagine it was constructed.

 

You even spray-painted it? That's above-and-beyond stuff right there.

Bonus points for showing us how to properly hard-wire controllers.

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My replica so far, I am waiting on the extensions and a few other bits for authenticity, but this is how I imagine it was constructed.

 

When does your KS launch?

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My replica so far, I am waiting on the extensions and a few other bits for authenticity, but this is how I imagine it was constructed.

 

Those conrollers are not "hard wired" into the system, you slanderous fraud!

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