Chameleon

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Chameleon
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Chameleon v2 first Prototype
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Chameleon Main Menu (Screenshot downloaded from VGA framebuffer)
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Chameleon Filebrowser (Screenshot downloaded from VGA framebuffer)
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BASIC startup screen (Screenshot downloaded from VGA framebuffer)

Contents

Overview

Chameleon is an extremely user-friendly multipurpose cartridge that can be used without opening the computer. It is just plugged to the expansion port of the C64. It can also be operated as a stand-alone unit (since it's basically an FPGA computer like the C-One in a C64 cartridge case), replacing the computer, the floppy drive and the heavy power supply. A docking station providing 4 joystick ports and connectors for an Amiga or C-64 keyboard is available.

Technical Data

  • Altera FPGA with 24624 LEs
  • 16MiB Flash Memory, 32MiB RAM
  • VGA connector
  • MMC/SD card slot
  • Connectors for PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard and IEC bus
  • Battery-backed real time clock (RTC)
  • IR receiver for CDTV remote control.
  • Connector for RR-Net (RR-MK2 needs a patch to work in standalone mode on Chameleon V1).
  • USB link to a PC for debugging and data transfer.

Turbo Chameleon 64 FPGA Core

  • In cartridge mode the C64 core can be used with a european (PAL-G) or the "new" american 65-cycle (NTSC-M) C64. The "old" american 64-Cycle C64 and the argentinian "Drean" (PAL-N) C64 can not be used.
  • In standalone mode both a PAL-G or NTSC-M C64 can be emulated
  • VGA-output with 60 Hz refresh rate or more.
  • Turbo function with full 6510 processor compatibility (incl. illegal opcodes). For the first time, a C64 accelerator that does not use a 16-bit processor, but an accelerated 6510. (see Benchmarks)
  • REU (memory expansion) with up to 16 MiB RAM.
  • GEORAM (memory expansion) with up to 4 MiB RAM.
  • MMC/SD card slot with MMC64 compatibility and optional MMC64 ROM emulation.
  • Full 1541-emulation (2 Drives)
    • supports D64 and G64 files
  • SID emulation with filters (Two SIDs are emulated with selectable filter characteristics and base address of 2nd SID).
  • PS/2 mouse support (emulation of 1351 and Micromys).
  • PS/2 keyboard support (Joystick emulation available on numeric keypad).
  • Freezer (compatible with Retro Replay). ROMs can be stored in onboard flash or read from MMC card (as .crt or binary files).
  • Emulation of the following utility and game cartridges is available: 8 or 16 KByte (EP)ROM cartridges, Simons' Basic, Ocean type 1, FunPlay, Super Games, Epyx Fastload, Westermann Learning, C64 Game System (system 3), Warpspeed, Dinamic, Zaxxon, Magic Desk, Comal-80, Ross, Mikro Assembler, StarDos, EasyFlash, Prophet-64, Mach-5, PageFox, Business Basic (S'More).
  • Emulation of the following freezer cartridges is available: Action Replay, Retro Replay, Final Cartridge 3, Expert Cartridge, KCS Power Cartridge, SuperSnapshot 5, Capture.

Updates

  • Chameleon Beta-9i release (April 19th 2019): Combined core, menu and ChaCo update including manual (12 MBytes, includes automatic updater for Windows and ChaCo versions for Win32 and Linux64) (what's new)

Earlier releases: Beta-7 Beta-7a Beta-7b Beta-8 Beta-8a Beta-8b Beta-8c Beta-8d Beta-8e Beta-8f Beta-8g Beta-8h Beta-8i Beta-9 Beta-9a Beta-9b Beta-9c Beta-9d Beta-9e Beta-9f Beta-9g Beta-9h

User Information

Bugs and Limitations

If you find any bugs, please report them directly to Individual Computers using our web forum. Before doing so, please make sure you are running the latest version of the Turbo Chameleon FPGA Core.

To make it easier and more efficient for us to handle bug reports, please provide the following information with them:

  • whether you are using the Chameleon in standalone or cartridge mode
  • whether you are using PAL or NTSC
  • if you are using cartridge mode, then it would be helpful to know which kind of C64 it is (board revision, type of CIAs, VIC, SID). You can use Box Check:Type to get some related info without having to open the C64.
  • if you are experiencing a bug in cartridge mode, also try if the same problem shows in standalone mode. sometimes certain misbehaviour can be attributed to a (partially) broken c64 - this must be ruled out first.
  • a detailed description that enables us to reproduce the bug

for more details look at Chameleon Test Procedure

Developer Information

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System Overview
  • USB Library and Tools Source is available as well

Support

  • icomp forum - sign up here to get in touch with the developers and other Chameleon users. Since all developers read this, it is also the preferred way to report bugs.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions not answered in the available documents.

Related projects

Here are some Chameleon related projects that we know of. Please notice that all of these are created and maintained by other Chameleon users, which means that Individual Computers does (and can) not provide any support for them.

Cores

When installing a core, make sure to use the right one for your hardware.

Please notice that not all cores have been ported to the second version of the Chameleon yet. We are tracking the progress in this Forum Thread

We are offering special deals for core authors - please get in touch!

Home Computers

8 bit
  • TCA2601 is another Atari 2600 VCS core (A2601) ported by Frank Buss.
  • ZX-One is a Sinclair Spectrum FPGA core which has been ported to the Chameleon hardware by Alessandro Dorigatti.
16 bit
  • MiniMig is an Amiga FPGA core which also has been ported to the Chameleon hardware by Alastair M. Robinson.
  • Alastair M. Robinson ported the Sega Genesis FPGAgen core

Arcade

Other

USB Tools

a few different tools are available in the Chaco repository:

  • Chaco - the original GUI USB client. Use this to flash 3rd party cores.
  • flasher - update program from the release packages
  • chacocmd - original commandline USB client
  • chshot - make screenshot from C64 screen over USB
  • chcodenet - a "codenet" clone that works over USB
  • chtransfer - port of "EasyTransfer" by Skoe (GUI USB client)
  • chxfer - port of "ef3xfer" by Skoe
  • chmon - port of "netmon" by Hannenz
  • chusb - port of "ef3usb" by Tom-Cat
  • chmount - commandline tool to send disk images to chameleon ram (used for the testbench)

download binaries for Linux, OSX, Windows or Source

  • Qchaco is "a frontend running chacocmd with parameters to upload a file, a diskimage or flash it with new firmware."
  • Chameleon Server is "a utility [...] that allows you to send C64 prg files directly to the machine via USB."
  • Chameleon CC65 is "a scratchpad application that uses the CC65 compiler to compile C language programs that can then be sent directly to the C64 over USB"
  • Ultimate1541 Sid Remote 1.1 is a remote SID player application

C-64 Software

Listing software that requires, or supports, one or another special feature only available on "modern" hardware and/or emulators such as Chameleon or VICE.

16MB REU

RTC

  • GeoCham64RTC by darkvision is an autostart utility to set the GEOS clock from the chamelon RTC.

Turbo

Only Games that are designed to run on a faster CPU - or happen to run without undesirable side effects - are listed here, ie enabling the turbo mode will not just make them run faster as a whole, but the game will maintain a higher framerate and/or run smoother, or have other benefits such as quicker depacking or screen flipping. Most of these will not detect the chameleon and enable the turbo-mode automatically, so you will have to configure it manually. Please let us know if you know any other games missing on this list.

  • 3D-Pool (uses $d030 bit, works without) - runs faster as a whole, but remains playable
  • Alleykat (uses $d030 bit, use 2MHz, disable "Turbo IEC sensitive") - adds more sprites to the Katerkillar, more bullets on screen, more effects on the title screen
  • Asteroids Emulator (C64 Version) (uses $d030 bit)
  • Bruce Lee II (uses $d030 bit) - quicker screen flipping
  • Castlevania (uses $d030 bit)
  • Crazy Dream 10 - No more slowdowns, extra colorram usage, less delay when starting a level
  • Elite 128 by Uz (uses $d030 bit, works without) - increased framerate
  • Grubz by Singular (use $d030 bit)
  • Ferrari Formula One (uses $d030 bit)
  • Flight Simulator II (with patch published by "Commodore Disk User Magazine") (use $d030 bit) - patch allows to switch between normal and fast mode, the latter increases the frame rate
  • Grand Prix Circuit (uses $d030 bit, disable "Turbo IEC sensitive") - increased framerate
  • Gunfright (for c64 - v1.10) (uses $d030 bit, use 2MHz)
  • Gunship (use $d030 bit) - speed increase
  • Hard Drivin' - increased framerate
  • Hessian (uses $d030 bit) - removes glitches on NTSC
  • Intensity (uses $d030 bit)
  • Knight Lore (use $d030 bit) - quicker screen flipping
  • Koronis Rift - higher framerate
  • Last Ninja - quicker screen flipping
  • Leader Board Golf - much quicker screen flipping
  • Mega Apocalypse (uses $d030 bit) - avoids performance issues
  • Morpheus (uses $d030 bit) - more Morphai
  • Newcomer (use $d030 bit) - faster depacking
  • Nuclear Reaction 2100 - Computer "thinks" much faster
  • Paradroid Metal Edition (Heavy Metal Paradroid) (uses $d030 bit, use 2MHz) - smoother scrolling
  • Paradroid Redux (uses $d030 bit) - smoother scrolling
  • Pentagram (for c64 - v1.30) (disable $d030 bit) - quicker screen flipping
  • Project Stealth Fighter (uses $d030 bit, works without) - higher framerate
  • Prince of Persia (uses $d030 bit, works without) - higher framerate
  • Rescue on Fractalus - higher framerate
  • Slipstream by Bauknecht - higher framerate
  • Spindizzy - much faster screen flipping
  • Steel Ranger (uses $d030 bit) - removes glitches on NTSC
  • Stellar 7 - runs faster as a whole, but remains playable
  • Stratton (uses $d030 bit) - faster switch from attract mode to play mode
  • Super Bread Box (the full game, not the 16kb cartridge) (use $d030 bit) - increased performance
  • Super Mario Bros. 64 - no slowdowns
  • Test Drive (patched version uses $d030 bit, works without) - higher framerate
  • Test Drive 2 (uses $d030 bit) - higher framerate
  • The Eidolon - higher framerate
  • The Sentinel - faster screen flipping
  • Thrust Gold by The Dreams (uses $d030 bit, works without) - more accurate gravity calculations
  • Thunderchopper (uses $d030 bit)
  • Trans World - quicker screen switching
  • Up Periscope (uses $d030 bit)
  • Uridium+ (new Uridium) (uses $d030 bit, works without) - more bullets, higher to speed, more background stars
  • Xenophobe (only d64 version) (uses $d030 bit)


other than that, there are also a few scene demos that take advantage of the chameleon turbo:


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