ZX Vega+ News

(Unauthorised and Unofficial)

Vega+ Shipping Dates

  • End of September 2016
  • October 2016
  • In time for Xmas 2016
  • February 2017
  • A "few weeks" from March 10th 2017
  • Summer 2017
  • 8 weeks from August 9th (October 4th, 2017)
  • Mid October 2017

World of Spectrum

Searchable threads in one long post:

Daily Blog

The Vega+ daily blog is now so long that by default it only shows the last 14 entries. If you wish to read the full history, click the button below.

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Tuesday 3rd October, 2017

Backers on Indiegogo are urging people to report RCL to Action Fraud over false delivery dates and stolen money. The form takes between 5 and 10 minutes to fill out. A selection of crime reference numbers that have been submitted so far:

  • NFRC171002031490 
  • NFRC171002032013
  • NFRC171002030859
  • NFRC171002030706

Jan Saggiori (admin of the "democracy" facebook group) has setup a fake website duplicating many elements from TheC64 campaign, and publishing the address and phone numbers for George Cropper, Jamie Ball and Paul Andrews. We will not publicise the URL of Jan's fake website, but instead redirect any interested parties to the official Bum Fun Gaming website along with the official TheC64 website.

Jan Saggiori's poor fake copy of TheC64 official website
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Wednesday 4th October, 2017

RCL miss their 7th deadline! On Wednesday the 9th of August, RCL released update 61 stating "We aim to begin shipping the Vega+ to backers within the next 8 weeks, and to follow this immediately with our first shipments to retail. And to the RCL trolls, we’re not going anywhere. Peace out". The 8 weeks ran out today.

Today's failure to release the Vega+ surprises very few people, as RCL have not sent out the address confirmation and roll of honour emails, PEGI certification has not been applied for, the games list isn't complete and even the box design isn't finalised.

In the "democracy" facebook group, Jan Saggiori has purged more than 50 members. The current number of members has dropped from 319 to 257 and Jan is now demanding backer numbers when anyone attempts to join the group. Jan Saggiori is not a backer himself yet has bragged about having the complete backers list in what would be a major data breach:

Jan Saggiori purges democracy and asks for backer numbers

Jan Saggiori has also created a new fake twitter account to expose the details of George Cropper, Jamie Ball and Paul Andrews. The account includes a fake picture with George's head on it.

George Cropper releases a new video called VEGA+ TEAM RESORT TO DOXXING!

The twitter troll account Bob Smith is attempting to "dox" various people in the retro gaming community that have asked for the truth from RCL. Andy Kavanagh, Isofarro and Codetapper have all been targeted in tweets similar to this:

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Thursday 5th October, 2017

We have noticed that Andrews UK has submitted their annual accounts, and named RCL and its directors in them as refusing to pay the debts confirmed in writing by David Levy. According to the notes in the submitted accounts, Levy refused to pay the debts whilst at the same time paying himself, and although Andrews UK will attempt to recover them in due course, it has not affected the otherwise healthy position of the company.

Preston Thomas has tweeted that his wife Tamara has stepped down as admin from the "democracy" group after the "doxxing" by the remaining admin Jan Saggiori:

Lee Fogarty has claimed that George Cropper (who runs the site Bum Fun Gaming) does not actually live in Spain, and resides in Scotland. George denied this in his video response from yesterday, and Preston has also confirmed Lee is wrong by confirming a batch of games he received from George last year were indeed sent from Spain.

The site MMO Fallout has posted an article called Crowdfunding Fraudsters Update: Retro Computers Ltd Sanctions Doxxing, Slandering Competition. The article's main content relates to "3rd wheel" Jan Saggiori and his slanderous comments.

Many in the community have deduced the fake Bob Smith twitter profile as Lee Fogarty:

Twitter have investigated and found the fake twitter account created by Swiss hacker Jan Saggiori is in breach of violations.

Jan Saggiori fake profile in violation of Twitter rules
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Sunday 8th October, 2017

Lee Fogarty posts on Spectrum 4Ever that there will be highscore competitions during the day at the Spectrum 35 event on Saturday October 28th, and the prizes will be limited edition Vega+ units. This appears to be a real slap in the face to the poor backers that are still waiting for their Vega+ units for the best part of 18 months. Lee's post:

"There will be high score challenges throughout the day, and the prizes are ltd edition Vega+'s"

Lee Fogarty claims limitied edition Vega+ units as prizes at Spectrum 35 event

Please note that some of the comments in the post have already been deleted from the thread.

Jonathan Cauldwell posts several messages blaming George Cropper and 4 or 5 other people for "destroying the community":

  • Lee Fogarty isn't destroying the community, it's G Crapper et al who have attempted that.
  • It's those who wish ill upon the console who have poisoned the community. 4 or 5 people.

Delusional Jonathan Cauldwell still blaming George for destroying the community
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Tuesday 10th October, 2017

Lee Fogarty has deleted 3 of his twitter accounts: @FogartyLee, @FogartyLee2 and @WorldOfSpectrum. Various archived snapshots are available:

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Wednesday 11th October, 2017

RCL spokesman/contractor Lee Fogarty has now deleted his facebook account. Despite rumours that Lee is suicidal, two people have spoken with him to confirm this is not the case:

Lloyd: Is Lee Fogarty ok? He seems to have deleted his account?
Guy: Steve Brown called him earlier and he's fine.
Richard Chandler: Lee's ok. People causing him shit and he's having to deal with it. Easier to do it offline.

Richard Chandler claims Lee Fogarty is not suicidal, is ok and going offline

With Lee deleting his facebook account, he has also removed himself as the admin from the Spectrum 35 facebook group. The Spectrum 35 event is due to take place in a few weeks time, with Lee Fogarty set to hand out up to 17 limited edition Vega+ prizes on offer. (This calculation is based on 4 categories, with teams of up to 4 people, and at least one extra prize for a high score competition on the day).

No admins in Spectrum 35 facebook group after Lee Fogarty deleted his account

The "posted by" name has also changed from "Lee Fogarty" to "Admin" on the Retro Computers website. All news articles that previously showed "by Lee Fogarty" now show "by Admin".

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Thursday 12th October, 2017

Jan Saggiori has admitted he created the fake profile @DuncanJamesBall on twitter. In a private message, he posts the following:

"I am happy you liked the joke account, as the real george is extremly upset"
"Yes when i do something it stays there for ever"

Jan Saggiori admits twitter troll account @DuncanJamesBall is him
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Friday 13th October, 2017

Ping Pong Studios has an active proposal to be struck off on Companies House. Ping Pong Studios is another in the long list of companies involving David Levy, Suzanne Martin and Janko Mrsic-Flogel that has never submitted accounts, and is set to be dissolved.

Ping Pong Studios proposal to strike off, another David Levy business failure
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Saturday 14th October, 2017

The last remaining admin of the "democracy" group Jan Saggiori is manning the fort, telling everyone that the Vega+ is mere days away. He appears to be using the word "we" more frequently in his most recent posts. (Jan Saggiori is not a backer, and has never been one).

Jan Saggiori telling everyone the Vega+ is mere days away
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Sunday 15th October, 2017

Suzanne Martin has been spotted liking posts on the "democracy" group today.

Convicted criminal Suzanne Martin spotted liking posts in the democracy group

A tweet to PayPal (and their reply) appears to show Retro Computers Ltd breaking PayPal's terms and conditions for pre-sale items. The relevant section:

Does PayPal permit transactions for pre-sale items?

A pre-sale item is advertised for sale before the seller actually has the item. Often, these items are sold before they are available to the general public.

A seller might use the money from the pre-sale of an item to purchase the item.

PayPal permits pre-sales on a limited basis as long as the seller:

Guarantees shipment within 20 days from the date of purchase.
Clearly identifies the item as a pre-sale.
Provides proof, if needed, that they can successfully deliver the product (supplier information, purchase invoices, shipping information, or delivery confirmation).

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Monday 16th October, 2017

RCL miss their 8th deadline! On September 1, RCL released update 63 and extended the deadline in their "Happy Friday" update when they said, "Well, it's the first day of September and we are on track for the Vega+ reaching your game-hungry mittens by mid October." With no update since then and based on 31 days in October, today is mid October and their 8th successive delivery failure.

George releases a video called THE VEGA+ - NO OCTOBER DELIVERY

Lee Fogarty posts the following on the World of Spectrum facebook group:

Lying bastard Lee Fogarty

Statement from Lee Fogarty 16 Oct 17

This is a personal statement regarding Sir Clive Sinclairs company, Retro Computers Limited (RCL) and my association with the Vega+ and the continued delays.

I was not involved in this project at the beginning, and read about the project as an independent fan of the Spectrum. I was impressed that it was so much more than the original Vega, and a project worth backing.

On 21 May 16, I contacted RCL offering my assistance, as it was clear they were having some difficulty with their website following the departure of Paul Andrews and Chris Smith. I had never had any contact with these people prior to this time. I was put onto Suzanne Martin who informed me that the website had been taken down and a backup posted on DVD for recovery, but the company trying to restore the website had problems with it being sabotaged. That evening was spent recovering the archive.org backup to get the site back online.

When I received the files for full recovery via dropbox, it was clear the website had been sabotaged. This was quickly rectified and the website restored. The process from receiving these files to full restoration took 4hrs.

There was also a 2nd website, and when I received the files for that via dropbox, there was no database included.

On the same day the RCL website went back online, I became a target for a coordinated, sustained abuse campaign. This has been ongoing now for 18 months, apparently because of the help that I've given to RCL to help them to get closer to releasing the Vega+, which is all I cared about. This has now escalated and has recently involved my family and friends. My partner has also had her address posted online with calls for people to contact her to receive refunds for a product and company she has nothing to do with. She has also had her business social media accounts trolled, had items posted to her address and her car damaged.

Despite the abuse, I continued to offer support and advice to RCL.

On 20 Oct 16, at the SMS factory in Beeston, RCL had their Vega+ launch party. It was announced at the party that full manufacturing would commence “within weeks” and the Vega+ would be in shops by Christmas.

Prior to the launch party I was aware that due to contractual issues, Private Planet had undertaken to re-write the firmware from scratch. This concerned me, as I know it takes a lot of experience with the machine you are emulating in order to emulate it, and it's not a quick process to produce an emulator, and my opinion was that an existing emulator author should be contacted to request licensing.

I was pleasantly surprised at the launch party to see working units, and it showed progress. However, during a conversation with the developer, it transpired that he was using the open source emulator FUSE. I expressed concern that FUSE was being used and nobody from that development team had been approached as I felt the authors of FUSE should have been aware, and I was concerned that with the amount of online abuse, that the team should be given the chance to prepare for the same level. I was told that there was no obligation to inform the FUSE team due to the license – this is true, but not in my opinion the way to endear the community you are trying to sell a product to. It would also have been wise from a development point of view to have contact with the authors to aid with ironing out any issues.

It was also very clear that the software was unfinished – a lot of features were missing or didn't work. However, these were minor issues easily fixed.

Over the following months, there were several conversations regarding the use of FUSE and keeping the team in the dark. I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the FUSE developers being kept in the dark about it being used to power the Vega+ and so contacted the team myself to inform them, and that they needed to prepare for the abuse when it was finally announced. Rightly or wrongly, I made that decision alone and with no authorisation from RCL. This gave the FUSE team plenty of time to prepare their statement when it was announced.

Over time, there were many disagreements with the way the project was being handled, and in particular updating backers with issues as well as progress – my opinion is and always was that they funded this project and deserve to be part of the journey. Of course, the final decision is always with the MD as to whether advice is followed or not.

On 8 April 17, there was an event in Nottingham. I had pre-arranged with the organisers that they would receive a working Vega+ as a thank-you for their dedication to the Sinclair brand for 35yrs, and in addition they were members of the launch party that were promised units, so it was an ideal opportunity to hand over. Due to a mix-up with times, the unit was handed over later than intended.

It was also arranged that some pre-selected testers from the community would also receive units. RCL was to be represented by Suzanne Martin and she would be available to demonstrate the units and answer any questions or concerns. Unfortunately, before the event started, Suzanne was called away and I was left to face backers and answer questions based on what information had been given to me by Suzanne. Again, it was with assurances that the units were about to be manufactured.

During testing, it became very clear that this wasn't a product that met my expectations, and any reviews of the product would be devastating. There were hardware issues ranging from annoying to serious. One example is that every tester lost their SD cards inside the units and had to take them apart to get them out. Once the cards are inserted properly, they are very difficult to remove as the SD card slot isn't spring loaded as you would expect with new hardware.

The most serious concern however was the state of the software. Nothing had been done in the months from October to April. It was also very clear at this point that CTO Janko had no involvement in the production.

There began a flurry of emails with bugs, and no coordination of the testing process, so I took over to organise testing.

The organisation went well, however the replies from Private Planet were either condescending or completely wrong. For example, I was told one of the advertised features – ULA+ was impossible to install due to framebuffer issues. This is rubbish as there are other versions of FUSE with ULA+. My suspicion was that the menu was at fault and there are examples online of other menu solutions that could have been used. There is also a thriving online community that could have easily advised. Again, I pointed out there are many people in the Sinclair community that could have helped with these issues. Some issues came out of lack of knowledge of the machine (beeper and AY levels being wrong and making music sound incorrect can only be detected by seasoned Sinclair gamers).

We received a firmware update that we had assumed would be the start of bug fixes, however nothing was fixed, and new (non-working) features added. It was very clear that this software hadn't undergone basic checks prior to being sent out. It is also my suspicion that this was a previously written update many months old.

The issues ranged from minor quirks to severe “show stoppers”. Many of the advertised features didn't work – for example, TV out, Keyboard input, ULA+, etc.

Shortly after receiving the last bug report, we were all asked not to contact Private Planet any more and that they were working on the issues. That was the last contact we had with them, and no further updates were received.

At this point, it was clear there were serious issues with the company. The CTO (Janko Mrsic-Flogel) had gone missing leaving everything to a very non-technical Suzanne Martin. The amount of online abuse was building and getting a lot worse.

I had also spent the last 12 months asking repeatedly for backers to be updated properly. I was told that due to the amount of abusive emails received with each update that it had to be planned for when the MD had time to filter the abuse next day. Given the abuse I was getting, I have no problem believing thousands of abusive emails were being sent weekly, and they increased after an update – mostly from the same few people. I had however several times offered to apply filters to the emails so the abuse could be ignored. It's a very simple task for anyone to do this themselves.

During the testing and following the replies from Private Planet, I suggested a unit be sent to one of my contacts to complete the work from Private Planet, and also compile it on-chip. The option was to use my Linux expert to complete the work from Private Planet, with support from myself for the specifics (he is also a Sinclair user so support would have been minimal), or start his work again as it was clear the installation process from Private Planet was wrong, or the 3rd option to use him to install Linux on chip, and send the source-code to a seasoned emulator author to complete.
It was agreed that as a backup, this would be done. Neither party were contacted.

On 3 July 17, I contacted an emulator author that has experience with his own emulator and SOC installation. It was very obvious to me that he knows what he's doing, and he informed me that it would take around 12hrs after receiving the hardware to have a test version of the firmware produced.

Whilst this was going on, other members of the community were sourcing additional games for the Vega+ as some copyright holders had withdrawn their titles. I expressed many times concerns that the games needed videos for PEGI rating, would need testing, keymaps created, etc and time was running out for another deadline.

On request of RCL, I got a group together to sort these issues out, and discussions commenced around managing games testing and the other items needed, which would be managed by myself. To date, this testing hasn't started.

It was also pointed out to RCL that in order to test correctly, the new firmware needed to be installed on the units. To this date, not one single person has seen this firmware.

I met with RCL on 2 Oct 17. I was handed a 3D printed model of the new design, however there was nothing to convince me that this is a product about to be released in weeks.

During several conversations with Suzanne, the question of competition prizes was raised. It was agreed that 20 white units would be made with the World of Spectrum logo on, and boxes printed to match. This was a thank-you to the community that has supported this project, and kept Clives legacy alive. There were also due to be 5 golden units for prizes and a prize draw at the Spectrum35 function.

In the meantime, both RCL and the ex-directors have engaged in a very public legal battle. In my opinion, these legal battles are diverting the attention of the RCL board from finishing the project and vastly delaying the backers getting their Vega+ units that they have paid for.

During statements, conversations with journalists, and several private conversations, I have always stated that if I thought for a second that the units weren't going to appear, I would be the first to shout about it. My entire motivation has been to help bring the Vega+ to the backers and retail. I have been paid a modest fee via my company for services, at a rate far less that I would normally charge, however the majority of my time has been for free for what could be a fantastic product.

It is of course entirely up to the Managing Director to follow or not follow any advice given, however due to my lack of confidence and my family being targetted, it is now time to end my association with the project.

To those that did target me and my family and friends, all I can say is shame on you for attacking anyone and everyone trying to help backers to get what they paid for.

This project deserves to succeed. It is a nice unit, and when it plays, it plays well.

I will not be replying to comments and would like to wish the project and RCL the best of luck in finally producing the ZX Spectrum Vega+

— Lee Fogarty

RCL post update 64 on the Indiegogo campaign, showing a low quality video of 3 random clips of metal being processed in some machine. The YouTube video currently has 23 thumbs up and 123 thumbs down, and people are furious with RCL for posting this "update". The full text of the update:

Guess What We Are Doing Here?

So here is a tiny peak at the behind the scenes production of your Vega+

Guess what we are making here - there is a clue in the film.

All made in the UK as promised and delivered to you before retailers in keeping with our promise to you.

Happy Monday :-)

— Retro Computers Ltd (update 64)
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Tuesday 17th October, 2017

George Cropper issues a full teardown of Lee Fogarty's admission of guilt (from yesterday) in his latest video called THE VEGA+ - THE MOUTHPIECE ABANDONS SHIP! This is a 48 minute extravaganza so grab a cuppa and tune in!

RCL post update 65 on the Indiegogo campaign, indicating their intention to send out the roll of honour emails in the coming week. This is the 4th update that RCL have mentioned the impending roll of honour email. Another interesting thing to note is that RCL say the chosen name will be "on our new website", implying the current Lee Fogarty hosted site may be changing again.

Roll up Roll up – your name to be immortalised Vega+ style

Roll up Roll up – Last chance for your name to be immortalised Vega + style. We are delighted to confirm that the Roll of Honour emails are going out in the coming week. We’ll be in touch directly (not through Indiegogo), so make sure your name (or the person you want immortalised) is correct as we cannot make corrections after the cut-off date, which will be included in your individual email. As we already mentioned, there are a couple of swear-y names which we can’t add for obvious reason, so keep it clean folks, as the chosen name will also be included on our new website. We’re here. We’re not going anywhere. Your Vega+ IS real and IS coming to you. Stay tuned.

— Retro Computers Ltd (update 65)

Indiegogo update 65 Roll up roll up
RCL appear to have ripped the Spectrum Heroes image from the RedBubble website and have illegally used the Pickford brothers Zub character in their Indiegogo update (bottom row, 4th character from the left). John Pickford has demanded the removal of the character, but Zub remains on the Indiegogo campaign update:

Please remove Zob from your promotional materials. You don't have our permission. I explicitly asked you not to use any of our work before the release of the original Vega.

— John Pickford

John Pickford demands removal of Zub from promotional materials

Lee Fogarty's mate Paul Davies (aka FlorinTheDwarf) posts a copy of Lee's statement on Indie Retro News, with a backup available. Paul Davies wraps Lee's statement with the following puff-piece:

The delay of the Vega+ has been well documented over the last year or so and the man that has been a vocal supporter of Retro Computers Limited - Lee Fogarty - has come under a lot flak due to these delays. As backers have been crying for updates, Lee has tirelessly tried to inform backers of the progress and urging them to keep the faith that the units will be ready to ship and in the hands of the backers on dates stated by the company. Targeted incessantly by the various vicious trolls that have emerged on the back of the Vega+ production, Lee has done well to keep it all together and to try and help to keep the project moving.

Given the information in Lee's statement, it's a great shame that the project and individuals have been targeted during the development of the Vega+. There is never a need for personal attacks and some of the abuse that he's been levelled at individuals has been appalling. It's a shame that Lee is no longer involved but we can all hope that the Vega+ will be in production soon and will get delivered to backers. If RCL are going to release a statement soon - we will have to wait and see. All I can say here is fingers crossed that the unit will materialise soon as many know what a great console the Vega+ could be.

*disclaimer - all views contained in this article are my own (florinthedwarf) and may not reflect the views of the rest of Indietretronews.com

— Paul Davies aka FlorinTheDwarf

At the time of writing, there are 17 comments on the page, all negative towards Lee's statement (which has been completely picked apart by George Cropper) and all along the lines of "Lee is a liar", "What about all the abuse Lee sent himself", "Why is there no apology from Lee" etc.

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Wednesday 18th October, 2017

Nick Cooper's court case against RCL is scheduled for this afternoon.

RCL appear to have sent out the roll of honour email. The cut-off date for the name is Friday 27th of October, so the "mid October delivery" has been well and truly missed. Several people on facebook groups have posted comments wondering how (and why) they received the email at a different address than the one they registered with on Indiegogo.

Roll of honour email

RCL post update 66, another puff-piece claiming that they are receiving really supportive emails. Perhaps RCL should have a good look at the 200-odd refund requests in their inbox and action those first?

Big Thanks

Firstly, big thanks from all of us for the really supportive emails filling up our inbox.

In just a few hours we can see that nearly 40% of you have replied and confirmed your details in- WOW.

If you are having any problems navigating the login process email us back using your registered email and we will help you work through the system.

Also, if you have pledged for more than one Vega+ you need to reply to the email we have sent you, and we will add your additional names manually.

Finally, if you haven't received an email, please make sure that you still have access to your registered email.

— Retro Computers Ltd (update 66)

It appears RCL have used multiple different accounts to send out the emails, as there is a 2,000 limit on the free version of MailChimp. Many people receive the email from a gmail address, others from suzannemartin.com.

The Vega+ has been mentioned as a dead project on episode 2 of the ugvm podcast. The podcast mentions that even long-term supporters such as Lee Fogarty have now walked away. Listen to just the Vega+ section from the podcast.

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Friday 20th October, 2017

After checking with lawyers, Paul Andrews releases a copy of the RCL shareholders agreement to clear up misinformation being spread by David Levy.

Latest Funky Spectrum RCL Video

The well known community bullshitter who has lied for RCL repeatedly over the last year and a half has now broken his recent silence to admit it's all been a sham!
(17/10/2017)

Vega+ Status

  • All refunds processed:
  • Roll of honour email:
  • Address confirmation:
  • Battery specification:
  • PEGI certification:
  • Final specs released:
  • Games list released:
  • Finished box design:
  • Manual released:
  • Final devices made: 0
  • Prototypes made: 20-30