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Haunts: The Manse Macabre is a turn-based, horror game where you can play as the haunts or the intruders. PC/Mac/Linux and Ipad plans.
Haunts: The Manse Macabre is a turn-based, horror game where you can play as the haunts or the intruders. PC/Mac/Linux and Ipad plans.
1,214 backers pledged $28,739 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


Problems Persist

Things are not going well. There has been no forward progress on the game, although there has been hard work put in trying to get the project back on track. Michael, a backer and friend and programmer, has been volunteering his time to dig into the code and try and see why no one has been able to get a version of the game to compile that even matches the unfinished state it was in when Jonathan (the original programmer) left.

Michael has been unable to get a working version of the game to compile. He reached out directly to Jonathan for help. When Jonathan tried to get the game working from the current code, he also failed. He could not get a version of the game to work either, even using his own computer and expertise. He has not responded to additional requests for aid or insight into solving this very huge problem.

I don’t have the technical expertise to understand exactly how that could be. Michael, who does have the technical expertise, is also at a bit of a loss, other than the fact that the shifting code base of the Go programming language combined with either changes in Lua or OpenGL libraries created some crippling incompatibility that Michael can’t track down and which apparently foiled even Jonathan’s attempt to create a working version.

With things that screwed up, some sort of more drastic action is called for. I’m still weighing my options, but there have been some parties who’ve expressed an interest in taking a crack at the problem. Or possibly we might take the art assets and design and try and use them in a whole other game engine.

Financially I’m way in the hole on this project. I did not take any payment during development and put thousands of my own dollars into the company. I’m still paying for things like taxes and accounting fees out of my own pocket at this point. I also now have started a job, since I can no longer afford to drain my savings to work on Haunts, especially given how far off any kind of income from the projects seems.

 I have been giving refunds as people request them, and will continue to do so as best as I can afford it. If you want your money back, send me an email through Kickstarter and I can refund you through Paypal. Kickstarter doesn’t process refunds and Amazon Services will require me to send them an email request for each refund since it has been more than 60 days, so Paypal is definitely the fastest way.

 I’m sorry this has all gone to hell. I still hope for some kind of Haunts something, but there’s no longer an obvious path from here to there. Instead I’m left looking for less obvious paths. I am personally mortified at how things have turned out and I beg your forgiveness. Rick

Not Dead Yet - A Programmer Explains Our Technical Troubles

I’ve owed you all an update for a while, but frustratingly there hasn’t been much news to report. We got off to a roaring good start with community involvement in the open source Haunts effort, but we pretty quickly ran into a software roadblock that stymied all our efforts. Resolving has proved quite a challenge. Almost as challenging was actually understanding why we were having so much trouble. As a non-programmer, I could grasp the issue in theory but I didn’t think I could explain it well. So, I asked Michael, who’s an old friend and project backer who has been working on Haunts a lot, to explain it: 

 “Haunts is written in Go, a new and quickly evolving programming language developed at Google to address certain programming challenges that are important to the kind of work they do. There is nothing special in Go that makes it particularly well suited to video games, but on the other hand there is nothing inherent in the language that makes it a bad choice, except for the fact that it's new and not well supported. Anyway, one of the neat features of Go is that it is designed to take advantage of distributed code development and reuse of code developed by other people. It's a slightly hacky feature, IMO, but it works. 

Basically, there is no master "script" that tells the compiler how all the bits of code relate to each other. Instead, that information is embedded directly in the files themselves. So rather than, for example, specifying a folder that contains your "headers", you actually embed in your program an absolute path to github, google, or some other file-sharing repository, and the Go compiler will find the code and build it into your program. If you want to use OpenGL for rendering graphics, you can search the internet for someone who has already built a version of OpenGL for Go, and put import ("") directly into your code. Viola! Thus hilarity ensues. 

Because of course that's not how it really works. Instead, it makes a local copy of that external library. And if you have a local copy, you can edit it. And meanwhile, that person you copied the OpenGL code from? They are also changing their version (fixing bugs, adding features, adding bugs). Therefore there is no guarantee that your version and their version remain compatible: it takes work to maintain compatibility. So when you decide to share development of your project with other people, while "in theory" Go lets you just share the main code, which tells you where to get the imported code, in practice it takes more work than that, because we have to ensure we get the same versions. And that's where Go's feature is kinda hacky. Because it doesn't have a mechanism for doing that. 

Why does this matter? Well, when the original programmer on Haunts handed off the code to the community for development, the first problem we ran into is that the code seemed to be.... wrong. We know that there is "working" version of the game, albeit buggy and incomplete. However, we can't use the source code that we have to recreate that game. Firstly, the source simply doesn't compile. It has syntax errors, so there is literally no output- nothing to "run". But the community jumped right in, fixed the problems, and got the game to compile. Now it "runs", but it's not really a game at this point. First, it's horribly slow. Second, it crashes as soon as you try to play the actual "game" (as opposed to navigating the startup menus). Now, this is the kind of thing one expects when developing a game (or any program). There is a bug (or several) that can be found and fixed, and get us back to the same point as the "original". But this is the part the community is struggling with: why? We know it once worked. So now we're in a kind of no-mans land of the original programmer not being unable to help during his transition to a new job and a new city, but none of the new volunteers with enough time to jump into the potentially very hairy problem of figuring out what is wrong in a program they didn't write, in a language they probably don't know, and with the problems potentially being in one or more of a dozen "sub-programs" that are developed by yet other people that we have no connection with. 

 Can it be done? Yes. The original programmer has now dug up all the original code his build was using and the community has it. Preliminary inspection reveals potentially significant differences, so we’re hopeful that we can make some real progress in the coming weeks.” 

And that’s where we’re at. Not what we’d hoped, not even close, but not dead yet. Once we get this conundrum finally solved (which we will), then we’ll put out the call again and try and get things rolling forward at a good speed in the new year. Until then, Happy Holidays! Rick

Halloween Thanks-Giving

Happy Halloween! 

Well, not as happy as we had originally planned, but happier than I feared it would be. I want to thank all of you for sticking with us and for all the kindness and support you've offered in the past few weeks. It's been just plain amazing. 

 We're figuring out the whole open source development thing - if you want to pop over and take a look at the project's site, it's here: 

 As a token of our thanks and as a Halloween treat, Austin has put together some cool wallpapers based on Haunts - there's one for the denizens and one for the intruders, as well as some more understated backgrounds that are suitable for cell phones and tablets. You can (and should!) download them from the version of this post on our Web site, here:

Go scare someone!


All The Way Open

We have a plan! 

We’re going to finish developing Haunts: The Manse Macabre as an Open Source project. The source code has been open from the beginning, but now we’re going to fully embrace open development model and making the game entirely open source. We’ve had about thirty programmers from a variety of backgrounds, including many proficient in Go, who have stepped forward and offered to help finish the game. We’re still in the process of setting up the infrastructure for issue tracking, source control, documentation wikis, and other tools necessary before we can begin in earnest, but we hope to have that all up and running within the next week or two.

Today I sent out a survey to all the interested programmers who’ve contacted me to get a better idea of what people are interested in working on and how much time they’ll have. We’ll be appointing some interim release managers in the short run and then working together to elect those positions. If you’re interested in being included in the survey now, contact me through Kickstarter. But anyone will be able to help out once we get started, we'll need programmers with a variety of skills and interests, testers and more.

If you'd like to join the crew, just fill this survey out:

Blue Mammoth is still interested in the project, but their involvement will come once the game is much closer to finished, and will be to facilitate the retail release, get copies out to our backers, and help promote and distribute the final game. Someone from Blue Mammoth will probably have a finger in helping out on the development side, but getting this game finished will be up to the community of volunteers.

There are still a ton of details to be figured out about the licensing (we may end up adopting a slightly different open license if it needs to be more open), credit, business model, etc. Plus setting up the issues list, organize the priorities for what needs to get done, establishing a public knowledge base, and more. This is just the beginning, but I’m excited about where it’s going and enthusiastic as hell about the support we’re getting.


Austin is finishing up the inking on the caricatures and those should be out to backers this week.

Additionally, based on backer S.D.'s excellent suggestion, he's working up some cool Haunts themed wallpaper images for both desktops and mobile devices, which will be out for Halloween.

In The News

We've gotten a lot of press coverage, most of it in the general vein of, "Look, see, Kickstarter projects can go bad, so be careful!" I think that's a fair and useful point to make. But we're committed to being the follow-up story. You know, the underdog who comes back from the brink of collapse and proves a resounding success! 

Here's one nice piece I wanted to share with you.

I've also done a few interviews, including one for a radio show that podcasts their episodes. That should run next week, and I'll share the link with you when I get it.

A Quick Update - Gameplay, Emails

Happy Saturday everyone!

Just a couple quick things I wanted to post about this morning.

First, I've gotten a ton of emails, including many great offers to help finish Haunts, and they keep coming in. It's amazing. I will reply to all of you, so please hold on. You should have heard back from me by Monday at noon, EST, and if you haven't please ping me again. I don't think I'm letting anything slip through the cracks, but then, I wouldn't know if I was.

Second, I've written up a description of the core gameplay for Haunts and posted it on the Mob Rules site. You can check it out at the link below, and if you have any other questions you'd like me to address, ask them in the comments of this update and I'll answer them here and add to the description on the site as needed.