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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.
1,214 backers pledged $28,739 to help bring this project to life.

Single Player Clarifications and New Announcement

Posted by Rick Dakan (Creator)

I did not explain things very well yesterday. Let me clarify the current single player plan before I then announce something new and exciting.

What we’re not going to do, and what I was referencing yesterday when I mentioned the single player campaign being pretty much dead, is the massive, inter-woven single-player story we’d been working on where every chapter was connected to every other in decisions you made. It was way too unwieldy and poorly paced, in addition to being overly complicated and seemingly impossible to execute and balance.

What we are doing (and what I failed to explain well yesterday) is a series of individual levels that tell the overall story of the house and are discrete from one another. Each level tells a story inspired by an era and a horror movie from that era, and together they tell the story of the house. There are lots of characters in each story, and that is where the cameos will come in. Indeed, since these levels are meant to be replayed against opponents, the cameos will probably get much more screen time with each player than under the old, multi-level spanning story mode.

The other big change is that, unlike what we were doing before where the levels were serving a giant, Rube Goldberg Machine plot and suffering for it, each level is designed to be a compelling multiplayer map that plays differently depend on if you’re the Denizens or the Intruders. Each level has some unique mechanic or set-up that matches the story and setting. For example, level four is about the vampire denizen, and centers around the Intruders with limited sight range placing lights that weaken the denizens and the denizens moving very fast in the dark around them. These are not simply multiplayer deathmatch arenas with no plot behind them. The plot came first and we came up with mechanics that were a fun match.

Each of these levels will have an AI you can play against as you go through them, for either side. What I was clumsily alluding to yesterday is that the AI will probably not be very competitive after the first couple times you play a level and know some basic strategy for it. So they are rich in theme but designed to be rewarding to replay, especially against a living (or intelligently undead) opponent.

I hope that clears up a lot of the very valid concerns supporters expressed yesterday. But there is more! We heard you and we are not giving up on expanding on more story-focused single player levels.The game I described above will release to Kickstarter supporters as soon as its ready - by Halloween is the plan.

Work on Haunts will not cease with that release! We will press forward with more story-centric, single-player content. Monday’s announcement and the wave of feedback we received got me thinking long and hard and looking for ways to take your advice and keep trying to work on compelling, story-centric content into the game. At the same time, I was still trying to figure out what to do about another lingering problem I hadn’t told you about, because it was part of a future expansion project we haven't announced yet.

It has long been the plan to make a follow-up, extra content release for Haunts that consisted of single-player stories with plots written by some of the coolest horror writers going right now. Originally we were going to sell this separately, as a follow up DLC pack, but now we are going to roll all of that content into the core game. This solves two problems - it gives us a great base to build single-player, story-driven levels around and it allows me to keep working with these great writers and figure out the best way to execute their creepy creations in Haunts.

Over the coming months, we’ll work with those writers and the community to find the horrific fun in these single-player stories. All of those updates will be part of the Kickstarter Supporters edition of the game. When we’ve got them ready, we’ll push the content out to you.

Eventually, we will do a full retail release of the game, which will have all the content you supporters get, but for a higher price. Additionally, we’ll release some bonus content for the Kickstarter editions only, either new story or multiplayer maps - maybe one of each, we’ll see.

So, meet some of The Writers -


Richard Gavin has been hailed as a master of numinous horror fiction in the tradition of Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, and H.P. Lovecraft. His tales are widely anthologized and have been collected in the books CHARNEL WINE (Rainfall Books, 2004), OMENS (Mythos Books, 2007), THE DARKLY SPLENDID REALM (Dark Regions Press, 2009), and AT FEAR'S ALTAR (Hippocampus Press, forthcoming in 2012). He has also published criticism and essays of Nightside arcanum. S.T. Joshi calls Richard Gavin "one of the bright new stars of contemporary weird fiction. Richard lives in Ontario, Canada with his beloved wife and their brood.


William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with ten novels published in the genre press and over 200 short story credits in thirteen countries, the author of the ongoing Midnight Eye series among others. My work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies.

His newest novel is NIGHT OF THE WENDIGO - a new horror novel by William Meikle


Re-spawned multiple-century spanning horror epic THERE WAS A CROOKED
MAN. Joseph S. Pulver to edit, Nick Gucker to draw, and a few Mystery
Guests on blurbs and intros...

Miskatonic River Press' A SEASON IN CARCOSA; Joseph S. Pulver, ed.
Heavy-hitting horror authors give their fictional take on Robert W.
Chambers' THE KING IN YELLOW. Included is my Surrealist version of
TKIY, "The Theatre & Its Double."

Trent Zelazny, ed. MIRAGES: TALES FROM AUTHORS OF THE MACABRE. Another heavy-
hitting horror antho, featuring the likes of Tom Picirilli, Joe R.
Lansdale... and "Beast: A Fable For Children", a story I dedicated to
fellow contributor Joseph S. Pulver and the late Maurice Sendak.


Ian Rogers is a writer, photographer, artist, graphic designer, and web developer two books coming out in the next couple of months. The first one is a collection of dark fiction called EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED. I designed a site to promote the book at

He also have a second collection coming out, this one of stories featuring his supernatural private detective Felix Renn. The book is called SUPERNOIRTURAL TALES, and you can link to that one at

Find out more at his website,


Joe Pulver is an American writer and poet living in Berlin, Germany. He has written numerous short stories and books of weird fiction, including:

His latest novel, The Orphan Palace (
His brand new collection, Portraits of Ruin.
And he edited this anthology of tales based on Robert W. Chambers' King in Yellow, A Season in Carcosa.


Jeffrey Thomas is a prolific writer of science fiction and horror, best known for his stories set in the nightmarish future city called Punktown. His recent work includes:





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    1. Matt on

      Still looking at a release by Halloween?

    2. Missing avatar

      Terry McKelvey

      @longbeach: I am not saying that it is OK for the AI (really, programmed opponents) do dumb things that the game tries to cover up by the AI being given many extra resources. The AI should be the best possible given the scope of the project, with difficulty settings so that players who easily overcome the best SP AI the developers create can still find enjoyment from the SP game by playing at higher difficulty levels where the AI has additional advantages in certain resources so the player has the odds stacked against them. This is particularly important if the game levels are fast-playing because it is needed to support multiple play-throughs by players who master the AI at a given setting. To me, the lack of difficulty levels or poorly balanced difficulty levels can be just as lethal to the SP game as an AI that does dumb things and cheats in ways insulting to the player, such as spawning units with no regard to the game's resource model. Some of the most frustrating games I have played have been ones where I loved playing the SP game, but I got so good at it that the AI no longer posed any challenge to me despite the AI being seen as good by many other players. The lack of even simple adjustments to the difficulty level prematurely killed those games for me.

    3. longbeach on

      @Terry... that is lazy A.I. you know. CIV V got railed for doing that

    4. Missing avatar

      Marsell on

      I like the sound of this. Making levels self-contained allows sharp stories, and this looks like an opportunity to become familiar with several authors.

    5. Chris Williams on

      Definitely feeling better after hearing this update. Thank you rick!

    6. Missing avatar

      The Random One on

      Unlike what one may think, these updates make me glad I supported this. You scrapped a part of your game that wasn't working - an important design lessons many AAA games sadly never seemed to learn. You announced it frankly; you reassured the community within the hour; you had a tangible benefit to make up for it within a day. I can do nothing but applaud the way you handled this, even if some might (justifiably) dislike that the game was changed in such a way. Nevertheless, I'm certain that a game done by such competent people will be awesome, and I hope it is as massively successful as you deserve it to be.

    7. Ivan Thompson on

      Consider opening the AI code up for community help, if you are still unhappy with it after release. That way you have your playable AI at release but also an ever-evolving AI if the right community gets excited about it.

    8. Margaret McFee on

      As long as there's some SP mechanism, I'll be happy.

    9. AndonSage on

      Thanks for finding a solution to the problem, Rick :) Good stuff!

    10. Ziffy "zifnabbe"

      Thanks a lot for the clarifaction, I'm again full speed with the game. Also thanks for mentioning the future ideas (these are really cool!). Reading the last updates I noticed I made several wrong assumptions:
      a) old sp levels were interwoven: I wasn't fully aware of that, ie not that several desicions in one lvl would make a huge difference in the next. It is a nice idea, but I understand it can be difficult to create. You might write a short story/book about the history...

      b) MP is actually 1v1... well I didn't knew this. It's a kind of chess :-) I like the idea. And for such a set-up you only need one other friend with time :-). So this is doable. I even like it a lot! I hope my wife/kids want to play this with me. (but in this case an iPad/Android version would become handy, since otherwise it is a little bit too unpersonal :-)). Wow, the last 2 haunts days are like a rollercoaster...

      Initially I thought that MP consisted of:
      b1) play with your friends as the intruders against the AI (so each intruder is one player)
      b2) as b1, but instead of playing as an intruder, the players play as a denizen
      b3) massive MP: every denizen/intruder is a player (to balance, you could add some AI bots)

      While I do like b), you need a lot of players for it, that's why I was scared yesterday with the mentioning that sp was no more... Now I realise that it wasn't the idea to have MP working like this.

      PS. If you are thinking of introducing this in the future, please let it also work on local networks (not only through internet)

      Is it just me or did more pledgers misunderstood this? If the last, it might be a good idea to change the discription of the game.


    11. Chris Hamilton on

      Thank you very much for the update and clarification. Looking forward to watching things progress.

    12. Missing avatar

      Terry McKelvey

      The way to make single player skirmishes to continue to be challenging after several play-throughs is to have an adjustable difficulty setting that increases advantages given to the AI at higher settings. As long as there is an AI that provides some reasonable opposition, the difficulty setting helps the player to fine-tune the challenge going forward. It is nice for the game to store scores achieved for each level, with higher scores given for achievement at higher difficulty settings. That way the single player can be motivated and have fun at replaying levels at higher settings to get higher scores.

    13. John Falcon

      Well this is good news and gives me hope for a decent sp game......I can live with an AI that is not perfect as there are few good sp ai's out there anyway...what drew me to Haunt's is the story driven theme of the game. If I can get immersed in the story, even with a less than stellar AI, then I will be satisfied.

    14. Missing avatar

      Tracey Robertson on

      Thanks for the updates and commitment to making a "fun" story-driven SP experience, whatever form it may take (and even if it's not got a lot of replay value). If there will also be a fun MP component, all the better. I look forward to hearing more, and wish y'all the best of luck in creating something of which you'll be proud.

    15. Robert V Frazier on

      This sounds great! Get her done, and I'm looking forward to playing!

    16. Stavros Tsiakalos on

      Great update!
      Still hoping for a level editor down the road so those of us unknown people who enjoy writing can dabble as well :)

    17. Rick Dakan 2-time creator on

      Thanks for the kind words everyone!

      @Ifron-Kim Ahmad - The play could be pretty much synchronous, as the MP data transmitted between the two games is pretty straight forward and small - there shouldn't be much delay, but that's not been tested yet. You shouldn't have to exit and reload the game or anything like that.

      1v1 is pretty much what we've got - honestly hadn't even thought about larger groups until you just mentioned it, but it would mean some pretty significant changes to how the code works right now, so it's a wish-list kind of feature. I'll ponder it for a while and see what Jonathan thinks.


    18. Missing avatar

      John Au Coin on

      You've been very good at keeping us posted, the effort is appreciated, and this completely alleviates any concerns. The list of writers made me realize that there is a lot more going on then I had originally thought. This is turning out to be really cool project, and I'll contribute more $ when I can. Thanks again for all your efforts both on the development of the game, and keep us informed as best you can.

    19. Irfon-Kim Ahmad on

      Hey, an actual question (well, a couple of them) about the MP: You talked about asynchronous MP, where you log in and play your move in several games you may have running simultaneously. If the other player is online at the same time, will the game update dynamically between the two of you so that you can play synchronous MP, or will you have to exit the game, then reload it for each move? Also, is the MP going to be strictly two-player (one player controlling the intruders and one controlling the denizens), or will it also work in a team mode, where each player controls a specific character or group of characters for one or the other side?

    20. Veav on

      You have my sword!

    21. Jussi Myllyluoma

      Concerns alleviated, big time!
      Thanks, fellas.

    22. Missing avatar

      Frank Marcelli on

      Thank you for the clarification, Rick! Looking forward to the game once again.

    23. Thomas Mon on

      I appreciate the level of communications here. I don't see how people would be upset with not having a contiguous story when you would still be getting the history of the house via the different levels. In any case, I am still very happy I backed this project!

    24. Missing avatar

      G Moran on

      Thanks for clearing that up. Still really looking forward to the game. Best of luck!

    25. Irfon-Kim Ahmad on

      This all seems pretty cool. Thanks for the update! I think the big concern was just that people were worried there would be nothing to play if you didn't want to play MP. As long as there's enough single-player content to enjoy the game without playing MP, then that's cool. It doesn't have to take any specific form or other.

    26. Missing avatar

      kibertoad on

      Three cheers for this band! Now I feel ashamed I contributed not as much as I should... Will amend by buying copies for my friends.

    27. Jason Scott on

      Was full-on before, am still full-on! Thanks for the updates and listening to people, and keeping your backers in the loop.