Share this project


Share this project

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.

Better Morning

Posted by Rick Dakan (Creator)

Good morning everyone!

It’s been a heartwarming 14 hours or so, and I have to start by saying thank you to all the kind and supportive emails and comments I’ve been getting. I had been dreading today for the past week or so, as we worked up the details and I scrambled around to find some silver lining to our dark clouds. Turns out, I should have come to you all sooner in my search for support.


Which brings me to the first question I’ve been asked by both backers and media: why are we just hearing about this now? That is the fairest of questions, and I should have addressed it in my post yesterday. You’re only hearing about it now because I was scared to bring you bad news. I kept hoping things would work out, that we would find our way through to launch a beta this month and move forward from there towards release. I wasn’t really certain that wasn’t possible until close to the last minute, when everything failed to come together.

I should have been more forthcoming and regular with updates, but not sharing bad news was too easy and too much of a temptation for me. In retrospect, I and you and the game would have been much better served if I’d set up a strictly scheduled, regular update regimen. However we end up moving forward, that will be part of things from now on.


I mentioned that we’ve spent all the money. That’s not strictly true, but as far as hiring new programmers to work for a regular salary, it is. We actually have a fair amount in the bank, but most of that is about to be sent to the IRS as part of payroll taxes. I also still need to pay for sound and have money set aside for licensing fees for FMOD once the game releases. We met our goal back in the beginning of July, raising $28,000, of which we got to keep about $25K after Kickstarter and Amazon Payments fees. With the addition of Josh in August, our burn rate went to about $1900 per week for salaries for Jonathan, Austin, and Josh. Eleven weeks of that cost a little over $20,000, plus another $1200 or so for printing and shipping t-shirts.


I’ve had a lot of interested emails from programmers offering their help. Thank you all very much! There’s a lot to sift through and I’m not sure what the best way to proceed will be, but I am very encouraged by these offers and want to try and figure out the best way to take advantage of this opportunity. I’ve reached out to a good friend of mine who’s an expert in collaborative open source development, and he and I will talk soon. I also want to discuss this exciting development with Blue Mammoth and get their take on it.

Open Source

A lot of you have mentioned that we should open source everything if worse comes to worse. In fact, the code is already open, but if we cannot pull together to make this a retail product, we will absolutely fully open source everything, content and code and turn it over to the community. Actually, at some point we’d like to do that no matter what, even after a retail release (however many years later, when it makes fiscal sense). But right now the code is under the same modified BSD license as the Go programming language and the contents are all Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share-Alike.


Some of you have noticed that the caricatures for the high-level donors are in the game. Other of you have gotten your t-shirts. Austin has been driving hard to finish game content these last weeks, so he hasn’t had time to polish up and package the physical caricatures and the t-shirts for our highest-level donors. He’s on that now, and we should be shipping them out next week.

I’m doing an interview with a blogger from Forbes this afternoon, and I’m sure he’ll have some more tough questions for me, so look for that sometime soon. I’ll also be doing a chat with Bill Abner from No High Scores, who has run some successful Kickstarters of his own, so hopefully they will help keep me in line and ask the questions I’m not thinking of.

Thanks again.



Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Rick Dakan 2-time creator on

      @Gatt, The original plan was to raise $20k for a demo with our first Kickstarter where people voted on the game we'd make. That first kickststarter failed, but we asked people to vote. They chose Haunts.

      We then got $42k investment to work on Haunts and did our second Kickstarter to raise a further $25k to finish the game. So, we ended up spending about $70k total.

      To further clarify, the October 21, 2011 post on the site was the original plan, but when the first Kickstarter we tried failed to fund, we went with the second plan with an investment and a Kickstarter at the end.

    2. Missing avatar


      At the moment, I have two issues with how things are turning out.

      1. You've spent quite a bit of time talking about transparency, and your website touts it as a reason to trust you, but you've been completely opaque about what's happening.

      2. Reviewing your website turns up a post about doing a fundraiser for $20,000 to do a demo, then another fundraiser for $50,000 - $100,000+ to complete the game in the October 21, 2011 post on the Transparency page, so it sounds to me now like you misrepresented the kickstarter in order to meet step 2, and knew a year ago it was going to take significantly more to get the game done.

      So I'm a little bit suspicious of what's happening now.

    3. Chris Williams on

      At least the game is getting press, even if for the "wrong" reasons. I'm still confident things will turn out okay in the long run. The game might have a ways to go, but a lot of work has already gone into it.

    4. Rick Dakan 2-time creator on

      Lots of media inquiries, lots and lots of emails from great and supportive backers. I'm all emailed out for the day, but many of you have written and I still need to respond to you - I will! More soon.

      In the meantime, here are some of the doom-saying stories about us from around the internet. Let's prove them wrong!

    5. Sandy Walsh on

      Open Source the code and all the content/media ... it's the right thing to do.

    6. Alex Cargile on

      Batting averages. Well, this is the first I've had not work out. So far FTL, No Time to Explain, and Xenonauts have met their goals. So I guess 3/4 ain't bad.
      Course, some are still churning away. So we'll see on those.
      Honestly though. Don't worry about it. I felt like 28k would be a tough budget to work on. And I had like $5.00 invested. I'm pretty sure a good portion of us were realistic about this endeavor. Optimistic and hopeful, but understood the risks of indie development.
      Hopefully though you can gut it, staple it back together and get something out the door. I'd still like to try this one day.
      Anywho, good luck in the future.

    7. Mark L

      My kickstarter 'batting average' is a little better than Ryan's (about 75% or so), but at the end of the day, my attitude toward ALL kickstarters has been 'don't pledge more than you can afford to lose.' I expect to outright lose a portion of the pledges.

      I have to say I'm favorably impressed by the fact that you're not just giving up, but continue to try to come up with ways to make this happen. I hope you eventually find a way to make this happen, but as an educator, I have to also underline what others have said - at the very least, be sure to LEARN from this, so that future endeavors work out better for you. It sounds like you are doing that, which I am grateful to see/hear.

    8. S.D. on

      Yeah, Ryan, he gets that. Not everyone can get a great game off the ground on a shoe-string budget. In fact... the vast majority do not. One would think that they learn from each others mistakes, but the truth is that humans are hugely myopic, and software development, in general, is notoriously difficult to dimension. It's clear that Rick's ashamed of keeping us in the dark so long, and rightly so, but the greatest failure there is underestimating our capacity for forgiveness and ability to assist creatively. I want to see the game through to completion, and I've sent him some very reasonable suggestions. I hope he can dig through the backlog of our e-mails and suggestions and put together an action plan. Showing us some forward progress (besides putting himself on display in interviews to be poked at) is the next best step! It can still happen, no question about it.

    9. Ryan Frazier on

      I just have $5 invested in this thing but honestly, I have no idea why you thought you could get this done for $25,000.00.

      My Kickstarter projects are currently batting .333 (one good one for 3 attempts). Not good. I haven't backed anything new in about six months, and I don't anticipate that that's going to change at any point. Maybe there's a reason these projects can't find their way to "traditional" funding and support.

    10. Missing avatar

      PinkPiggy on

      It's always hard to give bad news. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be bad news. Isn't it bizarre how the anxiety about failure is often worse that whatever rebuke you receive afterward? The best of luck to you!!!

    11. Jeremy Springfield on

      Setbacks happen. Having funding does not mean that there won't be bumps in the road. Any backer who has attempted a project like this in the past will understand. A successful business person has a string of un successful businesses which failed before one took off. It's extremely rare to succeed on the first attempt. Success is a matter of determination. Setbacks are a question: "Do you have determination?"

      This happened to me once. I ran a group of 6 people for 6 months before we ran out of coders, time and money. We had no game at the end (but the music team made a full CD worth of music!) . The question is did we learn anything? We learned a lot. And I'm on my second project (self funded), currently building a prototype.

      Keep on going. This is not the end. Even if this project can't move forward anymore, this is not the end. Learn and keep going.

    12. Tim Miller on

      I hope folks don't get too negative about this project. Supporting a project via Kickstarter is a gamble - pure and simple. Sometimes the gamble pays off, sometimes it does not. Welcome to the real world.

      Your follow-up update is very much appreciated, as is your continued efforts to bring this project to fruition. As a supporter all I can say is "hey - do your best."

    13. Stephen Erdman on

      For me, one of the wonderful things about Kickstarter is to help people try to get stuff off the ground. I mean, it's great to get stuff from established companies/development teams, but giving someone a chance at a dream is a big reward in itself. With that comes the risk that things aren't going to work out as planned.

      In this case, I'm definitely satisfied that you are working very hard to try to get things to work and it sounds like the game is going to come out in some way or another. If you keep this up and keep the communication going, I don't think most of us are going to be anything but supportive.

      I'd also like to mention that the story/levels update on the website was enticing. It sounds like a game I'd very much like to play.

    14. Missing avatar

      Mike Richards on


      Glad to hear you're feeling better. And now you know almost all of your backers are happy to keep the faith and let you take the time to get the project back on track in one form or another.