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.

Problems Persist

Posted by Rick Dakan (Creator)

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


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Luke Meyers on

      Any more thought of releasing the source code? No activity here in more than a year kind of makes it seem like an abandoned effort. Those of us who contributed would appreciate the chance to at least play with the code and see what we can make of it.

    2. Missing avatar

      Benjamin Marzinski on

      Oops. I forgot that you already open sourced it. I suppose I should bring this up at the Haunts development community, if someone hasn't already.

    3. Missing avatar

      Benjamin Marzinski on

      I realize that this leaves out the IOS users (I'm not sure how many there are), and may require a lot of lua to python porting, but the FIFE engine seems like a good fit. It does turn based 2D iosmetric games. It's a free LGPL engine, so any engine changes would need to be open-sourced, but you can still use it to build a comercial game. It would allow you to stop worrying about the engine, and concentrate on the content. At any rate, if you ever decide to give up on this project entirely, I encourage you make what you have (engine, scripts, art assets, design documents) publicly available, so that others can try to get it running. Best of luck.

    4. Missing avatar

      Aelendril on

      A year later no update :(
      So, it's dead then?

    5. Jasherm on

      It's been most of a year since the last update, any word on anything happening with this kickstarter or is it officially dead?

    6. LordDon on

      Rick, maybe you could take the art assets and design and see if they would work in the recently funded Telepath Tactics. The engine seems pretty flexible from what I've seen.…

    7. longbeach on

      Ok so what really happened since this update?

      Remember there wasn't much openess until the car was wrecked and the parents started asking the real story which is that there was no chance to make any type of playable single player A.I. which is why the bait and switch to multiplayer emerged months later

      should of just wrote a novel instead

    8. altruism on

      I applaud you for your commitment and honesty.
      I understand if you have to pursue other projects to keep afloat but I hope that someday I'll receive something

    9. -=Candi=- on

      Ditch Go. The artwork and story are cool, though. How about a card game?

    10. Mark L

      I agree with the majority here - I knew the risks going in, and that 'failure is always an option' as the mythbusters say. If you still want to pursue finishing this project, I would encourage you to give up on Go and start working in a language that is more popular with much more community support. I know it hurts a lot to basically throw away many hours of coding work, but suspect the time has come to cut your losses and move on, one way or another. Best wishes for the future, regardless of whether you decide to finish the game or not.

    11. Barac Baker Wiley

      If you really want to make this thing happen in some capacity, I'd probably look at salvaging what you can and moving it to a codebase and/or engine that has a large community and a lot of expertise behind it, which it doesn't sound like Go does. (To be honest, I'd never even heard of Go as a programming language before this project.) But I wouldn't blame you if you decided to just cut your losses and move on.

    12. William Mackie on

      Rick, I appreciate the update on this. No refund necessary. Time for everyone to move on, probably.

    13. Ziffy "zifnabbe"

      Sad to hear this news. Even more sad to hear that you are getting more and more negative effects on your personal life. I knew it was a risk, so I don't ask for a refund (although I could respend it on other kickstarters, but they are risk too). I like your idea of openness and therefor I backed this project and that stays. I do hope for a miracle dough :-)

      I don't know the relationship with your programmer, but I don't quite understand why he doesn't react anymore to requests for help. If I make a program, I would try all the things to get this thing going on. That's the least a programmer could do. But I don't know the history, so I could make wrong assumptions

    14. Jonny Paylor on

      Backing projects on Kickstarter does involve a certain amount of risk and I think any responsible backer should assume this. I don't want a refund, I accept the challenges you've seen and the difficult situation you're in. Heck, I even tried compiling the game myself and dug into the code out of interest, I know what you're talking about and it's not an easy job to say the least! The good thing is you've not lost the code and it can be ported over to a different language, so like you say it's just a matter of partnering with the right people who think they can give it a stab.

    15. Nathan Sanzone-Mcdowell on

      While I'm sorry that this project has failed to come to fruition, I can't imagine asking for a refund. While I won't criticize those who do, on my part, when I pledge to back a project, it is with a spirit of hopefulness that I can be a part of something coming into existence that, without support from myself and others, might never be. Quite frankly, I "expect" a good number of the project that I back to either fail, be ridiculously late, or even if they're delivered as promised, that I might not even like the finished product in the end. So I really just think of pledges as a "gift", rather then an "investment" or a "purchase". My pledge was small, but regardless you would still be welcome to it, despite the outcome of this project. I wish you well, and hope that the experience—even from this unfortunate outcome—will help you to achieve even greater things in the future.

    16. KONSTANTIN on

      I need refund via open source. Do it!

    17. Merneith on

      Speaking personally, I don't want a refund. I knew the risks - so no regrets. I'm sorry things have turned out like this. I encourage you, though, to keep trying. Maybe not with Haunts, if your hearts not in it any more, but that's up to you. You had some great ideas here. Maybe when the dust settles you'll feel like another attempt.. Good luck with your job and your future efforts.

    18. Avarchillion on

      well, time to get epic:

      It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

      Theodore Roosevelt

    19. Robert V Frazier on

      I only pledged $5. No, I don't need a refund. If you want to salvage the project, take the art assets and game logic and get some Unity programmers to code it from the ground up. Don't try to get experienced Go programmers who write games in Go to fix it; there aren't enough of them to fill a broom closet. Open source is another option. No hard feelings from me, whatever you do. You did your best. Not every project succeeds.

    20. Zael on

      I join the chain of the many kind words spoken in this thread.
      Despite the legal mumble Lawrence "Saker" Collins is referring to (Terms of Service), I believe, like Dmitriy Afanasyev, that the spirit of Kickstarter is that of investment and aid. Though the ToS might say different, it's likely just so that the KS be allowed to operate in the first place.
      IMO Terms of Service these days are corrupted beyond the point of recovery, especially in the world of software.

    21. Missing avatar

      T Da Silva on

      I already saw the writings on the wall the moment the first developer left. Using GO was a really bad idea and one might say "Wow! A Google developer! No way this can fail!". but games are the hardest form of software development and very different than the comfy way Google makes software and can easily get away with flaws by just saying "its BETA!". The only thing left to do is to leave it as open source and hope someone will pick it up eventually.

    22. KONSTANTIN on

      Open the source code of the game and graphics under a free license. Perhaps community will finish your work.

    23. Zombie Pug on

      I didn't pledge much, so there's no desire for a refund. My humble advice...move on. You've done quite enough to try to pull this thing out of the fire, and it just didn't work out. Save yourself any more heartache. Move on to bigger and better things. The more you dwell on this one failure, the longer it will take to recover. We all fail. We all fall down. You've fallen down. Get up and move on. And good luck.

    24. longbeach on

      As a $250 backer this has been a sad sorrowful story... I've been off and on about asking for a refund and I do like the t-shirt but seriously it seemed the whole time that coding the game was taken for granted until it started to tailspin and never came close to righting itself.

      If I do ask for a refund it will be for a small fraction just so I can give some of this to another project.

      Deciding that the game we funded was not fun and switching gears to multiplayer doesn't deserve much sympathy.

    25. Dmitriy Afanasyev on

      Rick, I don't want a refund and I never expected even be offered one. Kickstarter is not a store - it's a way to invest, and sometimes investments don't work out. That's part of the game and that's ok. Things happen, and while it's disappointing, it's not a black mark in your book. If you ever do release Haunts something - great. If not - I'll look forward to seeing and sponsoring your next project here. Good luck!

    26. Devon Rampe on

      Hi Rick,
      Don't worry, I will never ask for refunds on Kickstarter as I use this site to support people that are trying to make something they love. Getting a game in return is just a bonus to that. Sorry things are going so rough for you. Hope things will get better!

    27. Anthony Voss on

      Hey Rick, sorry this has been so rough on you. When we talked for my radio show, you seemed really hopeful for the future of the game, and it is very sad to hear that hopefulness slipping away. What little I have given to this project was given gladly, and I hope you come out of this with your head held high.

    28. Missing avatar


      As far as I'm concerned, I'm gambling on every Kickstarter project I pledge to. I'm sorry yours had to be the one to go through so many problems, and I sincerely hope it can all be solved eventually. In the meantime, I'm grateful to have been able to follow the process, even if it didn't come out as we'd all hoped.

    29. Missing avatar

      Dennis on

      Dang this looked like a nice game too. Very sad to learn that this has happened.

    30. Alex Hammond on

      Sounds like a real headache Rick. I'm sorry to hear things are not working out. I don't require a refund either. All the best.

    31. Missing avatar

      John Beisley on

      Sorry to hear that it's not gone to plan. I understand how things didn't work out as hoped, and don't expect any kind of refund. Take care and all the best in this and future projects. Thank you for all the hard work you put into this project even if it hasn't worked out.

    32. Lawrence "Saker" Collins

      It's very nice of all of you who don't want a refund. Many of you probably have had projects of your own that met with obstacles, so you know how it can be. Good on you.
      However, it's not appropriate to deride those backers who ask for a refund. It's well within their right. You are expected to be respectful to others here.
      You might also benefit from reading the Terms of Service.

      And, in the context of the transactions here, it's not an "investment".

    33. Stavros Tsiakalos on

      I'm sorry to hear things are going badly, Rick. I applaud the fantastic way you have handled the very open communication with the backers. If I could do it again, I'd back Haunts in a heartbeat and at a higher tier, if only because you have proven to be a person worth supporting.
      Best wishes.

    34. Dale Reed on

      This is the great thing with crowdfunding, can you imagine normal investors talking the way most people are here, ie don't worry, keep the money etc?! Not likely. I feel so proud of everyone lol. Particularly people like the lady who gave $150 and yet was happy just to have received some of the artwork of her husband and cat, very magnanimous all around I think.

      Rick - like most others on here I'm not interested in a refund. It's a real shame it didn't come off and I really hope something else can happen with this project down the line. I'm pretty appalled at the developer you had, as a developer myself I'd be really disappointed if I let someone down as much as he did you. Maybe, as you say, it's the development environment you settled on. I'm sure if you can find a way to open source it while still keeping some control somebody somewhere will be able to resolve the issues, even if, as you say, it's simply to take all the art and redevelop the whole thing in something else.

      Good luck to you anyway, I really hope you can still get something out of this.

    35. Missing avatar

      Andreas P Rauch on

      Investing is always a gamble, and I cannot and do not expect more than honest effort. Not all good ideas can be realized, that's life.

      Don't worry about any refunds as far as I am concerned. Best of luck, and thanks for the honesty about how things turned out!

      (And if you find a way to get the program to work again, I'd be really happy to see the results!)

    36. Jennifer Wheaton on

      I commend you for trying so hard on this project. My own company found that everything was falling apart and so we had to make the decision to start a new from another angle and to begin from beginning once more. I no little about programming but I do know that one little kink in a tapestry usually requires you to take it all apart to that point and start again. I hope you eventually are able to achieve your goal, I always loved the idea and Edward Gorey like art style of your game and still hope to play it one day:-)

    37. matt on

      I agree with those below, Kickstarter is an investment, not a sales transaction. I'm sorry you are having so much trouble, and am disappointed, only because they little that we have seen looks so fun. Maybe something will come of this in the future and if not, I still consider it worth the investment. Good luck going forward!

    38. Lawrence "Saker" Collins

      Rick has been very good about keeping us informed, even when the news wasn't positive. Not every KS campaign is like that.

      For clarification, backing a KS campaign is not an "investment", legally speaking.

    39. Michael Ramsey

      I do not require a refund either. It is unfortunate what has happened.

    40. Missing avatar

      Frank Marcelli on

      I don't want the money back, but I've been thinking about something off and on about this project for the last few months. From what I've been able to discern, you had two, maybe three core developers putting their efforts in to make this project happen. Then, one, if not two of them left the project. One of those I can understand - working for Google/returning to Google is impressive! The other one, unexpectedness or the end of the initial commitment happens. I'm trying to figure out if you were aware of the resultant short-staffing of resources.
      I'm also trying to figure out if you were hopeful that by the time this project gained traction, that the original coding/structure base, Go, was going to pick up additional support.
      There are two notably restrictive measurements here that I don't envy you having to deal and resolve. I hope that future endeavours will have a backup/redundancy support should some core people not be available, for whatever reason.
      Admittedly, I'm already miffed by the former announcements that your single player aspect of the game was being stunted. Knowing that the development challenges for it was already partially out of your control, it doesn't completely take the sting out of that major strike. This last update unfortunately isn't a shocker.

    41. alcaray on

      Hey great idea: ultimately, when a game comes out the other end, make a character titled Assclown, to commemorate all of those with little faith.

    42. alcaray on

      I'm sorry that there are assclowns requesting refunds!

    43. AndonSage on

      Rick, I'm sad to hear about the continuing issues, but I appreciate your continuing status updates. I won't be asking for a refund. I hope you have better luck in the future!

    44. Josh Thomson

      Add me to the "no refund for me" chorus. I understand that contributing to a Kickstarter project is an investment, not a purchase. I appreciate how open you've been with us (and everyone) with the difficulties you've had on this project. If you set it aside and decide to do something with Haunts later, just keep the backers informed.

    45. Dan Truman on

      Wish I had more to give, but consider donation well spent.

    46. Missing avatar

      Barnaby Arquebus on

      Sorry to hear about all of the trouble! We know you've put a ton of work in on this project. No forgiveness needed. Most of us here have had first hand experience with a big project going awry. Your clear communication on the state of things is very appreciated. Please keep my pledge. If Haunts becomes any kind of game, I'd love to hear about it. Maybe a board game or card game could fit the bill?

    47. Missing avatar

      Mike F. on

      sticking with my pledge

    48. Martin Breiner

      Its a shame, but I stay onboard with my pledge.
      Maybe you could try to get things done again in Unity? Well no expertise here on this topic, but its seems to be an reasonable easy method to get things done.

    49. Missing avatar

      Grenville Wilson on

      No refund. Everyone makes mistakes - Lord knows I've made plenty - and each one is an opportunity to grow. Making the code open source might be a nice touch if possible, but your primary responsibility is keeping your finances in order and keeping your mind. ;)

    50. S.D. on

      @Alter Ego: It's already open source! Assets and everything are in the community, and the volunteers who've spent dozens of hours trying to make things work have worked on the project in an open capacity. Take a look, yourself, if you've got the Go experience (or just the interest) and see if there is something you can do with it! I've got aspirations to do an Android port/reimplementation sometime this summer using libGDX, but I'm too busy supporting the Linux port of other Kickstarter projects I've backed.
      @Rick: For what it's worth... I pledged for a couple of licenses. If someday (even years from now), the game appears in some form as a free & open source game project, I'll (effectively) have endless licenses, and technically come out ahead. I hope that others can see it that way as well. Thanks for trying, trying again, and continuing to try (at a lower priority). It shows your respect for your backers.