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View Full Version : Haunts: first Kickstarter failure for me



internetonsetadd
18-10-2012, 11:15 PM
Haunts: The Manse Macabre was to be released this month. That's not happening (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2066438441/haunts-the-manse-macabre/posts/331425).


As Iím sure many of you suspect, things havenít been going well for Haunts and Mob Rules Games. I am still determined to get the game out, but I no longer have any way of knowing when and how that will happen.

I'm not optimistic.

Edit: I think I fixed the link.

Patrick Swayze
18-10-2012, 11:46 PM
Yeah Blackspace was my first failure today too. Shit sucks, especially when it feels like its a game made just for you

gundato
18-10-2012, 11:49 PM
Dirty Dancing: Blackspace just didn't get any love. Haunts apparently got funded, but the project lead completely underestimated costs and didn't seem to have any sort of contract with his coders (so they wandered off).

Internet
18-10-2012, 11:50 PM
Yikes. That is not good. That's a shame because the art-style looks cool.

Koshiir
18-10-2012, 11:56 PM
I read the last update. Sad story, but the guy is very honest and remorseful about it.

That said, I sometimes have to remind myself that backing a game on Kickstarter is not the same as preordering. It's an investment and as any investment in real life it can either bear fruit or wither away.

Sakkura
19-10-2012, 12:12 AM
404 Not Found from that link doesn't really seem like a good sign either.

jyden
19-10-2012, 12:15 AM
404 Not Found from that link doesn't really seem like a good sign either.
The link's missing a colon after the http-bit.

deano2099
19-10-2012, 12:19 AM
404 Not Found from that link doesn't really seem like a good sign either.
Hardly the first failure. It's nearly two years on and Hadean Lands still isn't out - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zarf/hadean-lands-interactive-fiction-for-the-iphone?ref=live

SirDavies
19-10-2012, 12:40 AM
Doesn't look like a total failure, but yeah, pretty bad.

internetonsetadd
19-10-2012, 03:39 AM
Not much of a loss considering that $5 got you the game, but it's pretty disappointing. This was to be my first Kickstarter "ROI." It's also a little worrying, since the project seemed to unravel so thoroughly despite the lead's best intentions. I can think of a few other projects I'm backing with similarly small teams being paid from a microscopic budget. Not a lot of wiggle room there.

frightlever
19-10-2012, 11:12 AM
Paying X amount of money and hopefully getting a game in return is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a ROI. At best it's a transaction, at worst a donation.

chip5541
19-10-2012, 11:40 AM
That is a shame. Looked pretty interesting.

Dominic Tarason
19-10-2012, 12:01 PM
The first kickstarters were super-optimistic about development costs. $25k will not get you a full, quality game produced unless you're the sole developer and plan on living on ramen for the entire development cycle. $100,000 really should be the bare minimum for any year-long project.

carnage4u
19-10-2012, 01:12 PM
what keeps this kickstarters from raising a ton of money, putting on some 'show' that says they tried, but oppos, due to X reason it failed, and just run off into the sunset with your money? seems like such an easy place to scam people out of money.

Of course as I get older I trust no one.

Shooop
19-10-2012, 02:08 PM
My first Kickstarter ever Chivalry turned out to be huge steaming pile.

You're lucky to have only spent $5.

Moraven
19-10-2012, 02:52 PM
The first kickstarters were super-optimistic about development costs. $25k will not get you a full, quality game produced unless you're the sole developer and plan on living on ramen for the entire development cycle. $100,000 really should be the bare minimum for any year-long project.

One problem I see is so many physical rewards in higher tiers. Sure your $150 is 125 more than just giving the game, but the goods will cost you 100 anyway produce and ship.

You get that $25 yes, but it inflates the final funding to what they can actually put back into the game.

Yah we got $500k! but $50k goes to payment fees and then $100k goes to rewards. People will expect $500k worth of a game which they will not get. Seems more and more though are learning this and planning accordingly on what they are promising.

Sakkura
19-10-2012, 03:18 PM
what keeps this kickstarters from raising a ton of money, putting on some 'show' that says they tried, but oppos, due to X reason it failed, and just run off into the sunset with your money? seems like such an easy place to scam people out of money.

Of course as I get older I trust no one.
What keeps companies offering preorders from doing the same?

chip5541
19-10-2012, 03:22 PM
lawsuits, which is why I think Kickstarter is now making them list a warning now.

gundato
19-10-2012, 03:23 PM
What keeps companies offering preorders from doing the same?

Pretty much. I know Gamestop made a big deal of authorizing any Duke Nukem Forever pre-order receipts, but what about all the other people who plopped down a few bucks (which is fortunately no longer done for most stores) and lost the receipt in the decade or so in between?

But generally pre-orders (that charge you ahead of time) are only really offered when the title is a few months out and pretty much guaranteed to be released (with only the potential of being crappy, not vaporware)

b0rsuk
19-10-2012, 03:33 PM
How about tar&feather approach ? From what I gather the 2 remaining people have been abandoned by their teammates. Do we know the names of those who quit ? I would make sure it comes up in google search when you type their names. Next time they're looking for a job, google will reveal they have questionable work ethics and loyalty.

gundato
19-10-2012, 03:37 PM
How about tar&feather approach ? From what I gather the 2 remaining people have been abandoned by their teammates. Do we know the names of those who quit ? I would make sure it comes up in google search when you type their names. Next time they're looking for a job, google will reveal they have questionable work ethics and loyalty.

Yes, because god forbid the guy who was always planning to return to Google decided to keep working for a project that was out of money. Or the guy who got a better job offer did the same.

That's one thing that really irks me about the "apology". Most of it is spent to make it look like his coders abandoned him and he only briefly mentions "We have spent all the money we raised,"

One would think THAT is the deciding factor (and likely why the second coder left). I sure as hell know that I like to get paid for what I do, and if I am not getting paid for something I WILL look for something that will give me moneys

mike2R
19-10-2012, 04:18 PM
What keeps companies offering preorders from doing the same?

Chargebacks probably play a role. If you don't get what you pre-order you just call your card issuer and get them to return the funds. If the developer/publisher skips town then their payment processor would get left out of pocket (which is why a number of indie games have had problems with paypal withholding payments I imagine).

I assume kickstarter have managed to cover themselves against chargebacks or they wouldn't have got off the ground.

TillEulenspiegel
19-10-2012, 04:23 PM
Amidst all the dire warnings about the dangers of Kickstarter, nobody has acknowledged this:

We have spent all the money we raised, but I will personally refund out of my own pocket anyone who wants to withdraw their support, no questions asked.
This is absolutely a case of the author doing the right thing. Failure, sure, but no harm done.

Shooop
19-10-2012, 04:36 PM
Amidst all the dire warnings about the dangers of Kickstarter, nobody has acknowledged this:

This is absolutely a case of the author doing the right thing. Failure, sure, but no harm done.

A very sad conclusion though nonetheless.

Lukasz
19-10-2012, 04:58 PM
30K is puny amount of money in western world. It can support one man team working full time on budget title which does not require any commercial technology, outsourcing or externally produced assets.

I would also like to defend those people who left. No money, no reason for you to stay. If you are friends, family this is different but if it is your job, the moment you stopped getting paid and there is no foreseeable change to that situation, then yes, you abandon the ship and try to find a job where you get paid.
Blaming those people is just wrong. We all have families, rent, etc. to pay. We can't work for free out of sheer loyalty.

gundato
19-10-2012, 05:02 PM
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more that "apology" pisses me off.

The entirety of the coders should have been something along the lines of the following:

"One of our coders had always made it clear that he intended to return to Google. Unfortunately, we did not make as much progress as we would have liked. Our other coder took another job. We are unable to hire a new coder because we are out of money"

Names (even just first ones) should NEVER have been used in that context. Why? Just look how stupid the internet is. People in this very thread are acting like the coders are horrible people when this project (like so many others) failed due to poor leadership, flawed estimation of costs, and unforseen expenses. Simple as that.

OrangyTang
19-10-2012, 05:51 PM
The bbc have picked up on it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20003916

They've also talked to some guy called John Walker, don't know who he is, probably runs some kind of glorified blog.

While this is a shame, it's always a risk with an artist-led project - programming time is notoriously hard to estimate and budget for, and if you run out of money (like here) you can't really finish it off yourself. A programmer-led kickstarter project can at least finish with horrible programmer art, but the reverse doesn't seem likely here.

I hope this isn't completely dead though - they've obviously gone a long way and it would be a shame to see it left unfinished.

Xercies
19-10-2012, 06:04 PM
I do wonder why they ever thought of using an obscure coding environment though...

OrangyTang
19-10-2012, 06:11 PM
I do wonder why they ever thought of using an obscure coding environment though...
Go is used a lot internally at Google, and one (both?) of the programmers have a background at Google, so it makes sense for them to go with something they know well and presumably both like to use. And it's not *that* different from C++ so I don't think it's going to be too hard to find a replacement programmer - the difficulty is finding how to pay that person.

internetonsetadd
19-10-2012, 06:40 PM
Paying X amount of money and hopefully getting a game in return is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a ROI. At best it's a transaction, at worst a donation.

Right. Which is why I put it in quotes.

Followup update (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2066438441/haunts-the-manse-macabre/posts/331778). Apparently most backers were pretty understanding; a few offered more money. While that's definitely not something I'm going to do, $5 isn't worth holding a grudge over. I'm just kind of disinterested at this point.

qwurp
19-10-2012, 07:04 PM
I think the developer could have kept a steadier output of updates to his base of fans/users, which would have helped alleviate the bomb drop that it was now looking grim. But he recovered well and was fairly honest with the current status of the project.

It does serve as a good reminder to the community that Kickstarter projects are driven by donations. Literally donations. Yes, developers offer rewards for those donations and are obligated to fulfill those to the best of their abilities but at best, they're donations (not transactions) because that is what they literally defined as.

Best of luck to the developer and glad to hear the community response has been fairly positive. Ironically, the people who have complained the most about this are people who literally say they've never even backed a Kickstarter. Funny how that works...

Sakkura
20-10-2012, 12:07 AM
Right. Which is why I put it in quotes.

Followup update (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2066438441/haunts-the-manse-macabre/posts/331778). Apparently most backers were pretty understanding; a few offered more money. While that's definitely not something I'm going to do, $5 isn't worth holding a grudge over. I'm just kind of disinterested at this point.
Pretty much.

I think the whole kickstarter thing tends to be blown out of proportion. When it was going through success story after success story you had people claiming it was a new era for gaming, that it would soon take over AAA games too and so on. Now, with a frankly insignificant little failure of one of thousands of projects, it's doom and gloom and OMG TEH RIPOFF OF ALL TIEM that will indubitably put an immediate and permanent end to crowdfunding.

Yes, I put some hyperbole in the hyperbole.

soldant
20-10-2012, 01:55 AM
This is absolutely a case of the author doing the right thing. Failure, sure, but no harm done.
That is good.


What I find slightly amusing is that people are defending this failure in a way by going "Well, that's the risk you assume, too bad!" or "It's such a small amount of money, who cares?" It's fair enough to say that because that's how Kickstarter is played, but these people screwed up. Coders leaving is a blow, but if they've left, it's obvious that they had no confidence in the project which says something about the project (or its management) itself. Is $5 a big deal? No, not in the grand scheme of things. But it demonstrates that Kickstarters can fail. Not "fail" as in "we've released a crap game, too bad!" but not getting past the post.

It's good that he's going to refund people who ask for it, but it'll probably increase caution regarding Kickstarter products in the future. Which is a good thing. It'll take one big failure for the bubble to burst though.

CommunistHamster
20-10-2012, 08:44 AM
I would like to hope there's a correlation between the amount of money a kickstarter gets and how well they plan to use it.

Maybe Toady of Dwarf Fortress could publish a management book titled "How to make the best video game in history while living off ramen noodles, diet soda and donations".