Alpha Colony misses $50k Kickstarter goal by $28, does not fund

DreamQuest games Kickstarter project fell $28 short and rules are rules. I wish I'd known of it, M.U.L.E. was a favorite. "Alpha Colony's Kickstarter campaign had raised $49,972 from 542 backers. The game was meant to be a mobile and PC spiritual sequel to M.U.L.E." (Polygon)


    1. The probability of coming up short by $28 on a $50k fundraiser has to be incredibly small. While your suggestion sounds like a good idea, it isn’t really supported by anything other than hindsight. The probability that this Kickstarter fundraiser would have raised from $48k to $52k would almost be identical. Additionally, if self-donating is a reasonable action then why shouldn’t the project owner donate the maximum extent that they think is reasonable at the beginning of the Kickstarter fundraiser? If the funding plus their donation was exceeded then they could simply pocket it once it was funded (losing just the applicable fraction of the Kickstarter fee). Alternatively, the owner could lower the fundraiser by the amount that they would self-donate to the project. Monitoring and self-donating at the last minute seems to be an irrational action when you consider the alternatives.

      1. But the odds of being $28 short on a $50K fundraiser when you are $28 short on a $50K fundraiser with a minute or two left are pretty high.  So dropping $30 in those last few minutes would have made great sense.

        The fact that these folks are supposed to be putting together a computer program but weren’t paying close enough attention to make up the $30 indicates the attention to detail may not be there, and as an investor that might make me happy it didn’t happen.

      2. How many people RTFA?

        Obviously, we are very disappointed. We have invested 10 months and over $60,000 of our own money into this project.

        Also see below about the literally-last-minute $800 pledge; they were really much more than $28 short.

        1. So I scan KS and Indi once a day looking for projects that are ~$100 short and will put it over.   When I looked they were ~$1000 of the mark, way too much for a charity donation to push them.

      3.  Methinks you are missing something. You watch the campaign and if at say 20 minutes left you are short, you donate to get over the hump. Why you think that is irrational is beyond me. It only costs you 8% of whatever you donate and the difference is being funded vs not funded. Your talk of probabilities is completely irrelevant.

    2.  Not sure about this one. But in some cases, when doing a crowd funded project, donating to your own project is not permitted, and doing so will make you forfeit all of the funds.

  1. umm.  Wow..  That’s a shame.  A really big shame.  I hope that the creator takes this on as a pet-project or something.  I loved MULE when I was a kid, but this is the first I heard of this kickstarter.  I would have given the $28 if I knew of it.

    I suppose this is where marketing should have kicked in.  I heard nothing prior and only heard of the fail.  (And to think as a tech I used to tease marketing as being useless.  /me eats his own words)

  2. Can’t they, you know, kickstart it again? Contact the same people, and ask each one to add 6 cents to their donation this time?

  3. They clearly weren’t paying attention, which means that their investors may well have been saved from a fiasco.

  4. Considering that one of the main strategies in MULE was to run auctions way up, then race back at the last second to try to siphon funds out of the AI, watching the seconds tick away at the end without funding it themselves must have strangely echoed the game itself for the developers.

    I imagine their clocks had that tin-can ticking sound with the fire-bell alarm, like MULE on the C-64.

      1. Just remembering that makes me really wish I had heard of this in time. I spent countless hours on that game.

        I can still hear the meteor-incoming sound – like the last vortex of water sucked through a half-clogged drain.

  5. sorry, but what Sam and Mitchell said. Properly kept crowdfunding projects don’t fail for $28 or even $100. Even the kickstarter and indiegogo help pages encourage you to donate the last few dollars/euro yourself. A project that failed to fund for $28 would have failed to deliver had it funded.

    1. “Even the kickstarter and indiegogo help pages encourage you to donate the last few dollars/ euro yourself.”
      No, they don’t – Kickstarter, at least, explicitly forbids it.  It may even be illegal.
      From the FAQ:
      Can I pledge to my own project?
      No. Credit card rules forbid project creators from paying themselves.

  6. gotta call bullshit.  somebody either (a) wasn’t watching the clock because they didn’t care enough, or (b) decided they couldn’t deliver the project for that amount of money and were praying that it would fall short.  (or, possibly (c) trolling in some way)

  7. They were, it seems, down $828 until the final seconds of the auction. With moments to go, someone donated $800, leaving them $28 short with no time to do anything about it. The developer posits that the late donation was some kind of statement, done in the knowledge they wouldn’t have to pay up.

      1. Not so risky for the troll – one can back out of Kickstarter pledges, and some have.  A few developers have been left scrambling to raise significant (and much needed) funds after a “successful” Kickstarter campaign when some of the big backers dropped support after the campaign ended.

        1. Really?  I didn’t know that, and it’s significantly worrying if true since it completely undermines the basic premise of crowdfunding – if you invested in something then you invested in it.  It’s like bidding in an auction: if you didn’t want to pay then you shouldn’t bid.  If a project reaches its fundraising goal and then people pull out, I assume that everyone else is entitled to get their money back as well, and that’s a massive can of worms.
          I was considering a couple of KS projects but if this is indeed the case then I am going to have to reconsider (even if it’s very unlikely to happen with the tiny things I’m looking at!)

          1. Bad choice of phrase on my part, clearly.  But I still can’t find the right words to express what I mean.  Perhaps a contract would be a better comparison?  If you back out of a contract because you “changed your mind”, then you should be prepared to be held personally liable by everybody else that you are affecting – and that’s not just from the project side, that’s from the funding side as well.  

  8. Why couldn’t KS allow them to reduce goal by $1k a week before? 2% wouldn’t be a dealbreaker in the real world. KS complicit in the failure. They could have posted reasoning about why it would be acceptable from a project standpoint, i.e. deliver same goods but take less salary, etc.

    1. You’re assuming they knew it would be a close-run thing a week beforehand. In fact, they were only at $20k. Even three hours before finishing they were still $6k short.

  9. There is a link on the KickStarter “home” page to projects that are ending soon. I typically browse it and have thrown in the final few dollars (typically under $100) when something catches my eye. 

    1. In theory he could.  Other developers have re-tooled their failed campaigns and relaunched them.  However, the difficulty he had in almost reaching that amount (an amount that represents a fraction of the funds he actually needs for development) indicated to the developer a lack of support – support he’ll need later to get enough sales to break even on this project.
      Edit: In this case, he had a previous campaign where he was asking for significantly more money (the amount he needed). He wasn’t reaching his goal, so he decided to try again, asking for a much smaller amount with the hopes of getting more than he asked for. Perversely, in Kickstarter this seems to be the way that’s more likely to succeed. However, that strategy failed this time. Had he just barely met his goal he still would have been screwed. Although this seems like a bad strategy, it should be remembered that for Kickstarter video game campaigns, no one asks for the full amount of money they need, as they’d probably not get it. Everyone is putting their own time and money into the project to make up the shortfall (and a few get investment money, too). This means that if one of the team members gets sick or otherwise can’t complete their role, the project is likely screwed as they can’t afford to hire someone to replace them. (This has already happened a few times so far.)

      1. “support he’ll need later to get enough sales to break even on this project” – Isn’t that kind of antithetical to the KS principle?  I didn’t realise it was merely a way of raising venture capital – I thought it was about funding a particular project.  To be honest, I’m already nervous about guys like Braben and Molyneux using it; if they can’t get publisher funding then you do wonder what’s going on – but this seems like a more extreme version of the scenario and in a sense perhaps it’s good that they failed?

  10. Not to kick these guys while they’re down – I love me some M.U.L.E. – but to be totally honest it looked a little more like FarmVille in space to me.

  11. So, I’m coming to this story a bit late, but personally, I’m glad it failed, because something here stinks.  

    This isn’t the first time they tried to get “Alpha Colony” Kickstarted.  They tried in June, and made over $100k. Of course, the goal was $500k, so that failed too.  But hey, how is it that they could make the same game for $450k less the second time around?  Could it be that they were trying to soak the KS community for some extra cash, based on the “M.U.L.E.” name? 

    The second attempt didn’t have the “M.U.L.E.” license, you’ll notice.  In their FAQ, they say “However, we fell short of funding that ambitious project on Kickstarter. Further, we realized that the game we wanted to make was bigger than just a M.U.L.E. tribute (and there was also already a faithful remake in development) so we separated these projects out.”  So, the project was too ambitious, but the game they want to make is somehow bigger? 

    Maybe this wasn’t just a cynical attempt to use Kickstarter as a giant ATM.  Certainly that’s happened before (and is happening now with the “Pathfinder” video game project), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what this is.  But it’s suspicious to me, and that’s why I didn’t back, and won’t back the next attempt.  BTW, when the scammers fail on Kickstarter, they inevitably go to Indiegogo.  Keep an eye out for that move as well.

    1. Something here definitely stinks.  I backed the first time but not the second after I did some research on this guy.  Here’s what I found:  Login and search his name.  Criminal.

        1. It is definitely the same guy.  Middle name Preston, born in 1969, works and lives in Lafayette, CO.  Do enough internet searches (or just ask me) and all the pieces fit.  I have learned to do the research first before backing any projects.  I do not want to back a criminal.

Comments are closed.