Gavan Woolery launched the Kickstarter campaign for his Voxel RPG Sim back in November of 2014. Funded for $35,213 of its $30,000 goal, Voxel Quest had an impressive start, with frequent updates and developer Twitch streams. Everything seemed to be going as planned until suddenly it wasn’t.
On May 5th, Woolery released a Kickstarter update explaining that he had run out of funds to work on Voxel Quest. Usually, with these sort of stories, this is the part where the developer goes off the rails and starts engaging in shady practices while continuing to over-promise on what they can deliver. Woolery instead went the exact opposite route. While he planned to continue working on the game whenever he could find the time, he also wanted to refund all of the money he’d been given thus far.
Backers, investors, patrons, and those who had pre-ordered the game were all offered refunds since the future of the project was in question. This level of integrity and transparency was so refreshing to backers that most were perfectly happy to let Woolery keep their money in the hopes of seeing the project eventually come to fruition.
In August, their requests were partially answered. An early version of the Voxel Quest engine was added to github for backers to download. The idea being to get the source code out to those who had supported the game. Now with the most recent update, Woolery has released every version of Voxel Quest under a zlib license. This will allow the community to continue to mod and update the code as they see fit.
Making The Best Of The Situation
It’s a good faith gesture on Woolery’s part. He is now working full-time and thus unable to dedicate himself to the completion of the project. Refunds are still available to anyone who requests them. Not everyone will be able to do much with these early builds.
It’s certainly not an ideal end to such a promising campaign. Still, more developers who find themselves handling a failing project should take note. Voxel Quest proves that there is a way to bow out of a project without burning the community who helped you start it.