The indie game's alpha will be a "basic game-play prototype and tech demo," according to the official site, with some of the game mechanics implemented and "lots of interesting features to check out and play with." The space colony management game, which marries The Sims, Dwarf Fortress and Dungeon Keeper, recently won the Indie Developer Grant.
Maia's designer, Simon Roth, hasn't yet confirmed how he'll be funding the game, but crowdfunding via Kickstarter looks likely. The site is about to launch it's UK arm and Roth was recently interviewed on the subject by Edge.
The announcement also said the alpha release will be carried by several big name digital distributors.
In the meantime, I'll be speaking with Roth in more detail about his plans for Maia very, very soon.