Hello there friends and fans! We wanted to come up for air to give you an update on how development on Ray’s The Dead is going. We are going to keep it brief so we can get back to work…
Hello there friends and fans!
We wanted to come up for air to give you an update on how development on Ray’s The Dead is going. We are going to keep it brief so we can get back to work on the game, but there are a few tidbits to share.
We are currently burning the midnight oil on an internal goal to get the entire game feature complete and content complete by July 1st. This is no small task but we are making great progress toward that goal.
Our current level count is at 31. Last month we accomplished the large task of getting all levels designed and blocked out, but by July 1 we hope to have all features implemented and gameplay accounted for. Wish us luck!
Unity 5 Transition
Shawn has just started our engine upgrade to Unity version 5. While it will certainly cause a bump or two in the road, when things settle we are hoping to get a lot of great new features out of the new engine. We’ll talk more about that after we’ve gotten our hands dirty with it!
Probably not terribly exciting to most of you, but we are excited that our friends at Trinket Studios have helped us get a nearly completed build system up and running. This means we will very easily be able to output builds of our game to any of the supported platforms. We also means it will be very easy to quickly update and deploy the game via Steam, which will be important to those of you that will be receiving Alpha and Beta access.
Trophies / Achievements
We have begun compiling lists of the different Trophies and Achievements we’d like to include in Ray’s the Dead. We know many of you feel strongly about your trophies, so we’d love to hear your opinions on what kind of trophies you like and dislike. And before you ask, we don’t know yet if we will have a Platinum trophy. That’s something Sony will decide when we are close to release.
In Game UI / Menus
We have contracted the fabulously talented Cef Grima to design and create the art assets for all of the In Game UI, and the Menu system. We’ve already started seeing some of his concepts and they are looking great! If all goes well we’ll be able to show some of that off next month.
Several of you have asked what our presence will be at the conventions in the coming months.
This is always a very tough decision for us. As great as it is to attend these conventions and show the game off to the press and fans, its also extremely draining on our time and financial resources. We are trying as hard as we can to focus on getting the game done as quickly as possible. To that end, as difficult as it was, we declined an invitation to E3 this year. However we are hoping to start making appearances later in the year at shows like PAX Prime, but we aren’t 100% decided on that just yet.
As soon as plans are set, we’ll be sure to let everyone know!
That’s all we’ve got for you this month. See you in July!
Hello friends of Ray!
Lets just get this out there… we missed an April update! We are terribly sorry! But there is a bright side – because we skipped a month, the May update is chock full of awesome! Lets get right into it.
April was a huge month for us. We worked really hard to get an internal milestone completed that involved us getting a large chunk of the game playable, and running on our various supported platforms. It also involved getting some of our lingering systems implemented, such as the checkpoint / save system. We are really happy to get over that hump, as it allows us to see the road to completion far more clearly.
Now then, lets show off some fun stuff!
One of the big tasks we recently completed was a first pass on getting the game running on the Vita! Here is a little teaser as proof. (Click the V to view full size)
We have our work cut out for us to get this big game running well on this little system, but we’ve made great progress!
The one and only Ben Crossbones has been spending a lot of time recording the gibberish voice over you’ll hear throughout the game. He’s more than halfway through recording, and what we’ve heard is hilarous! We’ll bring you some samples next month.
Next, Jake ‘Virt’ Kaufman has been tearing up his studio banging out some new tracks for Ray’s the Dead, and they are turning out great! Here is a new one for you to put in your ears:
We’ve been making rapid progress in getting all of our levels functioning with representative art and gameplay. Currently, we are blocking out the final two levels with the goal of having the entire game playable from beginning to end in the next few weeks. In addition, we are iterating on the levels we already have to prepare them for demoing / play testing. Here is a look at some concept art, an early screenshot from our Water Tower level, and one of our Halloween character sprite sheets.
Collectables / Pickups
One thing we haven’t revealed much about are the variety of collectables and pick ups strewn throughout the world of Ray’s the Dead. We’ll crack that open by showing a video of one of the most extensive collectables: The Kickstarter Backer Gravestones.
We will have nearly 200 personalized gravestones hidden throughout the game. Most are slightly hidden from view, but designated by some subtle sparkly bits. When you find one of these, you can walk up to it and activate it to get a closer look. Fortunately, many of our backers were quite entertaining with their requests, so there are lots of funny tombstones to read. A likely trophy / achievement will be ‘Find all the Gravestones’.
Check out the video below to see what it will look like.
That’s all we’ve got for now. Back to work for us, and see you next month!
This is much later in the month than we normally like to wait to update you, but things have been crazy busy here at Ragtag HQ! We are working really hard on an internal April 1st deadline, so as usual we are going to keep it short and sweet.
Progress has been great this past month!
On the code side, Shawn has been going nuts on all kinds of stuff that most people wont understand. He has been revisiting and cleaning up a lot of old systems in preparation for contractors hopping on board to help us out. One major thing he tackled is the implementation of in-level check points, and save games. We are very happy to have those running. Here is a tweet that summed up his progress:
Shawn’s clean up work paved the way for our friend David Laskey from The Amiable to get our Steam Integration up and running. He knocked that out in a day! So now we are able to upload builds and playtest directly from Steam. We are stoked!
On the art side, Matt has been making some great updates to the characters, as well as the character pipeline. Matt has been writing his own scripts to get information exported out of Blender and into a format that our engine can recognize, making it far more efficient for him to generate more character variations. That, combined with some character pipeline updates that Shawn has been working on, have allowed for a nice variety of characters to start appearing in the game. When all is said and done there will be a nearly infinite variety of characters and their corresponding zombies appearing in game! Here is a little sample:
And between you and me, this is just the tip of the iceberg! Don’t tell Matt I told you this, but I know when he is finally freed up to do some of the things he wants to do, we are going to be rewarded with a crazy number of really fun character variations. What you see above is Matt simply testing the waters!
Matt has also been providing a lot of guidance to our art contractors, helping them get a nice variety of models streaming in. Speaking of, its only polite to introduce you! In addition to the previously mentioned Cef Grima, both Stefania Hernandez and Charli Fredia have hopped on board to help us out with a bunch of models. Its been enormously helpful to get this additional help!
Here are a couple of the concepts Matt has whipped up:
On the design side, levels have been coming together nicely! Chris has been frantically grabbing all these assets and new features coming on line and slamming them into levels like mad. We’ve been doing weekly internal playtests and the results even at this relatively early stage have been very promising. Its been super encouraging to see things coming together!
That’s it for now, back to work for us!
Hello friends of Ragtag! Already knee deep in the month, it’s time for the February Ray’s the Dead Development update!
There have been two notable developments in the last few weeks.
First off, the Character Pipeline is complete! Shawn and Matt have put a lot of time into smoothing out the process of getting characters into Ray’s the Dead, while at the same time offering a lot of options and variety. This allows Matt to very quickly paint his characters, drop them in the game. A system is now in place that will smartly randomize all the different accessories he’s put together. The benefit for YOU is you’ll be seeing a nearly infinite variety of unique looking characters! This has been a large undertaking and we are thrilled to see it come to completion. But the best part is the next part: Matt is back on characters later this month! So expect to start seeing lots of new art along that front coming soon.
Second, the process of taking the first half of the levels to a nearly-final state has begun! Matt is laying down the foundation for the look of the levels by creating some of the larger set pieces, and providing concept for our pair of contractors. Chris is taking the art, putting it all together in the levels, and scripting up all of the dialogue, camera movements… everything you’ll experience while playing the game. Its super exciting to see everything that’s been in our heads for so long coming together visually. And so far we are really pleased with the results. We think you will be too!
Aside from that, Shawn has been knocking out bugs, gearing up to bring a couple more contract programmers on board, and also putting some time into getting Ray’s the Dead running on the Vita. Its exciting to hold Ray in the palm of our hands!
Jake is set to deliver two more levels worth of music this month, we are stoked to get our ears on that. Perhaps we’ll have something we can share with you in next months update.
In January, Aenne completed a first-final draft of the script. She came to visit us in person a couple of weeks ago, and many meetings were had. She has started the process of editing and reworking some aspects of the story.
We also begun casting voice actors for the characters in our game! We’ve begun receiving demos from some talented individuals, and so far we are very happy with how things are turning out. If all goes according to plan, this silly gibberish will be good for a lot of belly laughs.
And finally, Chris will be roaming the floor of GDC the first week of March. Hope to see some of you there!
That’s it for now! Stay tuned for future developments, and as always, drop us a line if you have any questions or stories to share. Take care!
Hello friends! Welcome to 2015, we hope you are as excited about this year as we are!
We have a lot of work ahead of us to finish Ray’s the Dead, but things are indeed heating up and we are stoked for the challenges ahead. Due to the success of last years Kickstarter, we have been getting additional help that will go a long way toward helping us meet our goals.
Keep an eye on this space, as we will give periodic updates on our progress on Ray’s the Dead. In the meantime, click here to check out our last few updates on the Kickstarter page to see what we were up to toward the end of last year.
Also, all of the Ragtag Devs have been more active about tweeting about the development process. Here is a list of the twitter accounts of everyone that is working on the project. Follow us for all the latest news, and don’t hesitate to ask questions!
Greetings friends of Ragtag Studio!
We have exciting news to share with you!
The first bit of news is that we are very close to relaunching the Ray’s the Dead Kickstarter! The campaign will feature new insights and unseen footage from the game. You will be able to read about the new features, and all the developers collaborating on the project with us. Learn about how we have expanded Ray’s story, and a few more surprises. We are excited to launch the campaign in early August, and of course we have been cooking up some awesome rewards for our backers!
For a preview of the campaign visit our Prefundia page by clicking here. At the top of the Prefundia page you can enter your email to receive notification as soon as the campaign is launched. Be one of the first to support Ray on his undead journey!
The second bit of exciting news is that Ragtag Studio is taking a major step toward ensuring Ray’s the Dead will be the awesome game we know it can be. Ragtag is relocating to Dallas, TX!
That’s right, Shawn, who already lives in Dallas, will be joined by Matt and Chris the first week of August so all three of us can work side by side. This is a big deal for us and for the project. Being collocated will significantly improve our collaborative development process, because we have learned we work much better in person! This move will also allow us to reduce our expenses and keep our current self funding efforts going a bit longer.
Matt, Chris and their wives will dearly miss Chicago, but we all believe this is the best step for Ragtag Studio and Ray’s the Dead.
So Chris and Matt will be off the grid for a few days moving down to Dallas, but as soon as they land, it will be Kickstarter time!
So check out the Kickstarter Prefundia page, sign up to get an email notification when the campaign starts, and spread the word to help get Ray started off on his undead adventure!
Hello friends of Ragtag! We’ve got a quick status update for you!
First off, we wanted to let you know first off that we will be attending Indy PopCon this coming weekend in Indianapolis! We will have with us a little taste of some of the new content we’ve been working on. This is the first public showing of Ray’s the Dead in nearly a year, so if you happen to be in the area we would love to have you stop by our booth! Chris will also be on a few panels throughout the weekend, likely spilling a few tasty tidbits about the game here and there. Find Chris and mention this blog post, he’ll give you a little something as thanks! Also, we’ll be selling our new posters for the first time. Get ‘em while they’re hot!
A bit of unfortunate news. We decided that while we do have a small slice of the game ready to share, we aren’t quite ready for the big spotlight that is E3. So we decided with great sadness in our hearts to pass on E3 this year. It was a tough choice, but the right choice for the project.
To end on a bright note, we wanted to introduce you to the newest member of the Ragtag family, Phoenix Carter!
Proud parents Matt and Jessica brought Phoenix into the world on March 24th. Remarkably, she has already started helping out proud Papa Matt with his work on Ray’s the Dead. Notice above how Matt can simultaneously make art for Ray’s the Dead, playtest the game, and take care of Phoenix, all at the same time… an amazing man indeed!
That’s it for this update! Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back with more soon!
Chris here, to bring you our not-quite-monthly blog update. We are well aware that we have been on the quiet side for far too long now. That’s because we’ve been very hard at work bringing our pal Ray to life. We still don’t have much game content to share just yet, but I wanted to give a bit of an update on what we’ve been up to, and what our plans are for the near future.
Last year, after spending several months demoing the game between PAX East, C2E2, and E3, we decided to go into hibernation and focus on the game. There are two primary reasons for this. First off, we wanted to take the time to properly implement all of the systems that would make up the Ray’s the Dead engine. Developing them fully is something we didn’t have time for prior to releasing our last demo. The second reason is that we learned a lot from demoing the game to the fans, and press. We learned so much about what works, what doesn’t work, what people respond to, etc. This was incredibly valuable information, and helped inform many of the decisions we have made since then.
Our original plan was to resurface with a new demo at this recently-passed PAX East. As the date drew nearer and nearer, it became clear that the game wouldn’t be at a level that we felt would be ready for the limelight. It was a really difficult decision for us to pass on PAX East, but we felt it was the best decision for us, and for the game.
Our next plan, and the plan we are currently working toward, is to show the game at E3, overlapped by our long awaited Kickstarter re-launch. We have brought on some additional help, and are burning the midnight oil to do our best to make sure this can happen.
There have been some huge, life-shaking events happen to a couple of us in the past month. Speaking for myself, both my father and my grandmother passed away in the last 30 days. Matt has had a life altering event happen that is on the other end of the happiness spectrum, but I’ll let him speak about that in the next blog post!
Despite our small team size, our very ambitious game, and life doing all it can to keep us from working on the game, we are pushing forward with great enthusiasm. We are still not 100% certain that we will make our goal of showing at E3, but know that we are doing our best! In the end, we feel that what is most important is showing the game when it is ready to be shown, and it would be counter productive to show it prematurely.
Despite being relatively absent from the media spotlight for the last 9 months, a lot of amazing things continued to happen. We were Green-lit for release on Steam, and we announced that Ray’s The Dead will be coming to the PlayStation 4! We feel very good about the opportunities that are already lined up for Ray’s The Dead, and are happy knowing that we can concentrate on making the game as awesome as we possibly can.
We know that many of you are excited for the game, and it has been a frustrating wait especially with our lack of communication. We really appreciate your patience, and want you to know that we are devoting our lives to making Ray’s The Dead the best game we are capable of making.
Thanks for your continued support!
Hey there friends of Ragtag! At long last, it is time for another devblog update. In this installment, we’ve brought with us a chunky status update on Ray’s the Dead, along with some really great news. So lets jump right in with the good news first! As you may have guessed from the title of this post, Ray’s the Dead has officially been Greenlit! This means when we release the PC/Mac/Linux versions, we can pop them straight onto everyone’s favorite online gaming portal – STEAM. We couldn’t have been happier to receive the good news the morning of August 28th, and we have YOU to thank for this! The momentum really picked up in the last several weeks, and it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that the excitement for Ray’s the Dead is increasing as we draw closer to release.
If you had told us back when we started Ray’s the Dead that we would be releasing on both the PlayStation 4, as well as Steam, we wouldn’t have believed it was possible. With this, we are very satisfied with the positioning we’ve accomplished before release. That doesn’t mean we are done exploring other release options, but we are very happy with the plans so far. More on that in a bit!
Ray’s the Dead status update!
Alright so many of you have been asking us, just what the heck is going on with Ray’s the Dead? I’m here to give you a bit of insight on what we’ve been up to, and what our plans are moving forward.
First off, as great as PAX East and E3 were for us, we realized what huge resource drain these conferences can be for a small, three man team. With great sadness in our hearts, we decided after E3 that we wouldn’t attend any more conventions / festivals for the rest of the year so we could concentrate on development. As I type this, all of our great friends and fans are having a great time at PAX Prime. And as much as it hurts to not be there, I’m happy to report that we made the right decision as we’ve been making great progress on the game!
After E3 we took a chunk of time to step back and evaluate the state of the project. We reflected on everything we’d learned in the previous few months of watching hundreds of people play through our early demo. There was a lot of very positive feedback, but also clearly some things we needed to reevaluate. One major realization was that we weren’t hitting on our initial goal of the controls being as simple as they could be. We have since been taking steps to revamp the controls to be simpler for anyone picking up and playing for the first time.
We also took some time to flush out Ray’s story, along with mapping out the entire course of the game. We really like the plans we have for telling Ray’s back story, and have made that an even more significant part of the game. We haven’t yet shown any of the flashback sequences, but you can expect that in the future that will become a more prominent focus of the game. We are torn because we really love the flashback sequences we have planned, and want to show them, but we also don’t want to ruin any surprises before the game is released. What to do?
At any rate, things are going well. We now have an updated control scheme that we are testing, and a framework of the entire game is playable. We are now in the process of refining our combat systems, along with adding some new features we haven’t revealed yet. We are currently working toward a goal of having the entire game playable with all features working, and a couple of fully polished, final missions that will have us ready for…..
That’s right! Our hope is to launch another Kickstarter in the coming months. As you can see, a lot of things have fallen into place that were still up in the air back when we last ran a Kickstarter. We will be able to offer the PlayStation 4 version as a reward tier. We can say with certainty that anyone can redeem their copy of the game on Steam. We also have some new and exciting rewards that we hope to be able to offer, that are a direct result of some of the new relationships we’ve cultivated the last few months.
In addition, some good news has fallen into our lap that will allow us to start a campaign with a significantly lower asking goal, which should make it far easier to reach our goal. We hope everyone will be as pumped for the relaunch as we are! Oh, and did I mention we intend to have some enticing stretch goals in the form of…
Many people have been asking about additional platforms for Ray’s the Dead. We don’t want to commit to too much too soon, but with some additional financing through Kickstarter, its possible that we can get some additional help to support more platforms.
At this point, we are licensed to release the game on every major platform with the exception of the Xbox One, and that is in progress. In the months leading up to our Kickstarter, we will be evaluating each platform, and gauging interest from our fans.
That’s where you come in! In the comments, please mention your platform(s) of choice.
Or if you prefer, Tweet it at us.
Or, email it at us, at info (at) ragtagstudio (dot) com
Shut Up Already!
Wow, that went into a lot more detail than I expected. Hopefully this entry catches you up on what we’ve been up to the last few months. Thanks for your time, and feel free to ask additional questions in the comments. For now, back to work for us!