Greetings friends of Ray! First off – We are super excited about the milestone we’ve just completed. Over the weekend, for the first time we were able to play the entire game from beginning to end. This means all levels…
Greetings friends of Ray!
First off – We are super excited about the milestone we’ve just completed. Over the weekend, for the first time we were able to play the entire game from beginning to end. This means all levels and features are designed, implemented, and fully playable. Very exciting!
Now, while that might make it sound like we are very close to done, the truth is we still have a lot of work ahead of us to take the game from what it currently is, to something that looks and plays great from beginning to end. But the bright side is that the vast majority of the questions are answered, so we can finally concentrate on taking everything we have and polishing it to a shiny sheen. We are very happy to be at this point!
Preparing for Liftoff
With that milestone in our rear view, we have begun planning for the final phase of development. One of the most important things we will be doing is a massive round of revision on our combat and movement. We’ve compiled a giant document filled with suggestions for improvement and have begun the process.
After spending a bit of time improving our combat, and revisiting and polishing up our levels, we will begin heavy playtesting. To coincide with that, we hope to begin to distribute certain levels of the game to those of you that backed our project at the Alpha level. We don’t have any set dates for that just yet, but we’ll give more information on that in future updates.
Ray’s the Dead Public Appearances
In the last couple of months we’ve shown Ray’s the Dead at a couple of public events, including the Indie MIX during GDC out in San Francisco, and at SXSW in Austin, TX.
Both were great experiences, at totally different ends of the spectrum. The Indie MIX gave us a chance to talk with press and other developers about the game, while SXSW was primarily kids and families playing the game. All feedback was equally valuable and important. We are very happy with the response we received.
Some of you have been asking if we will be attending PAX East this year. The answer is no, we will not be at PAX East. Sorry to disappoint!
That’s all we have for this update. We’ll update again when we have more to share.
As always, thank you for your continued patience and support!
We’ve just posted the most recent update on our Kickstarter Page. Check it out by clicking here!
We wanted to get one more update out to you before the end of the year. So here it is!
Ray’s the Dead at PSX
First! A quick reminder that Shawn, Aenne, and Chris will be at PSX in San Francisco this weekend (Dec 5th and 6th) to demo Ray’s the Dead! We’ll be in the Adult Swim booth. If you’ll be there, please stop by and say hello! If you don’t we’ll be sad. I hear there may be some exclusive posters handed out…
The story of Ray’s the Dead will take place across 5 Chapters. Each chapter consists of anywhere from 4 to 9 levels. At the moment, Ray’s the Dead will have somewhere between 30 – 35 levels. (though this number fluctuates up and down all the time)
For the last couple of months we have been holding tight to a strict schedule that has us getting each chapter of the game, one by one, to a point where we can start putting it in the hands of others for playtesting. This is no small feat as it requires nearly every aspect of the levels to be (pretty much) done.
The biggest challenge we’ve had to overcome in this process is making sure everything from gameplay mechanics to story elements are clearly presented to the player. It can be a hard lesson, but when you work on something for so long, you forget that that everything you know about the game isn’t always apparent to those that are playing the game for the first time.
There are a number of reasons this has been such a challenge. Ray’s the Dead has a really unusual type of gameplay that can be hard for players to wrap their heads around. Also, Ray’s the Dead features a rather intricate story, starring a cast of characters that can’t even talk! So needless to say we’ve had our fair share of challenges to overcome.
Between our work on the demo, and the back and forth with Adult Swim on the chapters we’ve been submitting, we’ve made tremendous progress on this critically important aspect of the game. But we still have a ways to go!
Anyway, we are wrapping up our work on Chapter 3 this week. So we thought we’d celebrate by teasing with a vine, and a gif. I’ll just leave these here without further comment. Enjoy!
See Ya Next Year!
This will be our last update this year. We’ll update again when we complete Chapter 4, which is currently scheduled to be sometime in January. So until then, have a safe and happy New Year!
We have two exciting pieces of news to share!
That’s right, the outstanding publisher of all things weird and wacky, Adult Swim Games will be publishing Ray’s the Dead on PlayStation4, PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac, and Linux. We feel this is a match made in heaven, and are thrilled to be working with each other.
In future updates, we’ll be talking more about the relationship. Why we decided to work together, and how this will benefit Ray’s the Dead. For now, please rest assured that both Ragtag Studio and Adult Swim Games want nothing more than to make Ray’s the Dead the best game it can be!
Ray’s the Dead will be making its long awaited public appearance at PAX Prime in Seattle this weekend!
Ray’s the Dead will be available to play at not one, but TWO different booths! You can try our 20 minute demo at both the Adult Swim Games booth (6th floor #6111), as well as the Sony booth (4th floor #222). If you are attending PAX, please stop by and say hi! Matt, Shawn, Aenne, and Chris will be spending time at both booths ready to greet you with a smile and open arms. Hope to see you there!
Its about time we stopped in for a little info drop in our July update!
June was a good productive month for us. We had two primary goals: To arrive at a content complete status, and to get our engine upgraded to Unity 5.
Well, the Unity 5 upgrade was completed. It’s great to have that knocked out, as it has a lot of nice features that will greatly benefit the game.
The downside is it was a bigger ordeal than we expected, taking over a week to wrap up. This means we haven’t yet arrived at the content complete status we were hoping to reach by July 1st. We are still hacking away at it and hope to make it this month.
The majority of what we’ve been plowing through are getting all of the levels blocked out and playable with all features accounted for. They aren’t pretty yet, but the entire game is nearly together. Here is a look at some of the blocked out levels.
NOTE: These are just simple representations of the levels to lay out the gameplay, they in no way represent their final visual quality.
Last month, we promised we’d give a little update on the UI. The super talented Cef Grima has been concepting up our in-game UI elements. There will be three primary pieces of information that are frequently visible on screen: the health and energy bars, the zombie select icons, and the dialogue box. Below, you’ll see Cef’s most recent representation of Ray’s Health and Energy bars.
At the moment, these are nothing more than static images. In the coming weeks, we’ll be implementing these in game as fully functional representations of Ray’s Health and Energy. Please let us know what you think!
We have two big goals for the remainder of July. One being a continuation of last months goal of arriving at a content complete status. Once we accomplish that, we’ll be in a position to begin to polish and fine tune both the art and gameplay. In conjunction with the polish, we will finally be putting together a proper demo that will allow us to show at various conventions. If all goes well, Ray will finally begin making public appearances again in the near future.
That’s it for this months update. Thanks for reading!
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!