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Help Ray and his undead friends unravel the mysteries of his life and afterlife in this whimsical story-driven action-adventure!
Help Ray and his undead friends unravel the mysteries of his life and afterlife in this whimsical story-driven action-adventure!
1,616 backers pledged $51,773 to help bring this project to life.

Halloween Update

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Hey there Backers! We couldn't let this favorite day of ours go by without giving an update on our progress, so we've popped our heads in with some various tidbits.

Matt Just Can't Help But Art
Matt Just Can't Help But Art

Happy Halloween?

First we would like to address the elephant in the room. We are sure all of you would much rather be PLAYING Ray's the Dead this Halloween, rather than reading an update about it. At the start of this year, we were really hoping this would be reality but unfortunately couldn't make it happen.

We know all of you are on the same page as us in wanting to make sure the game is as great as it can be. Our dedication to quality, our small team and ambitious goals are a large part of what has made development take longer than anticipated. We are very grateful that you, our community have been so patient and understanding. We are still committed to making the best game we can despite the fact that there is so much pressure to finish and release.

That said, we need to finish Ray's the Dead as soon as possible, and without cutting any corners. With that in mind, we have spent a lot of time evaluating what more remains, and what we can do to expedite development. 

The conclusion is we will be getting additional funding from our publisher to hire a few more contractors to help us out. We haven't fully nailed down exactly who we will be hiring, but at the moment its looking like we will have additional help with the following:

  • An additional character artist
  • An additional level artist
  • A particle effect artist
  • UI contractors will reappear to give full implementation of the UI
  • An additional coder
  • A producer

We have already hired a producer to help us out with sorting out this process. Justin Fischer worked with Matt and Chris at Disney Interactive. You can read his thoughts on game development at his blog, Breaking the Wheel.  He will be helping us get our task management sorted out, and take other various weights off of our shoulders. We also plan to have him on hand to help us with much of the logistics involved with release when we get to that point.

The primary goal with all of this is to take as much of the burden off of the shoulders of Matt, Chris, and Shawn to allow the core team to focus on the most important aspects of the game while keeping overall production running smoothly.

So while we don't yet have the news that you have all been waiting for, we wanted to reiterate that we are, as we always have been, 100% fully dedicated to finishing the game as quickly as we can, without compromising any quality. We still don't want to throw around any release dates, but at least wanted to make clear that we won't be releasing before the end of the year. Thanks for your continued understanding!

As a side note, if any of you have any of the skills we are looking for above, or know anyone that does, please get in touch!

Development Update

While everything mentioned above has been taking a fair amount of time, we have been making development progress in a few key areas. Combat and Movement continue to be the primary focus of our efforts, and some big progress has been made of late.

Some improvements involve helping make more clear what is going on at all times. One example of this is having Ray's aiming beam serve as a very clear indicator of where your zombie will and will not go when you send it. Previously, the beam would just stretch across the screen with no regard for where a zombie could actually traverse. Now the beam smoothly moves along the surface of the traversal area, cutting off if it runs into anything solid. In doing so, it becomes much more clear where your zombie will end up when you send him out to do your bidding.

Ray's Beam Reacts to the Environment
Ray's Beam Reacts to the Environment

Also we have a new method of highlighting objects in the environment that you can interact with. The highlight that appears around interactive objects and characters goes a long way toward helping the player parce the environment.

Object Highlights and Better UI Elements
Object Highlights and Better UI Elements

The aspect of the game that has been receiving the majority of our attention at the moment has been the enemy AI. We have long held a vision that the combat in Ray's the Dead plays out more like the rapid and strategic solving of puzzles rather than mindless button mashing. While the pieces have been in place for a while, we hadn't fully followed through on this vision. 

Recently, all enemies right down to the most basic have been made far more challenging and intricate. You can no longer blindly send your zombies around and easily claim victory. Each enemy has a series of behaviors that require your attention, and you must react accordingly with the right timing, zombie type etc. This isn't too complex in the early stages, but as different enemy types team up and you have more zombie types at your disposal, things can really get crazy.

Here is a simple example of early stage enemy combat. You will fight enemies with a melee weapon, and they are VERY deadly! If you send a zombie at one while they are focused on you, well... it won't go well.

Armed Enemies Will One-hit Kill Your Zombies
Armed Enemies Will One-hit Kill Your Zombies

However, if you show some restraint and wait, your enemy will lose its patience and taunt you. This gives you an opening to send your zombies in without the chance for retaliation.

Enemy Arrogance Brings Their Doom
Enemy Arrogance Brings Their Doom

We are happy with the direction things are going and continuing to iterate. The mechanics of Ray's the Dead are far more involved than we ever imagined but we are striving to make it a fun and challenging experience that is introduced in a natural and non-intrusive way.

Public Showings

Ray's the Dead has been making a variety of public appearances. It appeared at PAX West in early September. Our publisher Adult Swim had quite the impressive showing there!

Ray Projected on the Wall at PAX West
Ray Projected on the Wall at PAX West

Ray also popped up at Fantastic Arcade in Austin, TX. Our friend Kirk, who created one of the original songs for the game, admires his handy work.

Kirk Playing Ray's the Dead at Fantastic Arcade
Kirk Playing Ray's the Dead at Fantastic Arcade

Ray's the Dead also appeared at IndieCade in Mid October. We didn't grab any photos of that though!

Starting tomorrow, November 1st, Ray will be on display at Unite 2016. For the next three days our very own Code Master Shawn will be on hand to show off the game. If any of you attend please say hi!

 

ALSO, we are happy to announce that the game will be playable at PSX in Anaheim CA in December! We met several of you last year, and hope to see you there again this year!

 

Life Happenings

Chris Here.

I don't normally get personal here, but I wanted to let all of you know about some life that has been happening.

In April of 2015 my mother, Ellen Hutchison, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. We knew from the start that this was a battle that couldn't be won, but she fought hard nonetheless. The average life span of those diagnosed with this incurable disease is 11 months. My mother fought it off for 17 months. On October 6th, she passed away.

She was always our biggest fan and did everything she could to help support our development. She insisted on constant updates from me on how the game was progressing. She even agreed to hand make the Ray Stuffies that were part of our Kickstarter Campaign. Even though I tried to talk her out of making them, she insisted. Here is a photo of her working on the Ray Plushies while receiving chemo treatment.

Mom Working on Ray Plush While Receiving Chemo
Mom Working on Ray Plush While Receiving Chemo

I very badly wanted her to be around to see the games release, and regret that we couldn't make it happen. Despite this, I know she is still rooting for us. I miss her dearly.

I thought it appropriate to mention this in a Kickstarter Update for a few reasons. One, she was very involved in our development and I wanted those of you who were kind enough to purchase a Ray Plush to know that you now hold a very sentimental memento from the project. They are exceptionally rare and special. Hell, none of the team even have one!

Second, these are the kind of events that have a big impact on a projects development. All three of us have had a lot of LIFE take place, good and bad, during the development of Ray's the Dead. My mother passed this month, and my father also passed way from cancer about 3 years ago. In far more positive events, both Shawn and Matt welcomed their first born children into the world.

As a result, there is a heck of a lot of LIFE in the story of Ray's the Dead. Everything we have all been through over the course of development is making its way into the game in various ways, and the game is better off for it.

That's it for this update. Thanks for reading.

-Team Ragtag

Comments

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    1. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on November 3, 2016

      @Tracey - I totally know where you are coming from. Be well!

      @Blake - Thanks very much.

    2. Blake on November 3, 2016

      I'm sorry for your loss.

    3. Tracey Craig
      Superbacker
      on November 2, 2016

      @Chris

      Yeah it's really tough, and watching them deteriorate so fast has stayed with me.

      Hugs to you too. Stay strong :)

    4. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on November 2, 2016

      @Chelle - Thanks Chelle for the sweet message. <3

    5. Chelle Destefano
      Superbacker
      on November 2, 2016

      My biggest condolences to you n ur family in this sad time. My heart goes out to you. She sounded like a wonderful supportive mother and I too wished Id pledged for the plushie xo

    6. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on November 1, 2016

      @AKASlaphappy - Thanks very much! Lets hope everything about your message is true. :)

    7. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on November 1, 2016

      @Galit - Aww thanks very much G! That's really nice to hear. I really enjoyed hanging out with you too, and I'm sorry we never did it again! Maybe we can get together for the release party! :)

    8. AKASlaphappy
      Superbacker
      on November 1, 2016

      Sorry to hear about your loss, I am sure she will be happy to see your success when the game launches.

    9. Galit
      Superbacker
      on October 31, 2016

      Oh Chris .... I'm SO sorry to hear about your loss. She was one hell of a woman and she was absolutely proud of everything you've accomplished. I know it was brief when we met, but after lunch with the three of you, I already felt like I'd known you all for years. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. If you're still local and there's anything you need, don't hesitate to reach out and let me know. **HUGS**

    10. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on October 31, 2016

      @Sylenall - Actually things are quite manageable now. We just really want to finish as fast as we can, so we are doing what we need to do to make sure that happens. The core team has been working on the game without pay for just shy of 5 years now, so we really need to wrap it up ASAP.

    11. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on October 31, 2016

      @Tracey - Oh I had no idea. Very sorry to hear it, I now know how tough it is. One day you think that everyone in your life is invincible, the next day they are gone. I'm glad you got one of the plushies. Hugs to you!

    12. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on October 31, 2016

      @Stian - Thank you very much!

      @Chris Capel - Really appreciate it.

      @Ally - Thanks and I'm very sorry to hear about your losses. Very cool of you regarding the Smile donations. I'll have to look into that!

    13. Missing avatar

      Sylenall on October 31, 2016

      So uh... just how in over your heads are you?

    14. Tracey Craig
      Superbacker
      on October 31, 2016

      Both my parents had cancer and lost their fights, so my thoughts are with you. I will cherish the plushy she made. She was woman in a million. Never to be forgotten.

      As for the game. There is no rush :)

    15. Ally Shilo on October 31, 2016

      So sorry to hear about your mom Chris :( I also lost an aunt and grandmother to pancreatic cancer. Now, I always support it on amazon smile so some donations can go in to the pancreatic cancer action network while I buy random things like soap. Bless your mom for for supporting your dreams and making some awesome plushies! Thanks for the update guys.

    16. Chris J Capel on October 31, 2016

      Sorry to hear about your mother Chris, thank you for sharing it with us.

      And don't worry about the delay, we want to see Ray's The Dead as the best game it can possibly be. Just keep popping back in here to tell us how it's going and we'll be fine.

    17. Stian on October 31, 2016

      Thanks for the update, and really sorry to hear about your mother Chris, my heartfelt condolences.

      Looking forward to the game as always and glad to hear it's progressing - don't worry about Halloween, there will be plenty of dark rainy and nights this winter to play the game.

    18. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on October 31, 2016

      frnk - If people take the time to post comments, we certainly take the time to read them. (as long as we know they are being posted!)

      Thanks a bunch for the kind words. They really mean a lot. :)

    19. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on October 31, 2016

      @Bert - I'm sorry to hear about the run-ins your family has had with cancer, but glad to hear your step-sister is doing well. There are supposedly great advances in cancer treatment taking place, but from my perspective it seems more common than ever. I hope big changes happen soon, and hopefully very quickly so that none of us have to worry about it anymore.

      Your words about our game mean a lot too. Many are not so understanding of our long-in-the-tooth development cycle, so your patience means a ton! So happy you like what you are seeing.

      Thanks again.

    20. Ragtag Studio 2-time creator on October 31, 2016

      @Timothy - Thank you for the kind words!

      @Yotam - Thanks for the nice words. They are appreciated!

    21. rfnk on October 31, 2016

      Chris, I have no idea if you read the commends section from this. I am so sorry to hear of your mother. Nothing anyone can say can truly make you feel any better. Those little stuffed Ray's were truly made with effort. She was such a fighter to so much longer than the anticipated expectation with a similar diagnosis. As her son, you surely gave her strength and purpose that kept her so close to you for those extra months. Isn't a mother's love amazing? Your words of kindness really made me choke up at work today. If you need something, please reach out.

    22. Bert White on October 31, 2016

      My condolences, seeing your mom making the plushes in an early update made me wish I went for a higher pledge. My stepdad was recently diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer as well so I have some idea of how even knowing a loved one with it feels. Thankfully my stepsister's brain cancer which looked like it was returning had a clean scan her last visit.

      Looking forward to the game though, each update and hearing about all of the features being added or polished gets me excited. I've loved your guy's constant updates and events throughout the process of making the game like the live drawing and music composition streams. The way you have handled keeping backers in the loop and the quality of work I've seen throughout the process makes this one of the projects that I've backed that I don't mind waiting on as I know it'll be worth it in the end.

    23. Yotam Ivgi on October 31, 2016

      My condolences... :(
      she seems to have been a very happy person, and a positive force in your life, may you keep what she gave you and spread it around you.

      on another note, cant wait to unleash some zombies on arrogant humans!

    24. Timothy Kolek on October 31, 2016

      So sorry for your loss. It's amazing that she was still working on those adorable plushes.

      Also, congrats on the children.