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Ragtag Refit ’17 – The week we swapped dev for DIY!

Ragtag Refit '17

Sadly one of the Ragtag team decided to leave the company recently due to ill health (we hope you’re on the mend Rich!). This made the rest of us consider our future health and felt like a good catalyst for an office refit.

Also, most of our furniture was inherited so it was about time to make our ‘Ragtag’ company name a bit more ironic!

Main Considerations

  • Posture-oriented quality chairs – we do spend a lot of our lives sitting in them!
  • Desks with standing option – spending a lot of time sitting down is considered unhealthy
  • Somewhere to relax – time away from monitors!

Primary Purchases

  • Herman Miller Aeron chairs – a design classic heavily tailored towards good posture and used throughout the digital agency/development industry. These chairs are far from cheap (upward of £1000 each new!) but there are good quality second hand options available.
  • Ikea BEKANT electric standing desks (10 year warranty!) – we wanted options to both sit and stand so these are ideal. Two buttons smoothly and quietly transition the desk between low and high positions. Accompanied by a decent quality standing mat to soften floor impact these should serve us well for years to come, well at least 10!
  • Sofa area to relax/entertain clients – we mounted a 55″ TV on the wall to talk clients through work or relax/play games. This area also seems to double up as a YouTube cartoon area to entertain our children!

A special mention goes to the remote-controlled coloured LED bulbs we purchased for less than £10 each on Amazon. Options include standard white light, a plethora of colours and disco mode for annoying colleagues across the room – any remote works with any bulb!

Refit Results

The following photo shows the fruits of our many hours wielding allen keys. We’re extremely pleased with how it turned out, and whilst standing up takes some getting used to (we tend to alternate between sitting and standing each day) we’re sure we’ll feel the benefits in years to come!

Ragtag Refit '17

Ragtag Refit ’17

Further photos of the refit can be found on our Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/RagtagDev/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1377951882240540

Back to the code! Now to sit, or stand..

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Ragtag Expand with a Digital Media Agent

Ragtag expand amazeballz pool

It’s taken a while, but finally Ragtag expand and last week welcomed our new digital media agent Ben, who will be helping promote the company, with a focus on amazeballz pool. Ben will be looking after our social feeds, responding to the community feedback we receive, creating promotional assets to attract more players, being a general all round great guy, and even writing blog posts like this one!

amazeballz pool update

Within a week of starting Ben had increased the number of daily plays by four times and we’re now averaging 3,000 per day. With our increased social media activity we have seen growth of interest in amazeballz pool, which has now reached over 2,800 likes on Facebook, with over 200 of those in just the last week.

Thanks to this we have broken our record for daily plays of the game, peaking at 3,300, and recently passed a huge 150,000 total plays since the game launched in April! Follow the link in the image below to play now for free on Facebook, though it currently only works via desktop browsers, so you can’t play via your mobile or tablet.

Ragtag expand

The apps are still in progress and we hope to launch them to the world in the coming months. Until then we’re working on content updates allowing for cosmetic changes such as custom cues, as well as figuring out how to ensure the online multiplayer is aweso-, uhhh we mean, amazeballz.

Keep an eye on our amazeballz pool Facebook and twitter pages for more news, we’ll be posting content daily, and it’s the best place to find information about the game. We’ll also be bringing you more regular posts here, keeping you up to date on all the other exiting things we have going on.

Check out the amazeballz pool Facebook page here: facebook.com/amazeballzpool

Check out the amazeballz pool twitter feed here: twitter.com/amazeballzpool

That’s all we’ve got for now, other than to say thanks for reading, we really appreciate your support. If all goes to plan, this won’t be the only time we make a ‘Ragtag expand’ post.

All the best.

Ragtag

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Small Business Sunday (#SBS) Win

Small Business Sunday

Every Sunday evening, Theo Paphitis of Dragons’ Den fame runs a competition on Twitter where he invites companies to pitch themselves in a single Tweet. He then chooses six companies to add to his Small Business Sunday community.

Last week, from hundreds of applicants, Ragtag were honoured to be one of the chosen six!

Since winning #SBS we’ve seen a flurry of activity on Twitter. More followers, more interactions and more opportunities – exciting times! We look forward to attending the winners event and meeting the man himself.

To find out more about #SBS and what it offers, you can view our customised page here:

http://www.theopaphitissbs.com/profile/1610/Ragtag-Developments-Ltd

For a few minutes outlay each Sunday it really is worth considering for small businesses, although don’t expect any results after just a couple of tries – we can attest to perseverance paying though!

Right, we’re off to perfect the secret #SBS handshake.

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amazeballz in a pool

Ever wanted to play pool in an actual pool? We know you have because that’s mainly what we’ve been hearing from the feedback. Well, that and “how the hell do you play it!”. So, without further acue we share with you the new direction for amazeballz pool and announce from now it will be called amazeballz in a pool.

Using our cutting edge physics engine, we’ve simulated exactly what it would be like to play real pool, in a pool. All the drag of the liquid and damping of the angles, displacing water has never been so much fun! Watch as the balls come to a stop so fast you won’t believe your eyes!

Delight as your carefully aimed shots don’t quite reach their target, and be overwhelmed when you actually manage to pot a ball. Thank-you very much for your feedback, without you the world would not be able to experience the utter joy that is amazeballz in a pool.

The amazeballz pool will be coming to the stores near your fingers during the month of May. We’ll be available via iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android (Play Store/Kindle/Fire TV Stick), Windows (Steam/App Store), OS X (Mac App Store), tvOS.

Sensational Shots, Phenomenal Physics, Crucial Cueing, Passionate Plants, Delightful Doubles, Tempting Tricks, Potent Pots, Graciously Ridiculous!

Check out the madness here – www.amazeballzpool.com

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Project Update

After a busy 2015 and getting January out of the way, Ragtag would like to welcome you to 2016!

We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes throughout 2015, on projects for a large range of clients with both public and private developments. One particular project we’ve been working on is a personal title we’re aiming to launch within the next few months.

We’re incredibly excited about the launch of this title, and will be building a community to help shape future development. We’ll be supporting a wide variety of platforms, so no matter what your hardware, you’ll be able to join in the fun.

We’ll be sure to let you know when we hit beta and invite you all to join in at the start of something we hope will be quite special. Until then, thanks for reading and check out our latest project Uoodle.

Ragtag

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We’re Hiring! – Social Media Apprentice

Are you 16–18 years old and interested in getting a foothold in the amazing computer games industry? If so, Ragtag are looking to hire a social media apprentice. The lucky candidate will help grow our company profile, raise awareness of projects, and interact with the gaming community at large.

The magic all happens from Ragtag HQ based in Banbury, near the heart of Oxfordshire.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Monitoring social media – Facebook and Twitter
  • Creating Tweets and promoting services on Facebook and Twitter
  • Writing and editing blog content for the website
  • Creating and editing Podcasts
  • Website project content updates
  • Acting as on camera host for game demos
  • Interviews with journalists
  • Writing press releases
  • Having an active interest in video games

Does this exciting opportunity interest you? How about someone you know? Check out the link below for all the facts:

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Work Experience Candidate

Hello World!

We’ve been so busy over the previous month we’ve had little time to write you. We did however spot a spare few minutes in between animation rendering for one of our work experience candidates to write a few sentences about their experience, as follows:

“My name is James and I am currently participating in the work experience course provided by Ragtag Developments. The project I am currently working on will be a real game and requires 2D and 3D skills, I have been testing this project and have seen it working on mobile devices. The room is always busy with people running in and out all the time with phones ringing constantly. Recently another person has joined me on the course so we get to bat around ideas and help one another if we get stuck. I’ve been going since November last year and have enjoyed every moment, the knowledge and experience I have gained in this short time will surely help me now and in the near future since I am also enrolled at Banbury college doing a course on Game Development. I look forward to continuing this programme and hope that I can learn even more.”

James has been great and his work will be released to the public in a game of ours within the next few months. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any exciting news, or random ramblings. The college we collaborate with is Activate Learning, they’re really good!

Bye for now.

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Work Experience Programme

At Ragtag our Work Experience Programme has started and we’ve now had three successful candidates through the door, two of which are still working with us. It’s great to see them learn and ingest even the smallest details of day to day business which we often take for granted.

It’s also great to see our personal projects progress, and our intention is for the WEP candidates to focus primarily on those. We’re forging a stronger link with Banbury and Bicester College by supporting students on the new Game Dev course. Those students will get to work directly on real original games created by us. Their names are added to the game credits which is great for their Personal Statement (what a Curriculum Vitae is called these days) and is sure to assist in securing a fully paid position in the industry.

So far we’ve only had capacity for one candidate at a time, however we’re in the process of ramping this up to three. We do however require candidates show examples of their own work before we allocate a position. This can be anything the candidate has created, but we prefer examples of code and artwork, both 2D and 3D. The process ensures we only accept candidates who are motivated and have the skills to create.

We’ll keep you updated on how this goes and soon enough you should be able to see the work created for yourselves.

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Merry Christmas

Seasons Greetings!

After yet an even crazier year, we’re about ready to ‘shutdown’ for Christmas. The twelve months of 2014 have seen us create both private and public facing software for our clients, and we’ve even found time to work on our own endeavours which we hope to share soon!

We’d like to thank all our clients and collaborators for making Ragtag possible, without your support we’d be wasting our skills on science and medicine!

A special thanks goes out to Norm Chung, who kindly created the hyper-realistic portrait of ourselves you see in this post. Check his amazing work on his blog.

We wish everyone a most bodacious holiday and all the best for 2015!

Party on!

RagtagPortrait

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Dragons’ Event

Last month we ran an event for the Game Development students from the local college who started their brand new course this term. Their first assignment was to create a game concept, which they all achieved. Their second assignment was to pitch their game concept to a Dragons’ Den style panel. Ordinarily, this would happen in a class room and the Dragons would simply be tutors. There had been talk of building collaboration between the Banbury and Bicester College and the Colin Sanders Business Innovation Centre, and this seemed the perfect opportunity.

After speaking with the business owners of the centre who expressed an interest in partaking as Dragons, the boardroom was booked! Excitement was building prior to the event and on the actual day, twenty three very nervous students entered the centre for a very real-world business experience.

Throughout the day, one-by-one the students entered the Dragons’ Den to deliver their pitch. Often visibly shaking and with voices wobbling, each of them successfully delivered their excellent pitches. It was a great day for all involved, and especially good experience for the students.

A great big huge thank-you to all who got involved and spared time during their busy days to give the Game Development students this amazing experience. We’ll be sure to let you know if there are other such eventful events.

DragonsDen

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