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I am currently working on an unreleased project as the Cinematic Design Lead at Supermassive Games.
I have been a part of this project for nearly 2 years, being a part of pre-production and production.

The project has hours of cinematic content, with complex branching, all shot and edited within Unreal Engine 5.

The Cinematic Pipeline

This project has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the cinematic pipeline, from inception to execution. My knowledge of the project's context and narrative dynamics lead to my involvement in all facets of cinematic production, including pivotal roles during facial motion capture shoots. Here, I provided crucial context to our actors and collaborated closely with the performance director to ensure alignment with the project and its stakeholders.

Alongside this I performed the first pass of the blocking, where I helped to translate our concepts into stages for our actors that would work alongside the level design. I focused on stage layouts that could convey what was necessary for the scene, while providing a backdrop that would help the actors understand the context of the virtual world around them. This phase demanded a keen understanding of spatial relationships, pacing, and visual storytelling techniques to ensure that the cinematic sequences seamlessly integrated with the game world.

From assisting in directing performances to reviewing raw data, I was involved in each cinematic moment, ensuring that it aligned with the creative vision and narrative objectives.

During my work on this project, I elected to work on restructuring efforts aimed at optimizing our cinematic design pipeline for future Supermassive projects, taking what I'd learned over 4 projects. One significant restructuring initiative involved splitting the Design team into distinct entities: Game Design and Cinematic Design. This division allowed for a more focused approach to handling gameplay and narrative elements, respectively. Through open lines of communication and collaboration with the Direction team, we planned a new allocation of responsibilities based on the project's specific needs, ensuring a cohesive blend of gameplay and cinematic elements.

This division of labor was intented to reduce potential design bottlenecks but also foster a more cohesive development process. Additionally, the implementation and consolidation of standardized naming conventions and production tools like ShotGrid facilitated smoother asset management and collaboration across departments, enhancing overall project visibility and efficiency.

Redesigning Project Structure

Narrative Design

My involvement in the project stemmed from my expertise in branching narratives and familiarity with the source material. Leveraging this knowledge, I played a pivotal role in identifying narrative branches that not only added significant value but also promised to deliver the most compelling content throughout the project's development.

This work involved taking a screenplay and breaking it down into moments of gameplay, cinematics, and qtes. I also would propose where the screenplay could diverge into new content that could enrich the overall storytelling experience. Engaging with the screenplay felt intuitive to me; I could discern the narrative beats and visualize their potential impact.

Recognizing the importance of tracking every narrative branch and outcome, I advocated for a comprehensive documentation process. This initiative provided invaluable insights into our players' potential experiences, positioning me as a trusted authority as the project evolved. As we refined the project's scope pre-production, this documentation, coupled with my insights, proved instrumental in making informed decisions regarding content inclusion or exclusion and assessing their ramifications.

Throughout this project, our objective was to demonstrate to an external publisher our prowess in delivering captivating gameplay experiences with compelling choices. Taking the lead, I spearheaded the development of the project's first playable version, transforming a small segment of the map into a divergent narrative, showcasing what could be anticipated.

Our demonstration necessitated an encompassing display of gameplay mechanics, prompting me to prototype a combat system while acquainting myself with new exploration tools developed in-house. Leveraging my prior experience, I swiftly refined and expanded upon my designs based on feedback, empowered by the team to execute my creative vision.

I embraced Unreal Engine 5 for the first time, rapidly honing my proficiency and confidence within the engine. With motion capture yet to start, I crafted cinematic blockouts, effectively conveying the narrative potential of our design. This process underscored my aptitude for resourcefulness, as I adeptly repurposed existing data, whilst learning the intricacies of the engine.

First Playable

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