The Callisto Protocol
In March of 2022, Puny Human contracted with KRAFTON's Striking Distance Studios to work on their upcoming title The Callisto Protocol. I was embedded into the SDS team as a Level Designer on the scripted event team.
As part of the scripted event team, I worked closely with numerous disciplines to ensure the highest possible quality in our real-time cinematics. My role was to implement cinematics into the game world with level scripting and custom level sequence tools then polish those cinematics through bug fixes, optimizations, and adjustments according to feedback from directors.
The cinematics you see below are ones that I spent a particularly long amount of time with.
In my year and a half working with SDS, I worked across the project on almost every cinematic in the game. That said, I spent most of my time working on the cinematics in the levels Colony, Lost, Tower, and DLC.
Common fixes included smoothing out camera/animation pops, adjusting character positions, ensuring actors are in the correct world/local space, adjusting level logic to more seamlessly transition to/from cinematics and gameplay, and adjusting environments to suit cinematics. To do this, I got to stretch my QA legs and gained a discerning eye for minor glitches and pops and provided feedback on weak points of the cinematics.
I worked closely with animators to ensure their vision is represented, level designers so level logic plays the cinematics in a way that doesn't interfere with gameplay, lighting artists so the characters and other important narrative pieces are well-lit and read well, VFX artists so their work helps add visual drama without distracting from the story, engineers to ensure a bug-free experience, and environment artists so the environment doesn't interfere with the camera or characters in the cinematics.
To do this work, I had to familiarize myself with several custom tools developed by SDS engineers and learn Unreal Engine's Level Sequence and animation system. I also had to learn the many different possible issues and how to fix them. Since the issues were so varied and touched many systems, I learned about animation pipelines, rigging, socketing, using animation graphs, blueprints and components, save and loading systems, and much more! By the end of the project, I became a source of knowledge about these systems, custom and packaged, the levels, and the story of The Callisto Protocol.
WHAT I LEARNED
Naturally, as my first title release, I learned many other skills while working with the talented team at Striking Distance Studios. I Improved my time management, learned about the release pipeline, improved the breadth of knowledge on how games come together, and gained many communication and teamwork skills.
I am very proud of what I did and what I learned while working on The Callisto Protocol. I am honored that my first title would be one of such prestige, the experience has been incredibly valuable, and I hope I get to see those I worked with again so we can make another awesome game together.