Connor Carson

Connor Carson

Half Mermaid Productions

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Connor Carson is the Technical Designer at Half Mermaid Productions, an independent studio founded by Sam Barlow and focused on creating authored, player-centric stories across the spectrum of narrative genres. She worked as Lead Programmer on their latest release, the ambitious and award-winning IMMORTALITY. She graduated with a Master's degree in Game Design from the NYU Game Center in 2020.

Connor Carson is speaking at the following session/s

Match Cuts in IMMORTALITY: Programming a Tiny Scorsese

2:00pm - 2:45pm
Room 4

Hear how and why the team at Half Mermaid took the cinematic technique known as the match cut and adapted it into the boundary-pushing, exploratory mechanic it is in IMMORTALITY, the award-winning, decade-spanning FMV game about three films that were never released, and the missing actress at the center of it all. Peak into the design processes that went into the match cut system. Learn from Connor Carson, the lead programmer on IMMORTALITY, how over 2000 props, actors, set-pieces and everything in-between were tracked across every frame of 288 scenes. How that massive amount of data was optimized, converted into in-game data, maintained and synchronized, and then finally tracked across each scene in real time. How seamless transitions were calculated from the data, allowing the code to make editing decisions on the fly. And finally, How the algorithm driving the player’s progress made meaningful, yet seemingly random decisions, giving each player a completely unique experience of Marissa Marcel’s story.

Session Takeaway

Attendees will learn how Half Mermaid handled and serialized massive amounts of data in pursuit of creating a player experience that felt unrestricted and expressive. How to parse and import large quantities of different data types, and how that data was converted into positional information that had to be perfectly synchronized and tracked in a cheap way across every frame of footage. Given enough data, how the code was able to make useful and accurate decisions about when and where to transition to during a match cut, freeing the team from the burden of having to hand select transition points across all 288 clips of footage. And finally, how the game’s driving algorithm moved the player forward in a meaningful way, taking into account their decisions and progress, while still maintaining a feeling of unpredictability through use of randomness.

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