The Palio Project is a game intended to capture the full intensity and majesty of the Palio, a horse race in Siena. The player does not play as the jockey, but as the horse, as horses can win the Palio without a jockey.  This 90 second race requires luck, skill, focus, and determination from the player and rewards the winner with great glory.

Funded through Kickstarter (

Overall, this game is an interesting foray into what game design on a major project is like since I was involved with it from the very beginning. Most of the pre-production/pre-alpha work was making sure that the core features of the game were fleshed out and ready for the programmers and artists to use. I was more on the GUI end of the spectrum and have developed the initial concepts for the GUI of the game. It has since been improved and we now have a full main menu and a nearly completed contrada selection screen. The team of four designers has been a pleasure to work with.

As lead designer my intention for Palio isn’t just a simple mini-game or horse race; I want it to be an experience. One that, regardless if you win or lose, you have an appreciation for the culture surrounding the Palio race: something that has been going on for hundreds of years in and remains a vital cultural aspect of the city of Sienna. Where you feel the pressure to win not because that’s the point, but because you identify with the Contrada and their struggle to control the city.

This game is not only the crux of what I am as a potential designer, but something that I want everyone to enjoy even if only for a short time. If I can accomplish that than I think I’ve done my job.


  • Created UI Menus and selection effects using NGUI
  • Created pre-production documents and game design elements for each family
  • Worked with other designer to build main level (Town Square) to exact specs as in real life.
  • Helped place all textures obtained by artists
  • Tested collisions with prototype horse.
  • Helped on Kickstarter to support trip to Italy.