In addition to art and tool/pipeline design I have often been called on to help design initial stages of projects as well as independent games for PC and mobile devices.

Case Study: Aim For the Brain

Aim for the Brain was a Zombie Whack-a-Mole style game created for the early generation of iPod Touch. The goals were to create a fun, short burn project that takes advantage of the iPod Touch’s interface while creating a compelling game that was quick to pick up and put down and is “Easy to Play, but Challenging to Master”.
I designed the initial game, took input from the team (consisting of a programmer, artist, composer and myself) to make design improvements, managed the asset creation (including timeline, deliverables, marketing windows, etc.), created the sound FX, processed and implemented art, and implemented all of the gameplay in all levels. It was a challenging but rewarding project and my first project that I had developed from the ground up with a small team, and we finished it in a short amount of time. The stellar artwork and fast paced gameplay coupled with a fun score and solid coding back end made this one of my favorite projects!

Aim For the Brain Initial Design/Planning Documentation

Aim for the Brain Promo video:

Aim for the Brain Team:
Design/SFX/Management/Implementation: Tony Salvaggio
Programming/Additional Design: Phil Sulak
(STELLAR!) Art Work/Additional Design: Billy Garretsen
Music Composition: Rain Nox


Case Study Hackathon/Game Jam Getback Mars:

This project was a Game Jam/Hackathon sponsored by Intific that required the competitors to create a usable application over a weekend starting on Friday evening, to be shown on Sunday evening. Planning and design was key to making sure that the project could be completed on time and meet all the goals that we set for ourselves. The key component was to use the Oculus Rift (which we had just received a few weeks before) and one other technology in our tech lab. We chose to use Unity and the Razer Hydra for controlling the game.
From there we created a design document and asset list with a tiered development schedule ranging from tier 1:”This MUST be in the game to make it work” to lower tiers 3-4:”This would be Awesome if we have time”. We set about trying to create a project that would take full advantage of the Oculus Rift, by putting the player in the position of being blown away from their space station as they fall backwards towards the planet Mars. The player must then use their grappling hook device to grab debris falling towards them and get back to their space station. The player could look around using the Oculus rift, move their hands and launch the grappling hook using the Razer Hydra (which also controlled limited thrusters) in an effort to pull them back to their goal. If the player took too long to reach their goal, they could run out of oxygen, and if they did not keep moving towards their space station they would burn up in the atmosphere.

With our design in place, we quickly created initial gameplay and started prototyping and making sure the game was as fun as possible given our limited timeframe. Art assets were a combination of newly created screens, HUD overlays, and space debris downloaded from NASA’s library of space objects (which were tweaked and prepped for Unity in 3ds Max). Sounds and art was handled by me with all coding and implementation by my teammate Caleb Crawford.

In the end we created a fun, fully functional game that met all of our requirements (vertigo inducing Oculus visuals, simple to pick up controls, and compelling play experience) and we even completed some our stretch goals (such as Vomitron Mode, which randomly spins the player around along with disorienting sounds). I was even pitching that we take this further and pitch a game based on a certain popular movie that came out not long after the completion of this project.

Getback Mars promo video:

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