10 Burning Questions with Alec Shobin of Subatomic Studios


We’ve caught up with Alec Shobin, a figurehead at Subatomic Studios who make the highly-acclaimed and successful defender series Fieldrunners! On the verge of bringing out a sequel, Alec takes time to chat with us about many things related to Android, including their monetization strategy (theirs makes a TON of sense), the challenges of developing Fieldrunners for a fragmented platform like Android. It’s a great read so kick your feet up and dig in. PS: stay along past the break for a donut anthem. Yup, a donut anthem. Pure awesomeness.

Phandroid: How did you get started with Android Development?

Alec:When we launched Fieldrunners HD for Android in 2011, Fieldrunners had already been out for around 3 years on other platforms.  We’d brought the game to mobile platforms like the Nintendo DSi, PlayStation Minis, and even a few “dumb-phones,” so it made a lot of sense for us to bring the game to Android as well.

Phandroid: What phone do you personally use?

Alec: Our team personally uses a good mix of phones, ranging from the Samsung Galaxy S2 to, of course, a variety of iPhones.

Phandroid: What was your biggest challenge in developing Fieldrunners HD?

Alec: Android is unique compared to other mobile platforms because of the massive variety of different devices Android apps need to support. Learning the ins and outs of all these devices necessitated an adapted approach to development, but in the end, our superstar engineering and QA teams did a fantastic job!

4. Are you going to keep the Fieldrunners series going? As you may have heard, we just announced Fieldrunners 2!  You can learn more about the game by going to  We’re previewing the game to folks at E3, so keep your eyes on the web for more info and other updates!

Phandroid: Monetization: in terms of driving revenue, can you tell us about your experience, your strategy, and the overall potential?

Alec: Our monetization strategy was pretty simple – make an awesome game!

Phandroid: What do you want to see in future versions of Android?

Alec: Simultaneous time travel and microwave oven features!  Seriously though, as a platform, Android really has so much potential.  More than anything, we want to be surprised by totally new features we’ve never even considered but subconsciously always wanted.

Phandroid: Do you develop for other platforms and how does Android compare to those platforms?

Alec: As we said above, we develop for a variety of mobile platforms, and the biggest difference was the huge volume of different devices Android apps need to support.

Phandroid: If you could give one tip to fellow Android Developers, what would it be?

Alec: Make sure you’ve got a good selection of different Android devices standing by when you go to QA your apps.

Phandroid: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you or Subatomic as a whole.

Alec: Little known fact: We developed a game with Autodesk called “Tinkerbox.”  Definitely check it out if you’re in to physics based puzzle games!

Phandroid: Beignets or donuts?

Alec: Everybody loves donuts!

If you want to see what’s so great about Fieldrunners, check it out in the Google Play Store! It’s only $1.99 and I guarantee you that the game earns every cent of it. Stay tuned for news from E3 regarding the second installment of Fieldrunners, and be sure to follow the Fieldrunners Twitter account or like their Facebook page for all sorts of updates.

Finally, visit their site to check out more cool stuff, including a store where you can buy Fieldrunners merchandise. We want to give a big thank you to Alec for taking his time to participate in Phandroid’s Developer Appreciation Month!

Want to get involved in Developer Appreciation Month? Contact us and start your message with “Developer Appreciation Month”.

Don’t miss your chance to win! Sign up for our Developer Newsletter: it’s required to win most of our contests and it’ll feature some huge announcements that you won’t want to miss.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Interesting to see the two developers interviewed recently say the same thing. Most people talk about Android being fragmented yet these two developers have had a more realistic view… it isn’t necessarily the software but the loads of hardware using the software.

  2. Yet another developer mentions fragmentation as a major hurdle. Google needs to get this under control. No more manufacturer UIs. Force any manufacturer that uses Android to provide timely, and STOCK, updates.

    1. If we as customers want to continue to have an abundant choice when it comes to devices then we need to stop complaining about fragmentation. If Android were like iOS we would have a choice between iPhone 4s, HTC G5, and a Lumia 900.

    2. In what world do you live in?.Sick and tired of people like YOU who constantly complain about updates.If you wan’t a phone with timely updates go buy an iPhone or a WP if not buy a damn Nexus.As I remember it’s not mandatory for an OEM to update your damn phone.

  3. “A variety of iPhones” lol.

  4. So we get an Android related interview about a game that has no current android release plan? If it does anyone have a link?

      1. No Fieldrunners 2, not the first.

  5. Thanks for posting the interview! Hope my answers were informative :)

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