Developer Q&A: Jamie Gotch, Subatomic Games

We recently asked Jamie Gotch, one of the principals at Subatomic Games, some questions about his company and its first game, Fieldrunners. Here’s what he had to say. Thanks Jamie!

1) What’s your background in terms of game design? Is Fieldrunners the first game you (and/or Subatomic) have made?

Our team shares a strong passion and love for games. Although this is the first title that the Subatomic Studios team has released, we are made up of several industry professionals with many years of experience. We strongly believe that as game designers, we make the games that we would love to play ourselves. We trust that by giving our best and enjoying the process, others will also enjoy the games that we make.

2) Fieldrunners has a pretty unique look. What’s the artistic inspiration for the game? How about the gameplay inspiration?

We wanted to make a game with a broad appeal, both in terms of artistic direction and gameplay. For the look, we wanted to have stylized, iconic forms and strong, varied silhouettes so it could be easily recognized at a glance. We felt that this was very important for an action-based strategy game viewed from a bird’s eye view on a handheld device. Additionally, we wanted to have something that people can relate to by incorporating a slight military touch, but we also wanted to keep the style unique enough so that it could stand alone on its own merits. For that, we looked at World War I and World War II uniforms for the units, and some futuristic Art Deco influence for the towers. We also wanted the towers to appear more threatening than the units, to emphasize the amount of power lying in the player’s hands.

To further set the two sides apart, we wanted a clear icon that would represent the enemy’s faction. We decided that a target symbol best suits this need as it is very iconic, reads well from afar, and conveys the underlying goal of the game.

As far as gameplay inspiration, we looked everywhere for it. We are still being inspired by traditional Tower Defense games, and we are all huge fans of RTS games. Our ultimate goal was to make something easy-to-learn, but hard-to-master. Beating a map on the hard difficulty level does not instantly mean you have mastered that map. The game rewards efficiency by giving a higher score to those players that build the most efficient maze with as little tower sales as possible.

We have some aces up our sleeves, and we believe that there’s still quite a lot of fun to be had with the coming updates. We trust that if we work hard to create something we love to play and have tons of fun with, so will everyone else!

3) What’s your favorite game on the iPhone right now (other than yours)?

Aurora Feint: The Beginning.

4) Are you working on any new projects you’d like to discuss?

Although there are many interesting prospects we are considering for the future, currently all of our time is being devoted to bringing new content and features to Fieldrunners. Our goal is to make Fieldrunners truly shine!

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