Beta Test for the Double Star Game

Beta test continues for the Double Star app for Android.

Double Star is a turn-based, single player, space war game. In the game, you command a powerful starship. You must first save our planet from the invasion. Then you search the galaxy for the home world of the invaders so you can destroy them once and for all.

Double Star is available now for Android phones and tablets. To install the Double Star game, do one of the following:

Instructions on how to install the app from the Google Play store are in the group and in the community.


For a longer version of this announcement, visit the Double Star page on


Posted in Android | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A game to try: Alien Star Menace

Don’t know if you have time to try another game, but here’s one from one of the people in an Indie Games Meetup group I am in. It’s called “Alien Star Menace” and it is available on both Android and iOS. It was just released in the last two weeks. It’s done in Unity.


Alien Star Menace

I like it because it is a turn-based strategy game, and it is set in space. I also like the “Hero Academy” style of play. I am not very far along, just a few levels in. It’s amusing and challenging at the same time.

For more information, see

Posted in Android | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Thirty Second Hook and Double Star

I recently read “The 30-Second Hook” on Gamasutra. It’s a very good article about the experience of the developers of Blowfish Meets Meteor. The author talks about the experience dealing with the problem of making your game appealing to players trying your game.  You have to hook players quickly or, in many cases, you lose them. He writes, “people played only the rather simplistic, tutorial-based first level and put it down because they assumed this was a reflection of the entire game.”

It seems that this might apply to my Double Star Android game. Twenty levels of play are provided in the game, with mysteries, challenges, and rewards along the way. However, it all starts with a training level. If training takes too long, players might never get to the more interesting parts of the game. So that got me thinking that maybe I have to throw players in the deep end. Wait until they flounder and then offer them further assistance. The latest release does just that.

Short / Long Training in Double Star

The latest beta version of Double Star (version 0.980) has a new setting where the player selects either short or long training. Short is the default setting. Players receive minimal training, which includes only the basics of issuing commands and checking ship status. That gets players into battle sooner, but it also means that players are responsible for learning most of the game on their own. To help with that, an extensive list of tutorials is available on the Help screen.

Long training is much more complete. For long training, players learn how to play as they progress through five ranks, from Weapons Officer to Captain. By the time they reach Captain, players know about all of the equipment and have had several longer training missions to practice.


Training is the first of three phases of game play in Double Star: (1) training at the academy; (2) saving our planet from the alien invasion; (3) searching the galaxy for the alien home world. Throughout the game, you receive suggestions and hints from Star Fleet and your crew, as shown in the figure above.

I hope that a few readers will try the game and let me know what you think about the new training level.

Posted in Android, Game Design | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Revised – Lessons From Angry Birds

Back in February 2014, I wrote an article about how I did tutorials in a space war game app. The article was “Lessons From Angry Birds: My Thoughts on Android Game Tutorials“. The topics covered include game tutorials, engaging users, and gamification. The article has been revised a bit, primarily because the game changed names from “Starship” to “Double Star”.


I posted the following questions and would love to hear from a few readers:

  1. Does an Angry Birds style tutorial work? Do you really know what to touch to make something happen?
  2. Is it effective to earn ranks while you learn the game?
  3. Or does it make it look like the game is not interesting?
    In other words, does it take too long to get to a game that’s fairly challenging?

Please read the old article, try the Double Star app, and think about the questions. Post comments here or in the Double Star community on Google+.

Posted in Android, Game Design | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Game Difficulty Setting for Double Star

The latest version of Double Star, an Android space war app, allows you to set game difficulty on the Settings screen. In the EASY game, there are fewer alien starships, and the enemy are less aggressive. A few people had commented that the game was perhaps too difficult. The EASY setting should help.

To download the beta version of the app, visit the Double Star community on Google+, here is the link:


The full game experience includes:  (1) training at the academy; (2) saving our planet from the alien invasion; (3) searching the galaxy for the enemy home world. Twenty levels are available for play. There are mysteries, challenges, and rewards along the way.

Posted in Android | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 in review

The stats team prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 180,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thinking About Stories

I have been thinking about stories lately and what makes a great story. I hope that learning about good stories will help me as I work on my space war app.

Two good TED videos: (1) The Clues to a Great Story, by Andrew Stanton; (2) The Mystery Box, by J. J. Abrams. Both have funny parts, but are are also very thought-provoking.

I especially like the line, “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.” How would that play out in a game?

Abrams’ talk is about using mystery to drive interest.  As a fan of the old Lost show, I really appreciate it when J. J. Abrams says early on, “What the Hell is that island?”. For my game, I am still searching for the right way to introduce the mystery that lies behind the levels in the game.


Posted in Android, Game Design | Tagged , | Leave a comment