At last your high scores are properly sorted! It ended up being more complicated than I could dream of, but I'm pleased with it and the things I learned along the way.
I also added some other interesting things as noted under Design changes.
Several big changes from cosmetic to functional. Now that the new second boss (the Gourmand) is implemented, I can do some comparison tests to see if it is more intuitive to fight. You can read more about the life and changes to Qualdrin's second boss in Qualdrin Deep Dive - Boss Iterations.
The game now has music for the stages and boss fights! Music created by Jordan Peloquin (portfolio: https://jwesternskies.itch.io/portfolio).
All* buttons in menus and screens can now be used with a keyboard (and/or a mouse). This is great for players who have trouble using a mouse and just in general since gameplay doesn't use the mouse (yet). I was previously using browser buttons that could be navigated using the Tab key (or your mouse). However, I had little control over their text size and they appeared tiny on Apple computers.
*...Except some buttons for changing your gamepad controls. I want to revisit how I implemented this system.
Game speed adjustment is a real game changer, allowing you to make the game slower. Now the game is even more accessible to players with challenges that can make it difficult to react as quickly as others.
In a continued effort to be more direct in what I want players to learn and do, I created a cutscene introducing the Bottom Feeder and how it behaves. I also added an Options menu to provide additional options for accessibility.
I received some good feedback from my old college classmates. Hopefully these A-Ship Clusters will provide scripted scenarios where large blocks are better than small blocks. I was hoping by chance clusters of enemies would necessitate large blocks but now realize those moments were either ambiguous or non-existent.
The 2017 Halloween Game Expo was the first time I showcased any games since graduating college. It came at a great time: I was already remaking Qualdrin and this was the kind of milestone I needed. I'll be breaking down the lessons I learned into several articles, since I felt each deserved its own attention. Starting off is the feature I had the highest hopes for: the Bottom Feeder.
(To get familiar with the game, check this video of the older version.)
What is skeuomorphism?
Back in my sophomore year of college I created a competitive creative story-telling card game called Cardbored Box (before "Cards Against Humanity", "Superfight" and the like. I was original, I swear!). I later went on to digitize the game so it could be played anytime. However, I was never too happy with the design but couldn't figure out what was holding it back.
Then earlier this year, I found a Nelsen-Norman Group article that mentioned "skeuomorphic design". They said:
In digital design, a skeuomorphic design is an object that has unnecessary, ornamental design features that mimic a real-world precedent. Skeuomorphic designs are intended to help users understand how to use a new interface by allowing them to apply some prior knowledge about that precedent.
Now I have a new perspective of what I did to design the digital game and how skeuomorphism negatively affected it (though not all skeuomorphic designs are bad).
I am extremely proud to finally have another game with greater accessibility features (the first being Qualdrin with its remappable controls). I'm putting my money where my mouth is. Beginning with Version 1.2.1, CardBored Box will be easier to play for those with low vision or blindness.