View below the Best Ending screen! Enjoy!
Have you beaten the final bonus stage yet? It's pretty difficult to be sure... In order to get here, you have to collect all of the Cheat Sheets in Level 3 and then go to this stage from the Level Select Screen. If you beat this level and have an 'S' rating on all other levels, you get to see ShadowMaster's Secret Bonus Ending! Are you up to the challenge?
The following video shows how to get a pesky Cheat Sheet in Level 3, Stage 4. This should be the last really-hard-to-get Cheat Sheet. So now you should be able to get to and beat the last bonus stage 
Just when you thought you knew all about how to defeat the knights in ShadowMaster, you begin Level 3 and realize that the different looking knights--the Paladins--defeat the shadow. What is the reason for our enemy types? 

If you remember back to the Inspirations blog a couple of weeks back, you will remember some of what I'm about to explain. Our game design is simple. Gary has different interactions with certain world objects than does his shadow. We wanted to design a game that gave high importance to both characters. The design allows for you to use the shadow in some instances and use Gary in others to circumvent the game's obstacles and proceed towards the end of the levels. 
For the beginning levels, we wanted an enemy type that reinforced that the shadow was just as important as Gary. We wanted the enemy to be weak and able to be defeated easily. We dreamt up the Knight character. The Knight carries a polearm that kills Gary if he gets too close. However, the Knight can be scared if the shadow enters the same space as him. For later levels, however, we knew we needed a jump up in difficulty, something to keep you on your toes. 

So we created a new enemy type, the Paladin. The Paladin carries a torch, which burns the shadow away and kills it, requiring you to restart the current stage. The Paladin also carries a sword which he uses to kill Gary if Gary enters the same space as him. At a point in the game where the player starts to understand the core concepts of the game, it is always refreshing to add in a new gameplay element to up the challenge!

In the third part of the "How Do I Get That Cheat Sheet" video series, the following video shows how to collect a hard-to-reach Cheat Sheet in Level 2, Stage 1.
The following screenshots show the bonus stages for Levels 1 and 2. Can you get here? Tell us in the comments!
Ah, the Cheat Sheets. Some are harder to get than others. What is the purpose of collectibles, and what on Earth do they unlock? Think back to your favorite game. Did it have an item that you had to collect? Did the collectible items unlock more gameplay? Let's take a quick look back at great collectibles in videogame history!

The joy of collecting things probably began with Pac-Man. The entire game consisted of eating dots to proceed to the next level! Some of the better games in history have had you collecting things, sometimes for a reason, sometimes for none at all. Coins in Mario? A collectible. Rings in Sonic? Yep, that's a collectible. Stars to go to new levels in Super Mario 64? The useless flags in Assassin's Creed? Hidden packages in Grand Theft Auto 3? Cog tags in Gears of War? Skulls in Halo? Jiggies and Jingos in Banjo Kazooie? You bet. For better or worse, collectibles are in almost every game you play today. 

Notice that I mentioned the useless flags in Assassin's Creed? When we debated putting collectibles in ShadowMaster, we knew that we didn't want you, the player, collecting things just to collect them. We could have taken the easy road and justified putting them in 'just because' by saying that you could visit the Level Select screen to replay levels. But this wasn't good enough for us. We wanted to give you a reward for collecting all of those Cheat Sheets.

So, what do they unlock then? If you collect all of the Cheat Sheets in a level, you unlock a bonus stage at the end of that level! But wait, that's not all. If you complete all of the bonus stages, including the notorious Level 3, Stage 6, you get an alternate ending to ShadowMaster! Keep reading below for a new contest!

Contest - Getting the Best Ending

Beating the last bonus stage of the game is no easy task. Only two of the four developers can beat it. Yes, and we made the game! If you think you have the chops to Get-the-Best-Ending, follow the link to the Contest page.
In the second part of the "How to Get That Cheat Sheet" series, the following video shows how to get both Cheat Sheets in Level 2, Stage 6.
The following are screenshots of Level 3 stages. As always, you can view all media in the Media page.
View the new screenshots of Level 2 and video below! Also, you can go the the Media page to view all of ShadowMaster's media.
In the first video in the "How Do I Get That Cheat Sheet" series, the following video shows how to get a hard-to-reach Cheat Sheet in Level 1, Stage ....
When you go about creating a work, whether it be a book, a movie, a game, or something else entirely, you try to draw inspiration from what you know and then put your own twist on it. What were our inspirations for ShadowMaster? At the beginning, we knew that we had to make a 2D game, as per our project requirements. The rest was entirely in our hands. So we looked to other 2D games with interesting, fun, and successful game design: notably the Zelda and Super Mario franchises, and a little game called Chip's Challenge.
PictureLight World
In the third game of the Zelda series, A Link to the Past, Link travels to and from a parallel world in order to solve puzzles and progress through the game. Each world is a mirror of the other. One is Light, one is Dark. In A Link to the Past, the Dark World is a corrupted and very similar world to the Light World. Each location in the Light World has a similar version of itself located in the Dark World. Many times when Link is faced with an obstacle that he can't immediately overcome, the answer lies in traveling to the other world and changing something there, which also changes something in the world with the obstacle. The core of this gameplay, having two worlds with different player interactions, spoke to us. This mechanic paved the way for many games after it in almost every genre. We found the Light and Dark mechanic fun, but it wasn't good enough just to throw a similar mechanic in ShadowMaster and call it a day. The mechanic needed to feel more unique. It needed to feel like our own creation. 

PictureDark World
When we realized we wanted a Light and Dark mechanic, we started thinking of ways that we could have different interactions in both Light and Dark settings. We thought about enemies that would exist to hurt you in one world, but would be ghostly and ethereal once you switched worlds. We thought about traps that the player could navigate if he existed in the trap's parallel world, but would spring on the player if they accidentally switched worlds. It seemed fun on paper, but was it enough? It seemed like something that had been done many times before--not a bad goal for a first-time student project if it was still fun. But we thought we could do better.

PictureBattling Dark Link
We went back to the drawing board. We thought about how else the Zelda series used Light and Dark and how we might find more inspiration from those ideas. We tossed around the idea of Dark Link. The idea behind Dark Link is that he is Link's shadow. In most of the Zelda games that have Dark Link, he serves as Link's antithesis. He mimics Link's movement and sword attacks. Sometimes, he moves directly opposite of how the player-controlled Link moves. Sometimes he has all of Link's powers, plus additional powers that Link doesn't possess. Dark Link gave us the core of the idea that we were looking for. We decided that ShadowMaster's character would have a shadow that would follow his movements. But we thought back to the Light and Dark mechanic. Surely, we could give this shadow character important interactions that would serve a different purpose than the main character's interactions. It made sense that the player's shadow couldn't enter a lighted area or else it would dissipate. We built off of this core idea to build what ShadowMaster is today. Gary, ShadowMaster's main character, can interact with world objects to help the shadow, and the shadow can interact with objects to help Gary. Likewise, the shadow can venture to some places that Gary cannot, and Gary can enter lighted areas where the shadow cannot. We had built the essence of a fun 2D game. But the work was not done yet...

PictureChip's Challenge
We knew we had the basics of the gameplay in place. But we needed to lengthen the game. I remembered a game I had played called Chip's Challenge, included in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack on an old version of Windows (maybe 95?) Chip's Challenge was very simple. The game was on a grid system and the player could only move up, down, left and right one grid space at a time. This idea would go on to improve ShadowMaster's design. The grid movement circumvented the problem of the player moving Gary's shadow imprecisely.  We knew that if ShadowMaster was to be fun, we would have to avoid player frustration caused by delicate moving of the characters. (For instance, the player accidentally moves the shadow into the light because it is 1/3 of the way into a lighted tile through no real fault of the player.) We got other ideas from Chip's Challenge as well.

PictureChip's Challenge, Level 100
Chip's Challenge had the same set of rules for every level, such as movement that I described earlier, collecting computer chips, and a time limit. But every level presented new challenges due to new items the player could interact with. In some levels, the player had to move blocks out of the way to enter new areas. In other levels, Chip had to cross icy tiles, which slide Chip to the next non-iced tile with no way to stop him. While each level had the same basics mechanics of movement and collection, each new level presented novel challenges. We knew that since we had the basics in place, movement, shadow separation, and light and dark differences, we could slowly add in new mechanics as the game went on that didn't conflict with the basic mechanics to provide new and extended gameplay. We also took the ideas of collecting things and timed levels as well!

PictureSuper Mario World
So what about Mario? That one was easy. Almost every Mario game, starting with arguably Super Mario 3, had a hub world that the player navigated to choose the next level they wanted to play. Since we had started to create quite a few levels in a very short amount of time, and since we now had measures that the player could track themselves against (time and collectibles collected), we created a Level Select screen. The player can now go back and replay levels to try to better their scores by collecting foregone cheat sheets and improving their level times.

That's it for now... Stay tuned to for more updates in the weeks to come! And go vote 'Yes' for ShadowMaster on Steam Greenlight!
Hello and welcome back! Today, we would like to present a new contest--the Speedrun Contest! For those who may not know, a speedrun is a quick play-through of a level or of an entire game. It just so happens that ShadowMaster was designed for speedruns! 

To view how to enter the contest, please view our new Contests tab or click here!