Okay, let's continue.
So yeah, you have your sprites ready, photoshop (or whatever image editor you use) on hand, fpg on hand and SORmaker on. You have the concept ready and it's time to give it shape to the mod.
- Enemy placement.
This is the key part of making a fun mod or a crappy mod. Enemy placement it's the main core in how to develop your game and make it fun and challenging. In a standard beat 'em up game, the first stages are usually simple (but still attractive enough to catch the attention of the player) and the mooks there are the easiest type, then as the stages advance, gradually it's added more challenging mooks and sub-bosses, etc.
In practical issues, SORmaker fortunately has a wide array of easy mooks to fill your first stages, here are some tier list that you could use as reference to place your enemies from easier to harder and which bosses can be used as mooks and which mooks can be used as bosses: Tier 1
: Galsias (3 versions), Donnies (2 versions), Signals (3 versions), Goldie, Vice, Soozies (2 versions), Storms (2 versions), Galvice, Cody.Tier 2:
Haku-oh's, Hakuyos, Noras, Electras (2 versions), Jacks (jugglers), Beano, Slash, SOR2 Big-Ben, P-1, Trucker (pipe or barehanded version), Tiger, Hitmen (3 versions).Tier 3:
SOR3 Big-Ben, Ninjos, Muay Thais, troll ninjas (2 versions), Trucker (with beer).
Sub-bosses: Ash, Vehelits, Victy & Danch, Rocket.Bosses:
Antonio, Barbon, Mona & Lisa, Souther, SOR2 Jet, Yamato, Abadede, Zamza, Bongo, Bear, Yasha & Onihime, Neo-X, Robo-X, SOR3 Jet, Particle, Rudra, Shiva (2 versions), Mr. X.Special:
Pretty much the lay out for a stage one should be tier 1 mooks with low energy bars, with 3 or 4 stops during the scene (depending of the length of it, of course), with 4 enemies at the same time max and at least the first two stops with only two waves with only tier 1 mooks. Then later in the 3rd stop you could put an easy tier 2 enemy to come in a wave, still low to mid energy bar but only one or two. By the end of the stage you could place 2 tier-1 mooks with mid lifebar and a tier-2 mook with a full bar as your sub-boss of the scene.
It's not recommended to put Tier-3 mooks in the first scenes unless u wanna manage him as a sub-boss, and if you REALLY wanna do it, try to put him alone and with a mid to full lifebar (no lives)... or why not? you could put a group of Tier-3 mooks as your stage 1 Bosses, maybe a group of Ninjas or I dunno, the idea is to keep the balance of the game.
With this logic it is easy to build challenge in the course of the game, try to use as reference other established beat 'em ups like the OG SOR's, Final Fight, Cadillacs & Dinosaus, Punisher, etc.
- Stay in theme with your enemies & stages.
Yeah, after you selected a theme or a story and therefore the style of your stages, also place your enemies with the theme of your stage. It's kinda odd that you'd find a martial artist like a Hakuyo in a Bar or a party-girl like Soozie in a Samurai temple. SORmaker has a huge array of enemies with different styles that could fit in so many themes.
Remember also that you have name editor and palette editor and a certain name, color or image will change the appearance of your characters.
Also, if you have a storyline that request certain type of enemy to show up in an odd situation, go ahead and try it (in example, in your script the boss is sending assassins to kill the protagonist and he happens to pass-by... let's say a convenience store then it's okay to place 3 troll ninjas with a very dark palette to resemble like shadows).
- Health items, point items, extra polices and extra lives placement.
Okay, this is important, after you got a wave of enemies in a stop, you gotta put a health item after you cleared that. That's rule of the thumb. It's not fun whooping the ass of tons of mooks coming in 5 waves and then after you get the GO! GO! GO! There's nothing else after that but MORE enemies! Balance your number of enemies (and their difficulty) with the type of health item you could grant. If it was a stop with 3 waves of tier 1 mooks then a coke, a chewing gum or an orange would suffice. If it was a stop with 3 waves of tier-2 mooks then go for an apple or even a hamburger. If you fought a sub-boss or a bunch of tier 3 goons then a chicken or beef will do.
Also remember that you can make some mooks to drop food after you beat them, mind you the food dropped it's random so odds are that u get a simple chewing gum or the best to get a burger. Sometimes u can make the hardest mook of a wave to drop a food item so you can keep up with the next round.
As for point items those are more for fun or to accumulate extra life. Some valuable items like the gold bars or the extra lives can be hidden behind some layers which can give this extra trick feeling.
Also, if there's a certain difficult and long stage coming, you could place mid way an extra police to give some help (of course, this makes no sense if you do it in a stage with the police calls restricted since the hero characters can't call the police).
- Play with your environment.
SORmaker has tons of extras and events that can your stage look richer and interesting. From the simple appearance elements such a littered cans on the floor, flying birds, garbage flying, fog, rain, thunders, etc. to features that can affect the gameplay like slippery floor, endless drum cans dropping, explosions, fire on the floor, etc.
Recreate your stage according to your scripted story and the situation, also remember that placing items like health items, point items and containers can also decor your stage (in example, make a hobo party placing a flame event, surrounded by breakable boxes where Slums and Signals would be sitting on, some Soozies and Galvices jamming with the music, place Cokes and Cocktails drinks (consumable items) around them, a Boombox point item, some Bottle weapon items around and some littered cans around them with the Extra feature and there you go! You can go and crash the party literally!)
Here's the example how it would look like:
...and here crashing the party (and paying for it), lol, happy happy joy joy.... *trollface*
(Sorry, took one of the stages from the Rage in Time mod as an example only, I won't plan to use it like this).
You guys feel free also to contribute with tips, I'll post some more.