CIU weapon balance program - Part 10: Lightning Fryer

Hi, I am galbatorix and this is my CIU weapon balance program in which I talk about current issues with weapon balance and I propose solutions for them. More info about what my deal is you can find in my original post: CIU weapon balance program by galbatorix I strongly suggest checking it out, if you haven’t seen it yet, so you will fully understand what my goal is. Today I want to talk about Lightning Fryer.

Currently Lightning Fryer is one of three auto-aim beam weapons in the game. It was first introduced in CI3, where despite its flaws it performed arguably decent. However right now in CIU, Lightning Fryer seems to be a really underperforming weapon, that can’t keep up with enemies’ heath on higher difficulties, where waves with multiple metal chickens/chickenauts are common. Unfortunately, damage is not the only problem this weapon has. Certain other characteristics of Lightning Fryer make it pretty lackluster weapon as a whole. As always, in my post i am going to present my thoughts on how it could be fixed. The issues with Lightning Fryer are:

  1. Its damage output is horribly low. Damage-wise, Lightning Fryer is outperformed by almost every other weapon in the game. Especially on lower power levels, where it’s actually the weakest gun in whole CIU. (On 0 :zap: it deals roughly 3 times less damage than Moron Railgun!)

  2. Visual design of Lighthing Fryer doesn’t match its gameplay. It looks like auto-firing beam, but in fact it shoots faster when fired manually.

  3. Size and damage values of Lightning Fryer’s beams are very inconsistent and potentially confusing. (Thin beam from 6 :zap: does more damage than much wider beam from 3 :zap:.)

  4. It has insane (more than 50%) powerspike between 10 :zap: and 20 :zap: dps.

  5. Gameplay-wise this weapon is very similar to other beam weapons and lacks its own identity. Up to 5 :zap: it functions like a bootleg copy of Plasma Rifle and Positron Stream. (It is pretty much the same, but it has much lower DPS)

As you can see, there are couple things really messed up about this weapon’s design. As a whole, Lightning Fryer’s gameplay and power progression seem pretty lackluster and badly designed. It deals unusually small amount of damage on all power levels except max power. (That said, even on max power, most weapons still deal much more damage than Lightning Fryer.) There are also some other minor problems such as beams dealing 495 damage on 10 :zap: instead of whole 500, but I decided to not include them in the main list, because they aren’t impactful enough to fit there.

After thinking about this weapon for some time, I came to the conclusion that Lightning Fryer deserves to be completely redesigned from scratch. Without the extensive rework it would be really difficult to fix all those bigger and smaller problems this weapon currently has. I came up with an idea how such rework could look like. I suggest to rework Lightning Fryer in a following way:

Part 1: Basic stats and damage values

  • Manual fire rate set to 6,5 shots/s on all power levels.

  • Automatic fire rate set to 10 shots/s on all power levels.

  • Time to overheat when fired automatically set to 10 seconds.

  • Weapon uses 4 types of projectiles (beams): weak, medium, strong and very strong.

  • Weak projectile deals 100 damage. (Visually the same as beam found currently on 0 :zap:)

  • Medium projectile deals 150 damage. (Visually the same as beam found currently on 2 :zap:)

  • Strong projectile deals 200 damage. (Visually the same as beam found currently on 4 :zap:)

  • Very strong projectile deals 250 damage. (Visually the same as beam found currently on 5 :zap:)

Part 2: Volleys & power progression

  • On 0 :zap: volley consists of 1 weak projectile.

  • Transitions to 1 :zap: and 2 :zap: add 1 more weak projectile to the volley.

  • Transitions to 3-5 :zap: replace one weak projectile with one medium projectile.

  • Transitions to 6-8 :zap: replace one medium projectile with one strong projectile.

  • Transitions to 9-10 :zap: and 20 :zap: replace one strong projectile with one very strong projectile.

Here you can see the visualisation:


Part 3: Special ability: chaining between targets

  • Enemies hit by medium projectile send one weak projectile to the nearby target.

  • Enemies hit by strong projectile send two weak projectiles to the nearby targets.

  • Enemies hit by very strong projectile send one weak and one medium projectile to the nearby targets.

  • Each enemy can be hit only once with single projecitle chain. (For example: Chicken cannot be hit with both weak projectiles sent from single strong projectile. However, single chicken can be hit with three separate strong projectiles.)

  • An exception to this rule are bosses. Boss can be hit multiple times with single projectile chain. Beams will bounce between several parts of the boss’ hitbox dealing max possible damage.

It would look something like this:

Lightning Fryer is the only weapon in WBP, that I decided to fully rework from scratch. Nonetheless, I tried to make its rework maintain gameplay of current Lightning Fryer with some extra twists. Weapon that chains between targets is an idea that has been mentioned in the community several times. And I am sure that it would fit Lightning Fryer perfectly. Not only it works with weapon’s auto-aim, multi-beam gameplay, but also perfectly fits it thematically. Lightning Fryer is an electricity-themed weapon, so giving it the ability to chain between targets is a no-brainer in my opinion.

Suggested rework would give Lightning Fryer potential to deal 18000 DPS on 20 :zap:, which is similar to Utensil Poker’s DPS on that power level. It may sound too strong, however it must be noted, that each target can be hit with separate chain only once, so the most damage single target can take is 7500 DPS, assuming it is hit by all 3 very strong beams at the same time. This makes suggested Lightning Fryer rework a weapon that is able to do huge amount of damage to group of enemies, but is unable to qickly kill single target, which comes with some disadvantages. Especially on waves such as “Nasty Surprise”.(Bosses are an exception to this rule and they will always take whole 18000 DPS.) Reworked Plasma Rifle, despite dealing 3000 DPS less, could still be a more desirable choice for players who prioritize ability to kill single enemies faster over higher total DPS.

On top of that, proposed rework would give Lightning Fryer actual projectile types with constant damage values, so wider beams being weaker than thin beams would no longer be the case. Changing automatic fire rate to 10 shots/s also makes reworked Lightning Fryer a fully automatic weapon instead of what we have now. All things considered, I think such rework would make Lightning Fryer a weapon much better suited for the game like CIU, and possibly more fun to use thanks to “chaning between targets” mechanic.

Here you can see results of proposed changes:



To summarize, suggested Lightning Fryer rework would:

  • Increase the DPS of Lightning Fryer to the viable level. (Problem nr 1 solved)

  • Improve Lightning Fryer’s volleys and power progression. (Problems nr 3 & 4 solved)

  • Make Lightning Fryer a fully automatic weapon. (Problem nr 2 solved)

  • Make Lightning Fryer more distinct and interesting gameplay-wise by introducing new special ability: “chaining between targets”. (Problem nr 5 solved)

That said, despite my calculations and thought process I have to admit that it’s really hard to predict how this weapon would actually perform in game. Usually when designing reworks, I compare my ideas with what we currenly have in game. In this case I could’t really do that. Ability to chain between targets is an entirely new mechanic that right now doesn’t exist in game in any shape or form. It’s possible that this mechanic is slightly stronger/weaker that my reasoning leads me to believe, so if IA decides to implement WBP, I will be ready to design potentially needed changes to this Lightning Fryer rework. (Of course this may be the case with other WBP ideas, but I am mentioning this here, because this idea is more likely to need some improvements in the future.)

So yea, the WBP project is almost over. With all weapons covered there is only one part left, in which I will summarize the whole WBP and talk about other weapon-related things that I didn’t cover in the previous posts. (Such as weapons’ price in shop, weapon virtuosity etc.) I know it took me a lot of time to get back to WBP, but now I am back, so new post should appear pretty quickly. I will probably release the last part till the end of March. And once again, thank you for your patience, I hope the wait was worth it :>

Anyways, that’s it for now. Remember to share your thoughts in the comments below. If you think, that I forgot about something, or you have a different idea, feel free to tell me. I am interested in all kinds of feedback. And stay tuned for the grand finale :wink:

You can also check out my previous posts:

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Oh yea, the ultimate Space Race weapon! Really digging that chaining ability, I hope it works out as you planned. Super hyped for the finale!

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It’s a while since I have posted something here (did anyone miss me? I don’t think) but I will still say my opinion to this rework.

The chain mechanic actually sounds good (While the part when hits bosses multiple times makes little sense but [insert big fan here]) and would actually give to my favorite weapon a good prupose.

A sentence, a ferar: LF may be sightly on the strong side (or definitly on the strong side) due to insane dps over a lot of enemies and being the only “laser” weapon to not struggle againist “fake spot” bosses (Ucos,Crabs,Yolk star)

Let’s don’t forget that developers will actually say their opinions over the entire project there!

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Only question now is this: How hard would it be to implement all these weapon balances?

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If it’s just the matter of tweaking the variables in game engine then not hard at all.

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Most of them should be very simple, few of them however (like Corn Shotgun, Photon Swarm and this one) may be more difficult to implement.

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awesome…cant be more awesome…

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Damn, how do you manage to think of these!? All off your rebalances are absolutely pecking perfect!

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Don’t forget it would be huge improvement vs shielded bosses like Bossa Nova and Asteroid Chicken, and mass-spawning boss like Egg Cannon and Henterprise.

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I am glad you think so.

To answer the question: I think it is thanks to bunch of things combined.

Part of that is definitelly the experience. I am typical “gamer”. I played a lot of vastly different games ranging from ones like Geometry Dash, Chicken Invaders through farming games like Stardew Valley, to MOBAs and various types of single/multi player shooters. In all those titles I have seen tones of good a and bad weapon designs and other abilites. When I was young, there was even time when I was slightly obsessed about browser Shoot em up games. (CI 3 had a big role in that)

Besides that, there were some other games that gave me tones of ideas. Notably “Borderlands” series and one niche space shooter called “Star Conflict” (sadly, it’s now fully Pay to Win and pretty much dead). Especially the last game was an “idea powerhouse” for me. Number of creative weapons in that game was insane. Besides standard lasers, blasters and machine guns there were weapons that deal more dmg or fire faster projectiles when close to overheating, weapons that generate huge balls of slow moving plasma, lasers that slow down enemies or make their armor weaker the longer you fire at them, and so on. So thanks to that game I had huge base of possible weapon ideas for my reworks.

Another thing that strongly contributed to the WBP was the fact that I played League of Legends and lately Paladins and I was/am very invested in the balance of that games, how it’s handled and statistics around it such as champion win rates. League of Legends also does many more or less succesful reworks to their characters. Seeing how those games’ balance and reworks are handled gave me some understanding of what to do to rework/buff/nerf something without it causing problems and making the community upset. The biggest thing I learned from LOL’s reworks is that when you want to improve something by reworking it, you should improve what needs improvement and leave what works untouched. (I hate how Boron Railgun’s fire rate changes, but since it isn’t what causes the problems, I decided to leave it untouched.) And above all else, avoid changing gameplay identity of that thing(champion, weapon, whatever). Another thing I learned from those games is that popularity=/=effectiveness in vast majority of cases.

So yea, theoretical experience from other games is one thing, the other thing is that I am naturally pretty creative person. I am an amateur writer and love coming up with cool stories, imagining things. I am also pretty good at math and solving logical problems so that probably helped me with WBP too.
My posts usually display my thought process. First I am looking for problems with a weapon. Then I am trying to identify what causes those problems. Then i think about how each of those problems could be fixed, and if I can do something that fixes more than one at once.

Gosh, that was a long answer. I think it was worth it tho. It always feels good to say something about yourself xD

Yeah. I think this LF rework has huge potential. But it also worries me a bit, because I can’t predict how excactly would it affect some of those bossfights. It might be needed to make LF act differently for those special bosses, cuz it may turn out to be too strong or too weak.

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Have you noticed how the fryer gets bigger as it travles? How about it getting ablittle itty bitty stronger while doing that!

That’s not how electricity works

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Yep. So it gets weaker? Because that is how electricity works.

I don’t think “realism” should influence gameplay design at all. Especially in game like CIU.

Dealing more damage at the distance sounds interesting, but I don’t think it fits Lightning Fryer all that well.

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Update: When working on my summary post I noticed that Positron Stream is still kind of weak on latest power levels. So I decided to change that and give slightly more power to its 10 :zap: and 20 :zap:, so it isn’t as significantly behind all other weapons. The new value is only 1000 more DPS on 20 :zap:, so it’s not that big of a deal, but I think I had to adress that in some way.

Original post was edited. I will not edit the comparison chart that is on all other posts though. Too much work for something not so important. However, updated chart will appear in the summary post .

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:partying_face:

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Bit of a bump, but I’ve been thinking about Lightning Fryer lately, and I think I may have some alternate suggestions regarding its balancing.

The changes I’m proposing here were made with the current chaining system in mind, and with the assumption that this system will stay in the game (which may very well not be the case). So let’s talk about that first.

The way chaining works right now is based on the bolt bouncing off of an enemy at just the right angle to hit another enemy. Which requires either precise aiming or luck, and sometimes can’t occur at all. One way to overcome this is to just have more bolts (the more bolts you have, the higher the odds that one will bounce successfully). And so, bombers are generally more effective than fighters when it comes to chaining alone.

Another thing to consider is @1galbatorix1’s initial idea of bosses taking the full DPS due to chaining. This may end up being problematic to balance, especially since the proposed 18000 DPS is quite a lot for an instant-hit auto-targered weapon (though it’d be more acceptable if DPS was lowered to around 16000, provided that chaining would also be made easier to make sure that that 16000 DPS can be reached on regular waves as well).

And so, I’d like to suggest another power progression for the Lightning Fryer, one that focuses mainly on gaining more bolts more quickly. One bolt on :zap:0-3, two on :zap:4-7, three on :zap:8-10, and finally four on :zap:20.

To avoid massive jumps in damage output, transitions that increase the number of bolts would have to weaken the individual bolts as well (just like the current transition to :zap:6 does). So with this approach, we’d sacrafice single-hit damage in exchange for spreading out the still rising overall damage output across more enemies.
With such a progression, bombers would reach 6 bolts at :zap:16, and 4 bolts at :zap:8 (4 levels earlier than currently).

I considered several versions, and I think this is the best one I’ve come up with:

image

In my opinion, 10-12k DPS is the lower limit of what could be considered useful. Bosses would still take a pretty long time, but wouldn’t be tedious to battle. The issue is that with such values, we reach a maximum DPS of over 22k. Which is a lot.

That being said, I think that if the current chaining system remains largely unchanged, it wouldn’t really be overkill. It’s currently quite rare to reach the chaining limit, and even if it is reached, it’s for a very short amount of time. Alternatively, the system could be made a bit more forgiving but with reduced damage (via reducing the max amount of chained enemies and/or damage dealt to each next enemy in the chain).

As far as problem #3 (bolt width not being consistent with damage) is concerned, it should be simple enough to fix. Just make the bolt’s thickness tied directly to its damage.

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Well done, but wouldn’t it be hard to see if there are way too many bolts on the screen? Lightning Fryer would get a similar issue to Photon Swarm’s, Laser Cannon’s and Positron Stream’s.

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It already has that issue tbh.

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I would stick with 1 bolt at 0-5, 2 bolts at 6-10, and 3 at max with the reason like Sufi said.

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