CIU weapon balance program - Part 3: Plasma Rifle & Positron Stream

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 two weapons: Plasma Rifle and Positron Stream.

Plasma Rifle and Positron Stream are weapons that may seem nearly identical on the first glance, but in fact function very differently. Positron Stream is exactly what it looks like: an autoaim auto-firing beam weapon. Plasma Rifle on the other hand, looks like the same thing, but is in fact spam-nuke gun similar to the Laser Cannon. Because of that and the autoaim mechanic, balancing those 2 is definitelly not an easy task. We do not want to end up with two identical weapons(that would happen if plasma rifle got gameplay update to match its visual design). But I have an idea how those two can be fixed/balanced. Both guns have several issues and bugs that have to be adressed. Let’s start with Positron Stream.

  1. Positron stream has insanely bad performance on high power levels compared to other weapons. It has the worst damage in the game, overheats fast and obstructs vision. It makes Positron unusable on higher difficulty levels.

  2. It is not able to push Henterprise’s feathers enough to make beating the boss possible without losing lifes or special weapons. It performace against supernova debris is similar.

  3. Whole idea of this weapon is flawed, because it seems to be designed as a noob-gun. The in-game description implies it is “strong on low power levels and weak on high”, which is a terrible idea in general. There are a lot better ways to make easy-to-use weapon for newbies.

So as you see, Positron Stream has some really complicated issues that are not that easy to deal with and require drastic changes. It seems tho, that this gun is supposed to be a weapon for unexperienced players, so I decided to stick with this general idea in my calculations and ideas. Anyways, with Positron’s issues pointed out, let’s go to Plasma Rifle.

  1. Visual design of Plasma Rifle doesn’t match its gameplay. It looks like auto-firing beam, but is in fact fired manually.

  2. When automatically fired, it’s beam is often bugged. For example kills enemy without locking on him, or without touching him whatsoever.

  3. Plasma Rifle doesn’t inflict enough damage on higher power levels to compete with meta weapons(Utensil Poker and Neutron Gun).

  4. Just like Positron Stream, it is useless against Henterprise’s feathers. In fact, way more useless than Positron in this case.

So yeah, there is a lot wrong with this gun. The gameplay=/=visuals problem can be solved in two ways. By remaking the gameplay to match visual design, or the other way around. First option would be good, but there is a problem. We already have Positron Stream. If Plasma Rifle’s gameplay was changed to match its visual design, we would end up with two identical guns with different statistics, and this should never be the case. So the only option left is to rework visuals to match gameplay. I have an idea how it could be done.

  • When in automatic mode, Plasma Rifle now fires single shots instead of the constant stream. Fire rate remains the same(5/s). Only thing that changes is visuals.

  • Single shots are no longer moving. Right now even when you spam click plasma rifle, every shot is animated, this is no longer necessary. (shots will have different forms, random frame of the animation can be chosen with every click, but the beam is no longer moving)

  • Two variants of the beam are still in use. When not locking-on and missing the target, version 1 will be shown. When hitting the target, version 2. It would be pretty much the same as it is now, but less buggy.

    Basically, after such visual rework, Plasma Rifle would look similar to Laser Cannon. Every click is a single shot. Beam is not animated, but have different forms. Auto fire looks like manual fire, but slower. Such changes would fix problem number 4(visuals would match gameplay) and problem nr 5 (If beam is no longer automatic, current bugs regarding automatic fire will not exist)

  • Aditonally, firing sound could be changed to better match the characteristics of the weapon. Something similar to Laser Cannon should work.

So with those issues out of the way, let’s talk about problem number 6, which is insufficient damage on high power levels. To fix that, I suggest changing scaling of the Plasma Rifle’s volley:

  • On power level 0, damage of the volley is 200. (nothing changes)

  • On power levels 0 - 4 plasma rifle’s volley gains 150 damage per level.

  • On power levels 4-10 plasma rifle’s volley gains 200 damage per level.

  • Max power volley deals 2300 damage now.

  • Reduce a bit overheat time from 15s to 13s.(15s is way too long for this weapon)

Such changes would give Plasma Rifle 13000 DPS on power level 10, and 14950 DPS on max power, so it would be weaker than Utensil Poker and Neutron Gun in terms of damage per second. Max power 3000 dps difference comes from the fact, that Plasma Rifle has auto-aim mechanic so it has to deal significantly less damage than Neutron and Utensil. I think, that’s a fair deal.

With all that, there is only one issue regarding Plasma Rifle left, which is its inability to push feathers in Henterprise bossfight. This problem is very specific, so it can be really easily fixed. Giving Plasma Rifle ability to destroy feathers on hit would be enough. It wouldn’t affect its general performance, but would make Plasma Rifle viable against Henterprise. Plus, it would kinda make sense, because feathers can be destroyed by missile and mine, and Plasma Rifle is already a weapon with the highest single target damage of all conventional guns. (It could be added to the in-game description, which should also be rewritten together with this rework.)

Ok, so with Plasma Rifle covered, we can go to the Positron Stream and its issues number 1 and 2. (horrible damage at high power and inability to deal with feathers and supernova debris) To fix those problems i suggest following steps:

  • Increase automatic fire rate from 10,2 shots/s to 20 shots/s.

  • Change damage of the lvl 0 volley from 200 to 50.

  • Change scaling of the volley on the levels 0-9 from 40 damage per level to 50 damage per level.

  • Make transitions to 10 and max power levels add 100 damage to the volley.

  • Increase overheat time from 5s to 7s.

  • Make the beam more transparent, because right now it blocks a lot of vision, which is not a trait that easy-to-use weapon for unexperienced players should posess. It could look something like this:

With such changes, Positron Stream would become a easy-to-use weapon on all power levels. Having 12000 dps on power level 10 and 14000 on max power, it would inflict less damage than plasma rifle, for an exchange of high automatic fire rate(less damage would be wasted on finishing enemies with small amount of hp left), wider auto-lock range and little vision blocking. High fire rate also solves the feather and supernova debris problem. All that should make Positron Stream suitable for new or unexperienced players, even on harder missions. Though more DPS oriented weapons should perform better on elite missions in hands of experienced player, Positron Stream should still be viable. In some situations, where there are bullets everywhere and vision is important, I would consider taking it over other guns with higher damage output.

Here you can see results of the proposed changes:

To summarize,I think that Plasma Rifle could be improved by:

  • Changing visual design of Plasma Rifle to match its gameplay.
  • Changing scaling of Plasma Rifle’s volley on power levels 0-4 to 150 dmg/level.
  • Changing scaling of Plasma Rifle’s volley on power levels 4-10 to 200 dmg/level.
  • Changing Plasma Rifle’s max power volley damage from 1600 to 2300.
  • Decreasing Plasma Rifle’s time to overheat from 15s to 13s.
  • Giving Plasma Rifle an ability to destroy Henterprise’s feathers on hit.

And Positron Stream could be improved by:

  • Making Positron Stream’s beam more transparent.
  • Increasing Positron Stream’s automatic fire rate from 10,2 shots/s to 20 shots/s.
  • Changing Positron Stream’s 0 power volley damage from 200 to 50.
  • Changing scaling of Positron Stream volley on levels 0-9 to 50 dmg/level.
  • Making transitions to 10 and max power levels add 100 damage to the volley.
  • Increasing Positron Stream’s overheat time from 5s to 7s.

Such changes would:

  • Give both guns enough damage to compete with Utensil Poker and Neutron Gun on higher difficulty missions. (Problems nr 1 & 6 solved)

  • Fix Plasma Rifle’s gameplay-visual inconsitency and elliminate bugs regarding its automatic fire.(Problems nr 4 & 5 solved)

  • Make both guns able to be used against supernova missions and Henterprise bossfight. (Problems nr 2 & 7 solved)

  • Make Positron Stream easy-to-use and noob-friendly weapon, without making it absolutelly useless for experienced players.(Problem nr 3 solved)

So yea, 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. Soon I will make a post about next weapon, so stay tuned. You can also check out my previous posts:


I’m sorry,but I have to disagree. Plasma is certainly used over utensil in some cases. That is,on most easy dailies and about half of the intermediate dailies,too. Or at least it should be used there if the player is going for score.

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Will you do weapon balance program for all weapons?

As I stated in my original post, my main focus is the gameplay on the highest difficulties. Of course Plasma Rifle is useful for farming points on low/medium difficulty dailies. But when it comes to a waves that you have to destroy ASAP (on the highest difficulty), such as omnidirectional onslaught for example, and you have plasma rifle equipped, you are dead. The fact that PR has a use in game doesn’t make it a viable weapon on elite missions.

Besides, Idk about you, but for me concept of a gun that is only useful for farming points doesn’t seem interesting whatsover. (Point farming mechanics are another interesting topic, but it’s not a place for that) Anyways, the change I proposed shouldn’t affect this functionality whatsover, but should make PR a relatively good choice for hard missions. At least in some scenarios.

As I stated, I want to bring all weapons to the power comparable with Utensil and Neutron. So yes, unless I decide to cancel this project for whatever reason.


I like this balance program and this is one that covers my second favourite gun:Plasma rifle

Well… I think that there are here a lot of unexpected ideas like:


This is brillant!
You should work on gaming balances, some games needs people like you!

There is only a part that I didn’t understood well (probably due to that English is not my first language)
Can you please explain me better the visual changes on Plasma rifle? It will be a “”“copy”"" of laser cannon? Or another thing?

I didn’t mean that it a copy of Laser Cannon. My point was, it’s firing pattern would be like Laser Cannon’s. Right now, if you hold a button for auto-firing, plasma rifle will simply be a animated beam that fires continously. After change it would fire like Laser Cannon. Zap, Zap, Zap. It would still be pink auto-aiming beam and it would basically work like a real life lightning.

Imagine a collumn that gets struck by lightnings(real life lightnings) over and over again. And now change the collumn for the CIU spaceship and imagine that chickens are in the clouds. Zap, Zap, Zap. Now I think you should get an idea how it would look like.

PS: Didn’t you accidentally cut second quote in your post? It seems kinda out of context.


Suggestions for next balance

  • Laser Cannon, this weapon doesn’t have enough damage to match its risk, it has high heat rate, obstructs sight at higher level, limited range, and instantanous straight attack actually more dangerous than projectile based straight attacks (like neutron gun) as you must be in face to face position. Simply buff damage could work, but I want to add damage boost as the heat increases, I think it would be interesting mechanic.

  • Riddler, the weirdest way to upgrade weapons, increasing accuracy seems not helping, as we have spread widener (i forgot its name) and condenser. Just make it in same spread-width at all level, if you like wider or narrower, you know what you should buy. And make it shoot same number of projectile at all level, for leveling, you can adjust its firing speed. Also long term auto fire just doesn’t work in this game, those chickens will flee before you even finish killing them.

  • Photon Swarm, I don’t like that max power level, it brokes its consistency of way of leveling up. It should follow increasing firing speed. Even though its name is “swarm”, I think it’s too swarmy, so decrease its projectile to 3 per shot. Then, where will the charged photons go? When the heat increases, it will start firing charged photons.

  • Lightning Fryer, I think this weapon belongs to auto fire. Very low damage at level 0-10 should be increased, but 50% increase from 10 to 20 is ridiculous and must be toned down.

  • Corn Shotgun, A little damage adjustment could work, make it more smoothly increase. And what about it shoots popcorns when near overheat? That will be hilarious.

  • Vulcan Chaingun, Boron Railgun, Hypergun.

These three are similar, so I want something to distinguish among them.

  • Vulcan Chaingun, after the change became spread based, but still needs slight buff for its damage, it’s still underperforming.

  • Hypergun will be number based and speed based because its name is “hyper”.

  • Boron Railgun will be damage based and accuracy based. This weapon will have the highest damage among the three.


The Vulcan Chaingun was reworked in version 5.1. Its good as is it now(and my favorite weapon now), why do you mentioned it with the Boron Railgun and the Hypergun? There’s nothing wrong with the damage.

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Vulcan Chaingun is good, but not good enough, it’s performance is somewhat below Neutron Gun.

I mention those three together because they’re similar, auto firing projectile based weapons.


Laser Cannon is indeed very hard-to-use gun. Even if it had the same stats as Neutron Gun, it still wouldn’t be worth taking instead of Neutron. So it has to be slightly stronger than it. Damage boost depending on the overheat bar sounds good, but I have already chosen to give it to Boron Railgun(it would make a lot of sense for that weapon, I don’t want to elaborate on that right now, but I have a BIG reason for why exactly Boron) And I think this mechanic is too unique to have it on more than one weapon.

Well, Riddler is an example of the horrible game design. Your suggestion would probably work really well, but I have a bit different idea for what could be done with that weapon and its spread. Besides, I am trying to avoid “rate of fire increase per level”, because it makes calculations significantly more difficult. Especially when it comes to overheat times.

Right now I am trying to figure out what to do with its “swarminess”. I definitelly agree with what you said about its max power. I also have an idea how to implement charged photons to the earlier power levels, but it’s a bit different from what you have proposed. As I said previously, I decided to reserve damage boost depending on the overheat bar for Boron Railgun.

It belongs to auto fire for sure, but sadly it aint the only thing that is wrong with Lightning Fryer. This weapon is so inconsistent and broken right now, that I decided to rework it from a scratch. And yes, 50% dmg increase on levels 10->max is bullshit.

In case of those weapons your idea is quite similar to mine. We have 3 machine guns, so one of them can be the “generic machine gun”. Hypergun seems to fit that role good enough. Vulcan will have more damage for an exchange of losing the acuraccy and Boron will have unique mechanic of damage scaling based of overheat meter and would have the most damage in hands of skilled player.

I never thought about that popcorn thing… It’s genius dude! And I think I have an idea how to implement it to the game. It could actually be a cool gameplay mechanic if added with right statistics. So far I couldn’t figure out what to do with Corn Shotgun, now thanks to you I finally know :smiley: Thanks m8, your post is exactly the type of reply I wanted to see in those threads.


@1galbatorix1 Very good work on your series. I’m not expressing an opinion until the series is complete, but rest assured I’m following everything very closely.

Indeed. What if the corn shotgun could fire even when overheat (i.e., while it’s cooling down), except it shoots popcorn (=reduced damage)?


That sounds damn good. What if it was firing normally when below 50% of overheat bar, and then slowly as the heat level rises, more and more corn would turn into popcorn. When reaching 100% overheat, instead of cooling down, it would still be able to fire, but 100% of projectiles would be popcorn.

Add to this that popcorn has lower damage, but much larger hitbox, and it would not only be insanely fun to play, but also pretty useful. Player could keep corn shotgun at 100% overheat to get easier hits for exchange of some dps. Especially on easy-intermediate missions, where high damage is not as important as on the harder difficulties.

Well, this popcorn idea has huge potential.


Yay! Popcorn party!

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Definitely an interesting idea, though Corn Shotgun currently can’t overheat while fired manually.


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No change here because (i) the algorithm to detect hits has been improved since original post and (ii) Positron mechanics have changed, making these two weapons different. Let’s revisit this in a couple of weeks.


2400, actually

Not sure what this is about. Plasma overheats in about 3 seconds. No change here.

Firing manually doubles its push effectiveness. No change.

:medal_sports: Idea




I haven’t made any other changes, because the mechanic has been changed as follows:

The stream will now (instantly) split in two if it hits an enemy dead-on. Each sub-stream can also split in two. The more you hit the center, the less the sub-streams will be deflected (i.e. hitting exactly-head on will make the stream penetrate deeper, but to 7 enemies deep).

Streams can also ‘jump’ from invulnerable targets (e.g., UCO tentacles, Yolk-Star ray-guns) to the main body of the enemy, inflicting damage where no other weapons can penetrate. Generally speaking, however, bosses can only be hit once.

This makes maximum damage 1 x 100% + 2 x 50% + 4 x 25% = 300%. However, there’s no way to theoretically calculate how much of that boost can be utilized in a typical mission. Play with it and we can nerf/buff it appropriately.

:medal_sports: Idea


Woo-hoo! The plasma rifle is gonna be the best!

I think Luna will like this