CIU weapon balance program - Part 7: Vulcan Chaingun & Hypergun

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 Vulcan Chaingun and Hypergun.

Hypergun and Vulcan Chaingun are two automatic weapons, that originally were very similar to each other, but thanks to Chaingun’s rework in CIU now there is a significant difference between them. Both weapons however are underperforming. Especially Hypergun, that unlike Vulcan Chaingun besides insufficient damage, has a number of other problems. As always, in my post i am going to present my thoughts on how it could be fixed. The issues with Hypergun are:

  1. Its damage output is low compared to meta weapons such as Utensil Poker and Neutron Gun.

  2. Hypergun has bumpy power level increases. Some transitions are barely noticable, other are very big. For example, DPS difference between power levels 0 and 1 is only 195. However DPS difference between lvl 1 and lvl 2 is 975, but between levels 3 and 4 it’s again 195.

  3. Hypergun’s automatic fire rate is surpassed or matched by it’s manual fire rate on all power levels except the last one. Because of that, Hypergun is usually more effective when used manually, despite looking like a fully automatic weapon. And then, after 11 power levels of manual firing, it suddenly becomes rapid-firing machine gun on max power. Such characteristics of a gun are unnecessary and confusing.

  4. Its time to overheat is also confusing and behaves wildly on various power levels. It is relatively long for power levels 0-10, even when the gun is fired automatically. For max power however, Hypergun’s time to overheat is 4 seonds which is the shortest in the game and on top of inssuficient DPS, makes this gun even more difficult to use effectively.

It’s safe to say, that Hypergun has pretty complicated set of issues, and unfortunately they can’t be fixed as easily as weapons in my previous posts. For example, Hypergun’s volleys are currently designed in a way that it is mathematically impossible to make the power progression smooth.(I can post an explanation for that if there is demand for it.) To fix listed problems, Hypergun needs total overhaul in pretty much all aspects. It wasn’t an easy task, but I think that I’ve come up with a rework that not only fixes all those problems, but also preserves Hypergun’s overall feeling in terms of gameplay.

Let’s start with issue number 2: the bumpy power increases. It can be fixed by reworking Hypergun’s volleys. I suggest to do that in the following way:

  • Leave lvl 0 and max power volleys unchanged.

  • Make transitions to power levels 2,3,4,6,7,8,10 replace one weak projectile with one strong projectile.

  • Make transitions to power levels 1,5,9 replace one strong projectile with 3 weak projectiles.

End result would look like this:


Such change would vastly improve the power progression. (Especially with strong projectile being twice as powerful as weak one.) As a bonus, it would make the front (straight firing) weapon pod always active, so there will not be a feeling of “decreased accuracy” on certain power levels. (Currently power lvl 1 has this problem really visible.)

With that, we have the issue number 2 out of the way. To deal with the issues number 1 and 3, which are insufficient damage output and manual fire rate surpassing automatic, I suggest following steps:

  • Increase weak projectile’s damage from 90 to 100.

  • Increase stong projectile’s damage from 150 to 200.

  • Increase Hypergun’s automatic fire rate on max power from 10,2 to 11,5 shots/s.

  • Increase Hypergun’s automatic fire rate on power lvl 0 from 5 to 5,5 shots/s.

  • Make automatic fire rate scale with 0,5 shots/s per power level on levels 0-10.

  • Add manual fire rate cap for power levels 0-2. 5 ; 5,5 and 6 shots/s respectively. For other power levels standard 6,5 shots/s manual fire rate cap.

Such changes would give Hypergun 12600 DPS on power lvl 10 and 16100 DPS on max power, which should be enough to comepete with meta weapons. Such changes would also make Hypergun a fully automatic weapon , thanks to improved automatic fire rate scaling and manual fire rate cap for earlier power levels.

With that, there is only issue nr 4 left, which is messy overheat times. To fix that, I suggest simple solution:

  • Change Hypergun’s overheat time to 9 seconds on all power levels, when automatically firing.

All that would make Hypergun a viable option to choose, even on harder difficulties and should also vastly improve its general feeling.

With Hypergun covered, it’s time to talk a bit about the Vulcan Chaingun. As it turns out, there really isn’t anything wrong with this gun except one really importand thing. The issue with Vulcan Chaingun is:

  1. Vulcan Chaingun is underperforming on high power levels and slightly overperforming on the low power levels.

It’s as simple as that. Straightforward damage change is everything that Vulcan Chaingun needs to become a really well balanced weapon. So to fix issue number 5 I suggest following steps:

  • Decrease weak projectile’s damage from 140 to 100.
  • Increase medium projectile’s damage from 180 to 250.
  • Increase strong projectile’s damage from 240 to 350.

Such changes would give Vulcan Chaingun 14280 DPS on power level 10 and 17850 DPS on max power, which is very similar to damage output of Neutron Gun and Utensil Poker. It would also make Vulcan Chaingun and reworked Hypergun reasonable alternatives for each other. Vulcan Chaingun would offer more damage in exchange for shorter overheat time and losing accuracy due to gaining heat.

Here you can see results of my proposed changes:



To summarize, I think that Hypergun could be improved by:

  • Increasing damage of weak projectile from 90 to 100.

  • Increasing damage of strong projectile from 150 to 200.

  • Increasing Hypergun’s automatic fire rate on max power from 10,2 to 11,5 shots/s.

  • Increasing Hypergun’s automatic fire rate on power lvl 0 from 5 to 5,5 shots/s.

  • Making automatic fire rate scale with 0,5 shots/s per power level on levels 0-10.

  • Adding manual fire rate cap for power levels 0-2. 5 ; 5,5 and 6 shots/s respectively. For other power levels standard 6,5 shots/s manual fire rate cap.

  • Changing Hypergun’s volleys on power levels 1-10 in a way that transitions to power levels 1,5,9 replace one strong projectile with 3 weak projectiles and transitions to power levels 2,3,4,6,7,8,10 replace one weak projectile with one strong projectile.

And Vulcan Chaingun could be improved by:

  • Decreasing damage of weak projectile from 140 to 100.
  • Increasing damage of medium projectile from 180 to 250.
  • Increasing damage of strong projectile from 240 to 350.

Such changes would:

  • Give both weapons enough firepower to compete with Neutron Gun and Utensil Poker. (Problems nr 1 & 5 solved)

  • Make Hypergun’s power progression smooth. (Problem nr 2 solved)

  • Make Hypergun a fully automatic weapon on all power levels. (Problem nr 3 solved)

  • Make Hypergun overheat time constant on all power levels and more reasonable on high power levels. (Problem nr 4 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. I will make a post about next weapon, so stay tuned.

You can also check out my previous posts:

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I find it funny that in the same post you covered the simplest weapon and the messiest one.
Also, I love this series.

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So glad you didn’t halt the program because of the bomber…

With his rework, theoritically, heavy bombers will also have nearly linear damage progression.

Yea, most weapons should behave better on the bombers after the rework, but ones with varying fire rate would still be broken. However, I think I found a solution for that. I will elaborate on this in series summary, after I am done with the weapons.

I find it funny that Vulcan Chaingun, when first released was concidered the worst weapon, because of how little damage it inflicted. The irony is, that Chaingun despite abysmal DPS was always the best designed weapon in the roster, because unlike others, it never had any problematic features except lack of damage.

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Are you going to take the average of both left and right pylon?

That’s my plan, but I still need to check the numbers to be sure it’s gonna work.

I would juſt like to point out that to have balanced weapons, they don’t need to be balanced at all firepowers. It would be good to have a few weapons that are really good at low power levels but bad at high power levels and a few that are the other way around.

Alſo, about your laſer cannon rework:
The removal of the range limit and the increaſe of overheat time do make the weapon eaſiër to uſe, but it’s worth noting that they alſo lower the amount of character that the weapon has, temperamental though it may be. I would recommend juſt booſting the firepower and leaving it at that.

In general, I think that the weapons ſhould be balanced/reworked in a way that does not decreaſe their individuälity, and ſome weapons (boron railgun, plaſma rifle) could do with a little more uniqueneſs.

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I disagree with that, we have one gun that is designed to be strong on low power levels and weak on high, and it’s an absolute disaster. On any difficulty higher than intermediate nobody even thinks about using it. Of course I am talking about Positron Stream. Though weapon that underperforms only on low power is acceptable, one that underperforms on high power will always be useless. The other way around, if we had weapon that is very bad on low power levels, but super strong on high, everyone would use only that weapon once they get it on lvl 8. So yea, they should be relatively balanced on all firepowers. That’s the point of this series.

I would argue if such generic weapon even has a “character”, unless you count being broken as having a character. Range limit gives Laser Cannon a serious disadvantage, but only on certain few waves. Gameplay-wise it doesn’t make much sense and only makes Laser Cannon less reliable choice than other weapons for no particular reason. Laser Cannon is already pretty hard to use on its own. I belive gameplay-wise it is better to not have a range limit on this particular weapon. (Range limit may work, but needs to be present on every wave and the weapon must be designed around it.)

In CI3 Laser Cannon didn’t have the range limit problem and it was actually reliable and usable weapon in that game, unlike in later episodes. I can’t see any benefit from leaving this “feature” as it is right now.

About the overheat time: I proposed only 1 second buff, I don’t think that it would change the overall feeling of the weapon. 5,5 seconds overheat time is still really short.

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Also, it’s the good moment to say, that all changes proposed by me are not “final”. If IA decided to implement them, it is likely, that some weapons would still be a bit overpowered, or underpowered. After testing weapons in game, some weapon characteristics proposed in WBP may be changed later. For example, if new Chaingun turns out too strong, we may nerf it a little to keep it from becoming new Utensil Poker. I will elaborate on that in my final post.

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@1galbatorix1, I noticed something. You never talked about store prices in your series. Will you adress that in the last post? (Ex: What if a weaker weapon ends up being stronger (DPS) than another one that is currently higher in price?)

Yes, I will

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The finer details are in control of the devs.
They don’t implement them “as-is”
You can’t expect the person who puts forth the idea to think of everything.What matters is the bare concept.And if weaker weapons ends up being stronger and cheaper,do you think that would escape iA?

Crap that sounds like a lecture.

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of course not.

So I was going to wait with this until part 11, but I figured I might as well talk about it now (even if it is technically an off-topic matter). I have some issues with the Plasma Rifle rebalance, or more specifically, the visual redesign part.

I believe you made an oversight regarding the bugs that the Plasma Rifle suffers from, and as a result attributed these bugs to Plasma Rifle’s automatic firing mode.

Well, here’s the thing. I’ve tested the Plasma Rifle, Lightning Fryer and Positron Stream, in both automatic and manual fire, against the Planetary Egg City in CI4 (and some other waves in Universe) and came to the conclusion that these bugs are not at all tied to Plasma Rifle’s automatic mode, but instead to the autolock system itself.

They aren’t exclusive to Plasma Rifle either, Lightning Fryer and Positron Stream are also susceptible (although usually less noticeably with Positron Stream due to its high firerate).

There are two big problems with autolocking:

  1. Enemies getting damaged while the beam is locked onto another enemy, even if said enemies aren’t in contact with the beam (or, in some cases, are nowhere near the beam at all).
Screenshots




image

  1. Enemies crossing the beam while it is locked onto another enemy.
Screenshots



So actually, such a redesign would not solve the problem at all. The bugs would still be present, even with manual fire.


This covers the technical side of things, but you also argued for the change in another way.

You have a point, but I don’t really think it’s a big deal. They’re visually similar but not identical and, in my opinion, there are enough visual differences between them that we could easily keep them as they are now. Besides that, the style of gameplay would still differ mainly due to a huge difference in firerate.

If @InterAction_studios can figure out a way to fix the autolocking (which would be the preferred solution, since the bugs also affect all other autolocking weapons and can potentially get you killed in some situations), I’d suggest scrapping the visual redesign stuff and just swapping the automatic and manual firerates instead (making manual 5/s and automatic 6.5/s).

Hmm, the autolock bugs indeed seem to be more extensive than I initially thought. I have seen some of those bugs here and there, but in my experience they frequently appeared only when using Plasma Rifle on automatic fire. When using Plasma Rifle manually i rarely noticed any. That’s why I think(thought) that the visual redesign may also help a bit in this aspect.

But from evidence you provided here it just looks like the whole autolock system needs a solid rework/improvement.

I agree that the autolocking fix is the best solution, but I don’t think that this would make my visual redesign irrevelant. The main point of that suggestion was to make Plasma Rifle and Positron Stream more distinct visually and gameplay-wise. Swapping Plasma Rifle’s manual and automatic fire rates would basically make it a copy of Positron Stream with a bit different graphics and slower fire rate. I don’t think we need more than one auto-locking single-beam weapon. I think it would be better to just delete one of them from the game.(Preferably Postron Stream, bcs idk… It’s less “cool” xd)

But what we don’t have in game right now is a manual autoaim thunder-like weapon. And I think reworking Plasma Rifle visually is a great opportunity to get one. Besides, I see that in general, people seem to like Plasma Rifle’s manual gameplay, because it provides some utility for Pecking Order bonuses. Turning this weapon into a automatic weapon similar to Positron Stream, could potentially kill/harm that functionality.

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Um…lightning fryer?

Ehh, by lighning-like I meant the single shot zaps firing mode. Like real life lightnings work. (They aren’t a continous stream of energy. They are powerful single zaps that happen in matter of miliseconds.)

Lightning Fryer, well is inspired by lightnings but it shares the same automatic autoaim beam model as Positron Stream. And it’s not the lightning-like firing mode I am talking about.

Eh,fair enough,though lightning fryer isn’t exactly automatic. Its manual fire is slightly better than automatic fire.