On the subject of Absolver Beam rebalance

I first started working on this rework in April, with the help of @1galbatorix1. It went through a multitude of revisions, with different power progressions and mechanics. The rework described in this post is the most logical version we could think of.




Let’s begin by listing all of the main issues that Absolver Beam has.

  1. Absolver Beam’s firepower progression has 21 levels instead of the standard 12, complicating balancing in relation to other weapons.

  2. Absolver Beam overperforms against minibosses while having a damage output on the low-end of the bearable range. At the same time, its damage is irrelevant against standard enemies, practically sublimating most of them regardless of power level.

  3. While it deals a ridiculous amount of damage per hit, it has no spread and a very low rate of fire. This makes the weapon not viable for any timed waves (for example, Surfing the Wave, High Speed Chase, etc.).



The first change is to its fire rate - fully charging the weapon takes 1 second instead of 1.8. This aims to help with issue #3 - it can’t be fully remedied (we considered giving the weapon spread at high power, but that would make it either too weak or too strong), but it can be lessened this way.

The width of the beam can also be adjusted. Currently, when fully charged, Absolver Beam is 200px wide. I’d like to propose changing it as follows:
It starts off at 120px on :zap:0, gains 10px per level on :zap:1-10 and gains 20px on :zap:20. It would reach its current width on :zap:8, and would max out at 240px on max power. Different charge levels would scale as well. The uncharged beam is currently 32px wide, it could instead be set to 1/5th of the fully charged beam’s width (so it would range from 24 to 48 pixels).


With fire rate and beam width out of the way, let’s now talk about damage.

To fix the first problem, I suggest the following progression:

At :zap:0, it deals 75 base damage, and gains 70 on :zap:1-10. On :zap:20 it gains 140 damage. Its damage when fully charged is equal to base damage times 20. This gives us 1500 DPS on :zap:0, 15500 on :zap:10 and 18300 on :zap:20 when using the weapon when fully charged.

Since IA said they wanted to balance Absolver Beam alongside Laser Cannon, I think giving Absolver a moderately high DPS isn’t a bad idea. Regarding its overheat, due to overall lower versatility, we suggest 8 fully charged shots before overheating. This can be lowered if it’s decided to be overkill during testing.


To fix the second problem (overperformance against minibosses), I propose splitting the damage dealt equally across struck targets. This would mean that minibosses would no longer be instakilled, while the weapon would largely retain its ability to clear out weaker enemies. Targets like bubbles and feathers would be counted towards that number, making them able to serve as protection to a limited degree. It would also help tone down the weapon’s performance against bosses like Bossa Nova and Apple Core, which rely to a great degree on blocking player shots, therefore limiting their effective damage output.

This is a mechanic I discussed with galbatorix in great detail, because it’s not very straightforward. Actually balancing this out might not be so easy, when we consider bosses that spawn chickens as part of their standard attacks (Egg City, Egg Cannon, Henterprise). After considering multiple options (bosses always taking full damage, enemies spawned by these bosses just not counting towards the number, etc.) we came to the conclusion that it’d be best to just implement the mechanic in its basic form, and only change it if it turns out to be a problem during testing. Theoretically, it should be possible to simply get up close and personal with the boss if the player wishes to avoid hitting chickens.

In case damage splitting doesn’t perform quite as well, it could receive a slight increase, for example by adding 2.5% of the total damage, as described in the table below. This way hitting more enemies would still reduce per-target damage, but would increase the weapon’s total damage output with each next enemy.



Some other stuff I’d like to talk about.

Firstly, I think that destroying projectiles is fine, but I’m not sure if it’d be particularly balanced with a shorter charge time. Either way, I don’t think it should be able to delete lasers, force fields and other similar attacks.

Secondly, at max charge it should have the ability to destroy feathers. And if not, it should have a massive amount of knockback against them.




And now, I’d like to touch on another aspect of the weapon that I feel needs some improvements - its audiovisual design.

I’ll begin with the charging sound.

Out of the three sounds that we had so far, the current one is by far the worst one. You can’t easily tell when its pitch changes (probably because it has pretty much no high-end frequencies), and it can barely be heard in-game, let alone function as an indicator for the charge level.
I’d suggest going back to the 2nd sound, since it best fits the current firing sound (unless you’d prefer to hunt for a 4th sample that might work better).

The current firing sound is, for the most part, fine. There are two things I’d change about it:

  1. Slightly increase the pitch for charged beams. From what I can tell, currently the sound is played at 50% speed when fully charged. I’d suggest increasing that to 60%. This would fix the issue that @youraveragegrant mentioned, of the firing sound seeming “low quality”, which is caused by the rather extreme pitch reduction.
    As for the firing sound’s pitch getting lower the higher the power level is, I’d suggest either inverting it (so that it becomes higher in pitch, the same as other weapons) or getting rid of it completely.

  2. An uncharged beam currently seems to have a fade-in effect applied to the sound. I don’t think this sound particularly good. I suggest you reduce its strength so that it just tones the transient down a bit. This would give the firing sound more of a punch without being too harsh.


As for the visual design, the charging effect looks good in my opinion. The beam, however, leaves a lot to be desired.
Aside from that fact that the white-hot beam of destruction isn’t actually white in the slightest, it simply looks boring.

Now, I’ve been trying to figure out a better design that could realistically be implemented. One thing (well, the only thing, really) I could suggest is replacing the current sprite with one that looks more deathlaser-ish, scaling it and layering it over itself a few times. Each of these could be then colored and faded out separately to create the desired effect. If we combine that with additive blend, we could probably achieve a similar effect with only two layers.
We can do this with a single sprite (so there would be no issue of having to store more assets), and it would look way better.

Here’s a simple example of how that could look like:

Since this is mainly subjective, I decided to make a poll. Please vote for whether or not you’d like the look of the beam to be changed.

  • The beam looks fine as it is, there’s no need to change it.
  • The beam could look better, I think something like this would be an improvement.

0 voters


And that’s the end of this post. I was going to make one about Lightning Fryer, but in the light of the upcoming reworks, I decided to switch my focus over to the automatic weapons. After a few days of testing, I’ll make a post covering Vulcan, Boron, Hypergun, Riddler, and Photon, any potential issues that exist with their reworks and our solutions to them.

15 Likes

It would be cool if we can customize the color of all weapons and satellites.

Come to think of it, Now that all the weapon reworks is done. The absolver is going to be the last one which needs to be reworked after all

LOL I got outvoted hard on that beam redesign. :joy:

It looks too much like laser cannon, in my opinion. Make the border that pinkish-purple colour it has, then we’ll talk. :wink:

EDIT: A few people agree with me now, aha

6 Likes

Or we could make the beam’s outline change based on the charging level:

  • Non-charged: Red outline.
  • 25% charged: Yellow outline.
  • 50% charged: Green outline.
  • 75% charged: Blue outline.
  • Fully chraged: Purple outine.
2 Likes

The image above was just meant to be a simple example of what could be done. I assume the final sprite would be more complex, and it would still have something like the current beam’s color transition from red/orange to purple.

4 Likes

I vote for could look better, but it should keep its theme “purple-orange” there. And in my opinion, its translucency is the good part of its design, especially for non-full-charge beams because it doesn’t cover your vision. I don’t mind if full-charge beam changed more “epic” since it obliterates projectiles.

I have to disagree, colour is weapon’s identity. We can’t just give it rainbow colour, unless its theme is rainbow.

6 Likes

Tightens virtual necktie and gives a know-it-all look

As someone who considers themselves somewhat experienced with this weapon (and keeps reminding everyone about it, lol), I probably ought to give my thoughts on the actual changes, rather than just the sprite… :thinking:

OK, so for actual thoughts:

  • Increased fire rate is good, it needs that pretty badly. I think it should still be a limitation, but it’s too severe now. I actually almost think 1 sec is pushing the limit, when you really push it you can get a lot of shots out before overheat (which is a more limiting issue).

  • I’m entirely ambivalent toward the beam widening, if it’s technically possible though, why not?

  • I’m not a great authority on what makes good/bad DPS, I kind of have to play with it before I comment on that. I’m bad at picturing number based changes in my head. So I won’t comment either way there - although it could be neat to have put the current DPS here for comparison. :wink:

  • I don’t feel too great about damage splitting. People never like big changes to their weapons, so I’m sorry to be that guy, but I feel like that’s kind of killing the gimmick of the weapon. What if instead, heat generated per shot increased depending on damage output? This could have a similar effect, and if you bite off more than you can chew, you risk one-shot-overheat. Maybe…?

  • The idea about having the total damage output increase, even if it does split, is better, but I’m still mixed about it.

  • I feel like it should be able to destroy any projectile that fits within the width of the beam, nothing else. And yes, it need something to deal with feathers, because they’re actually quite prohibitive at the moment. (And I want absurd knockback at high damage just for the laughs :joy: )

  • The charging sound is such a controversial thing for some reason, and tbh, I don’t even remember which is which. As long as the pitch change is clear and audible, I don’t mind. (And I think the fade-in on the uncharged beam is fine, makes it sound wimpy and tells inexperienced players that you’re not doing it right).

  • The visual design change, if the right colour, I’m open to, but I still don’t feel it is necessary in any way. I think it looks fine currently, although when I did my reskin voting, a total of zero individuals voted for the default skin, so maybe you’re onto something. :wink: (As long as it doesn’t obscure the screen, and remember, it needs to look good uncharged, too)

And that’s my thoughts. Not much else to add to cap off the post wittily, so I’ll just end it here.

:roll_eyes:

7 Likes

What about this appearance?

14 Likes

The beam actually looks better this way, and the rebalance is a great deal! :+1:t3:

5 Likes

I mean… it’s an improvement. Colour could still be more pronounced, though - it’s like bright magenta in game.

I’m tempted to make one but I think it’s probably better if I give other people a chance to make some sprites :wink:

3 Likes

This is a lot better than the old one! very nice.

3 Likes

As you wish:

image

To be honest, I was expecting someone to say that the proposed uncharged beam damage is too low. I do have a backup progression, but I’ll refrain from posting it until someone says something about that.

I think that could work (I can’t say that I’d prefer that over damage splitting, but that’s just my opinion). Either way, both of these mechanics would require a lot of testing to make sure they’re properly balanced.

If you want to make one, go ahead. The more ideas we try out, the better the end result may be.

4 Likes

Ça?

Edit: Oops I replied to the wrong person. This was meant to be targeted at Kylo.

7 Likes

Don’t worry.

It still looks nice. This beam in the yellow/golden tint reminds me a lot of that beam attack done by Lex in Bookworm Adventures Deluxe, but since you’ve kept the purple, it reminds me of AstroPop again.

3 Likes

Yeah scrap all redesign suggestions, they were bad. Behold:


This is our new Absolver Beam. Take it or leave.

Jokes aside, credit goes to @GgWw1175 for making this

8 Likes

So you’d actually be buffing the DPS? Interesting.

Ahem
“The Uncharged Beam Damage is too low.”

…jk, it’s fine. :stuck_out_tongue:

If it charges in 1 sec then firing uncharged is a reasonable sacrifice. I almost never use the uncharged beam anyway, except on really easy missions where the difference is negligible on most chickens.

Yeah, that one’s pretty good. I can be super fussy tho, so don’t take my criticism as saying you did a bad job, aha :wink:

I actually just tried and it turned out way worse anyway. :joy:

(I still feel like an opacity/additive shift is probably all it needs, though.)

3 Likes

If IA likes the proposed redesign I’ll gladly send the .tga file (I believe that’s what CI games use).

2 Likes

I like this as it is part of what ſets Abſolver apart.

Ok, a lot of its damage is frequently waſted. Oh well.

This ſeems to balance point number 2 pretty well.

Honeſtly, unleſs a weapon is uſed ſignificantly more or ſignificantly leſs than all the others, I don’t ſee that it needs “rebalancing”.

Attempting to make all the weapons perform exactly the ſame way is ſtupid; at that point juſt delete half the weapons and have done with it.

1 Like

No thanks. We’ve had this type of progression (12 levels) since CI3 (I’m saying CI3 for sure, but not CI2 because I’m not sure what the progression was like there and how many power levels weapons had). The only exception was Boron Railgun. I don’t think that is a trait that makes weapons distinctive. It’s something that must be avoided in game design because it’s an inconsistency. Personally I didn’t even know it had 21 levels until I discovered that a few months ago.

Making all weapons have 12 levels is not only a better option, but the only option if we want consistency.

It doesn’t. Read further:

This weapon has more cons than pros at present. It’s pretty much only worth using on the aforementioned waves and mission types.

Yeah you kinda missed the entire point of WBP which is to achieve the exact opposite result… We want good weapons with different purposes and different traits, different unique properties and weaknesses. Would you rather have 2-3 meta weapons and alienate the other 10-11 or have 14 viable weapons that you can choose from based on their design, their gameplay…?

Absolver Beam is at the two extremes. More often on the worst one to be fair.

4 Likes