Good Plasma Rifle (Mod)

This is just a fairly simple item replacement/expansion mod that, in my opinion, makes the Boeing XM-P plasma rifle actually worth using. Namely, it no longer uses incredibly rare and valuable Solid Hydrogen, and instead has an overheat/cooling mechanic.
Additionally, it’s had it’s explosion removed (got enough of those) and has had it’s range and damage increased somewhat.

When you pick one up it will be in firing mode with 18 shots loaded, and you can happily fire away until it runs out.
Once it runs out (or beforehand, if you want a tactical reload) you can activate it (I recommend pressing A while wielding it) to “Begin Cooling”. This will start a countdown while the gun cools off, during which it will emit steam and you will be unable to unwield it for safety/balance reasons.
Once it’s done cooling off it will automatically go into standby mode, during which it cannot fire and is basically an expensive stick. Activate it again to “Ready to Fire” and return it to firing mode with a fresh 18 shots.

To compensate for the complete lack of ammunition use, it now requires 30 (instead of 5) UPS power per shot. A bit less than the A7 laser rifle for higher damage, but it also has lower range and the heating mechanic to compensate. It also has quite low accuracy, though you can probably compensate for that with gunmods to some degree.

Installation is as normal. Un-installation will probably work fine, so long as you set any plasma rifles to firing mode before removing the mod from your save.

Get it here!

As always, I’m open to any suggestions or ideas. I haven’t playtested it any and I have no idea if it’s well balanced (probably does a bit too much damage), but that’s what you guys need to tell me!

Technical Stuff:
Due to game limitations and my own lack of LUA knowledge, the best I could do is some slightly shonky on-activation transformations to make this work. It’s not perfect and I’d rather it was more automatic, but it works fine except for a bit too much player input.
I’d also like it to slowly cool off normally, but haven’t found a way to make ammo regenerate slowly over time.
The steam is also technically thin smoke, but it doesn’t generate enough to make the player cough, so it works okay. Steam doesn’t actually exist ingame unfortunately.

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This is a pretty wicked mechanic for a gun. I’d suggest that rather than the plasma rifle, you should make a short series of new weapons that use this mechanic. It’d be cool to have a pistol and a rifle like this.

It’s roughly based on Warhammer 40k plasma weapons which have high damage but brutal overheating mechanics (to the point where they can outright explode and annihilate the user).

This mod is mainly a proof-of-concept and learning experience, but if I had a go at making some more elaborate weapons, maybe a full line of plasma weapons, or ion rifles or something, I’d probably have to get into LUA so I can make them do what I want without them being all weird and hacky.

Thinking about it, it should. Steam burns, external and internal, kill more people who get caught in fires than fire itself, and what else has Cataclysm been but “How many ways can you die?”

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Agreed. It could be another portal effect

It could certainly make for some interesting mechanics. Fire damage without actual fire, and it might even be useful in traps.

This sounds really cool, I definitely like the overheating idea. You might try making it a little more flexible though. Like a cross between 40K plasma weapons and the ones the Covenant use in Halo.

Have three different firing modes with variable rates of heat generation all going to a single pool of 100 “ammo” representing the heat capacity of the weapon.

  1. Semi-Auto: Heat generation of 5 per shot. (20 shots total before overheat). Cannot fire if heat level is at 100. 30 UPS per shot. Same damage & range as present.
  2. Burst Fire: A five round burst at the same energy consumption and heat per shot as single fire.
  3. Overcharge Shot: Fires a single powerful shot, (might consider having a small explosion with a 3-5 tile diameter). Requires 50 heat and 300 UPS. You CAN fire it in this mode with heat greater than 50, but if you do it will have a catastrophic overheat, hurting you and damaging the weapon.

Balance Considerations: Cannot accept grenade launchers, shotguns, or flamethrowers on the underbarrel slot, as the heat generation from firing would risk cooking off the ammunition.

Alternative Suggestion: I recall in Mass Effect 2 the weapons used disposable heat sinks as magazines. This might have merit as a reloading mechanic here as well. I would suggest making them reusable though, but rare to find and difficult to manufacture yourself, requiring superalloy plates or something.

Semi-auto and burst fire are already in. Burst fire is easy on guns. An overcharge shot would require a transformation and, to my knowledge, you can’t have more than one activation transformation on the same gun so I dunno how i’d make that happen with the current infrastructure.

Can’t disallow specific gunmods, can only take away the underbarrel slot.

Disposable heatsinks isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it should be possible to make them happen with a delayed transformation so you just activate them to begin the cooling process and they slowly cool down and refill at the end. That said, the current cooling system works well for balance since it stops you from just being able to machine gun a high damage rifle indefinitely by reloading from a big pile of heat sinks. Might be fun for another weapon in future though. Maybe a plasma blade?

I mean, you can already do that with the laser rifle. I’ve got 20k+ bionic power; I can use the laser rifle on full auto all day long and barely notice. That is why I wanted the heat sink clips to be rare or difficult to make, so that it would be hard to acquire a backpack full of them and just spray n pray.

For the full charge shot, maybe make it be a built in underbarrel mod like the leadworks weapons, drawing from the same ammo pool.

That’s part of the problem. I wanted to differentiate the plasma rifle from the A7 by giving it higher damage and a new mechanic, THEN realised it had noticeably lower power draw. As it stands it’s probably about on-par in terms of usefulness, but giving it a reload system might just tip that balance. Plus, the current system is reasonably low maintenance to the player. Messing around with heat sinks and venting them and all that might be a bit of a pain.

That… actually is a really good point. That would work perfectly, as far as I know. I’ll have a go at adding that when I get some time.

For the heat sinks, I was actually thinking you would make the item’s temperature itself change just like food/liquids. For example, you eject a used heat sink, you now have the item “Heat Sink Module (HOT)” in your inventory. No activation for cooling, it will change temperature based on the environmental temperature like food/liquids do. Which is realistic, because the colder it is outside, the faster that heat sink is going to cool down. Have the weapon set up so that only room temperature, cold, or frozen heat sinks can be used, using a modified version of the mechanic that prevents you from drinking frozen liquids or eating frozen foods.

Maybe require a fireproof bag or some other wearable designed to store hot heat sinks.

Unfortunately that’s not really possible through JSON. Maybe through LUA but I haven’t done any of that yet. Temperature isn’t tied into guns at all as far as i know. Probably would need to be hardcode though, and I don’t think I could justify adding those mechanics for one gun that doesn’t follow standard rules anymore.

Keep in mind something hot enough to prevent the working of a plasma gun, especially one made of superalloy, is probably going to be about 1000 degrees C. The difference between 0 and 20 degrees between inside and outside probably won’t make any difference as far as the time to cool it is concerned. Dropping it in water certainly would cool it faster though.

Could you maybe bastardize the temperature mechanics and frozen/mushy transformation to change a used hot heat sink which is unusable with the weapon to one that is?
Start with “Heat Sink Module (Hot)” which is a magazine incompatible with the weapon.
Time passes & temperature change causes the item to transform to “Heat Sink Module”, a different item entirely, which IS useable with the weapon as a magazine.

Have the hot magazines be required to be stored in a fluid filled water cooled pouch, running off of UPS.

I think all the (hot) (cold) mechanics are tied directly to food. I suspect there’d be no way for me to have it even affect guns or magazines without extensive hardcode changes or some elaborate LUA.

Actually, they might not. I believe I’ve seen 200L barrels of sand labeled as “HOT”. They were in the reactor room of the national guard base underground. Though I may be mistaken. I’ll go back there later tonight with debug and check. I KNOW I’ve seen frozen bleach and ammonia and stuff.

If not, I don’t suppose you could make the heat sinks containers which cannot be opened, containing a fluid to trick the game into doing what you want?

Frozen liquids wouldn’t surprise me. Hot sand too, if it was counted as a liquid. Liquids aren’t magazines though, unfortunately. I can’t think of anything involving magazines or guns or anything other than food and liquids that involves items at different temperatures.

It’s… possible? It would probably be easier to just use the delayed transformation system with a “it’s venting” handwave explanation rather than anything rational. Using a liquid as an ammunition is fully possible. Making it regenerate on it’s own and having the gun check for temperature is completely impossible as far as I know.

What if when it came out of the weapon the heat sink wasn’t counted as a magazine by the game, but something else instead? Then, once its cooled down, it transforms into another item which IS classified as a magazine.

Because it would have to transform somehow, and I don’t think the revert-to function looks at the fullness or temperature of magazines for a cue, so it would have to be activated. In which case it might as well just be an activated delayed transformation since a transformation is required to refill it with ammunition anyway.

Well, how does a frozen apple turn into a mushy apple then?

A frozen apple and a mushy apple aren’t separate items. They’re tags applied under certain circumstances, like the (fits poorly) tag is applied to clothing when it doesn’t fit you properly, or how diamond-coated weapons aren’t separate to their normal counterparts.