Running those g-codes worked, and showed me that it was just my fault.
I was thinking that the software would have full control over the laser power, pretty much bypassing the control panel on the machine itself.
But, it looks like the machine’s setting is sort of the true ‘max power’, and the power setting in software is some percentage of that? (Is this correct?)
To test I made 4 squares on 4 separate layers - same speeds, but power levels at 5, 10, 15, 20. With the machine’s power set to 10, the surface of the paper was almost unnoticeably getting burned. Then with the same Lightburn g-code being run and the machine’s power set to 15, all four squares were noticeable, and at varying power levels.
So to find the correct settings for power, it’s not 100% software based, but is a mix of the machine’s power and power settings in software?
If so, Lightburn is working 100% for me and this was entirely user error. (and the thread can be closed, if that’s a thing)