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"I'll start getting everything else working while you perform this first simple test. Which involves deadly lasers and how test subjects react when locked in a room with deadly lasers."

The Thermal Discouragement Beam is a testing element introduced in Portal 2 that is used throughout the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. It is the Portal 2 equivalent of the High Energy Pellets used throughout Portal.

Throughout the testing courses, Discouragement Beams will often require a redirection with the help of a Weighted Pivot Cube to guide the beam into its respective receptacles.


P2 cubes pivot

A Pivot Cube redirecting the Discouragement Beam.

  • The beam was developed by Aperture in 1998.
  • The beam will slowly kill a Test Subject whilst also pushing them away from it.
    • ATLAS and P-body take less damage from this testing element, but can be eventually destroyed by it.
  • There are two types of receptacles for the beam. One is mounted normal to a surface and will "catch" a beam directed onto it. This type of receptacle usually acts a switch, performing an action as long as a beam is trained on it. The other type of receptacle is always floor-mounted and reacts when a beam passes through it, but it will not otherwise affect the beam. Chambers using this type usually require the player to activate all of them at once, using a single beam.
  • " Thermal Discouragement" is a registered trademark of Aperture Science.[2]
  • Under the Thermal Discouragement Beam diagram can be found a rather confusing disclaimer directed at Test Subjects, suggesting that some of them are allowed to know how the Beam works, and that some are not: "If permission to look at this diagram has been granted, please do so now, unless the box labeled "DO NOT LOOK AT DIAGRAM" on the "Diagrams Forms Sanction" form you should have received from your supervisors is checked, in which case you should remain at your workstation not looking at the diagram until such time as you are instructed by your supervisor to discontinue not looking at it." This could mean that testing supervisors are not permitted to instruct test subjects on how to use the Thermal Discouragement Beam, and have to allow the subject to figure it out themselves.
  • The beam becomes non-solid to the player while in mid-air.
  • As seen in elevator videos, the beam is created using a large device and sent to test chambers through portals.

Behind the scenes[]

The Thermal Discouragement Beam was first introduced during the Portal ARG, in one of the ASCII art images given by the BBS, that later appeared to be a diagram depicting its use with a Weighted Pivot Cube, as revealed by the April, 2010 issue of Game Informer.[2] An updated and moving diagram was revealed during E3 2010.[1]


  • So far it is unknown why while the Thermal Discouragement Beam was already in use in 1998, as it is not seen in the first Portal, several years later.[3] However, it is likely that Chell simply did not venture into Test Chambers containing the Thermal Discouragement Beam during this time, and that the Aperture Science High Energy Pellet was used in her testing instead.
  • The achievement "Undiscouraged" is received for completing the first Thermal Discouragement Beam test.
  • The beam passes clearly through any glass or Hard Light Bridges.
  • The E3 demonstration video showed a thicker, more diffuse version of the Thermal Discouragement Beam, with different emitter/catcher models.
  • When the beam is redirected into a waiting receptacle, the said receptacle starts playing a short music loop.
  • The transition from energy pellets to lasers is shown directly by GLaD0S removing the inactive pellet launcher and socket from a derelict test chamber 6, and replaced with the current testing elements.
  • If the beam touches an office chair (the light orange kind that can be picked up) it will start burning like a Sentry Turret, presumably due to existing gas chambers inside them. However, it is only observed by using external tools to spawn it in the beam's presence.
  • One of the floor-mounted "laser relays" can be seen briefly hung from the bottom of a test chamber during the funnel ride between one of Wheatley's chambers. A light inside is spinning round and round like a police alarm light.



List of appearances[]


External links[]