This article contains spoilers. Read at your own risk!
It might spoil your gaming experience when first playing the related games.
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.
- The beam was developed by Aperture in 1998.
- It can be used to destroy threats such as Sentry Turrets, as well as trigger moving floor plates, allowing access to various areas.
- 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.
- An Aperture Science Weighted Storage Cube or any of its variants (or a camera) can block the beam without being damaged. A Weighted Pivot Cube will redirect the beam out one of its faces.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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. An updated and moving diagram was revealed during E3 2010.
- 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. 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.
- At the advertisements seen in test chambers, it is seen that the Thermal Discouragement Beam is actually a giant laser device shooting a laser beam through the Aperture Science offices, which is then portalled into the test chambers.
- 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.
- Although the beam appears deadly, touching the beam in Portal 2 can kill the player only in the first chamber of chapter 2.
- The transition from energy pellets to lasers is shown directly by GLaD0S removing the inactive pellet launcher and socket from a derelict testchamber 6, and replaced with the current testing elements.
- If the beam touches an office chair (the light orange pickupable kind) it will go on fire, but this feature can't be seen in the official campaign, since that type of chair was a rare sight in portal 2. Only one was seen in the single-player campaign in one of the offices visited shortly after getting the blue portal gun. And only two are in the cooperative campaign, both found in an office in the final level of course 3. Neither time are they possible to ignite with a laser. The ignition is probably due to the gas chamber found in real life office chairs.
- 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