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Thermal Discouragement Beam

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Thermal discouragement beam.svg
Thermal Discouragement Beam
General information

Aperture Science



Used by
"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.


A Pivot Cube redirecting the Discouragement Beam.
  • The beam was developed by Aperture in 1998.
  • Thermal Discouragement Beams can be redirected in two ways: with portals or with Weighted Pivot Cubes. Redirection of the beam with portals is fairly straightforward. The beam will pass in a straight line into one portal and out the other. To have the beam exit a portal at an angle, a Weighted Pivot Cube will be needed.
  • 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 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.

Related Achievements[edit]

Portal 2
Undiscouraged.jpg Undiscouraged (10G)
Complete the first Thermal Discouragement Beam test.

Behind the scenes[edit]

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.[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.[2] 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 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.




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Thermal Discouragement Beam demonstration on Combine OverWiki's YouTube channel
  2. Special Edition Podcast: Portal 2 - podcast on Game Informer

External links[edit]