Beam weapons were invented in 2355, after the Hades Rebellion. The first class of ship which was fully designed with beam weapons in mind was the GVCv Sobek. These weapons opened a door for advanced technology to flow into the GTVA's arsenal.
Beam weapons are generally developed against ships larger than a bomber craft, which are big enough to be targeted with these guns. Modern capital ships engage each other with beam weapons rather than turrets of any other kind. In minutes, one of the duelists will be floating in vast space, torn apart by beam hits from the vanquisher's guns.
A central generator has enough energy in reserve to continue operating beam weapons with standard settings. The GTVA Colossus once made the mistake of overloading her beam turrets against the SJ Sathanas. The central generator later malfunctioned and caused the ship to fire less intensively than before.
Years after the first beam weapon turret was implemented into GTVA ships, a new kind of beam cannon type was born: The anti-fighter beam cannons, which are capable of targeting fighters and bombers and pierce their shields. Anti-fighter beams are mostly called 'AAA' turrets.
Three beam types are possible:
- Anti-capital ship turret, which targets a subsystem and shoots the beam in the centre of the subsystem. Shivan and a few GTVA beams have this property.
- Anti-capital ship turret, which targets a whole ship and randomly shoots at any of the parts of the target. This type of beam shot is moving, which means it often does not take its 100% damage on a target. Almost all GTVA beams are of this type.
- Anti-fighter beam, mentioned previously, it shoots a beam at the centre of the targeted ship and does not move. Multiple shots can be used in a row.
Notes for Mission designers
In Retail FreeSpace 2, you have to use a SEXP to make ships fire. The simplest and most straightforward way is to use the beam-free-all operator on all ships which you want to fire beams. For more details, see the SEXP Reference site.