This article describes the current method for disabling ships.
Rather than disable below a certain health level, as was previously the case, disabling is now handled as a separate damage level. There is a new damage type, "disable", which does reduced damage to shields and no damage whatsoever to armour. Instead, a ship hit by this damage type accrues "disable damage", and when the disable damage exceeds the current armour level, the ship becomes disabled. Thus, small ships can be reliably disabled once their shields are down, and big ships may take a very long time to disable unless their armour is worn down by regular weaponry first.
When a disabling weapon deals disable damage, this damage will be visible on the armour gauge, as a differently coloured area. When the entire remaining armour gauge is covered by the disable damage, the ship is disabled. If the ship takes armour damage while it has sustained disable damage, the disable damage is reduced proportionally to the amount of armour lost, rounding down. For example, a ship with 100 armour and 50 disable damage could take 20 armour damage, after which it would have 80 armour and 40 disable damage. This means that disable weapons become more effective when the target is low on armour.
Only weapons using the "disable" damage type may disable a ship.
Most ships, the player ship in particular, are able to recover from being disabled. Some time after being disabled the ship becomes active again. If the player is disabled, he will automatically enter time compression to avoid long waits.