Auto turret is an awesome idea! But there already is damage types, and a few different effect weapons. There are weapons that can drain core energy, weapons that can stun, weapons that slow you down, weapons that increase your total mass, weapons that remove your antigravity (make you fall). =)
The weird thing is this beam weapon issue. I swear, they work PERFECTLY on my system, so this has me sadly quite puzzled. I'm going to have to really dig into this, it's probably some weird math error/inconsistency across versions. There is a bug I recently fixed, for instance, with "acos". acos (1) should equal zero, but on the windows version, it sometimes was equalling NaN (causing utter havoc with the autopilot system).
BTW, didn't you mention wanting to try out the Linux version at one point? If you do get to try it, I'd love to hear how it runs. It should actually run a bit better than the Windows versions, but there may be library issues.
Thanks for your feedback, I still can't believe beam weapons don't work! Arrgh =)