A companion to the TRON 2.0 Unofficial FAQ that provides up-to-date
news about the TRON 2.0 gaming community and TRON in general.





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TRON 25th Anniversary Articles And More

By TronFAQ on Monday, July 30, 2007 at 9:36 AM
Since I last searched the web for articles or pages mentioning the 25th Anniversary of TRON, a number of them have popped up. Out of them all though, only two are significant.

The first article has snippets of a new interview done with Steven Lisberger, for a book that's coming out.

The second is an interview with John Knoll at the site Computerworld, about CGI during the last 25 years in general, and TRON specifically. Knoll did not have anything to do with TRON as far as I'm aware, but he is the Visual Effects Supervisor at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) which certainly makes him qualified to speak about the subject.


While searching for any other significant 25th Anniversary stories, I did happen to stumble on to a couple of others that I found interesting. They don't have anything to do with the 25th Anniversary, but they are about TRON and I thought were worth sharing.

One of the articles is about the TRON remake rumor that circulated a couple of years ago. The author puts into words what I believe most TRON fans were thinking. "God no, not a remake. Please Disney, don't screw up TRON!"

The other one compares TRON to William Gibson's Neuromancer. I hadn't really given this notion much thought over the years, particularly since I haven't read Neuromancer and because TRON was released before the novel was published. But I can see how the two could be compared directly.

What was particularly interesting to me, is that in reading the article, it suddenly became obvious that: while Neromancer couldn't have influenced TRON, Neuromancer could have influenced TRON 2.0. And there is definitely some evidence to prove this. In early concept art for the game, the DataWraiths were called NetRunners. And it was by reading this article, that I realized Neuromancer and the series of Gibson novels that followed, had originally coined the name NetRunner. I'm guessing though, that Disney and Monolith dropped the NetRunner name, to avoid any potential legal action by Gibson or his publisher.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has both read William Gibson's novels and played TRON 2.0, if you think there are any more similarities between the two.


Props go out to TRON-Sector member Sketch, who originally found the two 25th Anniversary article links.
 

TRON XBOX Live Arcade Release Dates Revealed

By TronFAQ on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 6:46 AM
Something that no one has been been able to answer, is when the TRON Live Arcade games are going to be released. If you visit the various major gaming sites, all you'll get is a vague "Summer" or "Q3 2007" release date for the TRON Arcade and Discs of TRON remakes. The site 1UP.com lists Release Date: 06/15/07, but this is obviously incorrect since the games have yet to show themselves.

However, I believe I have uncovered the actual release dates of the games. Which can be found HERE and HERE.

And just in case this information gets pulled, I've taken screenshots of the pages. They come from the MSN Games site. Seeing as these pages are hosted by Microsoft's MSN service, I'd say the chance of these dates being legit is very high.

  

And the release date for both games is (drum roll please) . . . September 30th, 2007.

Wow. Far later than I ever would have guessed. Not even close to the 25th Anniversary date, which just passed by a few days ago (July 9th). It's no wonder a lot of sites have stopped quoting "Summer" and switched to "Q3 2007" instead. And the games will just barely squeak by, under the definition of a Q3 release, at that.

There's a small chance that this information is incorrect, of course. But if Disney Interactive was going to release these games soon, wouldn't they have announced this at the recent E3 2007? Instead, it appears they said absolutely nothing about them. This lends credence to my conclusion, that these dates are correct and the games are not coming out as soon as we all might have expected.
 

New 25th Anniversary Disc Arena Map

By TronFAQ at 12:55 AM
LDSO member Mor.Evil-1 has made a new Disc Arena map called DA-7982 based on the Discs of TRON arcade game, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary!

Sample screenshots of DA-7982 by Mor.Evil-1

You can download the map from HERE. If you don't know how to use custom maps in TRON 2.0, I suggest reading this guide to help you out.

July 21st UPDATE: A problem with the map was discovered, so Mor.Evil-1 has released an updated version to fix the issue. Please delete any older version that you have, and re-download the map to get the latest version.
 

July 9th, 2007: The 25th Anniversary Of TRON

By TronFAQ on Monday, July 09, 2007 at 6:49 PM
It was 25 years ago today, that TRON premiered in theaters on July 9th, 1982. I won't go into a long speech about how great I think the film is. By now, everyone reading this site should know I think the film is a classic. And today's news post at TRON-Sector expresses the same kind of sentiment that I would only repeat in a slightly different way. So I'll just let that post speak for me. (Especially since, I helped out a little in writing it. But the main credit goes to TheReelTodd.)


Instead, I'd like to focus on a couple of things.

First, doing a quick search of the internet: I ended up discovering that while everyone is talking about the upcoming Xbox Live TRON arcade game remakes and the (very uninspiring) Anniversary pin, nobody is currently talking about the film itself or asking "where on earth is a sequel". Well, again, except for TRON-Sector and the LDSO site. There was the LA CityBeat article about the Anniversary, but that was published back in May.

Although not entirely unexpected (I've become very cynical about it all), it's still a bit disappointing to see no real discussion about the film itself. I guess people just can't be bothered to remember. We'll have to wait for the games to be released on Xbox Live before the majority will even discover that the 25th Anniversary has arrived, I imagine.


Second, and more importantly . . . I'm betting a lot of you have been wondering for a long time, what's up with that petition in the grey sidebar on the right. The one about TRON 2.0. "Is it ever going anywhere?" you might ask. "Will it do any good? Why should I sign it?"

Well, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to sign the petition. Because as I write this, several hard-copies are making their way to Disney right now. If there was any time to bring the future of TRON to the attention of the staff at Disney: it's now, at the film's 25th Anniversary.

While the petition was mainly intended to persuade Disney Interactive Studios to bring back support for TRON 2.0 on the PC (and Mac), and even create an update or expansion for it, it also serves as an example of fan interest in a sequel TRON film. I mean, who on that list that want more new TRON games, would also not want a new film? The two go hand-in-hand. That's why copies have been sent to Disney Film Studios as well, accompanied by a letter explaining this very logic.

Will the petition work? I don't know. But it can't be said that myself, and those who signed it, didn't try their best. That's all we can do.

Even though hard-copies have been sent, the petition will remain open and continue to accept signatures. Also, keep your eyes open over at TRON-Sector for some more information about this petition and what more you can do to help. The hope is that people within Disney will keep an eye on the petition as the number of signatures continues to grow. There's no reason to stop, until a new game or a sequel film is announced. The more people sign, the more Disney will realize people are interested in more new TRON items.

I'd like to thank the following people for their cooperation and assistance, and for helping to bring the petition to the attention of the right people at Disney. DaveTRON (for his advice), Sketch (for providing the beautiful cover to the petition, which is also available as a wallpaper on TRON-Sector), and TheReelTodd (for motivation and for the great 25th Anniversary news article on the front page). Thanks also go out to LDSO member Load"*",8,1 for the link to the Anniversary pin on the Disney site.


P.S. Curious, that today of all days, this site is about to reach 30,000 hits, after being in existence for about 18 months. It took my TRON 2.0 Unofficial FAQ site 4 years to reach about the same number of hits. The TRON 2.0 News site will overtake it any time now. What a coincidence to have that fall on the same day as the Anniversary date. :)
 

Syd Mead Documentary DVD Review

By TronFAQ on Sunday, July 01, 2007 at 12:03 AM
A while back I purchased the DVD Visual Futurist: The Art & Life of Syd Mead. I thought I would write a review of it so that people could get a taste of what it's like, and determine if it's worth buying. So I decided to sit down and write this: giving my honest opinion on the documentary itself, the features of the DVD, its packaging, and its overall presentation.

When first playing the DVD, you are greeted with a very simple and bare-bones menu that either allows you to play the documentary, or go to a screen with a chapter list that lets you jump to various points in the feature. There are no extras: such as any behind-the-scenes vignettes that show what went into the production of the documentary, director commentary, or footage from the screening at the Dances with Films festival where it premiered with Syd Mead himself attending. Which is a shame. However, Director Joaquin Montalvan has posted such clips online. So I encourage everyone to check them out. They're called Visual Futurist Q&A Video and Syd Mead Candid Video Footage.

The documentary itself starts off by showing a montage of Syd's work, and it isn't until almost three minutes into the feature that the documentary proper begins. It's an interesting choice to start Visual Futurist this way. If there's one thing that can be said, it's that the man's artwork certainly speaks for itself. It's easy to just sit there and watch, drawing in the detail and richness of each work, and letting your mind wander off into these realities. Realities that are extremely functional and realistic in appearance. Some people might find this section a bit boring, but I didn't mind it at all.

Then Syd Mead himself appears, in what can only be described as his "workshop". Sitting at a table, drawing, he begins to tell you about his background. As you listen, he makes no bones about the fact that he is very confident, considers himself very intelligent, and he enjoys his success. Who can blame him, really? For someone like me, who isn't that familiar with Syd's background or early career: this section of the documentary is very enlightening. It takes us from his earliest days as a professional industrial designer, all the way to his film design career. I gather that most of the public, like me, will also only be familiar with the latter — his work on Blade Runner being the most notable, followed by TRON. And it's his credit in the film Blade Runner, for which this documentary is named. Visual Futurist.

As the documentary progresses, we cover his careers at Ford, U.S. Steel, Philips, and many other companies. Eventually we're told about how Syd found himself without a job at one point, and decided to start his own company. Then in the late seventies, Hollywood entered a phase where they sought out designers to become attached to films, and this is how Syd entered the movie industry. His first work was on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and from there he entered a whirlwind period where he designed for picture after picture. Blade Runner, TRON, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Aliens, Short Circuit, Mission to Mars . . . the list goes on and on.

The lengthiest segments pertaining to the films he worked on are for Blade Runner and TRON, as you might expect. Steven Lisberger (the Director of TRON) and Richard Taylor (Visual Effects and Computer Graphics Supervisor for TRON) appear throughout the documentary, commenting on various facets of Syd's career and not singularly on TRON. While all of the people in the documentary have interesting and intelligent things to say — including Mead himself — I found Lisberger's comments to be the most entertaining and eloquent. You literally can see the gears turning in his mind like an intricate and precise machine, with his thoughts and their enunciation coming at a rapid-fire pace.

Since this is a TRON-based site, I will keep the coverage of the documentary focused on the TRON portion. But I can tell you without hesitation that I enjoyed all the segments. Especially the one regarding Blade Runner. Blade Runner is definitely another one of my favorite films, and I can't wait for it to finally be released on DVD this year. It's been a long time coming.

The TRON segment of the documentary shows how Syd is responsible in large part for the look of the TRON electronic world, and is completely responsible for items such as Sark's Carrier, the Tanks, the Light Cycles, the MCP, the prison cells, and Yori's apartment. He also designed the TRON font, and even had some influence on the costumes. We are shown many of his concept sketches that resulted in the final look in the film, while Lisberger and Taylor comment throughout. Lisberger felt that Mead's work was "cutting edge" and exactly what they were looking for. And Syd himself states that his work in the film and the film itself, had an enormous impact on the youth watching it at the time. That most of the people in the computer graphics industry today, credit his work and the film TRON as being responsible for leading them into their profession.

A notable aspect of the documentary is its soundtrack, presented in Dolby 5.1. Throughout the film we hear composer Richard Souther's themes, that he specifically composed for Visual Futurist. Souther's ethereal compositions often evoke memories of Vangelis' score for the film Blade Runner, and they are a clear homage to that film. Thus, the music fits the subject matter and the tone of the documentary perfectly. In fact, the music is so good that I would recommend purchasing the separately available soundtrack CD wholeheartedly.


With regard to the aesthetics of the packaging itself, the DVD comes in an Amaray keepcase with a somewhat bland wraparound label. The design is quite minimalist, and perhaps even unexciting for a DVD featuring a documentary about one of the world's foremost artists. And I don't know if it's intentional or not, but the type on the label and the insert booklet has a blurred effect that makes it a bit hard to read. You can't pick it up in the scans above, but it is there. Considering the price for the DVD itself ($29.99 U.S.) and the shipping (anywhere from about $7-$10 U.S.), I was personally hoping for a bit more of a refined looking package than what I got.

Still, in the end, it's the documentary itself that matters most. And in this area, the DVD does not disappoint. The transfer quality of the film seems very good. Clocking in at approximately one hour and forty-five minutes, it quite extensively covers Syd Mead's career and shows us an incredible number of his works. The film never becomes slow or boring (except perhaps at the very beginning, as I stated earlier) and is a fascinating look at a fascinating man. It's no wonder the film won an award for audience appreciation when it premiered at the Dances with Films festival.

Highly recommended.