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 Comic Issue 1 Sales

By TronFAQ on Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 3:03 AM
Here is the estimated sales figure for TRON: The Ghost In The Machine Issue #1 from SLG Publishing, according to ICv2 News:

168 11.92 TRON #1 $3.50 SLG 8,688

It placed 168th in the top 300 comics for April, and was certainly SLG's best-selling title of the month.

Checking back on SLG's previous sales history, TRON #1 did almost as well as the first issue of Disney's Haunted Mansion, which sold 8,789 copies in October 2005. SLG's best-selling title within the last two years, sold 11,852 copies.

TRON #1 is not far off from those numbers. And the late release in April (on the 26th) should also be taken into account. It's likely that some orders for the comic might have occurred in May, as people were still finding out about its release.

What does this all mean? Well, as far as SLG is concerned: this comic is a success. As far as the industry as a whole is concerned, based on my limited knowledge: a larger publisher would consider anything around 10,000 or slightly less, to be average sales.

So it all depends on your viewpoint. But honestly, what matters most for the future of TRON, is what Disney thinks. Do they consider the sales to be above expectations? Average? Poor? I'm hoping we'll find out, somehow.

For those of you who still don't have TRON #1, you can read my review of it HERE (contains some spoilers). You can order it from Amazon.com, or directly from SLG Publishing, if there isn't a local comic store in your area.

If you're a fan of TRON and haven't bought the comic yet, please consider buying it. And keep buying it after the first issue, too! The numbers need to remain relatively steady throughout its (tentative) six-issue run. Otherwise, Disney will have another excuse to ignore TRON and never do anything with the property again. (No movie sequel, no more comics, no more games.)

Before I finish, I'd just like to congratulate SLG Publishing and everyone who worked on TRON: Ghost In The Machine -- because it looks like it's one of your best-selling titles, ever.

An Interview With Jediknight0

By TronFAQ on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 12:03 AM
Today I present the fifth interview I've done, this time with TRON-Sector member jediknight0.

You may know him for his latest mod project, the TRON 2600. A custom-built Atari 2600 system: using an ENCOM mainframe-style motif, as well as elements seen in the "electronic world" such as the grid patterns and Light Cycles.

Again, I hope you enjoy reading this interview, and finding out more about jediknight0's remarkable history of mod projects.

FAQ: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you come from, and what are your interests/hobbies (aside from TRON)?

jedi: My name is Russ Caslis, but the handle I go by in the modding world is jediknight0. I'm the NetOps System Administration Manager for Good Technology -- a silicon valley start-up, focusing on wireless solutions. I'm 33 years old, 5'8", brown hair and eyes, and have two cats. I enjoy motorcycle riding, space simulation games (Freespace 2, Freelancer, Starlancer, etc.), and watching science fiction (BSG, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.) If you'd be interested in getting to know me better, please respond to my profile at . . .

Just kidding there . . . I'm very happily married to a wonderful girl named Yulia.

FAQ: When did you start doing mods, and why? What was the inspiration that lead you to modding?

jedi: That's a question I get asked frequently. I started modding about five years ago, now. Basically, I decided to buy a new computer because my current one was a bit long in the tooth, and started doing research (what processor to buy, what case, etc.) I stumbled across this "new" concept at the time -- aluminum cases. I also stumbled across a couple small websites talking about cutting holes in your case, for better airflow and installing clear windows so you could see the components inside. I simply saw it, and thought: "COOL!".

From that first case I built, I moved on to creating a home arcade gaming machine: using real arcade controls. From there I moved on to my most famous mod -- the Millenium Falcon PC.

FAQ: Can you also tell us a little bit about some of the mod projects you've done? Your work has become very well known, and seen in various media outlets: such as The Screensavers show, that was on TechTV.

jedi: I've completed numerous projects -- ten full projects, counting the TRON 2600 project, plus a couple half-done or abandoned projects. I'm constantly looking for new ways to get the message out about my projects, or modding in general. There have been at least four different TV appearances for my work, and about a dozen magazine or newspaper items.

The projects range in size, cost, and complexity of course. But I'd say my particular flair is for using toys and other objects, as part of my mods. I'm not so much interested in just sticking a computer inside something. Everything has to be perfectly integrated and themed, along the same lines. All my more recent mods, include accessories themed with the basic mod (keyboard, mouse, joysticks, etc.)

A quick list of the more notable projects include: miniMAME, Millenium Falcon PC, Aircraft Carrier PC, Scientist, Computer Bike - Chopper PC, and TRON 2600.

FAQ: When was the first time you heard about, or saw, TRON? Did you see the movie, or play the arcade game, first? What did you think of the film?

jedi: Honestly, I don't remember too well -- the early 80's are a bit of a blur to me because of my age. I think the first time I saw TRON was actually on my brother's VHS video recorder, but I could be wrong about that. I was so thrilled by the movie, that I begged my parents to buy me a computer so I could start writing my own games, and experience that simulated world for myself. In a not insignificant way, TRON is probably responsible for my career today.

I clearly remember the anticipation, every time I was able to drag my parents or my brother down to the video arcade in the local mall, so I could play the TRON arcade game or Discs of TRON. Frankly, I sucked at it (still do), but it was a sweat-producing adrenaline high. I also remember the (admittedly crappy) section of the Disneyland "PeopleMover" ride, where one section allowed guests to "enter the world of TRON".

FAQ: When did you get the idea to create a modded Atari 2600 system, that would have a TRON-themed design? Is it something that you've always wanted to do? Or did another, more recent event inspire it? Are you using an original 2600 system as a base, or one of the Atari Flashback 2 units? (I'm guessing the Flashback 2.)

jedi: The idea came to me recently. I was thinking about what my next project should be, and also thinking about how do I reduce the massive costs associated with modding. Around the time, the Flashback 2 came out: along with the excellent instructions on how to mod it to have a cartridge port. Even though I was never an Atari 2600 person (my first Atari was the 5200, followed by the 800XL): it seemed like a nice, cheap way to mod. But everybody was doing the cartridge hack -- I needed something more.

Then it all came together. Computers started out as boring beige boxes, but modding freed them from that existence. How about putting a game system in a boring beige box? But why? What was a popular game in the late 70's and 80's . . . how about a TRON mod? And a beige box is exactly what ENCOM corporate was working on!

So yes, the mod is based on a Flashback 2 system. It would have been hard getting the real 2600 components in a case so small, plus dissecting a real 2600 would be something like sacrilege. That's the same reason why my Millenium Falcon mod was based on a somewhat broken and yellowed toy, rather than one in mint condition. I don't want to have my mods cause harm . . .

FAQ: How long has it taken you to create the TRON 2600? Were you able to create it with everyday household items and tools, or was special equipment required?

jedi: This mod was the one of the few I've done, that didn't have a deadline for one reason or another. As such, it took about 8 months to complete. During the last 5 months or so I started another project as well, so the TRON 2600 mod didn't take all my time. The main reason the mod took so long, was time spent figuring out new procedures and techniques. This was the first mod where I ever had to paint the inside of a computer case, work with ultraviolet paint, or work with clear resin. It took time to become proficient enough with those materials so I could do what I pictured in my head.

The tools used here were actually quite minimal -- at least in the modern world of case modding. The bulk of the work was done using a Dremel tool and a soldering iron; although I also used a power drill for about a dozen holes, and an airbrush for one small portion (the Light Cycles). Other than that, it was just the regular consumables including: acrylic sheet, glue, spray paint, wires, sleeving, decal paper, LEDs, etc. The most expensive materials were the chemicals: liquid latex for the molds, epoxy and polyester resin, dyes, etc.

This particular mod was probably 30% doing the work, 70% figuring out how to do it.

FAQ: When the system is completed, will it remain as one-of-a-kind? Or have you taken requests in the past -- to build and sell items, if there is enough demand for them?

jedi: All of my mods to date have been one of a kind, unless you count all the people who have tried to duplicate my mods (notably, the Millenium Falcon mod has several different interpretations out there). I have been asked to build cases for some people in the past, but it's never worked out. All the people who have asked for cases, have either had totally unrealistic timeframes in mind (hey, can you build us a one of a kind water-cooled case in less than a month?) or unrealistic financial estimates (in other words, I wouldn't be able to buy the parts they wanted for the price they wanted to pay -- not even counting any labor costs).

I'd certainly be willing to build mods for people if the timing and the cost worked out -- but no two mods would ever truly be 100% the same.

FAQ: Before I continue, I just wanted to say that I think the work you've been doing is remarkable. I remember watching the episode of The Screensavers, where your computer inside a Millenium Falcon toy was shown. That blew me away.

jedi: Thank you, the kind words are appreciated. The Falcon wasn't the first mod I did, but it was the one that started the all media attention I've received, and was one of the more prominent mods that has received mainstream media attention as well. I also believe that mod has the dubious distinction of being only the second case mod that has ever stolen! Yes, the Falcon is no longer with me. It was being shown last year by Microsoft at a conference, and after the show it was stolen off the desk of a Microsoft employee before it was shipped back to me. They did compensate me for the loss, but I do admit that I constantly wonder who has it and what it's doing right now . . .

FAQ: How do you feel, regarding the situation with the TRON film sequel from Disney? Last year, a press release announced that Disney intended to do a remake (rather than a sequel) with new writers -- and without Steven Lisberger (the writer and director of the original). Since then, we've heard nothing. Probably because the news was not met with a warm reception, by most fans.

jedi: As a TRON fan, I want more TRON content. I think a sequel would be great (for me and other fans), and maybe a remake would be okay. Remakes usually suck, but the recent Battlestar Galactica remake proves that it can be done well. But the truth is, I don't think it will ever get made.

To be even a mildly successful movie now, things would have to be very different in the TRON world. It would have to be busier, more complicated, more action-packed, and the religious overtones would have to be dropped -- modern audiences cannot stomach anything more mystical than "the force" (even that was "dumbed-down" through the use of midichlorians). Computers themselves are less magical -- they permeate everyday life, more than most people realize. A modern TRON movie, I'm afraid, would end up as a cross between the Lawnmower Man movies and The Net.
(Lawnmower Man and The Net? God help us all! Unfortunately, I'm afraid I have to agree with him . . . and wouldn't put it past Disney, to do precisely what he said! -- FAQ)

FAQ: Have you had a chance to play the TRON 2.0 game, at all? Or have you seen it in action? If so, what do you think of it?

jedi: Actually, as part of immersing myself in the genre to keep me motivated during the modding process: I did several things such as purchasing several of the TRON Kubrick toys, finally purchasing the TRON DVD, and buying and completing TRON 2.0 (PC version).

In the end, I thought it was a great game. It was a little slow to start, and I didn't particularly like the final boss battle, but I thought the look and feel of the game was great. Unless I find a way to mod a laser, I think it's the closest I'd come to experiencing the TRON world! I would really recommend everyone who loved TRON, to get a copy.

FAQ: Have you been following the various discussions about BVG's (Buena Vista Games) lack of support for the game? Do you have an opinion on this?

jedi: I've followed the issue of BVG's lack of support only superficially. On one hand, I understand a company's need to put their money into projects with a solid return -- and so far, the TRON franchise really hasn't done that. But on the other hand, the game did see very little (none?) advertising and that really was a shame. Not only does the game have a good movie to tie into, the game also should have a solid base of fans in the high-tech world.

In addition, when playing the game: it occurred to me that the game should really be supported by the various children's groups. It's very non-violent. Nobody really dies, no blood or body parts are scattered across the room. The game is run using a great FPS engine, unlike all those other non-violent "paintball" FPS games with third-rate graphics. So kids should actually enjoy the experience, as well.

FAQ: Have you seen the first issue of the new TRON comic from SLG Publishing, yet? If so, what do you think of it?

jedi: Sorry, no I haven't. I've never been into comics at all -- probably because some ex-friends of mine were really into the comic scene (always attended the San Diego comic convention, etc.) As such, there's always been a bit of guilt-by-association attributed to comics in my mind. It's not rational, but someone who spends several hundred dollars on a case for about $30 worth of electronics obviously isn't completely sane . . .

FAQ: Where can people find out more about the work that you've done and what items have you created to help others with their modding projects? You have a book and a DVD, isn't that correct?

jedi: Thanks for asking! The primary place to find out about my work is on my web site, XKILL Mods. There you can find links to my mods, the book I wrote to help people get started in the modding world (Going Mod: 9 Cool Case Mod Projects - available at fine booksellers everywhere), and the self-published DVD I did a few years back that shows the creation of the Millenium Falcon PC, along with some of my earlier work. I'll be adding a "links" section to my web site soon with links to some of the better sites in the modding world, for active modding communities online.

And of course, everyone can feel free to drop me a line at my e-mail address! I do get a fair bit of e-mail and my day job keeps me very busy as well, but I'll try to answer any questions people may have.

- End of Line

I'd really like to thank jediknight0 for taking the time to do this interview with me, considering the media exposure he's already had. Very gracious of him!

Remember to visit his website, to find out more about his mods and his guides to help people start their own modding projects. Not to mention, it's a chance to see more pictures of his incredible TRON 2600 project: from start to finish!

BVG And Monolith Future Game Titles

By TronFAQ on Saturday, May 13, 2006 at 8:20 PM
If you want to find out more about Buena Vista Games' upcoming gaming crap "goodness": check out this press release of their E3 2006 lineup; and the E3 BVG Booth video below, from GameTrailers.com (needs QuickTime).

Link to video in case it doesn't appear in your browser

I won't comment on the children's titles. They could be good, or they could be bad.

But, for the titles meant for teens and up: you'll pardon me if I stifle a yawn. Turok sounds like crap. And Desperate Housewives, their attempt at a The Sims rip-off? Let's not even go there. The only games that sound decent, are the Pirates of the Caribbean titles. One of which is coming to the PC this summer. (Shock. BVG still publishes PC titles? So will their support be any better, this time around?)

Meanwhile, Monolith is teaming up with TimeGate Studios to produce an expansion for F.E.A.R. entitled Extraction Point that's set for a fall release, this year. Generally, whenever another studio is called in to do the work on an expansion: the results are usually less-than-stellar. We'll see, I guess.

Sample screenshot of F.E.A.R. Extraction Point expansion

I'm afraid that in order to survive today's market: with many players who settle for the same retread shooter-fests -- merely candy-coated with the newest graphics and physics bells-and-whistles -- Monolith have reduced themselves to a mainstream developer. What set them apart in the past, charming and unique titles like NOLF 1, NOLF 2, and TRON 2.0: will probably never return. The spark at Monolith seems to be gone.

I've played F.E.A.R., and thought it was decent. I'm also glad Monolith is getting some much-belated recognition. They have created some really exceptional games. But I feel F.E.A.R. wasn't one of them. Good, but not great. I haven't tried Condemned: Criminal Origins yet, but I hear it's just more of the same.

Frankly, the only titles I'm looking forward to any time soon, are: Bioshock, Half-Life 2: Episode One, the resurrected vaporware game Prey, and the much-delayed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (provided it lives up to the original hype).

Stay tuned for a future article, which will touch upon this topic again from a different perspective.

Map Packs Updated

By TronFAQ on Friday, May 12, 2006 at 2:11 AM
LC Map Pack 3 and DM Map Pack 1 have been updated. I recommend that everyone (especially server operators) update to these new map packs, as soon as possible.

Changes in LC Map Pack 3
Racetrack UPDATED
Red Planet UPDATED

You can delete the following file if you have it (it's been merged with this map pack):

Changes in DM Map Pack 1
Airstrike UPDATED
Oldskool ADDED
RGB Processing Grid ADDED
SkyGrid 01 ADDED
SkyGrid 02 ADDED

You can delete the following files if you have them (they've been merged with this map pack):

May 19th UPDATE: The Mac LC Map Pack is already up to date, so there's no need to download a new one. The Mac DA/DM Map Pack only has one map that is out of date, win3k's Airstrike. Since the site where I host these map packs is currently doing maintenance, and temporarily isn't accepting uploads: I will wait until at least one new DA or DM map is released, before updating again. Sorry for the delay.

Update On Unofficial Patch Situation

By TronFAQ on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 12:10 AM
I've recently been in contact with the creator of the Unofficial Patch for the PC version of TRON 2.0 (known by the nickname of Riley Pizt).

As I stated in a previous article, there's a problem with the modified version of the Dedicated Server in the Unofficial Patch. When hosting with this modified server executable, many sound effects will not be heard by the clients (players). Riley confirmed the problem, and created a new version of the modified Dedicated Server that fixes it.

However, he is also thinking about releasing a whole new version of the Unofficial Patch that will add more enhancements. I don't want to get into details at this time: but the improvements he's been proposing, would make this new version well worth the download.

If you would like to see the release of this enhanced Unofficial Patch: please leave a comment on this article (by clicking the Comments link below), to encourage him to create this new version.

An Interview With Meatsack

By TronFAQ on Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 12:24 AM
After a long hiatus . . . here is the fourth in a series of interviews I'm doing with people, whose efforts I feel should by recognized by the TRON community.

Today's interview is with Meatsack. You may know him for his User Error Single Player expansion for TRON 2.0, and for his efforts to try and create a TRON fan film.

I hope you enjoy reading this latest interview.

FAQ: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you come from, and what are your interests/hobbies (aside from TRON)?

Meatsack: I’m 32, currently live in Louisville, KY, and am married with children.

Sci-Fi/Adventure/Fantasy has been a big part of my life as long as I can remember. Reading and movies mostly, but when computers became affordable: my parents got me a Commodore 64, to work with. I was ten. I quickly learned enough BASIC to write a fantasy text adventure game, much like ZORK. I’ve always wanted to be a game designer since then. I somehow got a B.S. in Accounting instead. What was I thinking?

Otherwise, I’m also into camping, paintball, writing (SF/F), and LAN parties with friends.

FAQ: When was the first time you heard about, or saw, TRON? Did you see the movie, or play the arcade game, first? What did you think of the film?

Meatsack: I saw TRON in the theater when I was eight years old. I somehow got my parents to take me back to see it once or twice more. On the way out of the first show, I saw the game in the arcade. It had a crowd around it, but the cabinet was one of those that had the second screen above it so kids like me could see what was going on. My parents had to drag me down the hall since I was so enthralled, I couldn’t look away.

As far as the film goes, it captured my imagination and I wanted to get an Atari 2600 ASAP. (The Atari was the first thing I ever worked and saved money for, to buy on my own.) I was eight years old then. So I didn’t nit-pick the film, look for errors, or anything like that. I just enjoyed it for what I thought it was: a journey inside a computer game.

FAQ: When did you first find out about TRON 2.0? Was it one of the demos? And what did you think of the finished game?

Meatsack: I had a subscription to a game magazine when TRON 2.0 was announced. I checked with Fileshack regularly until the demo was released, which I then played online fairly often until the game was released. I bought the game the day it came out. I completed it on normal difficulty three days later. Then I played it through again.

Like the movie, I didn’t nit-pick the game until much later. I just enjoyed the experience for what it was: playing inside the computer world, which had enthralled me so long ago. The next few times through the game: I paid more attention to detail, level design, AI behavior, storytelling elements, etc. Overall, it was a very positive and fun experience for me. Though I didn’t care for the loose ends, left hanging at the end of the story. I wanted the whole story to be wrapped up nice and neat. BVG left room to grow, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. (At least through them!) Bummer.

Online play was much different, though. It looked very good, but the gameplay got old quick. (Remember, this was before the Derez patch.) I wasn’t great and lost a lot, but I didn’t mind that at all -- as much as a small handful of players who soiled the arenas with foul trash talk and whining . . . even if they won! It may be different now, but I just can’t get into online play much anymore. Those same reasons go for most online games, for that matter. I play for fun, and good sportsmanship helps that experience a lot. That’s why I really enjoy LAN parties with my buddies.

FAQ: When did you first create your User Error story? What form did it originally start in? Did it start as a script for a fan film, or an expansion for TRON 2.0? Were you always planning to do both, or did one idea evolve out of the other?

Meatsack: User Error started shortly after I got a good grip on using DEdit. Everyone was making maps for Light Cycles and Disc Arena. I like to be different, and was underwhelmed by the lack of gameplay types available for the game. So in learning DEdit, I made some experimental Disc Arena maps with alternative methods to winning. I’m no visual artist, so the arenas weren’t very pretty. And their alternative nature caused them to be buggy in most unique ways. But I learned a lot in the process of making them.

I then decided to do what nobody else even hinted at doing -- an expansion for the single player game. I thought: an expansion’s storyline usually picks up soon after the original game ends. I didn’t want to step too much on the existing storyline, so I made an alternate main character working at the same place. Then I had to invent a reason he gets digitized. One thing led to another, and I embellished a lot on it. I had hoped for a small expansion, but after outlining the basic storyline: I ended up with 15 levels to make, to tell the whole story to my satisfaction.

Good design comes from good pre-planning, so I started a User Error development notebook: where I sketched out rough level designs, goals, dialogue, and email texts for the first mission (five levels).

I made those maps and released them as a playable mod. They weren’t visually astounding, but they told a story. The mod was well received by the part of the community that played it. I got a lot of feedback, and made some changes . . . but never got around to releasing an update with the modifications in place.

The reason for this, is that I was distracted by life in general: and TRON-Sector specifically. I stumbled into the fan film section of TRON-Sector’s message boards, and found an enthusiastic fan who wanted to make a CG film based in the TRON world. He goes by the nickname of Falty. We talked a lot, and I wrote the User Error movie script; based on the storyline I had made from designing the game expansion. Falty did some wonderful work -- making some first steps toward getting a movie started -- before he fell on hard times. I’ve heard little from him, since then.

I still have the ambition to make both the game expansion and the fan film, but I lack the self-discipline to focus on either one enough, to make much progress on either.

FAQ: How is the second part of your User Error expansion for TRON 2.0 coming along? Who else is contributing to this project, and how much of the actual level design and implementation is being handled by each person? What is it like working in a team, as opposed to by yourself? When can we expect its release?

Meatsack: The User Error project has grown bigger than I ever expected. Not so much in the popularity department, but more in what I want it to be in the end. The second mission (three maps) of the User Error expansion is completely planned out in my developer notebook, and I have the DEdit world geometry done for the three levels. I just need to make time, to edit in dialogue, emails, NPCs, and enemies.

I’ve delegated levels for the third mission to other TCDG members, that were interested in helping out. They each got a separate "system" to design, for the player to raid and obtain data. Those levels are completely of their own design, and I’m not restricting them in any way: except the amount of version upgrade bonuses they can hand out. From what they have shown me so far, they are coming along nicely.

It’s not a team effort, since each level is an individual undertaking. So the expansion project is more of a compilation than work of a well-managed team. I think that by doing it this way: the final product will be much more interesting, than the player suffering my design style throughout the whole expansion.

Everyone is working in their own time, and I’m not a pushy person -- so there are no deadlines. Right now, there is no release date for the next User Error expansion, except "when it’s done". All I can say, is that I am determined to get it done eventually . . . even if it takes me until I’m 80 years old . . . and I don’t plan on taking that long.

FAQ: At the same time, how is the fan film progressing? What happened to the work you and Falty were doing on a CGI film? And what is happening with the team you contacted, who created the Muppet Matrix fan film? How are negotiations with them proceeding?

Meatsack: As I mentioned before, Falty has fallen on hard times and isn’t able to work on this project right now. I still have all the work and samples he sent to me, when we were really working hard on the production. There are other people interested in helping out that have contacted me. I’ve even put out messages requesting assistance in certain areas. However, what I really need for the movie to move forward is an animator.

I’ve talked with the guys who made the Muppet Matrix about making the opening segment of the User Error script. I used the material collected from Falty’s efforts, to make the pitch to them. I was quoted that they would do it for $2000, and that they wouldn’t change the price on that later -- even if they made the big time, after they graduated from the ITT Technical Institute. So the price is set for about two minutes of footage. I’m saving up for that to be done: but am still wanting to pull the TRON community together, to make the whole movie as something we can all be proud of.

I tell you what, though . . . if I hit the lottery jackpot . . . I’m hiring those Muppet Matrix guys to make the whole movie, then I’ll retire and devote my time to finishing the game expansion!

FAQ: Are you still looking for team members to join either project? If so: what talents are you looking for in potential team members, and what will they be asked to do?

Meatsack: I’m absolutely looking for any and all talent that I can get to work on the project. There are some specific talents I’m missing, to pull everything together on both film and game expansion fronts.

For the expansion: I’d really like someone artistic to make over my existing levels, to make them as visually stunning as the movie and original game. I think they look really boxy and flat, as they are now. I just don’t have the artistic touch needed, to do what I want visually.

As far as the movie goes: I need animators. I have plenty of volunteers for voices and modelers -- though I won’t turn anyone else away, who wants to help on those fronts too.

Since I’m not a demanding lead designer -- I don’t push people to do anything they don’t want to do, or set deadlines. So . . . both the game expansion and the movie are coming along at a snail's pace, in everyone’s spare time. If anyone wants to see anything done soon, they can feel free to jump right in and do something. Otherwise . . . it’ll all get done . . . eventually.

FAQ: How do you feel, regarding the situation with the TRON film sequel from Disney? Last year, a press release announced that Disney intended to do a remake (rather than a sequel) with new writers -- and without Steven Lisberger (the writer and director of the original). Since then, we've heard nothing. Probably because the news was not met with a warm reception, by most fans.

Meatsack: Disney is a business. They want money, and as much as possible. I understand that. My best guess is that a TRON sequel would have to follow the computer game, which would alienate most people -- except those who have already played it. So the next best idea, is to remake the original movie with respect to today’s level of technology. But then Disney scrapped the idea, because of God-Knows-Why. Maybe they couldn’t merge the feel of the original TRON for us old-school fans, with the new feel of digitization stories for the kids. (I cite Code-Lyoko and Zixx as examples.)

So if making a sequel means a limited audience, or not pleasing a segment of said audience: then what’s stopping Disney from making it? It’s not like they don't take a chance every now and again, on what turn out to be blockbuster flops! Cabin Boy anyone? How about Meet the Deedles? TRON is guaranteed to not suck as bad as those titles. I think Lisberger would be great to write the next movie. TRON is his brainchild, so he’d definitely get the feel right for the movie. That’s not to say that nobody else would get it right. But as long as the movie isn't Lawnmower Man 2 bad, I’d go see it.

FAQ: What do you think of the current state of affairs, on the TRON 2.0 scene? You and I are both part of a group of people interested in creating projects for TRON 2.0, called the TCDG (TRON Community Developer Group). We make our home on the Boxhat web site. We tried very hard to get BVG to release more editing materials to the modding community, but there were strings attached and in the end we were rebuffed. How do you feel about BVG's lack of support?

Meatsack: I think that the state of the TRON 2.0 scene is one of abandonment. BVG gave up supporting it, a long time ago. I personally talked with the same contact at BVG that you did -- at the very end of those days, where the TCDG was asking for source materials. This person was very professional and kind, when it was made clear that nothing more would be forthcoming from BVG regarding TRON 2.0 . . . ever. Frankly, I would have taken the materials with the strings attached, so that something else could be made for fans -- by the fans. (The problem is, BVG didn't even give us a choice in the end. Discussions about a release, were simply terminated. - FAQ)

I’m thinking that the deal ended because of Disney’s proprietary rights lawyers, worrying what inappropriate things might be made with their property, if all the materials were made publicly available. (I agree that this was probably the main reason, other than requiring BVG to spend money on what they saw as a poor investment with little financial return. But if they were worried about inappropriate content, then it was a silly reason: because there's nothing stopping anyone from doing that right now, even with the limited resources we were given. - FAQ)

TRON 2.0 is also slowly being abandoned by the players. Without much new content to keep things fresh and interesting, I think people are getting bored with what’s available and moving on to the newer games out there. Everyone that’s left now, are hard-core TRON fans and people that check back in every now and again, to see if anything’s new. Or just to visit with friends. I’m feeling it, too. But as long as I live, I will continue to be a part of the TRON community and try to contribute what I’m able, to enhance it.

FAQ: You've had a chance to read the first issue of the new TRON comic from SLG Publishing, isn't that correct? What do you think of the first issue, and do you plan to purchase the remaining issues?

Meatsack: The first issue is the typical storyline setup and hook, like any good production. Kind of like the first scene of CSI before the commercial break. The dark and brooding storytelling is very Blade Runner-esque. I’m liking it so far. There’s a lot of potential for the comic to be great, and just as much for it to go all cliche on us. I trust the writers know what they are doing, and will make it a wild adventure for the readers. I’ll definitely be buying them as they come out.

I'd like to thank Meatsack for agreeing to do this interview. If you want to help him with his projects, visit either Boxhat or TRON-Sector and reply in one of the message threads discussing his work.


Servers Reach END OF LINE?

By TronFAQ on Monday, May 01, 2006 at 4:43 AM
It's been a difficult decision, but I've decided to stop running my TRON 2.0 Multiplayer servers twenty-four hours a day.

There were a number of factors in the decision, but essentially one of the main reasons boils down to: there were too many servers, and not enough players.

I've been running them almost non-stop -- 24/7 -- since the DayenTech servers went down, and just before Buena Vista Games decided to pull the plug on their servers, too. But from this point forward: I will only bring them back if I see a need. If too many of the remaining servers disappear, they will return.

Until then.