DMA Central


Tron: Legacy and the Greatest Videogame Programmer, Ever

It’s likely you’re too young to remember him or maybe, you haven’t even heard of him. But you should know who he is. Meet Kevin Flynn. The real star of Tron: Legacy and the greatest videogame and computer programmer, ever.

In the world of Tron, bits and bytes make up the virtual landscape.

Who is Kevin Flynn and what makes him so special? Flynn was the video game Steve Jobs of the post-Atari and arcade era. So why haven’t you heard of him? Well, in a story that sounds like it was ripped from today’s headlines, Flynn was just a game or two shy of starting his own video game company (or becoming the CEO of ENCOM, the software company he worked for), when he was side-swiped by a rival co-worker – Ed Dillinger. Dillinger stole Flynn’s brillant programming code and got promoted to CEO, while Flynn was let go by the company he helped build. Shortly after he vanished.

The Golden Age of Video Games

Welcome to 1982. Practically nobody plays video games at home anymore – and believe it or not, this is the golden age of video games. Now, arcades rule and yet-to-be classics like Frogger, Pole Position, Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede and Donkey Kong Jr. dominate malls, movie theaters and pizza parlors. And even though it’s less than a year away from being announced to the public, the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is unheard of – the home video game console market having been demolished by the Atari 2600 and shovelware.

It’s a good time to own an arcade and Kevin Flynn decides to do just that. Flynn’s also happens to be one of the most popular. In his make-shift home and office above the arcade, Flynn starts hacking ENCOM’s computer mainframe to dig up the evidence he needs to prove his co-worker wrongdoing. Then the unthinkable happens.

Kevin Flynn, the video game programmer and hacker who designed some of the most cutting edge video games of the day, gets zapped inside his incredible 3D virtual world to battle his own creation. Keep in mind, this was twenty years before massive mulitplayer online worlds like World of Warcraft or other virtual world concepts, like The Matrix, came along. Kevin Flynn, like Steve Jobs would do years later, introduced us to a whole new digital frontier.

Becoming a Game Programmer

Today gamers and future programmers have great options to jump start a career in video game or computer programming. You can start by creating game levels using industry standard tools or creating game characters. Have you already been hacking code on your own and want to learn advanced programming techniques to create 3D worlds? You can.

The next Kevin Flynn is out there, could it be you?

Developing Cyberspaces

It’s the dream of every video game programmer (and for that matter, every video gamer), to actually live, or play in the computer game world they’ve created. And Kevin Flynn did it before anybody.

Computer programmer Kevin Flynn looks in on his creation, the world of Tron and Tron: Legacy.

Played by Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart), Kevin Flynn was the young anti-hero for a sci-fi flop called Tron, a movie that became video game and computer programmers Star WarsTron was the first movie to truly visualize what might be possible in future video game worlds.

In the Disney film Tron: Legacy Flynn will once again take moviegoers and video game junkies into a computer generated world unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, courtesy of 3D.

Will you see Tron Legacy? Are you ready to become a video game or computer programmer? Tell us!


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Tips From DMA Pros: Building a Pong Video Game in Multimedia Fusion 2

In our Summer Digital Media Adventures Program for kids (9-13), we offer two Video Game Creation Programs. We cover several media and game-creation tools, and spend a lot of time in Multimedia Fusion 2. In this video, I’ll create a Pong Clone to show you the basics of MMF2′s interface. Unlike computer programming, MMF2 is more graphical and straightforward, and you can see direct results as you shape the game. Computer programming is much more abstract, but the basic concepts of programming are present in MMF2. In our Video Game Creation class, we teach students about game balancing and collaboration, and how to reach a deadline with a glitch-free game. In the advanced course, we go into how to manage games that quickly get very large, and how to build them well from the start. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

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Careers in Video Game Creation – An Inside Look

By Dave Bittorf – Lead 3D Modeling, Animation & Game Design Instructor

I’ve always been passionate about art and also curious about how games are created. If you ever wondered how artist create the amazing 3D images you  see on your favorite video game then check out the game creation classes at Digital Media Academy! I’ve been working in the 3D industry for about 5 years now. The software that we are using for these classes are the real deal. Maya, 3D Studio Max, Z-Brush and Unreal have been used to build  games such as Gears of War I and II and Unreal Tournament III. Click on the image below to check out a video that  gives you an idea about what a career in game creation is all about.

Click to see behind the scenes

Click to see behind the scenes

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