|“||Everything you do or learn will be imprinted on this disc. If you lose your disc, or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate deresolution.||”|
|Usage||Range and close combat weapon, Program data storage|
|Users||Programs, Digitized users|
|Behind the scenes|
Identity Discs (or Light Discs) are the most fundamental piece of equipment to programs in both the Game Grid and in the Tron system. They contain all that a program is, in the form of a detachable glowing disc normally worn on the upper back. Everything seen, heard, or otherwise experienced is recorded on the wearer's disc (even everything from before the disc is first acquired or reacquired).
Identity discs issued to Game Grid programs appear as solid discs with several concentric rings on the surface, glowing with their owners' circuitry color. The circuits glow more brightly when the disc is in use, and have been seen to change size or flash on and off when active. In flight, old-system discs appear as uniform circular planes of light in their owners' circuitry color, trailing comet-like tails as they fly towards their targets. Despite this appearance, they are still solid to one another, and ricochet from other discs with an audible clank.
Identity discs in the Tron system appear as solid metallic rings, hollow in the center and colored white or black to match the wearer's garb, with a glowing line circling their inner edge, again matching the circuitry color of their owners. The outer edge, when energized, flares into a brilliantly glowing nimbus of white light with a slight tint recalling the owner's circuitry color; this active edge causes faint but visible ripples in the air when moved or thrown, and the air appears to shimmer around it when held still. These discs maintain their solid appearance while in flight, and generally behave like solid metal objects. Unlike the old-system discs, which had no visible means of attachment to their owners' backs, they are fitted over circular docks which rest between the shoulders of the wearer.
Broken discs in both systems emit lightning-like discharges of energy. In the Tron system, a program whose disc has been fractured is able to survive, and the shards may contain fragments of information known to the disc's owner. The only discs currently known to have been broken, belonging to Sark and Abraxas, were broken by impacts from other discs. Losing one's disk does not mean immediate death to a program, but he/she will be subject to termination by the Grid's security. Rinzler, despite losing both his discs, was still able to remain functional.
Functions and capabilities
Identity discs have two primary functions: as weapons and for storing information. Discs have been worn by basics, ISOs, and users. Although a human being is a far more complex entity than a basic program, digitized users, who have only been known to arrive without discs, still appear to need them during prolonged stays on the Grid.
In the ENCOM system, the only programs seen with identity discs are video warriors; noncombatants, such as Yori, appear to function perfectly well without them. Conscripts on the Game Grid were issued discs as a matter of course, and the MCP's troops used them alongside staffs as standard weapons to be used in long-range combat or as hand-held shields to block another's thrown disc. Skilled users can curve a disc's path in a shallow arc to avoid obstacles and strike a target out of their line of sight; experts such as Tron may cause their discs to change direction sharply while in flight. The discs, like their successors on in the Tron system, record "everything you do or learn," and may carry payloads of code designed to be used against a specific program, as when Alan Bradley updated Tron's disc with information that could destroy the MCP. Aside from their storage and weapon capabilities, identity discs are also used to carry information to and from the real world by way of input/output towers.
In the Tron system, the primary function of a disc is as a receptacle of a digital entity's entire being. It is said to contain "fragments of code responsible for personal identification; assigned functions and directives; priority ranking and access privileges; usable energy quotients." In contrast to the old system, almost every inhabitant of the Grid wears a disc at all times; programs appear to rez in with identity discs intact, and those who lose their discs risk losing the entirety of their memories, knowledge, and personalities to progressively disorienting and crippling glitches which reduce them to the status of strays. Existence without identity discs is limited to low-priority or obsolete programs, such as servers at the End of Line Club, whose backless dresses showed off the absence of the disc docks ubiquitous among other Grid residents.
Information on programs' identity discs in the Tron system can be viewed and edited by means of a projection which appears above the disc's hollow center. A change in the disc's code, such as the repairing of a wound, may immediately manifest on the disc's owner or appear slowly after the disc is docked; medics may repair programs by operating on their discs as well as applying patches to the affected areas. Clothing and personal characteristics such as hairstyle can also be manipulated through this interface, with the change taking hold once the disc is docked. Simply docking a disc does not automatically sync it, and people may dock others' discs without fear of being overwritten. More sinister alterations, such as inserting false memories or even wiping a disc clean, can be carried out by using tools or code worms, and programs such as Gorn and Zuse have been known to deal in false identity discs and illegal disc modifications. On an even more sinister scale, Clu developed a process to repurpose programs by passing a stream of foreign code through the center of programs' identity discs and into their minds while extracting the programs original code.
As a weapon, an energized identity disc has a lethal cutting edge that can derez an opponent instantly with a direct hit, whether used as a thrown weapon or in close quarters as a short bladed weapon or buckler shield. In a standard Disc Wars battle, discs are hurled at their targets and may ricochet off unyielding surfaces before returning directly to their owners. The leading edge of an identity disc does not harm its owner when caught, even when travelling at very high speeds, and have been seen not to harm allies either, as when Beck and Cutler caught one anothers' discs by accident while battling enemies and simply exchanged the discs back again without ill effect.
Though programs in TRON: Uprising have been seen to handle other programs' discs during battle and even use them against one another, Rinzler was the only program known to possess two discs which docked as one but were routinely used in battle as separate weapons.
- In the novelization by Brian Daley, a video warrior's identity disc was an extension of a program's own power: the "aura" of a thrown disc was said to overwhelm that of the opponents it struck, causing their deresolution.
- Conscripts issued with identity discs are told, "You will [each] receive an Identity Disc. Everything you do or learn will be imprinted on this disc. If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate deresolution." In TRON, the iconic line is spoken by Sark; in TRON: Legacy, it is spoken by the Voice of the Grid.
- The only person seen to use a disc as anything but a weapon, shield, or memory storage device was Ram, who filled his disc with liquid energy from an energy spring and used it as a drinking vessel, as well as lending it to Kevin Flynn for the same purpose.
- When Sam Flynn escaped the TRON system with Quorra, he copied data from the Grid onto a computer chip that resembled an early-generation disc.
- Legacy-era and classic identity disc props are available on Xbox Live Avatar Marketplace.
- While the classic light disc resembles a discus (the popular flying-disc games inspired the use of Frisbees as disc props), the new Legacy version resembles a real-life Indian weapon called a chakram.
- The identity disc in TRON 2.0 is imprinted with a mark composed of three connected triangles, an ancient geometric symbol used throughout history in many diverse contexts, such as the Legend of Zelda franchise and the Klu Klux Klan.
- The video game Disney Infinity features the Identity Disc as a pack, as part of an update patch that was released on November 5, 2013. It is then available in Disney Infinity 2.0 without the need of an internet connection.