For the character of "Rune", visual effects artist Jason Doucette was hired to create an animated cyborg head. Jason spent over 8 months rotoscoping the head over the actor's movements in 48 scenes of the film. The work was long and tedious working frame-by-frame, while compensating for changes in angle, orientation, and lighting.
The producer Brian Neil Hoff, was able to obtain permission to film in a closed-down shopping mall which lay boarded up for over 12 years and was considered haunted in the community. As of 2014 the mall has since been torn down to make way for a new shopping and entertainment area of Palm Springs. Filming had to be halted several times because rats were screeching so loudly, their sounds were picked by the microphones. So large was the old mall, that at one point a police SWAT team was using the space to train their officers at the same time some scenes were being shot.
When the final edit of the film totaled only 79 minutes, producers decided to have a "wrap around" story written of an independent filmmaker who disappears with his cast and crew to lengthen the film. Because the director, R. Christian Anderson, was no longer available, the executive producer, Carolina Liechtenstein, stepped in to direct a new opening segment, bringing the theatrical release to 92 minutes.
The "tunnels" of downtown Houston were part of the inspiration for the underground city seen in "Defcon 2012". Spray painted on the walls are words such as "Houston", "Katy", and "3rd Coast", all references to the Texas city.
The spaceships seen in "Defcon 2012" were designed by master animation artist Frank Panucci. One such ship has landing skis instead of wheels, which were the idea of director R. Christian Anderson to show a soft landing on the planet's sandy surface. Panucci incorporated this into his design. The detailed surface of the post-apocalyptic planet was also created by Panucci, who gave it an otherworldly appearance complete with wind and texture.
"Defcon 2012" contains a number of clues in the dialog and in the visuals to explain the Mayan calendar prediction, much of it numerical. It's also the only film on the subject which does not center around a natural disaster, but rather an extra-terrestrial involvement.
In March, 2012, "Defcon 2012" was released in the UK in a boxed set entitled "The 2012 Apocalyptic Collection". The boxed set also includes the films "2012 Doomsday" and "2012 Ice Age". It was retitled "2012 Armageddon" for both the set and the single-movie release.