Not a game design thing, sorry. More about art.

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This one is hand coloured but there are a couple of uncoloured originals left if anyone wants to make an offer. They are quite small, perhaps the size of a copy of The King Machine.

A thing I love to do is to mechanize the un-mechanized.  In 2015, before my wife started her Troubles (which I have detailed elsewhere but aren’t the subject of this discussion but suffice to say it was Bad and it was Stressful),  I took a course on lithography. My chosen image was a sketch of a dragonfly which I mechanized and militarized.

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At this point I think you see the idea turning into a technique.

Insects are really good for this — they are almost machines anyway. And you can see in this some of the doo-dad doodling that would find its way into the light-hearted designs in Elysium Flare, both ships and robots. I developed something between a style and a technique for adding elaborate  mechanical bits to something.

Wasp wasp wasp wasp.

My second image for the course was a mechanized wasp which, sadly, did not print well but the prepared stone was lovely. There’s a significant improvement in the detail and the execution. It felt like a major leap forward and so the failed printing was a real disappointment.

Last night I was flailing for work to do, with nothing really penetrating my mood and then I found a micrograph of a T4 microphage.

The T4 Terminator ready to hunt down Sarah E. Coli before she goes into mitosis.

These things are pretty much literally mechanical — you’d be very hard-pressed to claim they are alive. It’s really a shell containing some RNA and some chemical-mechanical manipulators. These things drift around looking for suitable bacteria (in the case of the T4 I think it’s e.coli) which they latch onto and inject their partial DNA bits. These are designed to steal the bacterium’s DNA and assembly processes to turn it into a factory to make more T4s. That’s it. That’s all it does. There’s no metabolism, no sense it which it eats or breaths. Or senses. It just drifts until a chemical connection is made, a mechanical action is triggered, and some very specific acids and proteins hijack the vastly more complex machine of the bacterium to make more T4s.

So here’s a T4 Terminator fabricated in the future to hunt down an e.coli that will have a detrimental effect on Skynet if allowed to live.

2 thoughts on “mechanization

  1. I believe the source image for the T4 was not a micrograph, but a CG image by XVIVO. (They also have a robotic bacteriophage)

    a 4 year old Reddit post generated some interesting comments (

    “The worst part is that the XVIVO image is actually wrong on many points. First, they get the scale of the T4 components totally off. Then they make that T4 look insect-like, having a smooth exoskeleton shell.

    It’s misleading, and no wonder why most people think antibiotics can fight viruses, when companies like this render them to look like tiny insects.” [deleted]

    “At that scale, “smooth” doesn’t really mean a lot anymore. It all depends on what you render as “solid” and what you leave invisible. Though, I think they ought to make CG’s of them look like machines rather than insects since that’s what they really are closest to… in any relative sense.” – ManOfClay

    ~It looks like a terminator~ several commenters

    “Actually this is a lot like what this particular virus looks like, as would be expected from a medical imaging company. It’s the visual look of the image that is wrong. The depth of field and the perspective aren’t what you would expect from an EM image, and this kind of virus is too small to be imaged with the kind of electron microscope image they have replicated the style of.

    It is a really nice piece of work, I’m not trying to be a dick by saying “fake”, I’m just saying it’s a great bit of art rather than a real image.” sugoimanekineko (on a copy post

    And just when I thought I was done T_61 took the photoshop battle challenge and gave the world

    Liked by 1 person

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