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