Designing a Robot


My Mission: To create a bad-ass original design for a robot!

The first place I looked when gaining inspiration for my very own robot was, of course, Machinarium! I've always loved the style of this game and fell in love with the little robot himself as soon as I set eyes on him, he's just so simple yet so freakin' adorable! I love how Amanita Design have cleverly used different rust-like colours to give each robot some depth and character about them, such as with the main characters girlfriend robot, who appears to wear a striped dress. This made me realise that I didn't want to go over the top with my robot design as it's the simplicity that draws me to these robots and, in my opinion, gives them more character as a lot of them are worn and rusted, with some even falling apart!
Machinarium robot sketches

I also sought inspiration from on of my favourite Disney Pixar movies: Wall-E! Very much like the robots in Machinarium, Wall-E himself is very old and rusted, with his only colours being dull and thoroughly rusted. However, EVE, the newer and more shiny robot, is very smooth and slick with a shiny white coating, much different to Wall-E. But I was always more partial to the old, bulky and rusted look of Wall-E, it's these imperfections that made him a lot more endearing and cute, making the audience sympathise and form an emotional attachment with him more. 

After researching into these influences I began sketching some robot designs of my own, focusing on simplicity and the old, rusted look that I so love in a robot; I wanted to create a robot that people would instantly want to know more about, be intrigued by it's antique look and, hopefully, find cute and therefore be more willing to form an emotional attachment with it. 

My Robotic Doodles

I started off with some basic shapes, focusing on how a robot might be put together; what it uses to move around, what it's made of, where it's CPU board would be, etc. As I have already explained, I wanted my robot to look old and worn, with a history behind it, so I couldn't have it flying as that would be much too modern for what I was going for and the material it would be made of would have to fit with the look as well, not be new and shiny like that of EVE's. As you can see to the right, the robot is wearing a large nut for a skirt and has an old-fashioned antenna on her head to help her transmit frequencies and communicate with other robots.

I also thought heavily about the story behind the robot that I was creating because narrative is the most fun and important part for me. I wanted my robot to come across as having a personality that perhaps people could either relate to or become intrigued by, and ensure that it did not look like just another generic robot. That's when I came up with the robot below! He's definitely one of my favourite doodles because he's rather abstract and unique, not only in the way that he looks and what he's representing but also because I have drawn the robot in one continuous shape, with his body resembling that of the infinity sign. I envision him  having wheels behind his long, dragging arms that he can lean back and roll along on when walking on his short two front feet gets too much for him, quite like R2D2! His hair would be metal spray painted black with a crude white stripe to resemble a 'shiny hair' look and a home-made jagged piece at the end to great the curl. However, his mask and and cape would be real, made of cloth and foam, just like what human children wear when they're playing dress-up as kids. Because of this the robot is a lot more relatable and will evoke the emotional attachment that I want the viewer to feel when looking at this particular robot. It also shows that he has a personality as he has wishes to become a superhero, just like most children do!

Complete Robot Design

Luckily, just in time, I came across a story of a real robot. Although, she was from the future of course as there are no advanced robots in the world today (unfortunately). I only got a glimpse of her CPU board, which was in the shape of a heart, and an explanation of her build so I must apologise if the details of her story are a bit flakey.

She comes from a land where humans are long gone, we cease to exist. You want to know why? Because we killed our land. We fought against nature for so long, destroying forests and polluting the land for our cattle farming and precious oil among so many other things until one day nature just fizzled out; it gave up the will to fight. Only then did we realise that without nature we cannot survive. But within this world starved of the beauty of nature and life, mankind's creations were the only ones to still exist; robots rule the world! Long story short, these robots are very well manufactured, with mankind perfecting the art of implementing freewill and replicating human emotion into the framework of a machine. The piece of technology that held these human-replicated emotions was designed into a heart, kept within the robots chest. How very typical of us eh? For robots to form emotional bonds with one another all they had to simply to was swap this hardware with another and process their partners emotions, past experiences and thought processes in with their own circuit systems, how very romantic!

But this one robot was different from the others, she had been handmade from a genius robotic engineer who had enabled her to feel human emotions more strongly than any other robot before her. Unfortunately though, the engineer died before any more robots could be made like her. She was one of a kind, and she was alone. But this made her special, so special in fact that her extra power enabled her to bring back the nature that human kind had stolen from the world, so that Earth could start anew. The details get fuzzy around this point...

But it's pretty cool!

A you can probably tell, it's the narrative behind this robot that I love the most, but the influences from Machinarium and Wall-E are both present in the design, with rust-like colours being the only ones used to keep a simplistic theme. The heart is designed to look like a CPU board (because that is the main piece of hardware running the robot). The small details such as the atenna, nut shorts, rusted cheeks to look like they're rosy and plants and vines running across the robot are the main focus; they help to tell the narrative and give her character, showing her gender and showing some depth to the character that I have drawn. Overall, I'm very happy with the way that my robot has turned out!

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