A Thought About "Greybots"

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A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby MacroLass » September 19th, 2011, 10:02 am

I've been thinking a bit about the robodrones in Metrobay, the so-called "greybots" (or "graybot", take your pick). While different artists have different takes on the basic style, they're all pretty much the same (which is kind of the point, but bear with me here). We don't even have the differentiation in color like we did in the early days.

While the basic technology used to make one would be the same, I'd like to suggest that Max being the inveterate tinker and control freak that he is wouldn't settle for his girls looking like Sentius'. They're HIS, dammit and should be recognizable as such.

To that end, I've thought of a couple of details that could mark one kind from the other:

1) Boots vs no boots: If Sentius is making a drone's covering out of nano-goo, putting extra detail in like making discrete foot coverings is a bit silly. Heels are a bit illogical too but if they're really needed/desirable a spike or platforms could be molded or grown from the back of the foot and attached to the underside without making a whole piece of footwear.

2) Collar vs. no collar: Likewise, since all of the machinery making one of Sentius' bots is internal by nanotechnology, a collar should be unnecessary. It'd be just an ornament. If you have to have something that electrical cables plug into, a couple of sockets on the neck (or even better, the back of the head ala The Matrix trilogy) should suffice.

3) Identification marks: On the APEX side of things, humans don't innately have the ability to recognize a particular bot via its tracking signals, em emmissions, etc...so for convenience sake they might have visual ID codes (their model numbers, not the nicknames like "Gingerbot" and such) somewhere on their bodies. Tags would be inefficient (too small to be read at a distance) but perhaps branding on the forearm, the breast, or an ass cheek would do.

4) Again, perhaps one of the biggest things would be branding for a businessman like Max. ;) Making them look unique as an entity unto themselves would probably be a thought on his mind. A notion that springs to mind is that they could all be pink, to feed into his Pink Pussycat mania. Another idea is that they could get their hands on one of Ring Mistress' nanodolls, reverse engineer it, and making a glossy transparent latex coating. Perhaps they could even have an option to "censor" the nipples and pussy of a bot by making a skin colored patch over the "offending" naughty bits.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw a couple of ideas out there to make things a bit more interesting visually (and challenging for the artists. ;) ). I'd be interested to know what others would think.
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby sohta123 » September 19th, 2011, 9:46 pm

To me the 'greybots' are the lowest in a hierarchy. Their color indicates that theirs is total obedience to all, even each other.
Now the colors should represent some form of chain of command and should be reserved for those that can provide direction.
I'd like to see the ones with color rewarded for controlling the greybots such that it becomes an addiction for them.

I also like the idea of markings or brands to distinguish visually. Some should be permanent.
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby Tecknophyle » September 19th, 2011, 9:53 pm

I've thought about the same thing. The boots just keep bugging me.

Here's what I've been playing with. On the left is a bootlike version, on the right one that's a bare foot with a heel.

Newbot.jpg
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby bluemax2 » September 25th, 2011, 11:45 pm

How bout balletboots built into the suits?

Love it all.


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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby Doctor Robo » September 26th, 2011, 12:20 pm

In retrospect it probably would have made more sense from a storyline perspective if the graybots looked more like Tecknophyle's design, but I remember while we were working on "Superheroine Squad" that most readers said they preferred the drones to retain their own hair and other aspects of their individual identities. That's why we chose to go without headgear in the current versions.

I do see your point about the footwear. What can I say? I like the look of the boots. Sue me. :P

- Doc
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby Tecknophyle » September 26th, 2011, 2:21 pm

Doctor Robo wrote:In retrospect it probably would have made more sense from a storyline perspective if the graybots looked more like Tecknophyle's design, but I remember while we were working on "Superheroine Squad" that most readers said they preferred the drones to retain their own hair and other aspects of their individual identities. That's why we chose to go without headgear in the current versions.

I do see your point about the footwear. What can I say? I like the look of the boots. Sue me. :P

- Doc


Oh, changing the look is simple: I have designs that also allow for head hair, leaving off the headpiece prop, and removing the morph that flattens the ears.

The "costume" consists of the original skin plus the "nanoskin" combined via a blender node in Poser, how the skin and nanoskin meet determined by the three maps (1 each for face, body, and limbs) that feed into the blender. For anyone who hangs around RDNA or Renderosity, and therefore know what I'm talking about, I've modified Bagginsbill's VSS prop in several variations so I can automatically add the nanoskin to any existing character (DAZ Gen 4 characters at the moment, but easily adopted to any model), and make it look however I want simply by altering the three blender images used as masks and running the VSS routine again.

Not to be critical of any of the artists here, but one shortcoming I see is that they frequently cheat by simply changing the colour/shader on bodyparts. While in some cases that's fine (in the example I gave, you could do that for most of the body), in most of the cases where it stops at the neck--especially when there's a collar that doesn't cover the entire seam between the neck and the head--it's really noticeable. It's also rather limiting. With blender nodes you can have a tremendous flexibility in what you can do, for a little investment in preparation time.

For instance, in this image the middle walking figure shows a skin-nanoskin interface that runs smoothly from deep in the belly up through the neck and around the face. Since the skin and nanoskin have very different properties (if you look closely, you see the nanoskin is actually reflecting at certain angles, while the skin is skin and not reflective), you can't do it with one texture map, or by changing the textures in bodyparts alone.
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby Tony » September 26th, 2011, 5:52 pm

If Seven of Nine could wear boots, the greybot can too!
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby dumbtime » September 26th, 2011, 6:45 pm

Tony wrote:If Seven of Nine could wear boots, the greybot can too!


I concur.
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby Tecknophyle » September 26th, 2011, 8:01 pm

dumbtime wrote:
Tony wrote:If Seven of Nine could wear boots, the greybot can too!


I concur.


Methinks people have forgotten what that costume actually looked like.
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby dumbtime » September 26th, 2011, 8:08 pm

Tecknophyle wrote:
dumbtime wrote:
Tony wrote:If Seven of Nine could wear boots, the greybot can too!


I concur.


Methinks people have forgotten what that costume actually looked like.


Whenever someone mentions 7 of 9, I always concur. Then, eventually, someone will post a pic and I get even more. ;)
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby sohta123 » September 26th, 2011, 10:15 pm

Tecknophyle wrote:
Oh, changing the look is simple: I have designs that also allow for head hair, leaving off the headpiece prop, and removing the morph that flattens the ears.

For instance, in this image the middle walking figure shows a skin-nanoskin interface that runs smoothly from deep in the belly up through the neck and around the face. Since the skin and nanoskin have very different properties (if you look closely, you see the nanoskin is actually reflecting at certain angles, while the skin is skin and not reflective), you can't do it with one texture map, or by changing the textures in bodyparts alone.



That's really hot for my part Tecknophyle! I like the loss of identity look in some stories. And the node in the forehead is a nice touch.
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby bluemax2 » September 27th, 2011, 11:15 am

Technophyle:
Love your work. I do wish you'd post a series, if you have the time that is. Your methods, view of things and bent are quite exciting. I'm basing this on the work I've seen over the past few years on McComix and Hipcomix. Great stuff, but unfortunately too little of it.
How bout a greybot story from your perspective?

Do consider it please. I'm sure I' not the only one with that opinion.

Take care and keep up the great work.

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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby MacroLass » September 27th, 2011, 12:50 pm

Doctor Robo wrote:In retrospect it probably would have made more sense from a storyline perspective if the graybots looked more like Tecknophyle's design, but I remember while we were working on "Superheroine Squad" that most readers said they preferred the drones to retain their own hair and other aspects of their individual identities. That's why we chose to go without headgear in the current versions.


I can't speak for anyone else but it's hard for me to have empathy or feel sorry for characters that aren't recognizable as a discrete individual. Of course, if that's not the goal of a story (consciously or not) but rather the creation of the drone/robimbo/marionettes, it's not nearly so important. Of the two types of stories though I definitely prefer the latter where it matters to me that someone is captured.

Doctor Robo wrote:I do see your point about the footwear. What can I say? I like the look of the boots. Sue me. :P


Fair enough. It's your story so you get to dress them as you like. I'm just giving you some feedback. ;)
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby mkmngr » September 27th, 2011, 12:55 pm

Boots; without doubt.
Definitely with a heel.
Perhaps knee-length, with a small LED at the top of the heel.

And collars definitely - remember that Dr Robo has said, on many times, that he wants to see (and believes in) visible enslavement.

If my PA is only visibly enslaved by the chip implanted in the back of her neck, how would anyone know when she lets her hair down and buttons the collar of her blouse, thereby covering the LED?

Mike ;)
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Re: A Thought About "Greybots"

Postby Doctor Robo » September 28th, 2011, 5:53 pm

I appreciate the feedback, everyone. It appears to me that we have differing opinions about the look of the graybots, with some of you preferring the current versions while others looking for modifications along the lines of what MacroLass and Tecknophyle have proposed. I think that's great. I love the conversation we're having here, and I'm pleased to know that you all care enough about these stories to let us know how you feel about them, for better or for worse.

I think Technophyle's designs are pretty damn hot, and I wish I had thought of them myself. The second render with the cocoon-style transformations is fantastic. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more where that came from!

I have it on pretty good authority that one of our artists will attempt to take some of your suggestions into account when designing a future version of the drones. Who is it, and what will they look like? Only time will tell!

- Doc
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