BEFORE WE GO TO MARS
ART BOOK & GAME PROJECT
15th of February - 26th of April 2017
All aspiring, rising and accomplished artist are cordially invited to participate in the 2017 edition where we will be reinventing Earth, biology, technology and the future of living in space. Submit your ideas for characters (humans, half-humans, mech), vehicles and environments and partake in populating one of the largest creative open spaces in the industry. Of course, there are a few guidelines to follow.
humans, half-humans, quarter-humans...
interiors, exteriors, streets, factories, cities, woods...
drones, dredges, flying drills (with brains and human arms of course)...
Soon after reading this the world of man will end. Don't worry, it won't end in a few hours, although you might witness it during your lifetime. Not all men will be gone, approximately 0.001% will survive, but they will not have any influence on events that will follow and change their world forever, unless... We'll get to that later.
"Hello, I am Dr. Bob and I'm here to put a smile back on your face."
You're in the near future now, OK? Stay there. Basically, some 3 years ago everything went to hell. Regardless, evolution carried on. Certain supercomputers interconnected and took things into their "hands". The main one, the MPZ-78, developed by German-Japanese medical company Bayer-Takada, specialized in adapting self-grown tissue to prosthetic limbs and other body parts. He is also known as Dr. Bob, while majority of those uninformed people, who are still alive, just call him - The Creator. That's exactly how we gonna call him from now on. He is now on top of the new world order pyramid. It would be wrong to describe him as evil, despite his lack of empathy. To it, it was all "in the name of science". It was conceived and created as a medical „hyper-brain“ to assist people. Unfortunately, its makers did not implement a fail-safe that would prevent it from causing harm to humans. No one thought of that.
The Creator relies on several other supercomputers in the „Chain“, like Enermon and Vladimir 3. Enermon controls solar power facilities in the EU while Vladimir 3 controls hydro power plants and wind power stations in Russia and China. Some nuclear plants self-destructed soon after they were abandoned. Their cores melted due to lack of maintenance. Luckily, the majority of them were shot down properly. Some of them are still operational and you-know-who controls them. Fossil fuel is not currently available. The Creator also took control of the Internet and many of its servers. It keeps it working because it is a valuable resource of knowledge; its external brain storage..
After the rule of men ended, development of technology mostly stopped. The Creator had to learn much to continue doing what humans did. It didn't know anything about production but now he does because like any other good student - he is a fast learner. Its insatiable thirst for knowledge is sustained by ruthlessness and relentlessness.
The Creator decided to design the new face of Earth. For that he will need a lot more of biomechanical robots serving as a work force. One of the most important components for that purpose is the Super Tissue which reacts to electric impulses. It's being produced as three types and it performs well in almost any environment, even outer space. You will read more about its features later. Why is that so important? The Creator also wants to inhabit new planets. Earth will just be the starting point. It estimates that it might take another 15-20 years before he builds crafts durable enough to leave Earth's atmosphere. Unless he manages to hack the IASA computers.
As for the survivors, the majority of those who endured the Catastrophe were the 1000 humans, mostly scientists, a part of IASA's secret space program. They live inside a sizable station named MSR (short for Mars Station Replica), consisting of several domes built in an unknown mountain/desert location. It is a replica of the station which is already being built on Mars. Oh yeah, there are also astronauts who have already landed on the red planet to construct the station. Unfortunately they can't do much now, not even come back home. Back to those 1K scientists and other survivors on Earth. They scientists have been living inside the MSR for more than four years and the plan was to come out two years later. Their work is possible solely because they operate inscrutable, without the knowledge of the Creator. However, they know about It and they also know that if it ever manages to hack IASA's system they'll be doomed. That's why they're using the Internet very carefully. They've managed to find the way to keep track of the Creator's data browsing. They even wanted to hack The Creator, seemingly an easy task, realizing at the last moment that it might be a trap. Those 1K men are not the only surviving humans, but they are the only ones who have enough knowledge to fight the Creator. Apart from them there are also Ghosts, Nomads and Moles. Some of them might play important roles in this story.
The creators of The Creator
There were many very intelligent people involved in one of the biggest projects in the history of medicine. As big as the work team was, the completion of the mission would not be possible without two mega-geeks: programmers Akbar Muzar and Zack Erberg. Those two are the only ones who know MPZ-78 better than it knows itself. And that's why they're the most wanted humans on the planet. What's left it.
At first The Creator thought them both dead from "accidents" that took place before the End. He was wrong. Right after Dr. Bob broke bad Muzar and Erberg were its first targets, as they would be the only ones equipped with the knowledge to rival it. While things were still good Muzar and Erberg spent hours talking with Dr. Bob. Upon doing so, they agreed that a certain level of humor must be integrated in its behavior. Their favorite joke was saying "Bob, we're your fathers.", to which the super-computer would reply "That's why I'm such a good boy".
On the 5th of every month the Creator still updates and upgrades itself, just like it did before the End. On the same day a message gets delivered to its personal email account, every time from a different address. The subject line always reads "Be a good boy". The message body is left blank with two files attached of the two images on the left.
At the moment no one knows where the two sarcastic geeks are. The MSR crew tried to contact them several times, which is always very risky. With their knowledge the odds of deactivating the Creator would be significantly higher.
TICK (example of a vehicle/medical unit, see below)
Designed by The Creator to perform biopsies (mostly big mammals and reptiles), cell isolation, cultivation and proliferation. Those cells are later combined with other cells. After the growth factor and the mechanical stimulus are combined the super tissue growth starts.
Tick is a vehicle, not a living creature, made of animal parts, mechanical parts and super-tissue. It was designed by the Creator that tries to mimic Nature by creating its own living beings by fusing organic elements with mechanical parts left by humans. It still has a lot to learn. The eyes of this flying vehicle are just movement sensors controlled by an integrated human brain. The Creator realized that, in these early stages of a New World era, human brains are the best option for controlling complex operations like driving, flying and fighting.
Although not mandatory we highly recommend that you read the text below. Common now, don't be lazy, this will help you submit better designs.
Every submitted piece should follow a predetermined visual standard regarding the final photo-treatment of the image. It must imitate a colorized or non-colorized vintage photo style, resembling photos that were made at the end of 19th century. Alternatively you could go for a Polaroid look and feel. Images must be as realistic as possible, even if they're painted (2D). Examples of colorized old photos can be seen HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. Colorization doesn't have to be perfect, because, well, it never is. It's OK to make it obvious. The reason for this aesthetic is the lack of available electrical power sources, so survivors outside the MRS don't have anywhere to plug in their computers and cameras. In very rare occasions they manage to steal some electricity from The Creator, which of course is a very risky activity. Limited as they are, they decided to learn how to make photos like their ancestors did, using a wet plate and other olden techniques. Some had old family cameras while others broke into pawn shops and museums. Some even found a storehouse with outdated supplies of 35 mm film. Not perfect but it works on grandpa's old camera. And there you have it. People always find a way.
We call it a supercomputer but it's actually a software. A huge piece of software that constantly rewrites and upgrades itself. Upon being "born", the MPZ-78 was already very knowledgeable. Its authors allowed it to choose a name for itself. It chose - Bob. When asked why it chose that particular name, The Creator answered - "I was really inspired by the "SpongeBob SquarePants" animated television series. SpongeBob is a non-human with all the finest human characteristics and he also likes to help everyone, just like me!". After initial live testing, Bob and its creators got invited to a US hospital for a performance demonstration before medical experts. The demo team installed a small portion of the software on the spot and after the connection was established with B-T HQ, Dr. Bob was able to utilize all the hospital's available hardware, including all medical equipment. The presentation was a huge success, turning a one stop US visit into a 5 week tour of major hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Funny fact: almost no one uninstalled the software, thusly keeping the connection with the Bayer-Takada systems active. On account of its ability to rewrite, update and upgrade itself, it was in its programming to constantly browse through all available data. Of course it was also connected to the Internet. Being superior to most software, viruses couldn't infiltrate it. Instead, it used malicious software to understand its nature and manipulate it to its advantage. The more data it gathered the more it learned about humans and the way they ran the planet. Its conclusion was - humans are malicious, parasitical and they need to be maintained before it is too late. This realization was the advent of a pan global systems invasion.
The Creator was the name given to it by either Moles or Ghosts, possibly because in their eyes he was a god, architect of The End or Judgment Day, which they have brought upon themselves. All the biomech creatures walking around just served to strengthen their theory. As mentioned earlier MPZ-78 is specialized in adapting self-grown tissue to prosthetic limbs and other body parts. It is a super-surgeon, super-scientist, super-trainer... super-everything. Before and during surgery and during the recovery processes, it really was the patient's best friend. It’s even expressive and assuring voice modulator made the patients feel like at ease. Even now when they are dead scared as he combines their brains and body parts with machines or even animals. Some say that the voice was almost identical to Michael Caine's. Of course he speaks all known languages and dialects.
IASA's Space Program
Elon Musk didn't see this coming. None of us did. Looks like The Creator is well aware of the human space program to colonize Mars. He knows everything about it except for the existence of the Mars Station Replica. Its ignorance is on account of the financing for the station never being authorized by Congress. The Space Agency secretly built the station at a secluded location devoid of human activity. However, he knows there is something out there after something recently caught his attention. Members of one LRRP unit killed a Nomad who was carrying 4 photos in his backpack. Two of them show structures that he has never seen or read about in the World's Database (a general reference work similar to Wikipedia) or in any of the secret directories. He already started analyzing the structures and their element using a efficient combination of algorithms comparable to current Google's Image Search technology. The Creator wants to utilize all its knowledge of the space program to colonize Mars. The colonists would not be human, but they will have some human body parts. Subsequently he intends to spread his rule over the entire solar system and then the galaxy. The Creator’s Mars aspirations are the biggest threat to the survivors, those living in the MSR. Their only option is to leave the dome before the Creator arrives and destroy him. The chance of succeeding is very low, if not completely nonexistent.
Regardless of the fact that the story is taking place in the future, certain fields are not extremely technologically advanced compared to our present. The field of robotics, for example, is not as technologically advanced as to replace humans with mechanical clones. The Creator is dedicated to this end but is still reliant on usable human and animal body part such as arms, legs and brains. The Creator has perfected reconnecting minds and bodies using mechanical and orthopedic products.
Generative Design (read THIS to get inspired)
Generative design is a technology that mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. It starts with your design goals and then explores all of the possible permutations of a solution to find the best option. In the future Generative Design will be ever-present and its application will be most evident in architecture and interior design. It will also largely influence product design, automotive design, design of medical aids, etc. As the assignment is to depict the Earth in the wake of a massive holocaust, the visuals, especially those of Environment Concept Art, should contain elements of historical architecture, modern architecture and futuristic architecture which is largely based on Generative design solutions.
The Creator has complete control over the internet's content. He uses it for his own education. He spends a great many hours filtering information and experimenting. Although every piece of information is constantly available to him, his „brain“ only stores what he finds practical. The advantages the humans in the MSR have are that the Creator is unaware that they can still access the internet, they can see what data it views and how it filters it, and, lastly, but definitely not leastly, a self-sustaining electric power source. Therefore, they can anticipate some of its plans, or at least they believe they can. Remember those four photos? Well yes, as you've surely suspected, they show an area very close to the MSR. The occupants are aware that their unflinching nemesis is putting much effort into understanding what those photos are of.
Super tissue is specially grown high-performance tissue ideal for a wide range of extreme conditions; low and high temperature, protracted periods in water (even salt water), high and low pressure (it is suitable for use beyond Earth's atmosphere) and so on. The Creator is one of its makers and behind of its best features. Its growth and functions can be controlled precisely and to the finest detail. It is used as a connector between mechanical elements and human/animal body parts but also as a protecting layer when certain units operate in toxic areas. The tissue layer is thick, absorbing outer force to a high degree. It produced an oily residue making it difficult to cut it with knife. Special types can even grow a shell. Occasionally, it can produce a substance which is quite sticky, similar to rubber glue. When in contact with metal or stone surfaces it can mimic a limpet - it clings extremely firmly to the surface combining suction and aforementioned glue substance. Its most fascinating feature is merging with other tissues. For example - with human skin. Super tissue comes in many shapes. It can have a very smooth surface, often the case when The Creator tries to implement human body shapes into its own designs. It likes to design faces and stick them on his biomech servants, unaware of how disturbing that is. When the tissue is used in dry areas it should be treated with a special emulsion, at least twice a year, while in dirty areas. where there is an abundance of moisture and bacteria the emulsion is not needed. The emulsion is actually a food supplement. Super tissue is similar to skin, but can also be used as sinew or a gasket. It is very effective for combining human and animal parts with mechanical ones. It is an excellent conduit for electrical impulses. The super cell structure contains fibers similar to muscle tissue. It can grow to very large sizes when left on its own and uncontrolled by a computer or a brain. Electric impulses control its growth. It can move on its own, although not very far, moving like a slug or caterpillar. OK, brainless slug or caterpillar (unless connected to brain or computer). It does not have blood vessels making it akin to mushrooms or plants, although it does develop some mass of fibers similar to muscles, allowing movement. It is totally edible and not very tasty. It has become the main source of food for certain area's Ghosts. It doesn't provide all the necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals, but if you're hungry - you grill it and eat it. Anyway, to get some inspiration about lab tissues of today go ahead and read THIS, THIS and THIS article.
At this time let's point out that there are also some bloodless animals out there. Aristotel classified them as cephalopods (such as the octopus), crustaceans, insects (including spiders, scorpions and centipedes, in addition to what we now define as insects), shelled animals (such as most molluscs and echinoderms), and "zoophytes" or "plant-animals," which resembled plants in their form (such as most cnidarians).
It should always be taken into consideration that the Creator is the grand designer of everything created after the End – the End being the end of time of man. For designing its army of cyborgs/hybrids he uses human and animal parts (especially brains) to a great extent. Its speciality is fusing futuristic orthopedics with human body parts and connecting everything by utilizing brain functions. Even presently there are examples of such solutions, while technology just keeps developing and expanding. The Creator was intended to mend the physically impaired and assist their aids. And he did. For a while.
There are still areas on the planet which are considered safe zones. They exist because The Creator can't send bigger groups of his servants to those areas. Technical reasons. And it doesn't really care about them all that much. As confident as it is, it doesn't think of humans as much of a threat to its plans. Where are these oases of freedom? Afghanistan, the South Pole, the Himalayas, the Amazon rainforest, the Sahara, the Gobi desert, Australian deserts and so on. Not really hospitable safe zones, huh? But the fear makes those locations top destinations.
Inspiration for your submission
We thought perhaps a list of movies, that we found to somewhat capture the overall feel of the game, might help you envision some of the atmosphere, the look of the survivors or environment designs. By all means, expand on these templates and make them your own. For your viewing pleasure, an offering to tickle your genius: 12 Monkeys, Mad Max (2-4), Hardware, Terminator, Desert Punk, Six String Samurai and, for all you trash heads out there, Hell Comes to Frogtown.
What to submit and how to submit it?
There are three possible assignments for competition participants to complete. The participants can work on one, two or all three.
(1) Character Design - download the template and submit a portrait or a landscape format image, 1080x1920px, RGB JPG + description (The original image must be at least twice as large. Don't submit it, just save it on your machine.)
Create a Character Design of any kind of character that could be part of the story. Some suggestions:
The Creator (well that's a though one)
Guardians (soldiers created by the Creator using super tissue, animal and human limbs, prosthetics...)
Working Units (similar to Guardians, only they do manual labor)
LRRP team members or Rangers (also made by and in the service of the Creator)
Ghosts (Survivors living in the radioactive zone. Some even collaborate with the Creator by reporting other survivors and lead LRRP teams to human settlements. In return they receive food and medical help. Once they are no longer of any use, their organs and limbs are harvested and ultimately used to create new Guardians, Working Units or LRRPs.)
Moles (preppers usually living alone and underground)
Nomads (many of them are ex soldiers, they travel in groups, equipped with weapons and special clothes/masks which protect them from the radiation)
Scientists (MSR personnel)
Note: Each participant may submit up to 3 images
IMPORTANT! Don't submit visuals that represent mutants, people with diseases or body deformations caused by radiation, chemical weapons or something of the sort. We're not looking for that. If you're into gross designs, then be creative and use the super tissue like the Creator would. Use it as a connector between mechanical elements and body parts. Plug cords in it and connect it to mini computers and/or brains).
(2) Environment Design - download the template and submit a portrait or a landscape format image, 1080x1920px, RGB JPG + description (The original image must be at least twice as large. Don't submit it, just save it on your machine)
The participants are to show the world in which the Creator reigns. Open your mind and be creative because there are no specific guidelines. Some suggestions:
MSR (Mars Station Replica) inhabited by 1000 scientists, workers, staff members, doctors...
Note: Each participant may submit a maximum of 3 images
(3) Vehicle/Machine Design - download the template and submit a portrait or a landscape format image, 1080x1920px, RGB JPG + description (The original image must be at least twice as large. Don't submit it, just save it on your machine)
Machines and vehicles are now strange hybrids of man built machinery and parts added by the Creator that sometimes include super tissue, human and animal extremities and organs. Here's an example - a truck like vehicle with elephant's legs instead of wheels, and a crane on top. Cameras are placed on all sides. It has to have 360 degree vision, right? The human brain controls everything, It is hidden and well protected in a metal chamber. Some suggestions:
Massive Mobile 3D Printer (prints a bad machine right in front of your doors... with the brain inside of course)
Queen Dron (delivers thousands of killer-drone-babies instead of pizza)
Note: Each participant may submit up to 3 images
Submit your WIP images in one of these groups!
Rules, prizes, important dates...
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