Behind the Art: Mystic
It’s not every day you get to design a new Hero. With the challenge of launching Mystic, Eyewire’s most elite rank of gameplay, we went to work crafting an upgrade to the Heroes’ arguably already awesome superhero suit.
What’s in a suit? That which we call an Iron Man-esque, rocket boot bearing, superhero costume would be any other name be just as sweet; however, for this project we decided to ask ourselves about the function of the Eyewire Heroes suits. If you were a character in the Eyewire game, working at the nanoscale to map neurons, what technology would be helpful?
The first concept art considered the aesthetic of the suit. It evolved from white to black and dawned glowing lights.
The next series of concept art iterations were done by our 2017 summer Illustration Interns Rabbit, Zoe, and MJ, and centered around imagining what new technology would fit in the suit and where it would go. Perhaps there a drone could launch from a shoulder pad or a robotic arm; an augmented reality displays could provide locations of important POIs on neurons; supersonic rocket boots and a boomerang-style hoverboard could allow a Hero to move vast distances at the nanoscale.
After several iterations from the intern team, Eyewire’s Illustrator and Gamemaster Daniela Gamba integrated the concepts into a unified design for the upgraded Mystic Hero suit.
We also considered a magic mode rendition, complete with scythe-staff and cape for good Mystic measure. No doubt this looks cool. But given the hard sci-fi nature of Eyewire, we opted for a sleeker, biologically inspired direction. Plus, the Incredibles taught us the danger of capes.
Iterate, iterate, iterate. This is true for science as well as design. As you can see from the many renditions above, we pour our hearts into this art. After many discussions and brainstorms, and no less than five rounds of iteration, the final concepts of Mystic Hero were born.
Drawing inspiration from the nervous system and vascularization, a slightly chiral suit took form. The lights indicate that power is supplied to each part of the suit and can change color based on emotion or to signify functionality. The rocket boots are larger and more powerful while becoming more defined: a hallmark of technology in later phases of iteration. A forearm controller emits a hologram, an augmented reality neuron viewer, and serves as a dashboard for collaboration. The ear commlink is larger and boasts its own AR overview. A hoverboard now lives in the utility belt, giving the heroes super speed when needed. The suit is sleek and even holds a few secret pieces of technology that only time will reveal..
All this work to craft a new breed of superhero: the elite citizen scientist. People from around the world dawn their virtual superhero suits, working together with some of the world’s greatest technology to solve the puzzles of perception, mapping neurons so challenging that the world’s best AI can barely begin to face them.
This work and this art is for you, our Eyewire Heroes. Thank you for playing and we look forward to continuing this exciting journey for many years to come. For Science!