Roboto McExploro

Chart new territory with this cybernetic surveyor skin by Irish

Star Trek’s sold you a pup, I’m afraid. Forget Jean-Luc and the Federation of squishy organic space-explorers - the first interstellar pioneers will likely be robots. It may be disappointing, but it makes sense: robots don’t need to worry about distractions like breathing, sleeping or slugging back cup after cup of hot black Earl Grey. Given that it takes aeons to get from one place to another, just keeping humans alive during the journey is quite a hassle. Much easier to send up a digital brain in a tough robotic body, and have it do the legwork for you. (Assuming the robots haven’t completely taken over by then, of course.)

This rad robot skin by Irish is inspired by exactly this theme. It’s a thorough re-do of an earlier skin he submitted to one of PlanetMinecraft’s regular competitions - which was all about robots replacing humans.

“I was flicking through articles online and stumbled across one that mentioned how less than 5% of the ocean had been discovered,” says Irish. “This got me thinking about how maybe the next big ‘Industrial Revolution’ could be based around using more of the ocean's resources or unravelling its mysteries, and so the Aquatic Drone Researcher was born!”

Irish wanted to revisit the concept of an explorer of the unknown, so revamped the skin into the all-purpose exploration droid you see below!

“My two biggest gripes with the original design were how bulky the head was in comparison to the body, and how little of the robot’s armour was visible,” he says. “[Now] the arms and chest are much bulkier, and very little of the robot is ‘unarmoured’, making it seem much more formidable and equipped for the task.”

It’s a much cleaner, striking design now - but it’s surprising how much detail is packed in! Irish points to the use of layered shading on the shoulder pads to give the impression of plating, and the emphasis on a couple of big features - the central eye and claw hand - which give the skin a really unique character. What does Mojang's master of pixels, Johan, have to say?

Looking at this skin, it goes without saying that straight lines works super well with the very square Minecraft model. I love seeing details stretch from one face to another without breaking. It diminished the harsh corners of the model in a nice and subtle way. On top of that, the very clean and minimalist design, the impeccable use of the armour layer together with a great choice of colours makes it a spacetacular robot skin! Johan Aronsson

Irish's advice to other would-be skinners is to try and stand out from the crowd: “Don’t be afraid to go against what’s popular in the community, even if it means sacrificing getting popular yourself. You can't really grow your skills by just rehashing a worn-out idea, and you're also just another face in the horde of skinners creating the same thing.”

Go grab the skin from PlanetMinecraft. You can also get this skin as part of a larger robot-explorer-themed pack on Marketplace for Pocket and Windows 10. Watch out for more of Irish's stuff on there in the near future!

(Incidentally the header image is a map I put together using Galingueur’s Odyssey resource pack!)