Mass Effect 1/6 EDI robot head-shot


04/28/17- EDI, the Normandy spaceship's artificial intelligence, appears in the first two Mass Effect games as a blue holographic sphere with a female voice. Even though she has some great lines of dialog, a blue orb on a stick wouldn't be a very interesting doll project. In Mass Effect 3, she appears in humanoid form after commandeering the body of a "synthetic infiltration unit"-- which just happens to be a female robot with a hot bod and skin-tight... uh... skin? Now that's a worthy project!

But what's a "synthetic infiltration unit"? Is it an inorganic mechanism like a robot, or a mix of mechanisms and organic tissue, or something else? Between that and AIs, VIs, and Mass Effect 3's "Destroy" ending, there are a zillion questions that I pondered while wondering how to proceed. Although this stuff is fantasy, when you make things based on it, it's helpful to understand the ground rules so you can extrapolate.

Extrapolate? I didn't think I could make a Mass Effect 3-faithful EDI doll because of her seamless torso, which would require a soft rubber torso, which wouldn't accept a durable paint job. Even if I were able to pull it off, that would lock her in the ME3 framework. She'd be posed with the other Mass Effect dolls I've made, many of which are extrapolations and don't fit ME3 either.

The best bet was to look beyond, to a post-ME3 world: Specifically, the "Destroy" ending, which shows the possibility of Shepard having survived. Notably, it doesn't show us the Geth being destroyed by the Crucible (...and if ya don't see the body...). Maybe the Catalyst was lying or didn't know what the Crucible would do? Since the ending is intentionally enigmatic, we can pretty much believe anything we want, except that which we were specifically shown. Yeah, the Reapers crashed and burned. The husks crashed. The Citadel and Mass Effect Relays suffered damage. Yep, EDI died-- her name appears on the Memorial wall. (Little known fact: Before she died, she was backed up on 100,000 miles of 8-bit ASCII punch tape from the Normandy's TWX machine.)

Rebooting post-ME3 into a "Dark Ages" galaxy gives a rationale to reconstruct a robot with salvaged bits of the EDI avatar, dialing the tech back to something more relate-able-- like a good old-fashioned mechanical torso. It looks sort of like EDI, but it either is or isn't sentient, depending on what you want to believe. With dolls, you can't depict software, so the AI issue is moot.

Obviously, it's not necessary to go through these gyrations just to make a doll. If I were building a frozen-in-time shrine to the Mass Effect trilogy, I'd probably just buy 150mm 3D-printed statues. But it's more fun to make stuff, especially when that creates worlds where the story hasn't already been told.

The Project

05/15/17- Not much to write about. This is a very simple project: It's a modified Kumik headsculpt and a Play Toy Kumiklone body minus most of the flexible torso rubber. The headsculpt was straight-forward, since I was trying to make it look like EDI: I considered doing the head without the hair because it looked more robotic, but I wanted to emphasize the Mass Effect tie-in.

Most of my time was spent searching for ideas to dress up the torso to make it look more robot-like without impeding the articulation. I looked at the EDI concept art, cyborg artwork, and my own projects (Real Doll 2020 & Maria 2K Robot) for ideas. Eventually, I conceded that the stripped Play Toy figure looked pretty robotic.

A big plus of this is that the doll/figure armature is designed to work using conventional real-world materials. Digital designs and artwork only have to look like they might work. For example, the digital EDI's arms look and bend like a human's, which would be hard to do with rigid materials. Cosplayers realize this and use a latex suit with the details and seams painted on.

I dressed the torso with some mesh (an idea borrowed from the movie, Ex Machina)... it's kinda cheesy (but was qwik & ez). I wanted to do more-- but what? Sometimes simplicity is a good thing: It's much more rugged and poseable... but I feel like I should be cutting openings and filling them with wires and tubing.

Oh well. There's plenty of the obvious stuff left to do, like "robotize" her hands and make her hinges look less like stock doll hinges...