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High-Tech Hexagons

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Imagine the size of the bees that could live here!

In the future, everything will be hexes.
— "Hex Helmet" item description, Deep Rock Galactic

There's something about hexagons which make them look inherently advanced. This makes sense, since they're stylish yet practical. They slot together like squares, but look more complicated despite being more efficient to build with (a hexagon has a greater area for the length of its sides than a square, hence why bees use hexagonal honeycombs for storage). Board games, especially wargames, often use hexagons instead of squares because it allowed for clearly laid out movement in six directions without "diagonal" movement across corners. Not to mention even the name Hexagon sounds futuristic.

Honeybees and their hexagonal construction projects may be the cause of the hexagon's aesthetic appeal to mean "alien civilization", but this trope is also justified by the hexagon's efficiency and versatility in nature, science and engineering, much like smooth sleek curves and solid, practical looking blocks. Carbon, which possesses 6 electrons forming hexagonal atomic bonds, and today the basis for modern polymers, semiconductors and the molecular structure of every single living thing in existence, is naturally inclined to form hexagonal molecules due to the way it bonds, and it is this structure that gives diamond and other carbon allotropes their strength.note  In engineering the hexagon finds usefulness in dome structures (since they're much easier to produce a curve with than squares), solar panels (which benefit from the aforementioned area-to-edge ratio) and hexagonal floor tiles (which look cooler than boring old rectangles).

The Beehive Barrier is a very common subtrope. See also Carbon Nanotubes. Compare Everything Is an iPod in the Future and Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future. Contrast Zeerust (which this trope may well become when Science Marches On). See also: The Aesthetics of Technology.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Buso Renkin: Hexagons are a recurring motif for almost anything involving alchemy in the series. Despite being magical, most alchemical devices have a high-tech mechanical design, the most prominent being the kakugane, a four-inch wide hexagonal device that transform into the Magitek weapons.
  • Hexagons are common background elements for promotional materials related to Infinite Stratos, befitting its near-future setting and focus on technology, when it's not focused on its female cast members.
  • Psyren: Shiner's Hexagonal Transfer System PSI, which carves out hexagonal pieces of pretty much anything and teleports them wherever he wants.
  • The basic holographic fields for the Gunpla battle system in Gundam Build Fighters are hexagonal, which carries into the design of the show's title.
  • The Neuroi from Strike Witches are mechanical race of aliens which are made out of black and red hexagonal plating, with them existing before year 1939 in Alternate History Earth. Oh, and those red plating is where they shoot out lasers.

  • In order to make the costumes in Justice League 3000 look more futuristic than the classic versions, they're covered in tiny hexagons that are visible in the closeups.

    Films — Animation 
  • Chicken Little in Disney's adaptation is hit in the head by a high-tech hexagon that automatically adjusts to its surroundings to make itself invisible. The hexagon turns out to be a panel from the hull of an invisible alien spaceship.
  • Aside from being centered on bees, Bee Movie makes a point of showing hexagons as not just a construction artifact, but ostensibly as a high-technology business organization (Honex, the primary employer of the protagonists' hive, is a member of "The Hexagon Group"), owing to the lengths the bees go through to refine their honey.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Fantastic Voyage, the shrink ray room had hexagons all over the floor. The ship rose up on one of them once it got small enough, so that it could be shrunk one more time, and then readied for insertion into the guy's body.
  • The tactical displays on the Klingon cruiser's bridge in Star Trek: The Motion Picture were hexagon-heavy. Also, towards the end of the movie, the steps leading up to V'Ger's centre are shaped like hexagons. Of course, by Star Trek standards Klingons usually aren't seen as particularly high-tech and advanced. It does make it look more alien than the Enterprise's more human aesthetics.
  • Star Wars: Some hexagonal lights can be seen on the walls of the Lars homestead in A New Hope (and the prequel Attack of the Clones), as well as above the elevator doors of the Death Star.
  • TRON: Legacy: Hexagons are sported by a lot of the architecture on the virtual world of the Grid. As well as the mesh worn underneath most of the Programs' costumes. In fact, in the Armory scene, the undermesh is seen forming all over Sam Flynn hexagon by hexagon.
  • One of the smaller details of Peter Parker's suit in Spider-Man is a hexagon print on the fabric, arguably starting the trend for this appearing in superhero costumes.
  • It Came from Outer Space is an early example, with the alien spaceship resembling a massive sphere covered in hexagons.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) The "Universal Neural Teleportation Network", which is used to perform interstellar jumps, creates a distinct pattern of hexagons that serve as portals for the spaceships to jump through.

  • In Dreadnought!, the ship the book's name comes from is a prototype warship whose hull structure is not only reinforced with hexagonal framing, its saucer section deviates from normal Starfleet ship design by being hexagonal in shape instead of round.
  • In Liv in the Future, the digital signboard that informs Liv she's in the year 3000 has a hexagon pattern on the corners of its screen.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The ship models and corridor sets of The Liberator in Blake's 7 feature hexagons prominently.
  • The game show Blockbusters had a hexagon-filled gameboard, and naturally hexagon motifs were all over the place. This trope has mostly been emphasized by the British versions, mostly notably the mid-1980s "cityscape" intro, featuring hexagon-shaped futuristic buildings in a scifi-ish city, and the logo of this era was done in a font meant to resemble digital readouts.
    • The gameboard in the studio was described as "quite a feat of engineering" for the time, with the images provided by a large number of slide projectors, each with its own set of slides for the letters and colours.
  • The alien wreckage in Debris is composed of hexagonal plates and other structures.
  • In Defiance Indogenes, a species of cyborgs, have a faint hexagon pattern on their skin.
  • In Doctor Who, the insides of the TARDIS walls (from the new series on) have a hexagonal pattern on them, and the TARDIS console is hexagonal.
  • In The Expanse, main character Amos and many of the Belters have these as motifs in their tattoos.
  • In Extant every person that reacts to the power or to the infant has several of these appearing under his skin for a moment.
  • The various Riders in Kamen Rider Kabuto have their armor appear in a hexagonal pattern.
  • Legends of Tomorrow features a good bit of hexagonal design, including a detention cell aboard the Waverider consisting of hexagon-celled energy walls.
  • In Viper, the titular high-tech supercar had an armored body/shell comprised of hexagonal tiles. Though they were normally blended together in such a way that the seams were invisible, they manifested when the vehicle suffered damage, or transformed to or from its 'less conspicuous' street car mode.
  • In WandaVision, the shape of the area around Westview is hexagonal, as well as the individual parts of the forcefield wall that Wanda puts up around the town. Dr. Darcy Lewis, called in by S.W.O.R.D. to investigate the phenomenon, calls it "The Hex," a name that turns out to have a double meaning.

  • The retro-futuristic Total Nuclear Annihilation features a section of the playfield that represents a reactor core and which is littered with hexagons.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2017) prominently features hexagons in many places, such as the playfield (including the central section keeping track of mode progress) and sometimes in the background of the LCD display. They fit the sci-fi bent of the source material.

  • Both versions of the album art, as well as much of the creator-approved fanart, for the sci-fi podcast SAYER feature hexagons.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Star Wars Electronic Galactic Battle is basically Battleship but with the Star Wars license and a hexagonal grid.
  • The Link Monsters of Yu-Gi-Oh! have hexagons in their blue borders.
  • Bakugan Battle Planet uses a hex grid for the Hide Matrix, made of several small hexagonal Bakucores. Hexagons are a recurring motif in the reboot, including as part of the logo and Energy symbol.

    Theme Parks 
  • Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland is pretty much this aesthetically. Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World, like Tokyo, used to be like this, up until the 1994 New Tomorrowland makeover. However, there are still remnants of this aesthetic scattered throughout the land.

  • BIONICLE: In pretty much all the graphics of 2006, plus a large amount of the graphics from 2007 and 2008, there are hexagons in the background, most likely to give the images a high-tech feel.They even changed the shape of the Matoran alphabet characters from circles to hexagons. It does make you wonder, though, why they didn't use hexagons in 2004, when the futuristic city of Metru Nui was the main setting.
  • Hexbug has intelligent nanobots about the size of a pen lid or marble. If the name didn't, the logo says it all.
  • iDog: The arrangement of the LEDs on the robotic, futuristic iDog and friends resembles a hexagon.

    Video Games 
  • ARK: Survival Evolved uses hexagons on all the futuristic technology.
  • ARMA has a notoriously excessive one. Enter CSAT, an Asian political coalition. They use a flag with a hexagon made out of hexagons. Their military facilities are encapsulated in domes made out of hexagons. Their security forces' uniforms are high-tech equipment which use a hexagon camouflage pattern on nearly every piece of the kit. Vehicles? Highly upscaled hexagons. Hexagons on guns? You bet.
  • In Borderlands 2, one of the companies that manufactures the tools and weapons that your character can loots/earn is Maliwan, which prides itself on high-tech, sophisticated wares. All of their rarest goods have a hexagonal pattern over the surface of the item in question.
  • All over the place in Civilization: Beyond Earth: the box art is of a person standing in front of a hexagon-shaped door out to space, the various leaders of the game tend to wear clothing with repeating hexagon symbols, and various technologies in the game bear hexagons. Since the game is based on the Civilization V engine, where the game ground itself is divided into hexagon-shaped tiles, the shape has a special significance to the game.
  • In the Tiberium universe, Command & Conquer has three green hexagons arranged pyramid-like with lines separating them, representing the Tiberium substance that drives this universe's plot. It's akin to a biohazard symbol in its use as a warning sign.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Empire of the Rising Sun's tech.
  • Crysis uses this trope excessively: all Crynet technology is covered with hexagons, be it the Nanosuit or the CELL guns; even the Crynet logo is made of 120° angles.
  • Dariusburst Another Chronicle's Chronicle Mode features hexagonal maps of sectors.
  • Deep Rock Galactic lampshades this trope with its description of the Hex Helmet accessory available to all classes: "In the future, everything will be hexes." For the most part, however, the game has a grungier, industrial aesthetic, though the Gunner's MK5 suit has armor plating that is both smoother and more rounded than other variants, and comes with a hex pattern of its own. It is indeed the most "advanced" of the armor options, though it offers just as much protection as the MK1 suit.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution Adam Jensen has a hexagon imbedded in his forehead with a little logo in it.
    • Not even just Adam, but anyone with a neural implant has a subtle or obvious hexagon indentation in their heads.
    • While the game's art makes a lot of use of triangles, hexagons do come in close second, being seen on armor and briefly before Adam cloaks himself to become invisible. Not only that, but if you squint at his combat vest, it is made up of miniscule hexagons.
    • Some of the bulletproof glass has hexagons and one building is called The Hive. Also, in the lobby outside his office Sarif has a large picture of a topless women from the back with cybernetic arms. Up close, the entire thing is covered in a film of hexagons, giving it a softer look from across the room. When inspected even closer, it becomes apparent that the hexagon grid is digital and scrolls across the image.
  • A hallmark of the Karma Temple and Karma Society technology in Digital Devil Saga.
  • DoDonPachi Daifukkatsu uses these both as high-tech and as part of the bee motif of the series. They're all over the ship select screen, and each cutscene starts with a bunch of hexagons flying onto the screen and attaching to each other to form a screen. The "Expert Items" in the Xbox 360 port's Arrange B mode are also hexagonal and appear in sets of six arranged in a hexagon.
    • DoDonPachi Saidaioujou puts hexagons everywhere — the golden star medals dropped by defeated enemies are now 6-pointed stars on a hexagonal background, the level results screen has hexagons everywhere, the bee items now appear on hexagonal stands, the Type-B helicopter now has 6 propeller blades connected in the middle by a hexagon, and the list goes on.
  • EVE Online will be changing the ship cloaking effect (viewable only by the player using the cloaking device) from a water-like animated texture to a hexagonal pattern in the upcoming Oceanus update.
  • While most of the Fallout series follows a Zeerust aesthetic, Fallout: New Vegas has an area in the more conventionally sci-fi Old World Blues DLC called the X-66 Hexcrete Archipelago, consisting of massive hexagonal structures made of concrete. Appropriately, they do nothing in the game other than look cool.
  • Firefall takes place in a technologically-advanced post-apocalypse - so all your shield abilities have little/big hexagons.
  • In Fracture, Mariko has a high-tech suit with a hexagonal overlay on parts of it.
  • Guild Wars 2 features the asura, a race of highly intelligent and technologically advanced miniature beings that often build their labs and cities with hexagonal designs. Even their holographic platforms featured in dungeons and jumping puzzles elsewhere in the world are translucent, blue hexagons.
  • In Gundam Extreme Vs., the Final Boss's stage is an Amazing Technicolor Battlefield whose floor is made up of giant metallic hexagonal columns; the boss has the ability to raise and lower the columns, and possesses several attacks that can destroy them outright (they re-form a few second later — naturally — out of smaller metallic hexagons).
  • In Halo, a lot of Forerunner technology incorporates hexagon shapes and symbols.
    • Covenant tech and textures have also employed extensive use of hexagons; perhaps a result of copying Forerunner tech?
    • In addition, the UNSC has gotten in the trend (take note of the visors on MJOLNIR armor worn by Spartan-IV). Perhaps a result of copying Forerunner and Covenant tech?
    • Halo Infinite: All over Zeta Halo are clusters (and sometimes sheer walls) of big, hexagon-shaped metal pillars coming out of the ground, looking not unlike basalt. It is eventually revealed that they are part of Halo's infrastructure, and also its method of repairing itself (give or take a few million years).
  • In Kerbal Space Program, the roads in the Kerbal Space Center are arranged as hexagons, and there are certain parts like the HECS probe core, and the deployable solar panel from the Breaking Ground expansion, that are hexagonally shaped. Some of the in-game flags also feature hexagons in their designs.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The logo of Cerberus has a hexagonal shape and uses some materials with hexagonal surface patterns.
    • Hexagons feature prominently in Andromeda's Remnant architecture as well.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, hexagons are a recurring pattern throughout the story, but it gets really extreme once you enter the final "dungeon". The Big Shell's outer buildings were hexagonal, the shells themselves form a double hexagon, some of the textures on Raiden's stealth suit exude a hexagonal pattern, the skin of Arsenal Gear itself is covered with a hexagonal pattern. The game case design had a hexagonal pattern on the back of it, so did the original disc. Most official supplemental materials (strategy guides, concept art, making-of materials) had either subtle or blatant hexagonal themes. In fact, since Metal Gear Solid 2, hexagonal design has been a really big thing to them.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: One of the subtle hints that The Phantom Pain was really Metal Gear Solid V was the appearance of hexagonal tiles on the floor of the hospital the protagonist is escaping from.
  • In Persona 4, Rise's Persona Himiko is depicted as a woman with a satellite dish as a head, complete with hexagonal patterns.
  • In PlanetSide 2, all of the Vanu Sovereignty's equipment is covered in purple armor with hexagon patterns, to show that they are the most advanced faction. Additionally, all three empires can buy hexagonal camouflage (in neon red, blue, or purple) for their guns, armor, and vehicles.
  • Pokémon Black and White and their sequels use this frequently, from the healing machines in Pokémon Centers to the map of the game's region itself.
  • Very much invoked by Ratchet & Clank, stating with Tools of Destruction thanks to the added detail possible on the PlayStation 3. In particular, Captain Qwark's outfit got a hexagon print, and almost every element of the UI used hexagons.
  • In Rimworld: Ideology, the Techist style makes use of a lot of hexagons. Things like dining tables are redone in a hexagonal shape, for instance, and its special floor tiles and ritual effects are all hexagonal. While randomly-generated Ideoligions only use this if they are transhumanist, and thus very advanced, the style can be used with tribal-level cultures.
  • Rise of the Reds: The Nano Shock Absorbers that can be installed on various European vehicles have a hexagon-shaped tile pattern.
  • The 2013 edition of SimCity features hexagons in many high-tech structures such as advanced solar energy collectors, and in the "Cities of Tomorrow" expansion, futurized roads are signified by hexagonal surfaces with minor Tron Lines, in a possible prophetic move - see Real Life.
  • The futuristic-looking Silver civilization from Skies of Arcadia makes extensive use of hexagons. Their element of choice is also numbered 6.
  • Solatorobo: The Futzu Tower, which contains a highly advanced AI, features a lot of hexagons.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 uses quite a few as well. A lot the moving platforms in City Escape are hexagonal prisms.
    • Two of the three Sonic Advance games featured high-tech, futuristic levels, both of which featured hexagons ad nauseum.
    • Sonic Heroes third level Grand Metropolis, & fourth level Powerplant, also contain contains this trope, with the energy company in both of these stages being called HEXA-eco, along with the energy pipes, buildings, & tiles in the wall incorporating or being hexagons.
  • StarCraft II presents these on the loading and menu screens. They also appear on some units and maps.
  • Take a guess as to what kind of shapes Super Hexagon uses. It helps that the game uses a synthesized chiptune soundtrack. However, the Hexagon and Hyper Hexagon stage occasionally turn into pentagons and squares.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee: From this game onward, both Fox and Falco from the Star Fox series possess a Reflector move whose animation is a blue hexagon. The developer's intent for the move was to reflect projectiles; however, it's used as a direct attack in the current metagame.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Lucas, who debuted in this game, has a mild hexagonal attack motif. Many of his PSI-related attacks are represented with hexagons, and PSI is usually treated more as science than magic.
  • The Talos Principle: Both the red pressure plates and the purple containment fields are composed of these.
  • While surprisingly absent from designs in the actual game, Vector Thrust has these plastered all over the Pause Screen and menu backgrounds. Ground targets are also denoted by a hexagon symbol on your HUD.

    Web Comics 
  • RetroBlade: Various structures in the city of Cosmöbius, year 2112, Including the Ozone (a forcefield-like barrier surrounding the entire city) are composed of hexagons.

    Western Animation 
  • Used constantly in Voltron: Legendary Defender with Altean technology (especially particle barriers).
  • In Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Beyond the Farthest Star", the Enterprise crew discovers a highly advanced alien ship in orbit around a dead star. Said ship's interior structure is made up of interlocking hexagons.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures has various hexagonal patterns in relation to the Iron Man suit and other bits of Tony's technology, including part of his heart implant that extends around his chest.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Close-ups on Ladybug and Chat Noir's superheroes costumes show they are composed of a fine mesh of hexagons.
  • The Author's bunker, featured in the Gravity Falls episode "Into the Bunker", has a security room full of these. If you step on the wrong one, the walls will start to close in, and the only way to open the doors to the next room is push four of the right ones.
  • Max Steel (2013) has Max's various transformations involve a forcefield with lots of hexagons floating around, which then pull back onto his body to create the parts needed for his different modes (speed, flight, etc.).

    Real Life 
  • In 2012, scientists at IBM's T. J. Watson research center discovered that cylinder-shaped molecules known as carbon nanotubes may work as a replacement for the silicon-based microchip. The tubes are capable of delivering more power at such a small size without losing any control over the electrical current that flows through them. The tubes themselves are made up of hexagonal pathways, with electrical currents constantly making a path from one end of the tube to the other by going either left or right at each corner of the hexagon.
  • Another hexagonal carbon molecule which has potential is graphene. In addition to being extremely strong and flexible, it's an excellent conductor of electricity. Applications include lightweight screens, semi-conductors, efficient room temperature alcohol distillation and so on.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope has a mirror made out of 18 hexagonal segments.
  • The Solar Roadways project hopes to pave roads with durable, hexagonal solar panels that glow at night and melt snow, thus creating a road system that is safer to drive on and looks cool while producing vast amounts of energy. However, there have been doubts of the practicality of the system, due to the hardness (or lack thereof) of glass, coupled with the inefficiency of farming solar energy in areas where cars are driving over the panels at daytime.
  • Modern dome structures often use hexagonal tile construction. See, for example, the Eden Project biomes. Their logo incorporates the hexes for a cool effect, emphasizing their use of modern technology.
  • The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine was awarded to Drs. John O'Keefe, Edvard and May-Britt Moser for their discoveries of grid cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain. Simply put, they are neurons in the hippocampus that may in fact encode perception of Euclidean space and fire in surprisingly regular hexagonal patterns (technically the vertices of tesselating equilateral triangles).
  • R. Buckminster Fuller's concept of "geodesic construction" was based on the concept that modular hexagons create a very strong stable structure, far more so than squares or rectangles. One British bomber in WW2, the Wellington, was based on geodesic principles and proved to be one of the toughest aircrafts Britain put into the sky.
  • CoreLogic, a major provider of real estate data and technology in the United States and several other countries, uses hexagons as part of their brand.
  • The visionary Sky Mile Tower proposal for Tokyo, Japan would be built in Tokyo Bay, and use hexagonal structures and artificial islands to minimize the effects of wind and waves.
  • The heat shield of the SpaceX Starship uses hundreds of hexagonal tiles.


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Discussed in "Hexagons are the Bestagons".

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