I think what follow is going to become my most incredible post-mortem of mine ever, but… let’s come out of the closet. (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
When I was making my first game, Andromeda Awakening, I had really no idea where I was going to. The only imagine in my mind was of someone riding a tube of sorts in a very distant place from Earth. Something on this can be found, iirc, in the help menu in Apocalypse, the sequel.
I went in coding a room at a time, just as a hobby, not thinking too much (it didn’t occur to me to put this in IFComp until it was done—or ALMOST done—in time for the deadline). No weight upon my shoulders, you know.
So, eventually, I finished the tropes about “your building/your alien city” pretty fast.
At a certain point in time I was staring at the empty screen with room #X in front of me, which I didn’t even have a name for. “What now?” I asked myself. I had a city, a railway station, something happening underground—no idea what—, a cave full of magma… uhm. “Is it over? Did I reach page 140?” *
Closed my eyes. Invented a word. Wrote it down as the name of the room. Then started typing random ideas.
The room was called “Hyerotrope”. It had an obsidian-like floor. In the middle, a gargantuan, reflection-less sphere, breathing and contaminating the surroundings with azure light tentacles. Half an hour before I had no idea what my story was about; the next minute, I had a universe. **
My suggestion: close your eyes. Imagine a place. Make it so it’s the most unconventional site you ever seen. Is it a hotel room? Well, what’s that Persian carpet doing in the middle of the cyberpunk setting? And why is it embroided with titanium threads? Oh, and this hall: who went so mad as to add giant golden rhinos with greek letters on them? Why the portrait of Sir Barry Hollencraft, owner of the hotel, is so much of a King Charles III look-alike?
And, why does the floor look so much like HUMAN SKIN?
Some of these are probably a little too far for your setting (of which I know nothing). But I hope you can extract something from the method, at least.
My 2 cents.
*) My many folders are full with novels which I gave up on around page 140. Looks like a curse of sorts. Or it tells a lot, mathematically, about one’s ADHD momentum.
**) I destroyed it, too. Or am in the way of doing. And all around the random naming of a single room. Just wish I have the strength to finish the trilogy…