Cell: emergence Is Voxelly, Confusing

Well, I don't think this requires any further explanation.

You know what’s good? When the writer of the first two Deus Ex games announces he has an indie project coming out in a couple of months. That is what is good. Sheldon Pacotti is the man behind the peculiarly capitalised Cell: emergence, which is news that Eurogamer brings us as having been announced today. Which is odd, since the video has been around for a couple of months now, and the game was announced in September last year. Maybe there was a long-delayed echo? But we’re hardly one to mock them, since we didn’t cover it back then either.

Watching the footage doesn’t exactly explain much about the game. It sure is made of voxels though!

But apparently it’s about being a nanobot inside a sick young girl, doing some sort of medical things. Eurogamer takes a stab at it with, “melting infections with self-replicating colloids, building shields and pathways with buckyfibers, and shredding germs with monofilament daisycutter depth-charges. Or something.”

Rather than attempt to unravel it for myself, here’s the description posted on Indiegames Uprising:

“Cell: emergence is a tactical action game based on 3D cellular automata. Every speck of color you see is part of the game. Each “”voxel”” is either living tissue, a pathogen, a quantity of medicine, or a nanoscale machine. You are Unit KRV-2134-C, a medical nanobot inside a very sick 7-year-old girl. In brutal arcade-style battles, you melt growths with self-replicating colloids, build shields and pathways with Buckyfibers, and command a self-evolving immune response alongside T-Cells and antibodies.

Though the graphics may look low-fi, they exactly represent the state of the gameworld. Cell eschews the contemporary video game model, in which simple game mechanics are painstakingly crafted to resemble real life. Cell is a glimpse into a future time, when simulation will run much deeper in games, and we’ll all be battling fire, mud, sticky foam, demon-possessed kudzu, gray goo, and much worse things we can’t even imagine today.

The game’s technology, a voxel-based sprite engine superimposed on a 3D cellular automata simulation, targets last generation (DX9-based) systems but is designed to scale dramatically with GPGPU hardware.”

Yeah, that.

It’s due out by the end of September. My brain hurts.


  1. Springy says:

    Serious Sam preview, game with voxels.

    Hey, you there! Kid! What year is it?

  2. Tunips says:

    Better than gods. Kings. Of process.

  3. Altemore says:

    My opinion is I am amazed and excited in my pants. To elaborate, I’d relate this to the idea that the hivemind put forth in talking about a 3d shooter some time ago, that it was a picture of how videogames would look if they had evolved in a straight line from the days of arcade cabinets. This seems to me like something that’s perfectly a videogame in the classic sense while hopefully having the design tenets of the whole “Immersive Sim” group. It’s right there in the name, too, “emergence”.

  4. The Sentinel says:

    Looks/sounds fantastic. *adds to watch list*

  5. d32 says:

    66 920 KAMU!

    Imagine that kind of power.

  6. Salt says:

    Now that’s proper voxels.

    I imagine the “scale dramatically with GPGPU hardware” means they’ll offer to perform the cellular automata processing on supporting graphics cards (it’s the kind of highly parallel task that they’re especially suited to), which would mean they could have rather large areas simulated at once.

    Looks like it will be really very tasty. A huge dollop of pure mechanics.

  7. CMaster says:

    Yay, more sim-heavy games. This is what we need to see more and more of.

  8. Nallen says:

    It’s fine that I have no idea what I’m looking at or what any of that stuff I just read means, right?

  9. Ovno says:

    Looks quite interesting actually :)

  10. shoptroll says:

    But does it have infinite detail?

  11. liqourish says:

    Holy crap holy crap 3d cellular automata. I’m incredibly excited about this.

  12. Hypocee says:

    ‘Tactical action’. Is there a more apt, beautiful phrase than that in gaming? This looks magnificent, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  13. Buttless Boy says:

    I didn’t understand any of the text or most of the video, but that shit is pretty.

  14. povu says:

    Better than pixels… Voxels!

  15. Wulf says:

    That strikes me as very Singularity-ish. Especially the “I wish you could see it.” at the end.

    I’m in for some of that. That too.

    *Wulf adds this to an anticipated games list that’s surprising him with its size.*

    Though I’m mildly saddened because it reminds me of Galaxy Rage.

    Gods damn it, Dejobaan! Why would you abandon such an incredible project?

  16. zal says:

    this reminds me of a commodore 64 game (I think it was that system, they all blur together a little) where there was a guy dying of absolutely everything at once, like black lung brain cancer ulcers infections bloodclots viruses.. the works, and you got a crossection of his body and had to blast away at each thing with the appropriate power. it was fun, but 2d overhead. I always wanted to play that in 3d.