Sheldon Pacotti
Sheldon Pacotti

Let me tell you a story.

After I purchased Cell: Emergence from Desura, it didn’t work. After reverifying the files and relaunching the game a few times, I fell back on that old chestnut: asking the developer for help.

It was Deus Ex writer Sheldon Pacotti that came back to me, looking for more details. However, I’d already used my programmer skills to diagnose the problem: it looked like the Desura package hadn’t installed some key libraries which I was able to rectify myself. From this, Sheldon was able to patch up the build and my support request morphed into a conversation about the game itself.

And, well, because I am cheeky, I just couldn’t resist… I asked if he would be interested in doing an interview.

So here it is, a new Electron Dance podcast! In this 50-minute interview, Sheldon discusses a range of topics. How did he come to be in the games business? Is he a writer or a developer? How did the cellular automata engine evolve? Where are we headed with our increasingly electronic lifestyle? Who does he look up to in the games business?

This Is Sheldon Pacotti

This is what you can expect to hear.

01:00 “I have a biography that makes not a whole lot of sense.”

09:00 “A rich story in a shooter at that time was a pretty unique concept.”

14:00 “This was before Minecraft or the latest wave of voxel-based games.”

20:00  “Technically, there’s just so many ways these things can go wrong…”

25:00 “I wanted to have an RTS that was sort of like an arms race.”

35:00 “…fragments of proteins being spread on the membrane that are allowing antibodies to attach…”

41:00 “And it’s just moving so fast, it’s hard to really grasp how the nature of interaction between people is changing.”

49:00 “I like the fact that they’re trying to put play into a more domestic, real-life setting.”

Download the podcast MP3 (33MB) or play it right here in your brower:


 New Life Interactive Automata Engine Screenshot

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7 thoughts on “Who Is Sheldon Pacotti?

  1. Really enjoyed the interview, some interesting revelations about both the man and the game. Also, as the Biochemist who wrote that review I appreciate his response to my criticism, though I would like to stress that the paragraph in question was fairly affable and wasn’t meant to be a scathing critique or anything. Still, it was nice to hear a lot of research went into that aspect of the game.

  2. Hi Finners, glad you enjoyed it! I don’t think Sheldon took your comments to heart as your review is linked from the New Life Interactive website. I didn’t know if Sheldon would say anything interesting if I put the question to him on your “scientific critique” but I’m glad I did, the answer demonstrated exactly how far Sheldon will go in pursuit of science fiction rather than science fantasy.

  3. Great interview, Harbour Master, very interesting and full of thoughtful questions. Thanks also to Mr Pacotti for taking the time to chat with you.

    I really, really want to try this game, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Perhaps it’ll be a weekend treat…

  4. Hey, thanks for listening Steerpike. I know fifty minutes was an ask, but I hoped some readers had commuting time to kill.

    As I think I said last week, Cell: Emergence can be finished in a few days if you get into it. The demo, unfortunately, can be finished in about 3 minutes if you’ve watched my tutorial.

  5. Thanks Jon, I appreciate it. Always nice to hear from folks who like the longer stuff on offer here.

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