Magma Studios partners Carnegie Speech Company

Singapore Ministry of Education Selects Magma Studios and Carnegie Speech to Develop Spoken English Learning Massively Multi-Player Online Game

Pittsburgh, PA, 11 September, 2012 – Carnegie Speech, the intelligent language learning company, and Magma Studios, Singapore's premier independent game studio, have partnered to create a groundbreaking game that is poised to transform online language learning among primary and secondary students.

Commissioned by Singapore's Ministry of Education, one of the world's leading educational government agencies, the project was born out of an initiative to build the lifelong English speaking skills of the nation's youth, while boosting their career prospects and effectively advancing Singapore's national program to improve spoken English competence.

"In recent years the advancement of new speech analysis technologies have given rise to intriguing possibilities for the innovative use of Info-Communication Technologies for language learning," said Angela Kennedy, President, of Carnegie Speech, International. "By combining such technologies in an immersive 3D game world, students can not only practice speaking English in a highly engaging and non-intimidating manner, they can also benefit from the frequent, instant feedback on their performances that guide them as they progress."

V.A.S.T. (Voice-Activated Spy Tech) is a revolutionary new Massively Multi-Player Online Game for improving spoken English.  To develop V.A.S.T., Magma Studios and Carnegie Speech partnered to create a product that integrates the best of game design, educational theory, leading-edge speech recognition and intelligent tutoring technology. V.A.S.T. features Carnegie Speech's unique, proprietary and state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technologies developed through twenty years of research at Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute. The Carnegie system listens to the user, pinpoints errors, adapts the curriculum to maximize the student's learning gains, and offers suggestions for improvements, giving visual, aural, and pictorial feedback.

"Carnegie Speech and Magma Studios are combining the most powerful spoken language training technology with the motivation of online game worlds," said Paul Musselman, CEO of Carnegie Speech. "No other partnership has brought to market a spoken language learning solution that will have such high learning efficacy and be such fun to play.  This will significantly increase the success of educators in teaching speaking skills."

"Magma Studios offers world-class game design and expertise in creating web-browser based 3D immersive game worlds. Combining the powerful motivational mechanics of our game worlds with the proven language learning technology of Carnegie Speech has the potential to create a new era in language learning," said Aroon Tan, Managing Director of Magma Studios.

Key benefits of V.A.S.T. include:

  1. Teaches English oracy through speech recognition and analysis in an entertaining and effective manner;
  2. Focuses on pronunciation, prosody and fluency using technology that doubles speaking proficiency in 10 hours of practice;
  3. Patented pinpointing technology licensed from Carnegie Mellon University provides immediate, understandable and actionable error analysis and instruction;
  4. Intelligent Tutoring technology accelerates learning by selecting the key skills needed by each student and presenting lessons to improve those skills;
  5. Offers a non-gaming mode for classroom use where users can collaboratively role-play different conversations – and teachers and students easily record and playback these conversations for analysis, instruction and enjoyment;
  6. MagmaCORE authoring tools enable creation and customization of country specific content.

Additionally, Carnegie Speech and Magma announced they will offer custom branded versions of the game for license to education, media and publishing companies globally.  Aroon continued, "V.A.S.T. offers an exciting way for publishers to take their digital ESL/EFL learning programs to a new level, in a fully-branded environment".

V.A.S.T. is scheduled for beta roll-out in Q3 2012.

About Magma Studios

Magma Studios is an independent games company in the business of creating games with a focus on leading platforms for commercial release. Passionately integrating research, storytelling, design and game technologies, Magma creates highly original and commercially viable products for clients who are targeting entertainment, education and marketing for today's digital consumer. Magma's client list includes Hewlett-Packard, National Geographic Channel, Netherlands Public Broadcasting, the Disney Channel, Asian Civilisations Museum, Science Centre Singapore and Singapore's National Heritage Board. Visit Magma at www.magma-studios.com for more information.

About Carnegie Speech

A global leader in the development of spoken language training software, Carnegie Speech prepares enterprises and individuals to speak and understand new languages through personalized, immediate and pinpointed language analysis and instruction. Incorporating the linguistic expertise and technical innovations developed through decades of research at Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Speech maximizes the effectiveness of spoken language instruction while minimizing training time and expense. From spoken language training to facilitate commerce and enhance education, to mission-critical communications to improve safety and security, Carnegie Speech products are used by Business, Aviation, Government, Education and Health Care enterprises that depend on effective spoken language communications. Carnegie Speech is based in Pittsburgh, PA and its primary investors include Osage Venture Partners, Golden Seeds and New York Angels. Visit www.carnegiespeech.com for more information.

Media Contact:

Brittany Fraser, KCSA Strategic Communications, +1 212-896-1251, bfraser@kcsa.com
Aroon Tan, Magma Studios, +65 6226 1832, press@magma-studios.com

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Singapore's Heritage And Museums Go Virtual With A Package Of Online Initiatives

SINGAPORE, 09 April 2010 – Singaporeans can view treasures housed at our national museums in specially created three-dimensional (3D) virtual galleries, tour past exhibitions, be enchanted by 14th Century Singapore, and surf the web during their visit to the museums. With a slew of online initiatives announced today, NHB hopes to engage the younger net-savvy generation, increase awareness of heritage and inculcate a greater museum-going culture amongst the public.

Click here for the press release.

 

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Magma Studios Announces World Of Temasek

Magma Studios developing a heritage virtual world that recreates Singapore’s formative 14th century.

SINGAPORE, 17 September 2009 – Magma Studios today announced their new virtual world project World of Temasek, a virtual world/role-playing experience of distant 14th century Singapore. Developed in partnership with the National Heritage Board (NHB) and drawing on the knowledge of leading subject matter experts, World of Temasek will meticulously recreate Singapore’s colourful historical fabric replete with Bukit Larangan’s (present day Fort Canning) city wall and moat surrounding its palaces and temples. The buzzing Singapore River scene will also be depicted teeming with local transport and merchant ships from all over Asia in their daily bustle of socio-economic activities.  Not to be left out are spice shrubs whose products underpin the international trades of the period.  This topographically-correct virtual world will also feature the rich milieu of ethnic cultural life in which avatars dressed in period costumes mingle.

As the development team strives for historical accuracy they are also making sure World of Temasek is much more than just an academic 3D graphical reconstruction. The online world brings history alive through player quests that blend real historical events and NPCs (Non-Player Characters) to tell the story of Temasek. Players assume various roles as they explore and adventure around Bukit Larangan and the Singapore River. The Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) styled game play will not only attract and entertain a much larger audience online; it will deepen and enrich the educational content.  Learning history becomes fun and more engaging as players trade spices and other goods, and collect virtual artefacts that can be linked to NHB museums’ collections.

“Magma is a different kind of game company because we have brought traditional media creatives such as documentary filmmakers together with online game and virtual world experts,” said Managing Director Aroon Tan, who has been creating online games and virtual worlds since 1995. “By combining their talents in this new project we hope to bring non-fiction interactive entertainment to new heights. We believe in the power of games and virtual worlds to educate as they entertain, and hope that World of Temasek will be the first educational virtual world that thoroughly appeals to the online gaming generation.”

“Singaporeans are generally of the opinion that Singapore has a brief and relatively uninteresting history,” said Creative Director Chris Jones. “Nothing could be further from the truth. In the fourteenth century Singapore was a kingdom that thrived on trade, just like today, with a harmonious racial mix. But the people of Temasek also faced great dangers from thousands of pirates, hundreds of man-eating tigers and Siamese and Javanese invaders.  By working these exciting historical dynamics into the game play, World of Temasek will entertain young Singaporeans, as well as educate them about their rich multiethnic and dynamic history, and foster a greater sense of belonging to their nation.”

“World of Temasek holds the distinction of being the first historical virtual world to be developed by NHB to extend cultural heritage services with newer technology,” added Philip Chua, Director, NHB Heritage Technology Services, the demand driver for the project. “The preparatory stage has taken over two years for concepts, collaborative model, technology options and funding issues to be straightened out.  Keen interest has been shown by local academics and their institutions to participate in this unique project as subject matter experts and content developers.  The result promises to be a stimulating e-engagement platform that will captivate local users of all ages and ethnic groups.”

Magma is also developing a technology entitled MAGMAFLOW that will be a key component of World of Temasek. MAGMAFLOW is a quest-building toolkit for virtual worlds. The MAGMAFLOW project is supported by the multi-agency Interactive Digital Media R&D Programme Office (IDMPO) hosted by the Media Development Authority of Singapore. IDMPO was established in 2006 under the mandate of the National Research Foundation to deepen Singapore’s research capabilities in interactive digital media (IDM), fuel innovation and shape the future of media.

About Magma Studios

Magma Studios combines the best of online games, rich media and social networks to create exciting and engaging virtual worlds, digital marketing "advergames" and educational and training applications for the emerging 3D web.

We develop for a diverse range of needs and budgets, from lightweight casual game and avatar-driven web spaces, to fully immersive massive multiplayer virtual worlds. Magma also offers clients structured consulting engagements on how to grow their 3D web digital strategies. Our client list includes Hewlett-Packard, National Geographic Channel, Netherlands Public Broadcasting, the Disney Channel and Singapore's National Heritage Board.

www.magma-studios.com

About the National Heritage Board

The National Heritage Board (NHB) champions the development and promotion of a vibrant cultural and heritage sector in Singapore. It makes heritage enriching, relevant and accessible to all through staging innovative programmes and forging collaborative partnerships with both private and people sector counterparts. NHB leverages on state-of-the-art technology and refreshing new approaches to make heritage more dynamic, alive and exciting for different audiences. It also manages both national and public museums, the National Archives of Singapore, and the Heritage Conservation Centre. NHB was formed on 1 August 1993 as a statutory board under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA).

www.nhb.gov.sg

About the Interactive & Digital Media (IDM) Sector

The development of the IDM sector requires the collaboration of a diverse range of public sector agencies, educational institutions, industry players and other stakeholders. To achieve this, the National Research Foundation has allocated $500 million over the next five years from 2006 to fund the development of a strategic IDM research programme and the set-up of a multi-agency IDM R&D Programme Office within the Media Development Authority of Singapore to oversee R&D initiatives in the IDM space. This multi-agency team coordinates a cross-disciplinary effort to deepen Singapore’s research capacity in IDM.

www.idm.sg

For more information, please contact:

Aroon Tan
Managing Director
Magma Studios Pte Ltd
TEL: +65 6549 7488
Email: press@magma-studios.com

Steven Wu
Assistant Director
Heritage Technology Services
National Heritage Board
Email: steven_wu@nhb.gov.sg

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Magma Studios Becomes 10th Online Operator to Sign Live Gamer for Virtual Trading Marketplace

Deal Further Underscores Preference Among Virtual World Operators & Developers for Solution Provided by the Live Gamer Exchange

20 October, 2008 – Live Gamer, developer of the world's first publisher-supported marketplace for player-to-player exchange of virtual goods, today announced that Singapore-based Magma Studios (www.magma-studios.com), has chosen the Live Gamer Exchange as the exclusive virtual trading marketplace for its virtual world properties.

The Live Gamer Exchange (http://exchange.livegamer.com) is the world's leading player-to-player real money trading (RMT) marketplace for the exchange of characters, coin and items within virtual games. Because the Live Gamer Exchange is sanctioned by game publishers and within their terms of service / end-user license agreements, it offers users a safe and secure solution for the buying and selling of virtual items for real-world money.

"We're pleased to partner with Live Gamer to offer an exclusive, secure and structured player-to-player marketplace for our customers," said Aroon Tan, managing director and co-founder of Magma Studios. "The Live Gamer Exchange helps us protect our residents and offer them a great user experience while we increase our revenue and reduce customer support costs. Our customers reap the full benefits of a thriving virtual marketplace, and so do we."

Consumer demand has created a $2 billion virtual goods economy that previously was channeled primarily toward black and grey market operators, outside of game publishers' control or consent. This often resulted in a poor experience for both players and publishers.

"Magma Studios' selection of Live Gamer is testament to the demand for legitimate, sanctioned player-to-player trading," said Andrew Schneider, president and co-founder of Live Gamer. "For virtual world operators, The Live Gamer Exchange provides a secure platform and revenue opportunity that benefits the operator/developer and users alike. Once users invest in a digital representation of themselves, the personal touches, items, and achievements that evolve from their passion and creativity in the virtual world, increasingly they are attributed real-world value."

Schneider will take part in a panel at the Virtual Worlds London Conference on the subject of 'Virtual Goods: The Next Big Business Model,' Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center in London, UK. Schneider's presentation will provide insight into successful itemization strategies and how a strong RMT marketplace can not only provide significant incremental revenue, but also help build a vibrant primary market and combat churn.

It was recently reported by Fortune magazine that the virtual goods business is larger than the online advertising market in China. With the surge of free-to-play and microtransaction-based games and online worlds, providing new and vibrant revenue opportunities to meet consumer demand is core to Live Gamer's business model.

About Magma Studios

Magma Studios' mission is to help major media and retail brands capture the online multitasking youth market by creating one-stop digital destinations for online gaming, 3D immersive social networking and digital media consumption. A core team composed of online gaming professionals and former traditional and new media executives are currently developing fully-branded 3D web and online entertainment solutions on behalf of several major media companies and traditional broadcasters.

About Live Gamer

Live Gamer is leading the way in legitimizing player-to-player virtual economies, working in partnership with publishers and developers to realize the growth and impact RMT of virtual goods has on game design, player experience and online communities. Live Gamer's Wall Street-developed platform, combined with its proprietary trading technology, is trusted by top publishers worldwide. The Company makes it possible for MMOG and virtual world operators to provide a legitimate marketplace within their titles or via the Web, facilitating a safe and fair online environment for players and publishers alike. Based in New York, NY, the company was founded by industry veterans and backed with $24 million in venture funding from Charles River Ventures, Kodiak Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital. For more information, visit www.livegamer.com.

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