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.

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).

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.

For more information, please contact:

Aroon Tan
Managing Director
Magma Studios Pte Ltd
TEL: +65 6549 7488

Steven Wu
Assistant Director
Heritage Technology Services
National Heritage Board