First Olympic virtual world begins odyssey

Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games organizers launch 3D virtual world platform in futuristic setting, for users worldwide to learn about event and interact.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Organizers of the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games have officially unveiled the first Olympic virtual world in preparation for the upcoming event, which starts Aug. 14.

In a launch event on Saturday, the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (SYOGOC) and ICT regulator the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) took the wraps off the three-dimensional (3D) virtual world platform dubbed Singapore 2010 Odyssey, which was in a closed beta stage since last October.

The concept of a virtual world to connect YOG participants, who are aged between 14 and 18, was first announced in June 2009.

Set in a futuristic world in 3010, Odyssey will feature competition venues and the Youth Olympic Village for the upcoming Youth Olympics. Users can create avatars, compete in games and learn more about the Olympic Games.

To access the virtual world, users need to register at the Odyssey Web site and download a client, according to a joint statement from IDA and SYOGOC. Currently, the client is compatible only with Microsoft Windows operating system, although the organizers stated in the support page that they hope to launch an Apple Mac OS-compatible version in the future.

"The Singapore 2010 Odyssey is a unique virtual world platform offering many possibilities for learning, social networking and entertainment, [reaching] out to the youth from all over the world in a fun and interactive way," said Ronnie Tay, chief executive officer of IDA, in the statement.

He added: "The development of the 3D virtual world is a testimony to Singapore's infocomm capabilities in innovatively harnessing digital media technologies to support major events like the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games."

Goh Kee Nguan, chief executive officer of SYOGOC, said in the statement that the committee is leveraging digital media to encourage people around the world, especially the youth, to connect to the inaugural YOG and the Olympic movement.

Odyssey is one of Singapore 2010's digital media initiatives. Other on-going projects include the Million Deeds Challenge virtual torch relay, Digital Concierge for Singapore 2010 and the WhyOhGee microsite.

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