Thanks to Virtual World News for this one...
Apparently IBM have opened a new virtual world, Power Up - an educational world aimed at teenagers, in which they will learn about environmental and energy issues affecting our own planet by exploring and working on the virtual plant of Helios in a bid to save it from ecological disaster.
I got the following blurb from a user forum:
"The game is part of IBM’s TryScience initiative and will be launched at Engineer’s Week 2008 opening on February 16 in Washington, D.C. The game, which can be played alone or together, features a planet in near ecological ruin where three exciting missions for solar, wind and water power must be solved before sandstorms, floods or SmogGobs thwart the rescue...However, before you get too over-enthused, I thought I'd better include the reviews from the same forum:
IBM devised the 3D virtual game to engage kids and educators in engineering, energy, and diversity awareness. Online video gaming is on the rise, with kids spending greater amounts of time online in fantasy play. PowerUp aims to use kids’ interest in fantasy virtual worlds to encourage them to learn about engineering principles by riding over rugged mountains in buggies to build solar towers or searching through grim junk yards to repair wind turbines. They will also learn about energy conservation by the choices they make in completing their missions. The game also features non-player characters that represent a diverse cross section of the population, to be role models to encourage every young person to consider a career in engineering and they act as guides for the game."
"Just played it. It's god awful."Perhaps a little harsh... and in the latter case, barely comprehensible.
"So what, no group of five teenagers with 'special' element rings, that when they combine them some pansy with their undies on the outside apperar and make alot of dense accusations about pollution? Maybe ibm should stick to something they know how to do, i very much doubt any games they make will be immersive and of reasonable quality."
The same source informs me that it is built using the Torque engine, which seems to popular with the Big Bluers.
I tried to open the Power Up webpage without success, and assuming you have the same experience as me, I thought I should post IBM's video about the project: