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kosmyn

on Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:28 am

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kosmyn



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Adobe
Atmosphere (informally abbreviated Atmo) was a software platform for
interacting with 3D computer graphics. 3D models created with the
commercial program could be explored socially using a browser plugin
available free of charge. Atmosphere was originally developed by
Attitude Software as 3D Anarchy and was later bought by Adobe Systems.
The product spent the majority of its lifetime in beta testing. Adobe
released the last version of Atmosphere, version 1.0 build 216, in
February 2004, then discontinued the software in December that year.

Atmosphere focused on explorable "worlds" (later officially called
"environments"), which were linked together by "portals", analogous to
the World Wide Web's hyperlinks. These portals were represented as
spinning squares of red, green, and blue that revolved around each other
and floated above the ground. Portals were indicative of the Atmosphere
team's desire to mirror the functionality of Web pages. Although the
world itself was described in the .aer (or .atmo) file, images and
sounds were kept separately, usually in the GIF, WAV or MP3 format.
Objects in worlds were scriptable using a specialized dialect of
JavaScript, allowing a more immersive environment, and worlds could be
generated dynamically using PHP. Using JavaScript, a world author could
link an object to a Web page, so that a user could, for example, launch a
Web page by clicking on a billboard advertisement (Ctrl+Shift+Click in
earlier versions). By version 1.0, Atmosphere also boasted support for
using Macromedia Flash animations and Windows Media Video as textures.
Atmosphere-based worlds consisted mainly of parametric primitives, such
as floors, walls, and cones. These primitives could be painted a solid
color, given an image-based texture, or made "subtractive". Invisible,
"subtractive" primitives could be used to cut "holes" in other
primitives, to build more complex shapes. Many worlds also contained
animated polygon meshes made possible by Atmosphere's implementation as a
subcomponent of Viewpoint Corporation's Viewpoint Media Player.
However, Viewpoint stopped supporting the Atmosphere subcomponent some
time before Atmosphere was discontinued.
Unlike the more centralized structure of Active Worlds, in which
environments are primarily built within AlphaWorld, Atmosphere worlds
were spread throughout the Internet, usually hosted on the author's own
Web site as .aer files. (The .aer format originally came in binary and
ASCII formats. The ASCII format was phased out in later releases.) As
with ActiveWorlds, the user navigated an avatar; in later builds, an
option allowed the user to see his or her own avatar. An early quirk of
Atmosphere displayed users whose avatars had not yet loaded as colorful,
slanted cylinders, and announced the arrival of users with a "bug
zapper" sound.

Whereas in ActiveWorlds it is only possible to communicate with users
within a 200-meter radius, Atmosphere users could chat with all the
users in the world. This model was more appropriate for Atmosphere,
considering the smaller sizes of most worlds. Technically, users could
chat with anyone in the same YACP channel, a reference to the IRC
protocol (see below). The exception was when worlds would receive too
many visitors, as was often the case at HomeWorld: worlds would "clone",
creating duplicate channels for the same world, which would often cause
confusion for users. Some world developers wrote scripts that limited
communication to users within a certain distance, for greater realism.
A built-in Havok physics engine, detailed rendering, and dynamic
lighting (with support for lighting effects like radiosity, distance
fog, and glare) also contributed to the realism of Atmosphere worlds.
Many world authors wanted to create large worlds, in order to build more
realistic cities, for example, but such worlds would often take an
excessive amount of time to load in the visitor's web browser,
especially if the visitor was using a slower dial-up connection. To
alleviate this issue, Atmosphere supported a pattern reminiscent of
inline frames in HTML: sections of the world – subworlds or models –
would load as the user neared, so that a city could load block by block,
rather than all at once. One of Atmosphere's problems, however, was
excessive memory usage, which was exacerbated by the use of advanced
features such as embedded models and Flash movies in many worlds.
Atmosphere's chat console used the Windows-1252 character encoding.
From its inception, Adobe Photoshop Album included a "3D gallery"
feature that could publish a photo album as an Atmosphere world.


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