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. 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 latest version of Atmosphere, version 1.0 build 216, in February 2004, then discontinued the software in December that year.
Adobe Atmosphere started as 3D Anarchy by Attitude Software. It was originally built on IRC for chat functionality. The original user interface was rather eccentric, featuring two ever-present eyeballs that would occasionally blink. Later versions have been adopted, but one of the avatars was based on the eyes. Adobe bought the technology from Attitude in November 1999 and announced the first public beta version under the new name on March 26, 2001. Atmosphere came as two stand-alone applications: the Builder, which was used to build online “worlds”, and the Player, which allowed users to search these worlds. (In 3D Anarchy, these components were called Editor and Chat, respectively.) In addition to these applications, Adobe provided a browser plugin, to explore these worlds within a web browser, and a companion chat server called Adobe Community Server, which runs on an IRC-like protocol known as Yet Another Chat Protocol (YACP). During beta-testing, all three components of Atmosphere are available free of charge. Adobe distributed the server software under the “Atmosphere Open Source License”, a permissive open source license. Beta versions of the Builder were notoriously unstable, and the program crashed so frequently that a user wrote a program that automatically saved worlds opened in the builder at a fixed interval, preventing users from losing hours of work. In August 2002, Adobe began to make the stand-alone Player, instead of being more attractive to the Atmosphere Plugin, which was at the time viewed as a buggy, less attractive alternative to the Player. The company ‘ s focus on the plugin was viewed by Macromedia, was purchased by Adobe. For the most part, the plugin runs on the Internet Explorer for Windows, the browser is running on the Internet, and the browser is running on the Internet. Unofficially, the plugin ran in Mozilla-based browsers with limited functionality. One user was able to run the stand-alone Player on Linux using Wine, a less-than-usable state. As part of its efforts to garner commercial interest in the software, Adobe introduced support for embedding Atmosphere worlds in PDF documents for viewing in Acrobat Reader. The company also distanced Atmosphere from its reputation as a platform for online chat, by first disabling chat on the various official, Adobe-hosted worlds, then by deleting the worlds themselves. Version 1.0 was released on October 22, 2003. At this point, Adobe has decided to load for the Builder, which was simply renamed Atmosphere, and continues to provide Plugin and Server for free. As the beta-testing program ended, Adobe sent free copies of the Builder to registered beta-testers in late 2003 and early 2004 via Airborne Express and DHL. Following a long period of relative silence from the developers, Adobe announced in December 2004 that it would not continue development of the software. According to an FAQ from Adobe: The decision to discontinuous Atmosphere 1.0 was based on market conditions, customer feedback and research done by Adobe. }} Adobe retains copyright on Atmosphere and does not give permission for others to distribute copies of the software, so the company s decision to stop making the builder. The plugin remains available as a free download on the Adobe’s Transfer Protocol site, however. Adobe still provides 3D capabilities in its more popular Adobe Acrobat product, but these features have been developed using technology from New Zealand’s Right Hemisphere, rather than using Atmosphere. Nearly all of the Atmosphere development team went to work with the Acrobat team. The only Atmosphere component still in use at Adobe is the API scripting; other Atmosphere components including scene graphs and the physics engine are licensed, such as Viewpoint. -> s Transfer Protocol site, however. Adobe still provides 3D capabilities in its more popular Adobe Acrobat product, but these features have been developed using technology from New Zealand’s Right Hemisphere, rather than using Atmosphere. Nearly all of the Atmosphere development team went to work with the Acrobat team. The only Atmosphere component still in use at Adobe is the API scripting; other Atmosphere components including scene graphs and the physics engine are licensed, such as Viewpoint. -> s Transfer Protocol site, however. Adobe still provides 3D capabilities in its more popular Adobe Acrobat product, but these features have been developed using technology from New Zealand’s Right Hemisphere, rather than using Atmosphere. Nearly all of the Atmosphere development team went to work with the Acrobat team. The only Atmosphere component still in use at Adobe is the API scripting; other Atmosphere components including scene graphs and the physics engine are licensed, such as Viewpoint. -> The only Atmosphere component still in use at Adobe is the API scripting; other Atmosphere components including scene graphs and the physics engine are licensed, such as Viewpoint. -> The only Atmosphere component still in use at Adobe is the API scripting; other Atmosphere components including scene graphs and the physics engine are licensed, such as Viewpoint. ->
Atmosphere had a dedicated beta-testing community, whose members built many worlds and avatars, promoted the software by word of mouth, and conducted community events, such as world tours and building contests. The largest of these contests was Star Wars 3D, a large-scale effort to create a comprehensive set of worlds and avatars based on the Star Wars trilogy. The creations were unveiled on July 4, 2003, and the festivities officially continued until July 6. Another large effort was held to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Community Tours, which featured innovative worlds each week, and Tech Talks, originally a weekly event for the world and avatar developers. Initially, most community discussion occurred in the world or at the appropriate Adobe User-to-User Forums. Later, to supplement the official Atmosphere product Web site and discussion forums, the community created a large number of resource Web sites, some of which are listed below. Beta-testers dubbed the Atmosphere developers “zombies”, in recognition of the long hours of the Adobe software. The running joke on the team was instead of the usual meal of brains, Atmosphere’s zombies ingested eyeballs, due to the visual nature of the product. The beta-testing community eagerly awaited new releases from the development team, to which the developers invariably answered that it would take “about two weeks”; this response became euphemism for “when it’s ready.” Despite the decentralized structure of Atmosphere and the popularity of the world-building contests, The Atmosphere Community is the world’s largest digital satellite company. DigitalSpace, such as Adobe’s annually-revamped HomeWorld and DigitalSpace’s Atmospherians Community. As the HomeWorld was the primary starting place for new users. When Adobe shut down HomeWorld, along with a number of other Adobe-hosted worlds, many builders made attempts to emulate the success of HomeWorld with their own starting points. However, without the constant stream of new users that have experienced HomeWorld, most of these efforts failed to attract a small group of regulars. Years after Adobe support for Atmosphere, some worlds remain online, though still few and many are still maintained to support multi-user chat. Nonetheless,