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Adobe Atmosphere Beta

Adobe Atmosphere Beta - PCSTATS
Abstract: It goes something like this - take the best of VRML, e-commerce, FPS video games and instant messaging - roll it all together and create a 3D real-time 'internet experience'.
Filed under: Software Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Adobe Jul 12 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Software > Adobe Atmosphere

Building with virtual blocks

Beginning with a very simple set of tools just about any virtual world can be constructed from thin air. Incidentally, the doorway icons relate to entry points and portals (to other web locations). The tools can be used like building blocks to construct walls, floors, and objects within rooms, all depending on the virtual layout of the world being created.

In a similar fashion to time-tested CAD programs like 3D MAX and AutoCAD, the worlds are first rendered in wire frame models. The wire frames are displayed in four winds (top, side, isometric and browser) so you can monitor the process of a constructed world and ensure those walls to indeed hold up the ceiling.

An assortment of other tool menus fill out the screen, and include for example; the tool inspector, object inspector, objects (analogous to layers in PhotoShop), lighting control and views.

Without going into too much detail, worlds are first created by constructing the wire frame outlines of walls, stairs and the like. Additionally, more complex objects can be created with the use of industry standard 3D design tool (Viewpoint, Curious Labs, Discreet 3DStudio Max, Alias|Wavefront Maya) and imported into Builder via the Viewpoint file format. After the initial plans have been constructed entry points, textures can be added to breath more life into the three dimensional world. The final version, when viewed in the Browser is boxy, but not bad for a virtual world delivered over the internet in real-time. The Browser itself is powered by the Viewpoint Media Player.

In the example shown above, users can navigate throughout the Khufu pyramid of Egypt. The browser consists of essentially three areas. The viewing screen illustrates where you are in the virtual world, the gray area below is where you can converse with other avatars you may bump into, and the section on the right hand side is where you can control your preferences or aspects of the environment.

Each avatar can have a unique nickname, and in addition to the eight standard icons, additional characters can be made or imported. The current crop is somewhat whimsical, but in a 3D-Commerce environment the staff could potentially be smocked and name-tagged into upper reaches of the atmosphere if desired.

All in all, the idea behind Adobe Atmosphere is very novel, and could become quite a force providing several key areas are adequately implement. Support from either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator rank high on the list.

Where Acrobat has gone, Atmosphere must ideally emulate. In all honesty, the web has enough plug-ins, and more integration would do everyone some good. With that in mind Atmosphere still has many a hurdle to overcome, first in acceptance amongst the mainstream internet masses, and secondly amongst the web-designers and sites who are already overwhelmed with the necessity of being fluent in a multitude of programming languages and database logic.

It is too soon to offer any concrete opinions on Atmosphere, but if the beta edition is any indication, Adobe have some very high hopes for what it will eventually be capable of accomplishing. Hopefully in the end, Atmosphere will be capable of offering something truly unique and useful to the endlessly impersonal Internet.

Atmosphere Beta can be downloaded from Adobe.

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Contents of Article: Adobe Atmosphere
 Pg 1.  Adobe Atmosphere Beta
 Pg 2.  — Building with virtual blocks

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