With the work on Virtual London moving forwards into an Adobe Atmosphere multi-user world, it comes as a bit of a surprise that Adobe have, as of 19th December 2004, closed down the product.
The main difference between Atmosphere and other multi-user worlds, such as ‘Second Life’ is the ability to import your own objects from 3DMax. Object import allowed realistic worlds to be created quickly and easily, all shared within an avatar based environment. Yet, after only one year of product development Atmosphere has been canned.
The software continues to run and you can publish, but Adobe have removed all the avatars from their site and shut down their server, leaving things a bit in the dark. There are ways around this and the Virtual London work will be published as planned, its just a shame that it looks like it will be one of the last Atmosphere worlds to go live.
In the past we have used a number of systems, from ActiveWorlds to Blaxxun, the question is where now? With funding to build mutli-user environments there is no one system that jumps out as a replacement to Atmosphere, time will tell where we go next.
R.I.P Atmosphere.. a movie of the work to date can be found on the main site http://www.casa.ucl.ac.uk/olp/