Habitat 1986 by Quantum Link

Habitat is “a multi-participant online virtual environment”, a cyberspace. Each participant (“player”) uses a home computer (Commodore 64) as an intelligent, interactive client, communicating via modem andtelephone over a commercial packet-switching network to a centralized, mainframe host system. The clientsoftware provides the user interface, generating a real-time animated display of what is going on and translating input from the player into messages to the host. The host maintains the system’s world modelenforcing the rules and keeping each player’s client informed about the constantly changing state of the universe.

—Farmer 1993
 
Lucasfilm’s Habitat was an early and technologically influential online role-playing game developed by Lucasfilm Games and made available as a beta test in 1986 by Quantum Link, an online service for the Commodore 64computer and the corporate progenitor to America Online. It was initially created in 1985 by Randy Farmer andChip Morningstar, who were given a “First Penguin Award” at the 2001 Game Developers Choice Awards for this innovative work, and was the first attempt at a large-scale commercial virtual community (Morningstar and Farmer 1990; Robinett 1994) that was graphically based. While not VR (virtual reality), as a “graphical MUD”it is considered a forerunner of the modern MMORPGs, which are more similar to VR-style applications, and it was quite unlike other online communities of the time (i.e. MUDs and MOOs with text-based interfaces). The Habitat had a GUI and large userbase of consumer-oriented users, and those elements in particular have made the Habitat a much-cited project and acknowledged benchmark for the design of today’s online communities that incorporate accelerated 3D computer graphics and immersive elements into their environments.
from Wikipedia.
Habitat Manual PDF

The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat

Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer